How to Pack Light - Page 3

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Learn to Pack
Packing for a big trip: It's all about taking the right steps. (Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
Pro Packing Tip
There's big value in packing your rain jacket in an easily accessible spot should it be raining when you land.

Don't fold: Bundle up ... or roll away
"Individually folding and then stacking clothing is the worst thing you can do from a packing perspective," says traveling-light guru Dyment. Not only is it inefficient, it causes wrinkles and creases in clothing, he says. Two better options are bundling or rolling.

Bundle wrapping
To bundle wrap, start by taking a core object such as a nylon organizer pouch that measures about 11 inches by 16 inches (See Eagle Creek's) filled with soft items such as socks, underwear, a swimsuit, etc. The pouch becomes a pillow of sorts, around which all the other clothing is wrapped. In general, the larger and more tailored garments—the ones most likely to wrinkle—form the outside of the bundle.

Button all your clothing. Lay out your clothes in a specific sequence, starting with items most likely to wrinkle: formalwear, skirts and dresses, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, slacks, sweaters, and shorts. Start with the formalwear and lay an item face down on your bed. Now add the remaining items, all face up but alternating direction to keep the bundle even. For example, the collar of the first item faces left, the collar of the second faces right. Alternate pants the same way to keep the stack relatively even. When all the items are layered, place the "core" item—your pillow—on the stack, right in the middle. Now work your way back to the bottom, folding the top item over the core item. Wrap the final item around the core and bundle. Place it in the center of the suitcase, and stuff shoes along the sides.

"As part of the flight-attendant training program, we were actually taught how to pack our small bag efficiently by rolling our clothing," says Lemaire. It's as easy as it sounds, though not quite as wrinkle-reducing as bundling. To roll, just lay the garment out and roll from one end to the other, making the roll as tight as possible. Pants are easy; for shirts, fold the sleeves in first, then roll. Place shoes along the edge of your bag and then put the heavier items—jeans and pants—in along the bottom. Add lighter-weight clothing on next, and finish with the lightest garments and accessories.

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