Packing Systems: Useful or just a gimmick?


Jul 26th, 2011, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Back from a 6-day work/leisure trip during the rainy season in Korea. I carried more than usual clothes because I expected wet shoes and had to look good for a presentation at the end of the trip in addition to meetings at the beginning of the week. I had to pack several days in advance because I was out on a domestic trip and only home for 12 hours on day of departure.

I used a 21" lightweight Rick Steves rollaboard with the folder holding two lightweight suit jackets, skirt, dress slacks, casual slacks, and tops. After being packed for a week, only one pair of slacks had wrinkles that would not come out in a steamy shower. I also used the cubes for all the underwear, socks, casual tops, swimsuit and a compression bag for the dirty clothes.

Bottomline is that the folder and cubes kept all but one dress items in great shape despite being in the suitcase for several days and in/out twice for changing cities.

I expanded the rollaboard when I made the midtrip change of cities with additional work materials and half clean/half dirty clothes. When I finished and packed up to come home, I stuffed some dirty clothes in shoes, compressed the rest, packed the cubes inside each other, and placed the very few clean clothes inside the folder. I was able to get the suitcase back down to normal size. I got drenched in rain and sweat on my last tourist day, so I changed to my spare set of clothes and shoes at the airport and was even able to stuff the wet ones into the suitcase too.

So, for this trip, the folder did its duty of keeping my dress clothes clean and pressed and the cubes kept my clean clothes away from the dirty ones in the plastic bag. And it all fit in a rollaboard.
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Sep 5th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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I like using packing cubes .... more to do with possible.opening of my luggage by security .... then don't have to worry about my undies getting fondled by strangers.

PILL POUCHES !!!!! This is my latest travel tip ...... I just happened on these handy dandy items. Essentially it's a downsized baggie. Much easier to pack your meds and/or vitamins in these small plastic bags. I bought mine at Walgreens .... can also be found at CVS.

Or online ......
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Sep 24th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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Why iron to pack and then go through extra trouble to keep the wrinkles out? Pull the clothes straight from the dryer. Roll or fold to save space (don't worry about wrinkles). Iron when you get there and decide what to wear that day.

My tricks are to use a mesh laundry bag to organize bras/underwear and socks on the outbound trip. It takes no space and weighs nearly nothing. It becomes my laundry bag. Clothes still breath and don't get musty but yet do not directly contact my clean clothes. If I do need to use a laundrymat it keeps the industrial washing machines from eating my delicates.

I also like the pencil case for little items. Usually chargers.
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Sep 24th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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And the great packing tips keep on coming!!!

I have also learned to take garments made of fabrics which are great for packing, quick-drying & wrinkle-free! It has been a while since I've packed a travel iron or even used one at a hotel! Besides, I seem to be less fussed about wrinkles or fold lines in my clothes while traveling!
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Dec 9th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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So continues my quest for a practical packing system ...

I picked up a set of SPACE BAG To Go (2 carry-on + 2 suitcase bags) on a recent shopping trip to TJ Maxx.

I decided to try these zip bags on a December trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Packing for a cold-weather destination is challenging with bulkier garments: sweaters, jeans, fleece tops, etc. But these bags were easy to use
with their zip closures & one-way (roll out the air) valves, space saving; and made unpacking a snap! I'm sold!!!

It will be interesting to see how resilient the bags are after multiple uses!
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Dec 9th, 2011, 11:56 PM
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I use folders and cubes on every overseas trip. Can't imagine not using them. Shirts come out wrinkle free every time.
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Dec 11th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Just to add that among the compression bags the quality varies. Go for the heavy duty ones because they will take a beating, and even a small hole or tear renders them unable to compress with a "vacuum" seal. I don't recall where we picked up a couple of lightweight ones, but that's what happened to them -- could not work because they were thin plastic and somehow got little tears or holes. The nice heavy duty compression bags worked great!

Just back from northern Italy, and our first trip with heavier/rain clothes; we wore the trench coats and heavy boots/shoes; packed layers otherwise--I rolled/used zippered cube from RS; DH used the envelope style packer for shirts, pants, underwear.

DH has never been a fan of long underwear but always wants to pack jammies--this trip I convinced him to try the light long johns from LLBean. He loves them! Wants another set for Christmas. They pack up VERY nicely, better than jammies and also available should the weather call for them.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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>>If you unpack into the hotel dresser and are staying in one place for awhile... use dry cleaner bags wrapped around small stacks of folded clothes. Upon arrival use the dry cleaner bags to line the dresser drawer and put the folded clothes stack on top of that.

Love that idea, suze!

>>My tricks are to use a mesh laundry bag to organize bras/underwear and socks on the outbound trip. It takes no space and weighs nearly nothing. It becomes my laundry bag. Clothes still breath and don't get musty but yet do not directly contact my clean clothes.

Great packing tip, palmettoprincess. I've always put my undergarments and socks in a plastic bag and but this is a much better idea.
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Apr 10th, 2012, 02:41 AM
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I have 3 of the Eagle Creek cubes (2 medium, 1 small) and 2 packing tubes from Outdoor Research. I use them all for domestic travel, like our driving trips to the Canadian Rockies or flights to B.C. to visit my sister. When we travel to Europe, I pack in ziplock bags, as my luggage is soft-sided and I am concerned about rain on my luggage when it's being loaded/unloaded.

Since I am on a lot of medications, both OTC and prescription, I carry them in their original bottles as well as a printout of my "Patient Profile" which I keep on my hard drive and update as needed. I also carry a copy of my prescription for current medications which I obtain from my doctor.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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Glad to know I'm not the only person who hates living out of a suitcase! I do tend to unpack as often as it is practical.

For one or two lodgings per trip, just using a few ziplocks for undies, socks, whatever works fine for me. I put odd-size stuff--shoes, socks, undies, laundry kit-- in minimally closed Ziplocks on the bottom of the suitcase to make a platform, leaving out just a few things (small umbrella, hairbrush, etc) to tuck along the sides at the end. Then all the clothes get MINIMALLY folded and layered to maintain this platform. Yes, I failed Rolling 101 but I have to tell you that I don't ever recall ironing any clothing with my method either. I pack two or three tall kitchen garbage bags to throw on the bottom of hotel drawers, and I'm good.


I am a Ziplock/SpaceBag junkie when we go on cycling trips which involve lots of moving from hotel to hotel AND which demand taking lumpy bike shorts that just don't fold neatly. My goal is to be able to find things quickly and pack up fast.

I create three sets of daily biking wear--sports bra, shirt, socks, biking shorts, and if cold weather, a light overtop--using two gallon Ziplocks. Even then, I try to create a platform within each Ziplock bag. I will wash out sets in the sink (I carry powdered Tide) whenever we have a two-night stay and repack.

Rain gear and gloves get another Ziplock. Misc socks and underwear may get a smaller ziplock, but because creating the platform with lumpy bike shorts may be harder, I often use socks and undies as "levelling" material as I pile the stuff into the suitcase. Good clothes go on top, again, minimally folded.

In any case, when I get to the next hotel on these trips, I simply lift off the minimally folded pile of good clothes, and either plop in a drawer over my tall kitchen garbage bag or plop onto the floor on top of my tall kitchen garbage bag. The rest of the stuff stays in the suitcase because it takes no effort to grab a "kit" for the day.

Other notes:
--I leave the Ziplocks open a bit. That way, when I close the lid on the suitcase, all the air in the bag escapes.
--I bring lots and lots of extra plastic bags in assorted sizes.
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