When you travel, there’s always the chance that you’ll need extra storage beyond your main luggage. A packable backpack comes in handy as a daypack when you would otherwise be juggling a water bottle and jacket throughout a day of sightseeing. A stuffable tote is useful when taking trips to the local grocery store. Or, they help carry those last-minute duty free purchases at the airport.
Best of all, some reusable stuffable bags can be folded up and clipped onto your purse for whenever you need it.
Why Should I Pack Stuffable Bags?
Extra storage aside, stuffable bags fit nicely on packing lists because of the following reasons:
- Multi-purposed: We live by versatile and multi-purposed items at Her Packing List. One stuffable bag has about a million different uses, ranging from grocery bag to laundry bag to carry-on bag in a pinch.
- Environmentally friendly: Prevent more plastic from ending up in landfills by bringing your own bag to the store. Let’s help keep this earth beautiful for the next generations of travelers.
- Easy to pack: Some stuffable bags take up as much room as your palm when folded up. They’re even smaller if they come with a case or pouch. Even when luggage space is tight, they can often clip onto the outside of a handbag or backpack.
Types of Stuffable Bags
Stuffable Daypacks / Backpacks
These little backpacks are so handy! Even if you have a proper day pack that is padded for computers and technical gear, a stuffable backpack fits into a pouch (or the palm of your hand) and is able to be pulled out at the grocery store or at markets in a pinch.
Brooke has been happy to have her Sea to Summit stuffable backpack (Amazon link) with her on her travels FOR YEARS and will continue to bring it.
- The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack
- The REI Stuff Travel Pack and another review of the same bag
- The Tortuga Packable Daypack
Laundry bags help keep dirty clothes separate from the clean ones in your backpack. They’re cheap to buy, pack up small, and Tide even makes a travel laundry bag that absorbs odors. Laundry bags are nice to have when the laundry facilities at your hostel are on another floor than your room and you don’t want to carry your clothes around in your arms. Alternatively, a packable backpack makes a great bag to carry clothes to the washing machine.
Reusable Grocery Bags
Most stores you visit these days offer reusable cloth grocery bags for sale for $1 or less. I have dozens I’ve acquired from Trader Joe’s, Target, Forever 21 and Cotton On that I use when I travel. For that reason, I’m never too upset when something happens to one of these bags. They are very handy for bringing groceries home to your hostel or trips to the local markets. I used one to store my food in the hostel pantry, so I always remembered what was mine. Reusable grocery bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic.
Many places, including France and Hawaii, are now charging customers who don’t have reusable bags. Hawaii has done away with plastic bags altogether. If you’re having a picnic or taking a trip to the beach, it’s nice to have a tote bag to throw your book and sunglasses into. There’s the added bonus of not having the bag rip when it’s full of food. Nylon bags will also keep out water.
While they’re less environmentally friendly, plastic grocery bags are nice to use as trash bags when you’re in places that don’t have trash cans available, like planes and trains. They’re handy to wrap up wet clothes and to prevent shampoo bottle leaks. Just remember to recycle them when you’re done!
Do you pack stuffable bags when you travel? Are there any uses we forgot?
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