Welcome to Day 13 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.
We all know the big debate when it comes to packing your clothing. Is rolling better than folding? Does it really save space and keep your clothing from getting wrinkled?
Is there a better way?
When it comes to rolling and folding and finding a better way, it is really a matter of your trip style and packing goals. For example, business travelers will probably prefer to fold their clothing on the creases, with maybe something like tissue paper in the middle to reduce friction and help keep it from getting extra wrinkles. Backpackers, on the other hand, will most likely be trying to cram as much clothing into as little a space as possible. To do this, they might prefer the rolling method, which can do that while also keeping wrinkles to a minimum.
Let’s discuss these methods in greater detail.
Rolling has been said to be the method of packing that will help people save space. Why? Because it compresses the clothing while also making it easier to stack and pack into a tiny section of your bag or suitcase.
Think about it. Folding your clothes and leaving them to sit as is can mean that your packed wardrobe covers more surface area in the backpack or suitcase. In the end, this makes it harder for you to fit your other pieces of travel gear into the luggage without overlapping, or being a bit more unorganized. Rolling means you can treat your packing list more like the game pieces in Tetris, filling in gaps between certain items to take full advantage of the space (and freeing up space in the process).
How to Roll Your Clothes
For items like shirts and tops, you generally want to fold the body in half, vertically. Fold in the sleeves and then roll tight.
Try to pack items in your luggage so that the rolls stay as tight as possible. While a rubber band will do the trick, they tend to leave lines on your clothing from the pressure. Another option is using some packing bands, but our preferred method is to roll clothes and then place into a packing cube or compression sack.
Rolling versus Folding
Some people argue that rolling doesn’t do a better job at making your packing smaller because a bunch of folded shirts that are squished into a suitcase will also be compressed. This is true.
In fact, it has been said that just by leaving your clothes and gear to settle in your luggage overnight (the natural weight of the items squishing out air, for example), your overall luggage size can reduce by up to 8% on it’s own!
But, it’s not just about the amount of fabric being compressed into its absolute minimum, it’s about being able pack the pieces in their optimal positions so they remain taut and well-packed — and let’s not forget about the fewer wrinkles part. We’ll be talking more about keeping your clothes wrinkle-free in a future post, and packing techniques for that purpose could vary greatly compared to packing for space.
Take Action: Fold and Roll Your Clothes
Fold a stack of clothing, being sure to take a photo of the before. Roll the same stack of clothing and compare images. If you’d rather see them side-by-side, then get two stacks of clothing that are about equal and see the difference. If you want to make it truly interesting, leave your folded stack of clothes overnight to see if they settle.
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