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30 Days to Packing a Better Bag – Day 14: How to Prevent Wrinkles

Day 14: How to pack to prevent wrinkles.

Welcome to Day 14 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.

As discussed in the last post, different ways of packing can serve different purposes. Rolling and using compression sacks helps the traveler that wants to save space, while folding clothing might be preferred for the business traveler with slacks and button down shirts.

Preventing wrinkles is probably one of the toughest parts of packing because clothing that is squished and rattled around inside a bag or suitcase will inevitably come out with a few extra lines. For the most part, a few wrinkles never hurt us, but if your travel comes with a bit more purpose (like work, a wedding, or something that’s more upscale) then you’ll want to keep your wrinkles to a minimum.

Wrinkle Fighting Tactics

Rolling your clothing can help minimize wrinkles since it keeps your clothing taut without hard creases. However, depending on how the article of clothing is folded before it is rolled, you could end up with a big crease down the front of your shirt. This is a common side effect of the rolling method, but if space and organization is your main concern, then this isn’t a huge problem.

Folding with Tissue Paper
We learned a trick a while ago where folding shirts and slacks with a piece of tissue paper or plastic bag in the middle can help to reduce wrinkles. This happens because the slippery texture reduces the friction on the fabric. However, unless you have several layers of something in the middle of the fold, you will still end up with creases of sorts from the folds.

Using Synthetic Fabrics
Many synthetic fabrics have an added bonus of being wrinkle-resistant. So, that technical clothing we talked about in a previous post, the ones that are often anti-microbial, quick-drying and wicking, are also the kind that help you get dressed right out of your backpack or suitcase without looking like a slob.

Types of wrinkle-resistant fabrics:

  • Nylon
  • Lycra
  • Polyester

Knits also do a better job of not wrinkling.

Bundle Rolling or Wrapping
The informative packing site of One Bag discusses another option of reducing wrinkles by bundle wrapping your clothes. This method involves creating a pouch in the middle of wrinkle-resistant clothing (like socks, a swimsuit and so on) and wrapping the rest of your minimal wardrobe around it from least likely to become wrinkled to the most.

What this does is it helps to keep your clothing taut while reducing the folds (and thus reducing creases). While we see the benefit of this method for certain trips and articles of clothing, we don’t think it is the best for packing into a smaller, compressed space.

reduce wrinkles - bundle wrapping step by step
Bundle wrapping step by step. Keep the items that are less wrinkle-resistant on the outside of the wrap.

How to Get Rid of Wrinkles

Sometimes our best efforts will end in wrinkles, so at least it is important to take action to try and get rid of them as easy as possible. The rub-rub-rub straight method with your hands isn’t always going to cut it (you know what we’re talking about). We’ve discussed a few of these tactics in our looking professional while traveling post, which you can read further to get more ideas for that type of travel.

Hanging Clothes on Arrival
Once you get to your destination, take your clothes out of your luggage and hang them up. Taking away the pressure of being squished in a bag combined with the natural force of gravity will lead to fewer wrinkles.

Hanging Clothes Near Shower
During a hot, hot shower, hang your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom so that the steam helps to release the wrinkles. Keep in mind that it might take a long shower or two to make this work well.

Pack a Travel Iron
Most hotels will have irons, and some hostels may, too, but if you’re going to be somewhere where it might not be available, pack a travel iron or travel steamer to save a little space. This is only if it is necessary. If you’re the type of traveler that also packs a flat iron, then you could potentially use it to iron out some lines.

Wrinkle Releaser
There are travel sized bottles of wrinkle releasing spray that can be applied to the areas in question. Once damp, stretch, rub and tug the fabric a bit before hanging to dry.

Dampen the Area in Question
Dampen the winkled section before stretching and tugging the fabric taut. Let hang dry, or use a blow dryer to speed up the process.

Use a Damp Towel
Lay your wrinkled item flat and lay a warm, damp towel on top. Press and smooth out the towel.

Toss in the Dryer
A lot of hostels will have a washer and dryer, so if you really need something de-wrinkled, try popping it in the dryer for about 15 minutes with a damp sock or towel.

Take Action: Test It Out
Try the different packing techniques to prevent wrinkles to see how they leave your clothes looking in a day or two. If left wrinkled, test out some techniques for removing wrinkles without an iron.

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Travel Resources

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary Calculated Traveller says

    I travel with a small empty spray bottle. Once I get to my destination I just mist all my clothes with plain water and stretch/tug et and hang… works well. I used to travel with the bundle method but I found that if you are on the move you are constantly unbundling and re bundling. I now use the roll method – takes up less space but does increase wrinkles.

  2. Debbie Lerille says

    For a special item that I can not afford to get wrinkled I will put it in a small plastic box and then in the suit case. This way nothing else touches the item or it feels no pressure from the other items in the suit case..


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