Pack clothes without wrinkling

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How to Pack Clothes without Wrinkles

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One of the pains of packing is arriving to your destination with a suitcase full of creased clothing. Before you pack for your next trip, find out how to pack clothes without wrinkles with these nine helpful tips!

How to Pack Clothes Without Wrinkles

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There’s nothing more irritating than fussing with a hotel room’s ironing board, not to mention the possibility of burning or staining your clothes. If it’s time to head out on your next vacation or you’re traveling for business, arriving to your destination with a suitcase full of wrinkled clothes can be a hassle.

Keep your travels smooth and care free with our favorite tips and tricks to help you save time ironing for wrinkle-free packing.

Anatomie Skyler Pants

Choose Fabrics That Don’t Wrinkle Easily

Where should you start when determining how to pack clothes without wrinkles? Choose fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily. You can find a full guide on the best travel fabrics here. Generally speaking, clothes that have a bit of stretch and knits don’t wrinkle as much.

Many of the clothes you already own will probably work well for travel without the need to buy new clothing. Give the fabric a scrunch and do a practice packing run to see how they hold up to wrinkles.

One of the biggest benefits of using travel brands is that they tend to use wrinkle-resistant fabrics. The downside is that many of these fabrics can’t be steamed or ironed should if they do get wrinkled. However, by combining your clothing selection with the packing methods listed below, you should be able to master the skill of how to pack clothes without wrinkles.

This is a list of the best travel clothing brands!

Packing Folder

Packing Folders

Packing folders are a little known tip for how to pack clothes without wrinkles. No matter where you’re traveling, a lightweight packing folder will help keep your delicate tops, dresses and pants free from looking like a crumpled mess. They are particularly useful for button-up shirts for business trips.

An 18-inch packing folder can fit 8 to 12 garments, helping you fit many of your items in one organizer. You can use packing cubes for underwear and clothes that don’t wrinkle easily.

The briefcase-like design keeps everything concealed and stored neatly. To make sure your clothes are packed tidily, button up all tops and pants and lay them face down on a flat surface to smooth away wrinkles before packing. Packing folders tend to include a folding board and pictures so you know what you’ve packed.

Want to know the best packing organizer? Read this!

AmazonBasics Travel Garment Bag

Garments Bags

Similar to packing folders, garment bags allow you to pack all your clothing together and then fold once. I used to travel with these for business conferences and trade shows. I’d plan my outfits and hang them together in my closet. All I had to do was grab them all together, place them in the garment bag, zip it up, and fold the bag once it’s in my suitcase.

Because you only fold once or twice and keep everything in place securely within the garment bag, you avoid creases and wrinkles. As a bonus, it is super easy to unpack! Since most of the clothing is already on a hanger, it’s was easy to hang up everything in the hotel room. If anything gets wrinkled, it will be easier and less time-consuming to iron or steam.

There are suitcases with built-in removable garment bags (like this and this), but they are rare nowadays. However, you can buy them individually. You can also buy self-contained garment bags like these.

The downside of garment bags is that I haven’t been able to find a carryon-sized garment bag. The smallest width seems to be 22 inches, which is a bit too long for a carry-on suitcase. So if you’re wondering how to pack clothes without wrinkles in a carryon, you may want to use packing folders instead of garment bags.

For problematic clothes, consider paying to have your delicate items pressed at the hotel. Paying for one or two pieces saves you time and stress.

Tip: Pack these delicate items last so other items don’t squish them. Also, double-up clothes on hangers to save space and weight.

If you want to unpack quickly but have wrinkle-resistant clothing, use this luggage organizer instead! A flight attendant favorite!

Travel Folding Boards

Bundle Wrap Clothes

The bundle wrap method is another popular tip for how to pack clothes without wrinkles. The concept is the same as the packing folder and garment bags but you place the clothes directly inside a suitcase. This method works particularly work for bulkier items that may take up too much space for packing organizers.

The downside is that you have to unpack all your clothes every time so this is not ideal if you’re on a fast paced trip and will only be staying in hotels one or two nights.

You can also use a folding board within the clothing to keep everything secure.

You’ll want to look your best when you travel! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!

Tissue Wrap

Adding Tissue in Between Folds

If you prefer to fold clothing the traditional way, add a piece of tissue paper in between the folds to avoid creases. Take your time folding, and use a hard, smooth surface to smooth out wrinkles as you go.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser

Use an Easy Wrinkle-Free Spritz

A wrinkle release spray is extremely convenient to carry with you to keep your clothes wrinkle-free when traveling and looking fresh. Forget fussing with an iron and instead keep a travel-sized version of Downy’s Wrinkle Releaser in your purse or carry-on luggage for ease of use.

The TSA-approved size not only releases wrinkles but also eliminates odors and prevents static cling. Especially when you’re up in the air, your clothes are bound to get wrinkled and a little smelly.

This works wonders if you want to use it right after you get off the plane to make your outfit look freshly pressed. A quick spritz of this spray and you can smell fresh and avoid wrinkled clothing when traveling.

One reader suggests you can make your own wrinkle release spray two caps of fabric softener one of white vinegar and fill up small spray bottle with water freshens clothes and releases wrinkles.

Another reader recommends spraying it an hour before wearing it and then hang it in the shower so the steam can remove wrinkles.

Follow these steps to learn how to make clothes smell fresh!

Portable Garment Steamer

Pack a Handheld Steamer

The quickest way to instantly freshen your clothes is with a travel-sized handheld steamer. You can also buy a travel iron/steamer duo. They’re a must if you’re traveling for business, as you can use them on suits, blouses, shirts, or delicate dresses.

With steamers, you can use the continuous steam function, which smooths even the toughest of wrinkles in a matter of seconds. Hang up your clothes and steam them without worrying about burning or damaging any of your items. If you’re ever wondering how to avoid wrinkled clothes when traveling, a handheld steamer is a sure bet!

You might also be able to hold the hotel’s iron upright and press the steam button to make it work like a clothing steamer. However, the quality of irons varies in hotel rooms so you may not want to depend on this if you want zero wrinkles.

Alternatively, a reader suggests to buy a pressing cloth, and carry that with you. If you have any stubborn wrinkles, you can use the pressing cloth between your clothes and the iron to press them out without burning your clothes. A magazine or newspaper rolled into a tube makes a great “sleeve board” if your jacket sleeves wrinkle.

Check out some of our favorite accessories and tech-savvy gadgets for travelers!

Travel Elastic Clothesline

Unpack in the Shower

While this method sounds silly, a hot shower is one of the best solutions for releasing stubborn wrinkles. If you want to quickly steam your clothes without using a steamer, hang them in the bathroom during a hot shower and watch the wrinkles in your clothing fall in just a few minutes. By the time you’re done getting ready after your shower your clothes will be smooth and fresh!

Likewise, if traveling to a tropical, humid destination, hang up your clothes once you arrive and the humidity will help “iron” them and loosen wrinkles.

One of our readers recommends you bring your own slim hanger and/or clothespins, so you can hang clothes in the bathroom and turn on the hot water to steam them. There’s no guarantee the hotel hangers can be removed from the closet.

See our recommendations for shower essentials for travelers!

Sinide Sprayer Bottle

Dampen Your Clothing Overnight

Similar to using a wrinkle release spray, this DIY method is perfect for when you’re in a pinch. Just use a spray bottle or a damp towel and lay your wrinkled clothes on a flat surface.

Take a warm damp towel and press it on top of your outfit. Spritz water on your clothes and hang it before you head to bed. The wrinkles will be long gone by the time you wake up!

Tired of packing too many things? Read this helpful guide to stop overpacking!

Even if you try to neatly organize your clothes, chances are your bag is going to get tossed around during air travel. These tips will end wrinkles as easy as possible!

What are your best tips on how to pack clothes without wrinkles? Comment below!

For more tips on packing clothes for travel, please read:

  • How to Pack More Efficiently
  • How to Organize like a Pro
  • The Best Packing Organizers
  • How to Make Clothes Smell Fresh on the Go

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Photo: Arnel Hasanovic ((Unsplash)

Packing a suitcase is all about personal preference. Would you rather fit more clothes into your bag, or make sure they don’t come out wrinkled? Are you all about organization, or do you not mind a little suitcase chaos if it means not having to check a bag on your flight?

Everyone has an opinion. Some say you should roll your clothes, others recommend folding them, origami-like, into a bundle, while others swear by tools like packing cubes or compression bags. A recent trip gave me the opportunity to test out various packing strategies and determine the most efficient way to pack your clothes.

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I consider myself an organized and somewhat efficient packer, relying on well-known space-saving tricks like stuffing shoes with socks and wearing my bulkiest clothing pieces on the airplane. But with so many different opinions on how to shape articles of clothing before putting them in a suitcase, I was never certain about rolling vs. simply folding clothes and other often-recommended techniques. Which method is the most space-efficient? Which prevents wrinkles best?

How I measured

To perform my tests, I packed five days’ worth of clothes for myself and my daughter using the various methods below. Then, to have a standard to compare each method’s space savings or usage, I tested how many additional T-shirts of mine I could stuff into the carry-on (up to the suitcase’s zipper. I didn’t try to squash the clothes). Since most of our travel clothes weren’t prone to embarrassing wrinkles, I also added a few dress shirts and pairs of khakis from my husband for each method to evaluate potential wrinkle issues.

It’s an informal test, but in the end, I found that each packing method (or style) has its merits and disadvantages. Sorry, rollers, folders and bundlers: there’s no one packing technique to rule them all.

Folding: quick and easy (but not necessary space-efficient)

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I’m betting most people pack by simply folding their clothes and stacking them in their suitcases, like my husband does. After all, it’s how most people put away laundry in their drawers (or leave them in their laundry baskets).

Doing this, though, usually means you’ve got clothing rectangles or squares of various sizes, which leaves inefficient space gaps unless you arrange those various rectangles to tightly fill in each layer of the suitcase. It’s a packing puzzle. However, if your clothes are roughly the same size, as my daughter’s are, or if you’re packing mostly summer clothes, it’s not as much of a Tetris problem. Generally, though, maximizing space means moving folded clothing pieces where they fit best, not necessarily in the order you want to use them.

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Alternatively, you could layer your folded clothes by outfit (e.g., pants and shirt for the last day of your trip on the bottom of your suitcase, pants and shirt for the second-to-last day on top of that, and so on), my previous method of packing. This also wastes valuable space, but it’s better for organization.

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For the first test, I folded clothes and grouped them into planned outfits, stacking them on top of each other. Then I filled the extra spaces with folded T-shirts.

The results:

  • Space: I was able to pack 16 T-shirts on top of the clothes we were bringing for our trip using the stacked, folded T-shirt method.
  • Wrinkles: After packing, the khaki shorts had noticeable creases where it was folded, as did the dress shirt.

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This isn’t a particularly space-saving strategy, but it’s one we’re all familiar with. Folding might make sense if you tend to unpack your clothes at your destination: just move them from luggage to drawer in one swoop.

The alternative is a folded front-to-back method. At home I use this filing method, stacking clothes in drawers so they’re like files and filling the drawer from front to back. Instead of digging through horizontal layers of clothing, it’s easier to see the clothing pieces you want. So I tried it for luggage packing too.

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The results:

  • Space: I was able to pack an additional 22 T-shirts using the front-to-back folded T-shirt method, and I probably could have squeezed in even more. Stacking this way enables you to add more clothes depth-wise and also make use of room on the sides.
  • Wrinkles: Since the clothes were folded the same, I didn’t notice any wrinkling differences between “filing” clothes this way or stacking them in the suitcase.

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Bundling: best for sets of wrinkle-prone clothes

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Bundling might be the most clever way to pack your clothes. You layer them strategically all in a bunch and fold into one big wrinkle-free, origami-like package. The main idea is that by placing your most wrinkle-prone clothes at the outer layer of the bundle and wrapping them around clothes you’re okay with being wrinkled (undergarments and socks, for example), you’ll have fewer wrinkles and make better use of your space.

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In theory, it’s great, but it doesn’t make sense in all scenarios. I had only T-shirts and shorts for my trip, as did my daughter and husband, so we couldn’t take advantage of long sleeves and pants to wrap all our clothes in. It’s also a pain to have all your clothes bundled when you need one specific garment near the center of the bundle.

That said, bundling is great for organizing outfits that tend to wrinkle..

The results:

  • Space: 18 additional T-shirts. The bundled package of clothes actually looked like it took up more luggage real estate than regularly folded and stacked clothes. Your success with this method will depend on how well you fold your clothes into each other. Clearly I need more practice.
  • Wrinkles: The dress clothes that were packed with the bundle method were the least wrinkled of the bunch.

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Rolling: the best way to maximize space, but not necessarily reduce wrinkles

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When I started rolling our clothes, it was obvious there would be a ton of more space available than simply folding.

Even if you don’t master the military style of T-shirt rolling, rolling really does makes clothes more compact, compared to regular folding.

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The problem is you can stack these rolls of shirts and pants and whatnots to take up all your luggage space, but it’s harder to pick out your outfit when you’re living out of your suitcase this way. Also, although many people say rolling reduces wrinkles, I think rolling can create new creases if you’re not a clothes-rolling pro. I’m sure I created bigger wrinkles by rolling than I did by folding.

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The results:

  • Space: A whopping 31 additional T-shirts (I had to borrow some from my husband to add here). Because of their small, narrow shapes, you can fit more clothes this way.
  • Wrinkles: I’m probably just bad at rolling clothes, but honestly think there are more opportunities for wrinkling with rolling than with folding (see the photo above) and I found it awkward to do with a dress shirt.

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Compression packs: great for bulky items

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You know those so-called space bags that tell you they can triple your storage space by sucking the air out of the bag? Yeah, I tried them too.

Specifically, I tried space saver bags like these. You put your clothes in them and roll the bag to get the air out, no vacuum required.

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In reality, I had a hard time rolling the Ziploc-like bags to flatten our clothes. I think you can only do a few clothing pieces at a time, so you’d have to buy a lot of bags to cover all your travel clothes.

However, I do think with bulky items like blankets or coats that would still take up too much space when folded or rolled, these are worth the investment.

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Also, the bags were handy to have on our trip to dump dirty laundry into. We weren’t going to re-roll or carefully fold all our used clothes in our suitcase, but in a storage bag, we just rolled them up to make the used clothes take as little space as possible (and make more room for souvenirs).

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The results:

  • Space: 16 additional T-shirts. I didn’t see any space savings over regular folding, probably because I didn’t have bulky items to compress and could only compress a few items of clothing in each bags.
  • Wrinkles: I squeezed the hell out of those clothes while trying to compress the bag, but didn’t see any additional wrinkles with this method.

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Packing cubes: great when combined with other methods

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Finally, I tried packing cubes. They’re a travel accessory everyone else seems to love, but until this test I didn’t understand just how amazing these things are.

Packing cubes won’t save you space in your luggage; in fact, they’ll add to your space usage. Some people say they prevent wrinkling, since clothes won’t shift around as much when they’re contained in these mesh containers, but I don’t understand that logic.

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Packing cubes are great for one thing, but one very important thing: Keeping your clothes organized.

Rolling your clothes is the most space-saving option, but you won’t necessarily be able to keep your outfits organized together with this method. Folding clothes together is more natural and logical, but it’s not as space efficient. Bundling works, but it’s a pain to get specific pieces of clothes out.

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Packing cubes solve both problems. Whether you want to stuff as much as possible in your suitcase or bundle your clothes for the least amount of wrinkles, packing cubes let you use your preferred method and also organize your packed clothes. They’ll help you keep your sanity whichever method you choose above.

Although I didn’t try them, there are also similar products available like garment folders, which allow you to fold and file away several articles of clothing with (we’re told) minimal wrinkles. These fit inside most carry-on suitcases and could be a particularly good option for business travelers who need wrinkle-free clothing but don’t want to bother with a travel iron (or plugging in the one at the hotel).

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The best method: all of the above?

In the end, the best way to pack is probably a mix of all of these: use the bundling method to keep your large wrinkle-prone items neat, roll everything you can to fill the empty spaces and use space bags to shrink down puffy items. Add some packing cubes to the mix for better organization, and you’ll have a perfectly packed suitcase no matter what you’re wearing.

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This story was originally published on 9/11/15 and was updated on 7/2/19 to provide more thorough and current information.

Folding, rolling or packing cubes: What’s the best way to pack a suitcase?

Kirsty Lee / EyeEm

When it comes to packing your clothes for a trip, are you all about folding or rolling? Or, perhaps, is your go-to packing method involve haphazardly shoving clothes and shoes into your luggage and sitting on top of your suitcase to make it close?

Despite traveling often, I never gave much thought about how I pack my suitcase. Until now. I put three popular clothes packing methods to the test to see which one uses space the most effectively, minimizes wrinkles and is worth the effort.

The results surprised me.

Chris Parker/CNET

Folding: Most people’s default

Folding your clothes feels natural. Assuming you have somewhat organized dresser drawers or closet shelves, most of your clothes are already folded, so it’s easy to grab them and plop them in your luggage. Whatever’s not already folded can be in a matter of seconds.

The pros:

It’s fast and easy, usually requiring little more effort than opening a drawer, grabbing a shirt and putting it in your suitcase.

Folding works well for structured clothes, like dress pants, jeans and button-down shirts. The last two items are usually folded on store shelves and you can easily recreate those folds to minimize wrinkles when packing.

The cons:

You’re more likely to get creases in your T-shirts and other thin, soft clothing items by folding them.

It uses space less efficiently, taking up more room in your suitcase and leaving small gaps.

If you stack your folded clothes one on top of the other, it can be hard to get out that shirt you want buried in the middle. You can avoid this by folding and stacking front to back or side to side.

Chris Parker/CNET

Rolling: Compact and versatile

Many people swear by rolling their clothes. It can take extra time, but the payoff is being able to fit more clothes in your suitcase and, in some cases, reduce wrinkles.

The pros:

You can fit more clothes in your suitcase. To test this, I packed the same 16 clothing items — two dresses, four T-shirts, three button-downs, two sweaters, three pairs of jeans and two pairs of pants — in the same suitcase, once folded and once rolled. The folded clothes suitcase was nearly full, while there was room for at least three more items in the rolled clothes suitcase.

You can see your clothes more easily, because they aren’t stacked on top of each other. This is particularly useful when you’re staying somewhere that you can’t unpack your clothes.

The cons:

Rolling is great for T-shirts, pants, casual dresses, swimsuits, and pajamas, but not so good for bulky clothes, like sweaters. They can take up more space when rolled versus folded.

It’s harder to roll button-up shirts, and rolling is more likely to cause creases in them because the fabric gets bunched up as it rolls.

Formal wear, like a gown or suit, also doesn’t fare well with rolling.

Chris Parker/CNET

Packing cubes: The organization upgrade

I didn’t realize how enthusiastic people are about packing cubes until I started this experiment. Apparently, once you buy a set, you’ll never go back.

I didn’t quite fall head over heads for them, but I understand their value. Packing cubes help organize your outfits, compress your clothes, and let you isolate dirty clothes from clean ones.

The pros:

They make organizing your clothes and outfits super easy. With a lot of different sizes to choose from, you can use packing cubes in seemingly endless ways to corral your clothes.

Packing cubes let you move things around and find the item you want, without the fear that your clothes will fall out of your bag. That’s great when you want to grab a sweater out of your carry-on before a flight and don’t want the rest of your clothes to spill out of your bag.

They can compress your clothes, allowing you to bring more with you and giving you more suitcase space.

The con:

Let’s be real, you don’t need packing cubes. Most sets start at $20 and go up from there, and that’s just another added expense. Most people will argue that they pay for themselves quickly, but the truth is that you can get by without them using the two methods above.

Now playing: Watch this: What’s the best way to pack your clothes? 3 methods,… 1:54

OK, so what’s the best way to pack my clothes?

A mix of all three! Before this experiment I was firmly on Team Folded. Now, I’m a convert. By combining folding, rolling and using packing cubes, you get the best of all worlds.

  • Folding button-downs, jeans, formal dresses and dress pants allows you to prevent wrinkles.
  • Rolling the rest of your clothes helps you make the most of the gaps in your suitcase that folding can leave. Plus, it lets you pack more.
  • Packing cubes help you stay organized, and you can use either method above to prep your clothes before putting them in a cube. I found that rolled clothes in a packing cube seems to take up the least amount of suitcase space.

Check out CNET’s best travel hacks, from finding cheap flights to keeping your house safe while you’re away.

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Does Rolling Clothes Save Space in Your Luggage?

Ah, the age old debate of flat packing vs. rolling clothes for travel; a mainstay conversation topic of hostel bars around the world. While some travelers swear that rolling your clothes is the best possible method, others shrug and say it doesn’t really matter.

Online, I sometimes wonder if we’re making this claim blindly — following the advice of others without having stopped to compare the two methods. So, curious to know the truth, I set out to run a test and find out: which really is better? Flat packing or rolling your clothes for travel?

One of the most popular reasons people give for rolling your clothes over flat packing is that it saves space in their carry on backpack. So, to test this theory out, I first flat-packed then rolled the exact same set of clothes.

In the first version, I used the Outbreaker travel backpack to flat-pack:

  • 7 t-shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 maxi skirt

Everything fit in snuggly, but the bag wasn’t so full it was bursting at the seems. I even had a small space on the side where I could slip a pair of flip-flops in.

I then rolled the exact same list and while I had more space on top, I had no space around the edges of the Outbreaker:

To fill the extra space and figure out the max amount of items I could comfortably fit, I added in four more shirts and one dress. It brought the total count to:

  • 11 t-shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 maxi skirt
  • 1 maxi dress

Like before, everything fit snuggly but the bag was not bursting at the seems or hard to zip up.

However, I suspected that I was able to fit more simply because I had the appearance of more space. At this point, a couple of advantages for rolling clothes were made pretty clear — it was better organized, I had maximized the space — but was more space one of them? Was I really not able to fit the extra tops and dress when flat-packing? Just to confirm, I re-packed the final version of the list as flat:

The Verdict

Everything fit in both versions. The biggest difference wasn’t more or less space, but rather where the extra space was.

  • Flat packing pushed things up, leaving pockets on the side
  • Rolling clothes pushed them out, creating a little extra space on top

This is especially true with a conventional hiking backpack, where the layers of items — if packed incorrectly — can create pockets of unused space throughout.

The even results happened, partially because bulky clothes, like the sweaters, were going to be bulky and take up a lot of space no matter how I packed them. A compression sack is the only way I’d be able to get the sweaters to take up less space and fit more in my bag.

Thin clothing, like the t-shirts, did pack better and take up less space when rolled. Or, at the very least, they had the appearance of being more compressed. I also would have been able to fit a couple of rolled items in the side of the bag in the flat-packing version if I had decided to combine methods.

How to Fit More in Your Bag

While rolling clothes helps you maximize your space (by filling the bag from edge to edge), it doesn’t really save you space.

If you really want to fit more clothes in a bag, use a compression sack and put thought into the type of clothing you’re packing. For example, two bulky sweaters took up the same amount of space as seven t-shirts. I could have swapped out one sweater for two long-sleeve shirts if I’d wanted to bring more stuff (which I usually don’t).

Packing cubes are another option for compressing things just a little bit and keeping your clothes organized in travel backpacks. If you invest in cubes that are heartier than the flimsy cheap-o ones the structure will help find a little more space in your bag.

What are the Advantages of Rolling Clothes?

Even if rolling clothes doesn’t save you that much space, it has other advantages. Three main reasons why you’d opt to roll instead of flat pack include:

1. Rolling Keeps Clothes Crease & Wrinkle Free

Did you know the military requires all members to roll their clothes when packing? Yup. When I consulted my in-house military expert (aka my dad) about this, he said, “It helps keep your uniforms crease and wrinkle free, or to prevent it rubbing up against luggage and creating rips.”

To that end, rolling your clothes can be very effective. Especially for items that wrinkle easily (like gauzy dresses), rolling can be a simple way of keeping them neat. Depending on how you roll them, however, you may still end up with a crease. To solve this, bring a small bottle of wrinkle releaser ($8) or briefly toss clothes in the dryer once you’re at your destination. Or, do as the pros do and roll your clothes military style.

2. Better Organized Luggage

As you can see in the rolled clothing example, I had much better visibility into my backpack when the clothes were rolled. I could see all of the items I’d packed at a glance, rather than having to rustle through a pile to find the right top. It simply looks more organized and it’s easier to find items quickly. Up your organizational game one more level by adding packing cubes.

3. Optimizing the Space in Your Bag

If I had wanted to fit more clothing into the flat-packed version of my packing list, I could have rolled a few t-shirts and stuffed them along the sides. Rolling clothes helps you put items in smaller pockets of space.

The Best Way to Pack: Roll Some, Fold Some

In the end, though, it’s best to use a combination of both methods.

For example:

  • Roll small or delicate items, like shirts or dresses
  • Flat-pack bulky items, like jeans or sweaters

If you have a traditional backpack (where you can only stuff from one end), create a flat bottom by stacking rolled clothing on the bottom, then layer with flat layers. Fill small pockets with rolled clothes or other small items.

If you have a suitcase or a backpack like the Outbreaker, group rolled clothes on one side, flat on the other or stack rolled items on top of folded pieces.

How to Roll Your Clothes

Learn how to roll clothes or bundle pack by watching this helpful tutorial:

TL;DR

While rolling clothes can help you create a better organized bag, maximize space, and keep clothing wrinkle-free, it isn’t a magic method that will help you bring more clothing. Flat packing and rolling clothes are equally effective to that end.

The best way to pack your clothes would be a combination of both. Flat pack bulkier items, like pants, and roll smaller or more delicate pieces of clothing, like a dress or shirt.

YOU may already know about rolling your clothes to save space, but there is an even more efficient way to do it.

The “ranger roll” is normally taught to soldiers and creates a naturally tight bundle that won’t unroll while you pack.

4 The ranger roll starts by folding the front hem and the back hem of the T-shirtCredit: YouTube/armygringo 4 The T-shirt is then folded using three sections and tightly rolled

A former US soldier posted a video on YouTube explaining how you can do it yourself.

He starts by placing the t-shirt flat on a table, as a hard surface makes the method easier.

The bottom of the t-shirt is then turned inside out, creating a small pocket.

The left and right side of the top are both folded into the middle, with the sleeves tucked in, creating a neat rectangle.

4 The entire T-shirt is then tightly rolled from the collar to the hem 4 The end result is a tightly rolled top which can be packed much more easilyCredit: YouTube/armygringo

This is then flipped 180 degrees so you can start the rolling from the collar.

When the top is rolled all the way to the end, one of the folded hems can be pulled out and tucked around the rest of the bundle, keeping it all together in a neat shape.

Unlike the traditional rolling technique, the folded hem keeps the t-shirt tucked in without unravelling and it’s easy to roll it tight.

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Not only does the method help you to pack more items, it also helps items stay in one shape and not unroll in the bag.

Sun Online previously revealed some of the other ways you can fit more items into a suitcase, include putting rolled up socks inside shoes.

This can also help the shoes retain their shape when tightly packed into a bag.

6 Tips for Wrinkle-Free Packing

Some helpful tips for keeping clothes from getting wrinkled or ruined:

Lighten your load. Jamming your suitcases as full as a subway at rush hour will leave your clothes as exhausted as a crushed commuter. Clothes become wrinkled almost as soon as you shove that last leaden item into your bag. The easiest things to jettison? Hairdryers and clothes irons. Almost every hotel room (and hostel) in the world has these items to lend.

One word: Plastic. If you remember only one word in your packing efforts, this is the one. And here’s why: friction causes wrinkling, plastic reduces friction. It’s that easy. The best way to utilize this basic plastic physics is with dry-cleaner bags. All hanger items should be packed in individual bags (one outfit per dry-cleaner bag). Clothes arrive in a perfectly preserved state. Really! Another great plastic tip: zip-top baggies. Use these for dirty shoes, shampoo bottles, or anything else you want to isolate from your good clothes.

Rolling, rolling, rolling. You have two options for items that you’re not hanging: folding or rolling. Rolling is a great space-saving and wrinkle-reducing choice for jeans and T-shirts. Here’s how you do it: take a pair of jeans and fold them lengthwise so that the legs are stacked on top of each other. Now, starting from the cuff, roll your way up. For T-shirts, place face down, fold arms back (you should now have a long rectangle), fold lengthwise, and roll up.

Fold it. For sweaters and other non-T tops, the square fold is the way to go. Here’s a quick primer: button all buttons and lay shirts face down on a bed or flat surface. Smooth away wrinkles. Fold material in at the shoulders and lay arms flat along the body so that you create a roughly two-inch overlap of material on both sides. Now fold up a third of the material from the bottom and overlap a third from the top. You should now have a tidy package worthy of any chain retailer.

Delicate situation. What to do with your undies and lingerie? Buy inexpensive mesh laundry bags; they’re made of nylon and are lightweight. Stow your delicates in here. An added bonus: if your bag is inspected, no one need touch your underwear since an inspector will be able to see into the bag. Socks, by the way, should be rolled up and placed inside shoes or used to fill gaps in your bag (see below).

Pack it away. Now take all your tidily arrayed garments and put them outside your bag. Your goal is to use them to create a clothing jigsaw puzzle where no empty spaces remain and items won’t shift. Lay your bag flat and put folded clothes in piles down the center. Put your toiletries kit at what will be the bottom of your bag when it’s standing (this should now be the heaviest item in your bag; in this position it won’t crush other items). Rolled clothes fit into the spaces around the stacked clothes. Single shoes should be tucked into remaining openings (remember, shoes aren’t friends; they don’t need to travel right up next to each other). Socks fill in remaining holes. Voila! You are now a wrinkle-free savvy traveler!

–Melissa Klurman

Part 1. Is rolling or folding the superior way to pack?

Everyone’s got an opinion, but no one’s 100 percent sure whether they’re right. Is folding or rolling the better way to pack? “A lot of guys would be wary of rolling for fear the clothes would emerge from a bag really wrinkly,” says Thread stylist Alice Watt. “But folding can be such a palaver that there’s got to be a better alternative.”

In order to determine definitively which method trumps the other, Alice packed two identical bags: one folded, one rolled. Below, she shares which technique emerged the victor – and the best ways to pack your trousers, t-shirts and shirts before your summer break.

If you’re light on space, roll

“The pile at the left came from the rolled bag and the pile on the right came from the folded bag. I put exactly the same into each one, pretty much in the same order – shoes first, then trousers, then tops. When I’d filled the folded bag, I still had a huge amount of room in the rolled bag – enough for seven extra t-shirts and shirts. If you’re only taking carry-on, rolling instead of folding would definitely mean you could bring at least one extra outfit.”

Roll for fewer wrinkles

“The shirt on the left was rolled, and the one on the right was folded. Neither technique was perfect in terms of wrinkles, but the wrinkles in the rolled shirt would be far less noticeable once you put it on – and would largely fall out if you hung it up overnight.

“The wrinkles in the folded shirt, on the other hand, are sharper and much more noticeable, meaning you’d probably have to do a bit of ironing before wearing it.”

How to roll a shirt

  1. Place the shirt front-down.
  2. Fold the sleeves in.
  3. Fold the shirt in half vertically. This will prevent a crease as the button placket isn’t prone to creasing.
  4. Roll from the bottom up. Careful to roll continuously rather than folding to keep from making any creases.

How to roll a t-shirt

  1. Fold the sleeves in.
  2. Roll from the bottom up. Keep flattening out wrinkles as you roll to ensure it’s as smooth as possible; the jersey fabric can bunch up quite easily otherwise.
  3. Fold the rolled t-shirt in half. This will prevent a crease because the already-rolled shirt won’t make a sharp fold.

How to roll trousers

  1. Fold the trousers in half, lengthwise. This will prevent a crease because you’re folding along the seam.
  2. Roll from the bottom up. Roll continuously, rather than folding, to keep from making any creases.

Heading out of town for the holidays? Try this trick before you start balling up that blazer. TODAY’s Ben Popken demonstrates how to pack everything in one bag without wrinkles or creases, using the power of “bundle wrapping.”

This method works so well because of two things. First, the tension from wrapping all the clothes around each other cuts all the wrinkles. Second, because you have zero folds, it gets rid of all the creases.

Carry-On: How To Pack Like A Pro

July 5, 201401:58

Once you get to your destination, hang everything up in the closet. “Bundle wrapping” might take a little bit longer at first. But once you get a handle on it, the wrinkle and crease savings are worth it and it shouldn’t take you too long at all.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Here’s how to bundle wrap:

  1. First you make a “core,” using something like luggage organizer. You can also fold up some socks in a shirt. This goes in the center of the bundle.
  2. Then, lay out a long-sleeve shirt and smooth it out flat with arms out and collars up.
  3. Take your next shirt and lay it 180 degrees to the first one. Arrange it so the edge of both collars just touch the edge of where the core goes.
  4. Now you’re going to lay out the clothes in a specific order. Shirts are on the vertical and pants are on the horizontal:
  • Jacket
  • Longer skirts and dresses
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Short-sleeved shirts.
  • Pants
  • Sweaters and knits
  • shorts

Now drop your core back in the center and start wrapping, wrapping the pants around the core, then the shirt around the bundle, sleeves first, and then the body. Smooth out any gathered fabric as you go.

Great! Now you’re ready to go. Make sure to not overpack. This technique works best when you only pack the essentials.

Got it? Now watch TODAY’s anchors give it a shot:

Anchors test ‘garment burrito’ packing technique

Nov. 26, 201402:25

For a diagram and even more in-depth tips on bundle wrapping, check out OneBag.com, whose Doug Dymant generously gave us the tips on how to do this like a pro.

Email Ben Popken [email protected] or tweet @bpopken.

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
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.

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.