Pack It Up, Pack It In

29 Jul

When it’s time to get the show on the road there is more than one way to get your junk in the trunk.  After finally finding the bag that’s going to hold all your Dippity Do!, it’s time to pack it.  There’s probably as many methods of packing as there are travelers.  There are pros and cons to them all, of course.  I’m going to highlight the biggies below. 

Packing Cubes

In a bag with no structure it can be good to pack into smaller bags.  If you don’t you may find that your belongings have devolved into a giant mass at the bottom of your bag after the hustle and bustle of modern traveling.  I use the cubes a bunch.  The Mister and I shared a bagon our recent trip to Bismarck.  It helped that I could just grab my cubes out without disturbing the delicate order that is the male packing structure.  It does add a smidgen of weight to your bag.  But I’ve also used a cube to double as an in flight bag and once, in dire need, as a pillow.

This picture is from http://www.independenttraveler.com. Click on the picture and you can find out why they think this bag is a FAIL.

Packing Folders

I have no experience with these suckers but they seem to be in every travel store.  The idea is that you can fold up your wrinkle-prone bits in here and arrive at your destination looking like you have a personal valet.  I’ve heard varying degrees of success on the folders so if this is something that is interesting to you it’s worth checking out.  While the cubes will allow you to pack just about anything in them the folders are a one trick pony.

Ziploc Bags

If they can keep the carrots separate from the green beans in your freezer drawer, imagine what they can do with your undies!  I like to bring a few along on trips.  They come in handy for keeping things organized and even, gasp!, holding food for picnics.  They suit me a bit better on shorter trips or for things that you aren’t going to be using daily as they will eventually fall apart.  The freezer bags last longer.  It’s also fun to put stuff in them, squeeze the air out and then close it up quickly to see how much space you’ve saved.  It’s just not good to rely on this technique unless you have a bunch of back ups.

These plastic baggies also like to slip around quite a bit leading to wrinkles or general disorganization.  They do have the added benefit of being cheap and readily available.  Oh and the TSA crowd likes them because they can see what’s in your bag without having to get too personal.  I’ve even read of light travelers using a bag as a portable washing machine.  You can bet your sweet bippy that I’ll be trying this theory out soon.

The Bundle Method

This seems to be especially popular with the fellas.  I read about it at www.onebag.com, 1bag1world and in the Packing Book by Judith Gilford.  By wrapping larger items of clothing around a central bundle (say, a small packing cube or all your tube socks), you will run into less wrinkles and more happiness.  I don’t like to buy clothes that get wrinkled because I know that this is likely how they will stay.  So I’ve given this method very little thought but if you are not me and you don’t like looking like you slept in your car, you should read up.  The people at Red Oxx, a made in America luggage company, have created a PDF that walks you through the motions.  Or you can read this post where bundle is equated with bliss.

Anything Goes Method

I’d guess that many people fall into this category and if it works for you, keep on truckin’.  My goal is always to travel with a bag that will hold only what I need with a little room for a couple of souvernir t-shirts and postcards of dead people.  The smaller the bag, the easier the whole overhead bin tango is going to be.  If yours is the dance of the checked bag then this maybe doesn’t concern you.  Although, I have to say that if you do like overpacking, you can overpack more by doing it neatly.

The TSA would like it if you packed neatly too because we all know terrorists aren’t tidy.  And it’s easier to see what stuff you have when it’s sorted out.  They have nice pictures on their website with examples of Mary Poppins-type tidy, though I cannot imagine a reason to travel with half as many Marks-A-Lot pens as they have displayed.  Oh, wait.  Now I can.  I’m sure I’m confusing this site with one for an after school special on huffing.

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One Response to “Pack It Up, Pack It In”

  1. Uncle John 2011/07/31 at 18:35 #

    You sister could use some of your packing expertise as she packs up to empty your parent’s house.

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