The “Six Pack” – Six packing techniques

Recently I posted about leaving items with your hotel. While doing some research on packing, I found a fantastic thread on FlyerTalk about six different packing techniques.

About the author: Till Richter is the Founder and Director of the Till Richter Museum of Contemporary Art in Buggenhagen, Germany. For more information about Till, visit his LinkedIn Profile. The original post can be found on FlyerTalk.

After a recent discussion on how to pack a single compartment satchel/hold-all/weekender I think there are six ways of packing a case. They can be combined as suitable and necessary.

So here is a little run down of the techniques:

1. Layering
2. Rolling
3. Bundling
4. Cubing
5. Stacking
6. Centering

1. Layering
Best suited for suitcases and rectangular bags. Compartments make layering more efficient and easily accessible. This is basically the classic technique where you fold your clothes and layer them on top of each other flat on the bottom of the case.

2. Rolling
A military technique. Can be space saving. Is good for casual clothes and irregularly shaped bags. Good to use for filling corners not filled by other techniques. A rolled garment will take less wrinkles than a garment that has been folded but is then stuffed. Fold the items first to a rectangular base shape with fold lines in those places where they would usually fall anywhere, e.g. shoulders and elbows. Smooth out any wrinkle. Then roll up tightly. Waistband and collar should be on the outside of the roll.

3. Bundling
This is the most space saving method. Great for the trip back. Done right you can save perhaps 20% of volume compared to normal folding.
You start with a core, for example a packing cube or even a stack of t-shirts. Then you lay out your clothes in a cross-shape and wrap the around the core. This will get you one rather solid bundle that you can then put in the bag. Here are the instructions:

And here is a discussion of the pros and cons of that technique:…um/post/878417

4. Cubing
This involves folders and cubes, so called packing aids. These can be great to avoid wrinkles and organize your items. They can also help give structure to an otherwise soft bag. Some people even like to pack all the contents of a bag in these things. That makes organization very easy but in the end effect it adds work, bulk, weight and cost. Thus packing aids should be used judiciously to get the most mileage out of them. For certain bag types however cubes and folders can be quite essential if you want to keep easy access to your things, as the next two techniques will show.

5. Stacking
Stacking is best used with duffel bags that are long and have a deep, squarish profile, for example a duffle that is 24″ long and 12×12″ in section. If you use the layering technique it will not be so easy to get stuff in and out. You can use the bundle technique but then you have to always undo the entire bundle. Stacking means using some cubes and folders and inserting them perpendicularly to the bottom of the bag. Imagine a chest of drawers that is 24″ high and has drawers that are 12x12x3 (example only). These drawers can then slide out of the bag like drawers in a chest of drawers. You can either group for items (underwear and socks in one drawer, sweaters in another, pants in a third, toiletries in a fourth) or you can group for outfits (one outfit per cube). Depending on the measure of the duffel, a shirt folder will still be necessary and will go in sideways but it’s still the same principle. This can be combined with layering and bundling. The Zuca roller is based on that principle. Stacking in little cubes is obviously not so great for bigger and bulkier items and for suit jackets.

6. Centering
This is best suited for non-rectangular single compartment bags like satchels and hold-alls. Gadget freak came up with this idea here:
Nicest Weekender/Holdall
It works essentially by using a cube and/or folder and inserting it perpendicular to the bags bottom and parallel with its long side to the bag’s long side in the center of the bag. That’s because the hold all will be highest there. So this is where laptops, shirt folders and file folders will go. Access will be easy, too. The central divider thus compartmentalizes the bag. On each side, where the bag slopes down, you can still use cubes, bundles or rolling techniques according to what is best in your case.
Here is a picture of a bag packed like this:…agInt22DB.html

With this six-pack of packing techniques everyone should be able to pack efficiently depending on the items you need to take and on the bag they need to be stowed in. You can tell that certain bags are better for certain techniques and certain items. A satchel will be a prime candidate for Centering. A duffle will be good for stacking and cubes. A big suitcase will do fine with layering and formal clothes.


This post was reproduced with permission from the author.

One thought on “The “Six Pack” – Six packing techniques

  1. Pingback: How to pack a suit jacket, how to fold a t-shirt in two seconds. | The Flying Consultant

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