Roll or fold or packing cubes/bags?

Jul 31st, 2019, 12:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,521
Roll or fold or packing cubes/bags?

Travelling as much as I do, I consider myself to be an advanced level packer . Mostly travelling with carryon only I pack light even for long trips, although for the first time in many years I am looking at checking bags for our October trip to South Africa and January to Japan

My current packing list is here

I am very happy with what I pack but am beginning to wonder if how I pack is the most efficient way in terms of volume, convenience and organisation.

Until now I have put rolled clothes into cylindrical compression bags but decided the other day to try a combination of folding pants and shorts and rolling tee shirts, shirts etc. and placing directly into my bag. Other stuff like bathroom and shave gear, underwear, electrical adaptors I use lightweight muji bags.

What are your planning regimes, tips, habits?
crellston is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 03:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,526
I use cubes for good tops and pants laid flat, compression bag ,eagle creek, for other stuff and roll it.
Macross is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,708
I fold pants and they go right into the suitcase. I roll tops, underwear, etc, I use packing cubes for tops and underwear if the trip involves several different places. That makes it much easier to find what I need in each place. I have a bag for toiletries which goes into the suitcase.
schmerl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,973
Knits can go rolled or flat. Woven fabrics wrinkle if rolled since the inside of a curve is shorter than the outside, making wrinkles when the roll is compressed. Underwear fills chinks and spaces and also if placed inside a fold of a flat item prevents wrinkling at the fold. Hard objects go at the end of the case that will be the bottom when carried or wheeled. Small hard objects (eg, travel clock) goes inside hollow hard objects (shoes). Each shoe goes into a separate plastic bag to keep the rest of the suitcase clean. The only dedicated packing container I use is a kit bag for all the miscellaneous small things.

Packing cubes add weight when every ounce counts against the low weight allowances for carry ons. I use the flimsy plastic bags from the dry cleaner instead. I make packs of color-compatible items, one bottom, two tops, four sets of underwear, and place into a plastic . I make each pack the same size. Removing one pack at a destination leaves the rest untouched, making a trip with multiple stops easy in terms of unpacking and packing.

I take a "tall kitchen" garbage bag with built in drawstring to use as a bag for dirty garments. It keeps the dirty from the clean when packing for a change of location while making itself useful if a trip to a laundromat is in the cards.
AJPeabody is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,384
>>Roll or fold or packing cubes/bags?<<

For me, none of the above. I 'bundle'. Results in 1) no wrinkles at all, and 2) able to get more clothing into a carry-on sized bag so I never ever need to check a bag. (I don't pack more in than I need, but on some trips where there are significant different needs such as hiking for a week and then posh events in say London -- cramming more in is sometimes necessary)

This is a variation of bundling: From :49 onwards

(I do it slightly differently, and almost never put a coat in the carry-on. That would go in the overhead, or when traveling in a premium cabin my coat gets hung in the closet)
janisj is online now  
Jul 31st, 2019, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,662
<<British Airways very generously, allow two carry-on bags each weighing no more than 23kg! I don’t think I have ever checked in that amount of luggage, let alone carried it on board!). Most other airlines permit allow somewhere between 5 and 10 kg carry. Our bags usually weigh in at around 10kg.>> Wow how generous!
Odin is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,315
No rolling. No packing cubes. Limited use of gallon sized ziplocks to gather up socks, undies, etc.

I just fold clothes and lay them in the suitcase. Or sometimes do a loose bundle method like janisj mentioned for groups of clothes.

I have a collection of cosmetic bags and typically have 3-4 of those that I use to organize first aid, little things like keychain, flashlight, tweezers, dry toiletries, liquid toiletries, etc.
suze is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,224
I just fold my clothes and don't use any organizers. I do carryon only and this works for me. I am very good at folding to avoid wrinkles/creases, and so my husband asks me to pack his bag when he travels for work, especially when he needs to take suits with him. my suitcase has a separate zipper area where I put dirty clothes, so I don't need another bag for that.
mms is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,404
I bundle and roll; I never fold. I only use compression packs if space (rather than weight) is at a premium. I use some plastic -- or better, mesh -- bags to keep related things together and to facilitate moving things in and out of my suitcase.

Interesting that we all have such different preferences!
kja is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,526
I just packed my under the seat bag for a three night trip. I hate bag fees. My gf is paying for a carry on and I am sharing cost of that so I can take the gifts we are bringing for our host. We are doing a beer fest for two days so hot and sweaty in beer tents. If not for the gifts I could do it with the bag that fits under the seat. We can do laundry and they have the hair stuff so no need for that. I love my eagle creek compression bags but no need this trip.
Macross is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 09:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,521
Thank you all for your very interesting perspectives and insights into your packing habits. We have two house/pet sits in the U.K. before our South Africa trip so I shall test run as we move from place to place. The consensus seem to be to use bags/cubes/ containers of one type or another to keep things organised which I wholeheartedly agree with. I use reuseable bags rather than zip locks or plastic bags to attempt reduce environmental impact (but not sure how the conservation maths work our on that!).

In prep for my next move I just packed my (soft backpack, rather than hard suitcase) by basically folding the big stuff pants, shorts, jacket etc. of and rolling shirts and tee shirts. Underwear, socks, adaptors, toiletries etc go in Muji lightweight bags of various sizes. All seems to fit!

Avoiding creasing seem to figure highly with many of you. I tend to take the approach of taking "travel" clothing, designed not to crease. If it does I find it tends to drop out after a short time wearing. My go to dress up item is a "travel" linen jacket which as with much linen, looks fine, creased or not.

I watched the video janisj posted and smiled as it took me back to when I used to travel a lot on business when nicely pressed suits and shirts were essential. I packed in exactly that way! Happy not to have to worry about creases anymore!
crellston is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 51
I generally roll clothes and put them into XL Ziploc bags instead of packing cubes. They saved all our belongings on a return flight from vacation. Somehow the airline managed to pop every top and side lock on a hard sided suitcase as well as put a dent in it that looked like it was from a forklift. If it wasn’t for the luggage strap we used to identify and secure the suitcase and all our items packed inside the Ziploc bags, we would have lost everything. We reuse the XL bags for travel. However, I also used a zipped case from new sheets to store items in a carry-on.
gbelle1 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,315
I use reuseable bags rather than zip locks or plastic bags

You can use ziplocks and plastic bags over and over.
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 653
If at all possible I'm carry on only. Those packing cubes add weight. It may only be 50 grams here and 50 there but it takes up weight.

I have a cable/adapter bag. Security is much happier if I pull that out . Seeing a mass of wires on the Xray screen seems to worry them.

I bring one dry bag to put dirty clothing into. The thing will last forever. Once sealed is water and air proof. Camping type dry bag.

I do a test pack about two weeks before hand. Firstly to make sure I have everything I need in good condition. Then to check it all fits and is under the weight limit.

A few days before the trip I'll pack for real. Cinch down all the internal straps inside the case. The next day I'll open the case and tighten everything that's gotten loose. This way the softsided case doesn't bulge or exceed the size guidelines.
Traveler_Nick is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2019, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,235
AJPeabody you gave me a couple of great ideas I hadn’t thought of with your “packs.” I may try it on our upcoming trip. I do like compression cubes also and also use the very lightweight Eagle Creek ones.

DH and I are getting ready to leave on a 5 week trip (Central/Eastern Europe) and right now plan to try to use our smaller 21” suitcase because we have a couple of train segments and don’t want to wrestle the larger 24” bags. We still check our bags for flights but it’s the lugging them up stairs and lifting that gets old.

Loved the luggage services in Japan to send them ahead!!!

patandhank is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 897
Drives my wife crazy. But I'll just cram everything into my suitcase, no folding or rolling, save a pair of socks and boxers. Then just take it all to a laundry when we arrive and let them wash, press & fold. That said, all our travel is Latin America where cheap lavanderías are plentiful.
I'd love to be like Jack Reacher and have no luggage at all. Just buy new clothes at a discount store and throw away the old when it gets to funky to keep wearing.
Zip lock bags wear out too soon.

Last edited by baldone; Aug 4th, 2019 at 11:36 AM.
baldone is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,315
How long do you want a ziplock bag to last? 10 trips? 20 trips? 30 trips enough?
suze is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,404
Originally Posted by suze View Post
How long do you want a ziplock bag to last?
If the seal is important, I agree that it can "wear out" faster than one might like.
kja is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,973
So, they still sell ziplocks. Buy new ones!
AJPeabody is offline  
Aug 4th, 2019, 11:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,521
Originally Posted by suze View Post
How long do you want a ziplock bag to last? 10 trips? 20 trips? 30 trips enough?
The point is that even if they last 30 trips, the environmental impact when disposed of, lasts for centuries. The effect on wildlife is horrendous. Some of the world’s most beautiful places and now marred by plastic waste. I have seen plastic bags blowing through the Atacama desert and drifting in the water when diving in Indian Ocean. Very, very concerning.

There is a reason why many environmentally responsible country’s are increasing banning the use of plastic bags.

Maybe the environmental agencies have got it wrong, but I somehow doubt it.

My Muji bags have lasted ten years so far and I do a lot of travelling. I fully expect them to outlast my travelling life!
crellston is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:11 PM.