A second skin for your boot

Regular readers will know that for many years I drove a beaten-up, old, green Skoda. It was hideous – smelly, noisy, and too small – but at least I didn’t have to worry about keeping it clean. When it finally died I replaced it with a new Skoda Yeti – reliable, efficient and roomy enough for me and the dogs. The only ‘snag’ is that, technically, it’s not mine and so I really do need to look after it. But with three dogs constantly in and out of the boot, I knew it wasn’t going to stay showroom-clean for long. So to protect the car from the ravages of my gundogs, I decided to invest in a boot liner known as a Hatchbag.

Hatchbag boot liners are tailor made (in the UK) from tough PVC to perfectly fit the model of car you own – a ‘second skin’ if you like. There are a range of options and patterns available for over 400 vehicles – so there’s no need for anything fiddly like measuring your car. You just type in the make of car on the website and choose from the options available to you. Depending on the type of car you own, these range from bumper flaps and tailgate covers to rubber mats and odour control pet mats (at an extra cost, but not prohibitively so). You can also select the colour you want – pink, red, blue, grey, black, orange and brown.

I had thought the Hatchbag would be fiddly to fit and set aside an afternoon to do it, enlisting the help of my boyfriend. In fact, it took hardly any time at all and couldn’t have been simpler. The liner is secured using strips of Velcro which you attach to the car to line up with the strips already in place on the liner itself. The important thing with this is to make sure you wipe the plastic parts of the car first using a product called AutoGlym Intensive Tar Remover (available from Halfords for about £5). This removes any residues leftover from manufacture and ensures the Velcro strips will stay attached to the car. The kit is supplied with enough Velcro to keep some for spare.

The Hatchbag has been in place now for a few months and not only is it a total god-send, but it shows no sign of coming unstuck.

The custom design means that clever little extras in the Yeti boot (such as the hooks for hanging your shopping on and the split rear 
seats) are not obscured by the liner and can still be used.

Best of all, the tough, waterproof construction means my boot is now completely protected from the muddy, wet dogs and I no longer have to spend ages fruitlessly trying to dry them off before they get back in the car and shake everywhere. Being wipe-clean means the mud and water doesn’t soak into the boot fabric, so it also smells a darn sight better.

I’d recommend going for the bumper flap as the constant jumping of dogs in and out does scratch the bumper terribly. I also opted for the rubber mat as a base – again, it is 
immensely practical.

I really couldn’t be happier with my Hatchbag. For anyone who shoots, fishes or has dogs, but also has a car that’s worth looking after, it’s a no-brainer. Well worth the money.

Prices for the Yeti liner start at £84.95.