I travel a fair bit for work – usually two short trips per month, though depending on what’s happening, more frequent, week-long trips are common. Over the course of the last three years, I’ve gotten extremely good at packing quickly and efficiently. However, I’ve almost always been traveling for work and therefore packed lots of things like multiple dress shirts, pants, sports coats, and undershirts. Packing has generally been an exercise in taking the minimum of stuff needed for a one shirt, one undershirt per day, well folded and tightly layered. That is, while I’ve gotten used to packing well, I thought, I never really considered myself as packing truly light.
Recently I read about a method of packing by building a layered bundle. You take your largest items, start with them on the bottom and layer on top so you’re fitting the folds of each garment into the ones beneath it. The video above gives a good demonstration of the process. The result is that you are packing more items in a smaller space, while simultaneously reducing the volume and crease of wrinkles.
On my last trip to the West Coast I tried this sort of bundling, though instead of going for a rectangular fold, I created a rectangle layered with slacks, shirts, and undershirts and the rolled them together. I did a similar layered roll with gym shorts and underwear. I found this gave a really compact result as well. I’ll have to try the rectangular bundle from the video on my next trip to see what works better.
One other caveat: when I travel for work, I’m now using a Swiss Army 22" rolling carry-on with a built in garment sleeve. It’s pretty good for moving dry cleaned clothes on hangers and keeping them wring free. Additionally, the sleeve has two built-in bolsters for folding, so it builds a relatively compact bundle. I’m not that big a fan of rolling suitcases as carry-ons. It doesn’t feel like much of a carry-on when you can easily stuff in 40 pounds of crap and be just as slow moving as someone carrying a larger checked bag. I really prefer rocking a backpack as my only carryon back. I like feeling like I can just walk off a plane to where I’m going (even if it means my first stop is to baggage claim to pick up a suitcase).