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Packing Stuffable Bags: Extra Packable Storage That Takes Up No Space

packing stuffable bags for travel

When I travel, I NEVER leave home without some form of stuffable bag in my luggage. Even though I travel super light, it doesn’t mean I won’t often need an extra bag, beyond my main luggage, for other travel tasks.

  • A packable backpack comes in handy as a daypack when you would otherwise juggle a water bottle and jacket throughout a day of sightseeing.
  • A stuffable shopping bag is useful when taking trips to the local grocery store.
  • A collapsible tote can 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 daypack that is padded for computers and technical gear, a stuffable backpack is often better for many day to day situations. Plus, it 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.

Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Daypack

sea to summit ultra sil backpack

I have been happy to have my Sea to Summit stuffable backpack with me on my travels FOR YEARS and will continue to bring it. It is my go-to stuffable bag choice. The extremely compact size when packed up means it can clip onto a small handbag without it adding much bulk or clutter.

I’ve used this bag as a daypack, a shopping bag, a laundry bag, and a carry-on bag. It’s carried sunscreen and a towel for a day at the beach, and it’s carried snacks and drinks on long train journeys.

Grab a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack: Amazon US | Amazon UK | REI | Backcountry

REI Stuff Travel Pack

rei stuff travel pack review

Ali told us that the REI Stuff Travel Pack is the one little thing she can’t travel without. This extra stuffable backpack goes into her main luggage while in transit, but acts as a daypack (or laundry bag, or shopping bag) throughout the trip.

She loves the additional outside mesh pockets for items like water bottles or flip flops, and the hood also features a zippered pocket for added organization.

Grab the REI Stuff Travel Pack: REI

Tortuga Packable Daypack

the tortuga packable daypack review

Tortuga Backpacks crushed it when they created their first packable daypack. It was the perfect mix between being stuffable/packable, but also containing loads of organization, padding and bag structure itself. It really took packable luggage to the next level, making it even more comfortable to use said bag on a day to day basis.

Tortuga have since discontinued this model, but are offering another packable daypack option on their website. While it doesn’t contain the same internal organization panel, the sturdy construction and packability definitely make it a desirable option.

Baggu Packable Backpacks

baggu backpack

I’ve been a fan of Baggu bags for many years now, originally discovering their reusable shopping bags with bright colors and fun patterns. My original shopping bag that I purchased about… oh… 5 years ago, is STILL going strong after being used multiple times every week for groceries, in addition to being a beach bag, laundry bag, and grocery bag when I travel.

Let’s just say that I’m a HUGE fan and will highly recommend any of their ripstop nylon bags, pouches, and backpacks without hesitation!

After getting into the shopping bags, I discovered their stuffable backpacks that pack up into their own pouch. Their durability and fun patterns make them a go-to for beach trips.

Grab a Baggu Stuffable Backpack: Baggu | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reusable Grocery Bags

Most stores you visit these days offer reusable cloth grocery bags for $1 or less. They are great for travel, and since they are so inexpensive, I’m never too upset when something happens to one of these bags.

Reusable grocery bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic. In fact, many businesses across the globe are now charging customers who don’t have reusable bags. Hawaii has done away with plastic bags altogether. So, it’s a good idea to pack a reusable bag of sorts for wherever you travel.

Baggu Reusable Shopping Bags

baggu reusable shopping bag

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I am a huge fan of Baggu’s ripstop nylon products, including their iconic reusable shopping bags. The standard size bag features a spacious holding capacity, handles that easily fit over your shoulder, and a plethora of fun pattern options. Best of all, it packs up into a tiny pouch!

The bag I bought more than 5 years ago is still going strong; I simply throw it in the wash from time to time to bring it back to it’s normal vibrancy.

Grab a Baggu Reusable Shopping Bag: Baggu | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

ChicoBag Reusable Shopping Bag

original chicobag

Christine Amorose told us that the Original ChicoBag is her one little thing she can’t travel without, and we can understand why. This reusable bag packs up super small in its own pouch, probably smaller than my beloved Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack.

She goes on to say:

“It comes in handy whenever you need an extra bag: grocery shopping, picnicking, going to the beach, moving. It’s so tiny that you can throw it in your purse whenever you leave in the morning. I use it on an almost daily basis, whether at home or traveling.

“Closed up, it’s about the size of a tennis ball and only weighs 1.5 ounces. While it barely takes up any room, it comes in handy all the time. Plus, it’s environmentally-friendly: stop using plastic bags!”

Grab an Original ChicoBag: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Laundry Bags

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 for carrying clothes to the washing machine.

Plastic Bags

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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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. melissa says

    I have the smaller Baggu bag (in elephant print!) that I carry everywhere, not just when I travel. It’s fits in my smallest crossbody bag, and even in a wristlet. It’s durable, and can hold weights up to 20lbs. I also carry the larger baggu bag on shorter trips. It’s big enough to hold my personal item/backpack + extra, so if I do a bit of shopping and only need to get it home and not carry around on more travel, it comes in really handy. If not, it takes up practically no room and no weight.

  2. Kylee says

    A great place to buy reusable bags in the US (though they are a tad more expensive) is Gap Factory but only in store. They ate nylon and incredibly light but sturdy. The new ones each year come out around March, and they put the retiring colors on clearance. They’re quite large but fold into a pocket within themselves to be about the size of an index card and about half an inch thick. Plus, having one gets you 10% at the store on top of their other sales.

  3. Nanette K Lamb says

    Sometimes I want a packable insulated bag, for when I fly somewhere, then rent a car (hello, Arizona in June!). I would love some recommendations for something that could fit in my carry-on bag and not hog all the space. I realize it will be hard to get a packable insulated bag of any size but I’m on a mission!


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