Last November I wrote about my trip to visit family
and how I managed to pack everything I needed in a backpack. Doing it again for Memorial Day weekend, I started preparing by reading my old post and updating my packing list. For this trip, I needed some multipurpose clothes since I was going for a graduation but also needed to help my dad with his house. For travel light tips, I checked out the Go-Light Guru at OneBag.com.
One of the great debates for cramming as much as possible into a bag without it all coming out a wrinkled mess, is should I fold or roll my clothes.
In the Army, we were always taught to roll everything, and depending on where you look on the internet, some travelers insist that this saves space. Other websites recommend packing containers and folding boards.
Well, I was surprised to find that the Go-Light Guru actually recommends none of these. Instead, he recommends a method called bundle-wrapping. The basic idea is to wrap your clothes, in a specific order, around a core object like a pouch roughly 11 x 16. This avoids folds which cause creases. I don’t think I can explain it better than he does, so go read about his method here, then come back.
The obvious disadvantage to this method appears if you need something from the middle of the bundle.
Certainly you want to be smart about how you bundle so you don’t put important things you need in the center. Also, don’t put something in the center that may look suspicious on the X-ray machine when going through security at the airport.
I decided to give it a try for my trip.
Unfortunately, it was getting late the night before I left so I was in a hurry and didn’t think to take pictures. Also, I couldn’t decide what to use in the center to wrap my clothes around. I didn’t want to pack something just for that purpose. Extra stuff would defeat the point of packing light.
Then, I remembered the tin my sister had mailed to us filled with her home made peanut butter cups at Christmas. I always make sure to return them so she’ll send us more the next year. I filled it with some small things and although it was smaller than what I was looking for, I figured it would do.
Either I did it wrong (which is entirely possible) or the round tin was definitely not the right thing to use for bundle-wrapping. When I arrived, I pulled my clothes out to find the shirts very wrinkled. I’ll keep researching and let you know if I figure out some tips. On the way home, everything was dirty, as it should be, so I just folded it and slid the pile into my bag. It didn’t seem to take up any more or less room than when I bundled it.
I’m still a little skeptical on the bundle-wrapping thing
but curious if anyone else has tried it. If so, please share any packing tips or travelling-light tricks you have for everyone’s benefit. Thanks.
January 2018 Update
I thought I would write a follow-up to this post and it just made sense to append to the original. In December, I took another trip to visit my family, carrying just my backpack. I also made the trip by car last summer with my family as we do every summer. Packing for each is a very different ordeal. I can travel light by myself but when we all pile into the car, everyone seems to have three times as much stuff as I think they need.
My recent trip was for a wedding and travelling light turned out to be a blessing since the trip didn’t quite go as expected. When my dad wasn’t feeling well he didn’t make it to the wedding. My only opportunity to see him was to borrow my sister’s car and make the 70 mile drive.
Without going into details, the rest of the trip was a lot of time hanging around the hospital and an unexpected night in a hotel. My flight home was delayed causing a missed connection in Chicago. I had a leisurely 6 hour layover at O’Hare airport and got home around midnight. Every bit of that was made easier by having nothing but a backpack to keep track of.
A new resource:
I could write pages on how we travel as a family over the summer. But I recently found an article with a massive list of packing suggestions. They have tips on everything from your carry-on to how to pack jewelry. There is a section devoted to packing tips for families. You can check out the list at Your RV Lifestyle. While it’s geared toward air travel, many of the suggestions are just as relevant to other forms of travel.
I zeroed in on the family packing suggestions and the first one is spot on. Bring snacks. My kids are always hungry and unless you want to spend a fortune in money and time to feed them, you will want plenty of snacks on hand. Other tips from that group include bringing a small first-aid kit or at least some bandages, and have the kids each carry their own small backpack.
I may not agree with everything on the list (like bringing three pairs of shoes), but there were suggestions that were new to me. Everyone knows that when flying, liquids need to be in a plastic bag, but the idea to put some plastic wrap under the cap and screw it back on over that is genius.
One final note:
The writer recommends rolling rather than folding your clothes and doesn’t mention bundle-wrapping at all. I have to agree based on my limited experiments. In the Army we were taught to roll our clothes to save space and I remember cramming what seemed like an impossible amount of items into a rucksack. When I travel now, I take into account what I’m packing and what type of luggage it’s going in. Some things fit better folded flat and others seem to work out better rolled up. The bundle-wrapping thing seems too complicated and inconvenient for me.
Whatever your favorite packing method is, go check out the packing list at Your RV Lifestyle and let me know your thoughts either in the comments below or on Facebook. Everyone can benefit if you would like to share your packing and travel tips as well. Thanks.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2017