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What’s the best way to pack your clothing: folding or rolling? Some people swear by rolling because it’s quick and allows them to see all of their items clearly, while others fold because it prevents clothing from wrinkling and is easy to unpack. If you’re unsure if you should be folding or rolling clothes for packing, find out what our readers have to say!

 


Should You Roll or Fold Clothes When Packing?


 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

A common debate between travelers is whether or not one should roll or fold clothing in luggage. Every traveler wants to save space, but not at the cost of wrinkled clothing or messy organization. 

The video below demonstrates rolling vs. folding methods with actual clothing items and ways to gain space and remain organized while packing. Take a look:

 

 

See this video for examples of rolling vs. folding packing methods

 

Overall, there isn’t one right or wrong answer. It can depend on a few things, including the type of clothing and your itinerary. Readers have shared their insights so you can decide on the best technique for you!

 

The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!

 

 

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One way to help with wrinkles is to bring a travel clothes steamer to smooth out clothing.

 

Folding Your Clothing

 

Folding is the most popular packing style among TFG readers. While rolling is said to be a great space-saving packing technique, many readers have shared that after trying it, they’ve gone back to folding.

Folding your garments (neatly) and stacking them flat will result in less wrinkly clothing when you unpack. It also makes for easy unpacking, which is handy if you’re only traveling to one destination rather than hopping around.

 

Pros

 

  • Fewer wrinkles: Readers say that packing their clothing flat leaves them mostly wrinkle-free upon arrival or with light wrinkles that are easy to fluff out. This means you can have a bit more freedom with the specific items you choose to pack rather than focusing solely on wrinkle-free pieces.
  • Saves space: Many readers share that packing things as flat as possible and using either compression straps or packing cubes is the ultimate way to save space in your suitcase.
  • Easy to unpack: Everything is already folded and ready to be transferred to a drawer or hung in a closet.

 

Cons

 

  • Not ideal for multi-destination trips: Folded clothing can get quite messy throughout multi-destination trips.
  • Lack of Visibility: It’s harder to see everything you have packed when your items are stacked on top of one another. You might mess up other items in the process of searching through your bag or even forget about certain items that are out of sight.
  • Takes Time: In order to reduce wrinkles, you’ll need to fold your pieces in a precise and neat way, which can be a bit more time-consuming if you’re in a hurry.

 

 

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Packing cubes are great for rolling clothing–see how they can change your life in this article!

 

Rolling Your Clothing

 

While not as popular as folding, many TFG readers swear by rolling their clothing! One reader says she’s been a faithful roller for over ten years, and always travels carry on only.

Rolling is a more common technique when traveling with a hardside suitcase, as the dual sides allow you to see each item more clearly, rather than having stacks of rolled clothing on top of each other. This technique is definitely favored for its organization!

 

Pros

 

  • Better organization: You’ll be able to see each item clearly and reach for it easily without accidentally unfolding other clothes.
  • Easy to do: Some readers have noted that if you’re packing in a hurry or are not particularly skilled at folding, rolling your clothing is a quick and easy way to get everything neatly packed!
  • Versatility: Rolling allows for more versatility when packing, as you can orient your items however they fit best, tuck certain items into the indentations of your suitcase, and even stuff items into your shoes or hats.

 

Cons

 

  • Can take up more space: Rolling may take up more space, especially if you’re packing thicker items like jeans and sweaters.
  • Wrinkles: Rolling may lead to more wrinkles in clothing, especially if they’re not rolled carefully.
  • Harder to unpack: When at your destination, you’ll likely have to re-fold your items if you plan on unpacking them.
  • Might unroll: If you’re not packing your items tightly into packing cubes or if there’s a bit of extra space (due to the efficient packing!), then your rolled items may actually start to unroll, which can create some disorganization.

 

 

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Choose the best packing technique to keep your clothes organized for your needs and preferences.

 

Folding vs. Rolling: Final Verdict

 

The majority of readers agree that folding their clothing is the most space-saving AND the best technique for reducing wrinkles. It’s an option that works for various fabrics and suitcase styles, too.

Rolling can be a better tactic at times. If you’re heading to a hot climate and will be packing lightweight and wrinkle-resistant clothing (or clothing you plan on steaming upon arrival), rolling will allow you to stuff plenty of clothing into your suitcase!

While folding gets the top vote, you may want to incorporate BOTH folding and rolling into your packing strategy. Many readers have shared that while most of their clothing gets folded, they will roll items like underwear and pajamas and tuck them away into the nooks and crannies of their suitcases. Other readers like to roll their jeans and jackets that won’t wrinkle and lay their folded clothing on top.

There are big fans of both packing strategies in the TFG community! One reader sums it up perfectly, saying that it’s simply about what works for you, the clothing you’re bringing, how you travel, and the type of suitcase you have when it comes to deciding which method to go with.

 

 

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Left: Compass Rose Medium Packing Cubes | Right: Compass Rose Slim Packing Cubes

 

Folding vs. Rolling With Packing Cubes

 

If you’re looking to maximize your packing potential even more, then packing cubes are a must!

In fact, many TFGs use Compass Rose Packing Cubes because they’re the only packing cubes on the market with a number and color-coded system. Whether you’re folding or rolling, this system of using packing cubes will save tons of space and make organizing easy.

The Compass Rose cubes are now offered in two sizes: slim and medium. The slim size cubes measure 13 x 5 x 2.8, and the medium size cubes measure 2.8 x 13 x 8.5. Both fit an international carry-on suitcase, and you can mix and match both sets into one suitcase!

 

 

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Compass Rose Medium Carryon Packing Cubes in Medium

 

When it comes to folding, the medium-sized Compass Rose cubes are great for this purpose and work well for bulkier items in general. Yet, they hold a large amount of items.

A reader impressively shares her experience with packing cubes, saying she was able to pack 14 dresses, 11 tops, 7 bottoms, undergarments, a sweater, 2 swimsuits, 5 bras, and 5 pairs of shoes in a small carryon suitcase, all by packing flat inside packing cubes!

One reader says that rolled clothes work best when packed into a packing cube. Otherwise, they unroll and create a bit of a mess.

 

 

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The Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes can be used in something like the Nomad Lane Bento Bag for short stays or the Away 21” Carry On Suitcase for longer trips by using the rolling method!

 

But just as folding is the most popular packing style in the TFG community, folding is also very popular when it comes to packing cubes. Another reader says that packing her clothing flat into packing cubes is way more efficient for her than anything else she’s tried.

If you don’t use packing cubes, folding may be a better way to arrange your clothing, depending on what you’re bringing. However, if you plan to use packing cubes and want a more thorough example of how to pack a full capsule wardrobe, see the video below:

 

 

Watch this video to see how to use packing cubes with a capsule wardrobe

 

We also put together a five-part YouTube series showing the different methods of using packing cubes for travel. Because packing cubes compress clothing, these strategies have helped thousands of women travel carryon only!

 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the never-ending debate about whether you should fold or roll clothes for packing. Remember, the goal is to efficiently use your suitcase space in a way that’s most organized for your needs. The whole point of packing well is to make sure you make the most out of your trip.

 

Here are some extra tips to help with your packing strategies:

  • Packing light and efficiently starts with your suitcase; check out our massive suitcase category to see which one best suits your trip and needs. (Hint: you’ll find everything from hardside, softside, international luggage to luggage sets!)
  • To help you organize your clothes, this article on packing organizers can get you started, and for shoes, here are the top shoe bags to keep items protected from worn shoes.
  • You should downsize your toiletries and decant your favorite products. Many readers choose one of these top toiletry bags to pack them.
  • After you’ve packed everything, it’s a good idea to use a luggage scale to ensure your suitcase isn’t overweight. This is especially true nowadays when airlines constantly change baggage allowance restrictions. See this article for the best ones!

 

 


What do you prefer: folding or rolling clothes for packing? Comment below!


 

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