We spend a quarter to a third of our time traveling and we have become very skilled at picking what makes sense to carry and deciding what should be left behind. Size and weight matter a lot and multi-purpose items are golden. We’ve carefully selected these products for utility and value and those marked with an asterisk have become part of our regular travel gear. Clicking on any of the product images will link directly to an Amazon page where you will find more descriptive information, additional reviews and where you can place an order. Please note that we may receive a commission on some items through the Amazon Affiliate program should you make a purchase. We do not recommend anything that we haven’t personally evaluated.
SUITCASES & PACKING TIPS
Want To Pack Tight And Avoid Wrinkles?
Do The Army Roll
The Holy Grail of packing is a way of getting maximum density in your gear while avoiding the bother of wrinkled clothes. To that end the military has a system. It’s called an Army roll (it’s also called a military roll but let’s give the U.S. Army the credit) and it really does work. Based first on the understanding that folds produce creases and loose packing of clothes adds wrinkles, the system was developed over years of practice.
The Army Roll may seem counter intuitive but it can be applied to many clothing items. In general its approach is to first fold clothes so that any creases are where they would be considered normal. Pant legs stretched tight along front and back creases and shirts folded so that the creases are straight down both sides of shirt front. After that the garments are rolled up tight and held in place. Often this uses cuffs and shirt tails folded up a few inches to tuck the roll into. Army rolls can work on lacks, shirts, jackets and even sport coats. For detailed information there are literally dozens of online videos – use the search term “army roll”.
A number of years ago we were on a cruise and our table mates were a retired couple who claimed that they traveled with only two carry-on suitcases and a couple of small shoulder bags and they used the Army roll system of packing. Over two weeks we remarked about their outfits and on formal night he even showed up in a tuxedo. On disembarking we can confirm that they walked out of the terminal wheeling those two carry-on bags behind them.
TRAVELER’S CHOICE LUGGAGE
Birmingham Ballistic Nylon Expandable Rollaboard Luggage, Black, Checked-Medium 25-Inch, Also Well Under $100
- Made of 1680 denier water-repellent fabric
- EVA foam construction provide exceptional durability while lightweight
- Ergonomic aluminum push-button handle system
- Full interior lining with zippered mesh pocket and Tie-down straps to secure your belongings
- In-line skate wheels with crash-guard wheel housings for lasting durability
Tasmania 100% Pure Polycarbonate Expandable Spinner Suitcase For Well Under $100
100% Pure Polycarbonate allows the shell to absorb impact by “flexing” when under stress. • Interior lid with “U” zip mesh cover and tie-tapes to secure belongings. • Convenient add-a-bag strap gives you the option to carry an additional bag. Expansion gusset offers 25% more packing capacity. • Aluminum telescopic handle system with self-lock mechanism. Dual spinner wheels provide smooth and quiet 360 degree maneuverability. • Overall Dimensions: 25.5”H x 17.5”W x 10.5”D Expands to 12”D.
Here’s our way of keeping clothes tight when packing. Make use of packing cubes. One of the major causes of rumbled and wrinkled cloths is packing them too loose. Packing cubes work really well at keeping packed clothes from shifting around and picking up wrinkles. A great addition when using the army roll.
The ultimate accessories for organizing your suitcase are packing cubes. Keeping clothes tight is an important part of reducing wrinkles and these inner packing cubes help with that. Another advantage is they allow you to segregate clothes into useful groups. No more rummaging through a suitcase, messing up clothes, looking for an item. We also use them to separate a group of clothes for a one night hotel stay while on a trip. No unpacking half a suitcase. When shopping for cubes you need to pay a lot of attention to the sets individual sizes for the best configuration to fit your suitcases.
DIY Wrinkle Release Travel Trick
While there are a number of commercial wrinkle release products available the active ingredients are pretty similar and the bottles are usually too big to pack for a trip. In addition the largest ingredient is mostly water, so why carry a bottle of water with you when you travel?
When you do unpack and discover some wrinkles in your clothes, don’t panic, there are a couple of solutions (pun unavoidable) available.
Our Easy Travel Wrinkle System
Our system involves carrying a 2 or 3 oz spray bottle containing just a very small amount of ingredients. Once we are settling in and hanging up clothes we fill that spray bottle up with water and shake vigorously and mist those clothes wrinkles. Here’s the secret formula.
To a 2 or 3 Ounce Bottle add the following ingredients
- 1 Teaspoon rubbing alcohol
- 1/4 Teaspoon uncolored fabric softener
When needed, fill the bottle with water and shake well and mist those wrinkles away.
The Easier and Free Alternative
The truth is that a gentle mist of just water will relax most cloth enough to drop out those wrinkle. So if you don’t want to bother mixing up a batch of wrinkle remover, just carry that empty bottle and just fill with water. Less hassle and it works almost as well.