Pack a weeks worth of clothing in a carry on bag

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carry-on case


In this age of air travel, packing your suitcase presents challenges. The fear of losing your luggage (even if it’s unlikely) combined with the fees for checked luggage makes one think twice about what to pack and how to pack for that next trip.

What if there was a way to pack ALL your clothes in a single carry-on size bag for that next week long trip?  It would eliminate those worries AND save you time spent retrieving checked luggage at baggage claim.

 Sound good? If so, read on.

First, we’ll discuss the standard ways people usually pack.  Then, we’ll share an alternative (best) way that will allow you to pack everything in a single carry-on bag with minimal wrinkling.

Folding clothes poses problems

Forget the common practice of individually folding items of clothing, then stacking them atop one another.  That’s just about the worst thing you can do! Remember, in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers ..” You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em, know when to hold ‘em” and  folding the clothes in your carry-on is bad news.

Folding and stacking results in applying pressure to folds and that translates into wrinkles. Yes, you can minimize some of the wrinkles by separating individual folded clothing items using plastic dry-cleaning bags or tissue paper..but you still end up with creases

Rolling clothes sacrifices space 

The other popular suggestion often made is rolling T-shirts and underwear to “save space”. The reality is rolled objects occupy more space when packed than equivalent rectilinear ones, not less!

So, what’s the best alternative packing solution,” you ask? 

The answer is bundling wrapping

As the name suggests, this approach involves the careful wrapping of clothes around a central core, thus avoiding the folds that result in creases. Clothing is wrapped in a particular order, so that larger, more tailored, and more wrinkle-prone pieces end up on the outside of the bundle. The larger radius of curvature enables these pieces to remain wrinkle free.

A typical sequence for packing order might be the following:

  1. Jacket
  2. Longer skirts, dresses
  3. Long-sleeved shirts
  4. Short-sleeved shirts
  5. Trousers/slacks
  6. Sweater, knits
  7. Shorts

Note: A helpful hint when bundle wrapping is to button the fronts of skirts and jackets and zip up all pants, skirts, etc.

Start with the dimensions of your carry-on bag 

Start by placing the carry-on case upside down (that’s right!) on the bed. You will use the dimensions of the case to follow as you fold your bundle. Only after you have completed the process of folding all your clothes into a bundle on top of the case will you then place the bundle into the upright case.   

Begin by laying out your clothes 

Begin by laying out your garments on the top of the inverted case following the suggested listed order. Align the hem or collar-end of each garment with the inside edge of the case and allow the other end of the garment to drape out beyond the opposite side of the case.  Continue adding garments, alternating both vertical and horizontal direction with each succeeding piece, aligning their waist/collar edges against the inside edge of the case, with the other end of the garment draping out over the opposite edge. You may want to fold wider skirts lengthwise before laying them out. As you add clothes, strive for a smooth placement to aid in avoiding wrinkles.

Time to begin wrapping that bundle 

When all items are down, begin the wrapping portion of your bundling.  Work your way back down the clothing stack, beginning with the top garment. Fold each extended end back into the existing confines of the case as you create your every-growing bundle. Continue folding each piece inward on top of the existing bundle, being careful to smooth out any wrinkles as you fold. Long-sleeved items may involve wrapping one side of the garment around the bundle as far as it will go with the ends then tucked underneath the existing bundle.

With each bundle fold, ensure that the fabric is sufficiently taut to discourage wrinkles from appearing, but not so taut that the cloth is stretched out of shape. When the final piece is folded, your bundle is complete.  Lift the bundle off the inverted case and set aside.  Turn your case right side up. 

Now, place bulky items like shoes (wrapped in dry cleaning bags), bagged toiletries, socks and belts in the bottom of the case. Finally, place your bundled clothes on top of these items. If necessary, use the zipper expander on your carry-on case to allow for extra room.

Voila! That’s it!

You are set to go!  Everything is packed in a single carry-on.

With bundle wrapping, you can pack all your clothes wrinkle-free for that week-long trip. With everything packed in your single carry-on case, it’s the hassle-free way to zip through airports and board that next flight!



Bill Dragon | Author
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