8 Ways to Pack Your Carry-On Like a Pro
Find out how to fold your suit, workout clothes, and grooming products
By Danielle Dulchinos
Whether you’re jetting off for business or going on a trip with your girlfriend, you should know how to pack your carry-on, your backpack, and all your luggage. Sorry, man—that means no more just throwing all your tees and grooming products into your bag and calling it good. Start your trip off on the right foot with a perfectly packed bag (at least, until security gets their hands on it) with these eight tips from guys who do it on the regular.
LESS IS BEST
If you think you packed too much, you’re probably right. Andrew Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good, finds himself in the air at least once a month for speaking engagements or other work events. The biggest mistake he sees other travelers making: packing too much. “One really well-tailored suit is all you need if you have nice shirts,” says Mellen. For more casual trips, take a single pair of jeans and shorts.
ROLL, DON’T FOLD
Save space and reduce wrinkles by rolling instead of folding clothes. “I even roll up dress trousers because they’ll be less likely to wrinkle,” Mellen says. “I roll all of my T-shirts, jeans, shorts, bathing suits, and gym clothes.” Save yourself time on your trip by packing outfits together, too: Group your T-shirt, underwear and shorts on top of each other and roll them for easy access in the mornings.
USE THAT EXTRA SQUARE FOOTAGE
Roll your belts and stuff them—along with spare socks— in your shoes to maintain their shape and cut down on wasted storage opportunities. “[It] provides the same function as a shoe tree with something I’m already taking with me,” Mellen says.
SKIP THE TRAVEL-SIZED BOTTLES
Pouring your body wash or beard lube into travel sized jars doesn’t just suck, it’s downright inefficient. “Go to any department store or BlueMercury and ask for samples of your favourite grooming products (face wash, shampoo, shaving cream),” says Arash Shirazi, the president of Bullitt Agency, who racks up about 300,000 km of travel a year. “You can just throw them in your luggage and discard them after use. Plus they don’t leak.”
MIND YOUR SHOES
Mellen keeps the shoe bags that come with his shoes, and uses them every time he travels. If your shoes didn’t come with bags, wrapping a plastic shower cap around the soles keeps them from transferring dirt onto your clothes in transit.
Related: 5 Tips To Beat Travel Bugs
PLAN FOR SMELLY WORKOUT GEAR
Working up a sweat while traveling is one of the best things you can do , especially if you’re in a new time zone. But packing sweat-soaked gym clothes back into your suitcase is a recipe for stink. Instead, “I’ll take old T-shirts and wear them to work out and then discard them after use. It frees up your luggage to make room for gifts,” Shirazi says. He also recommends using a scented dryer sheet in your gym shoes and clothes to keep everything smelling fresh. If you plan to bring your gym kit back with you, try some water-resistant and breathable bags.
CHECK YOUR WEATHER APP AT THE RIGHT TIME
Mellen suggests packing the day before you leave so that you have an accurate weather forecast for your destination. He also travels with a carry-on backpack that has an easily accessible zipped pocket where he keeps winter essentials like a hat, gloves, and a lightweight down jacket in reach. Not sure which jacket to throw in your pack? Opt for versatility. “A leather jacket can take a lot of abuse on the road and cover wrinkled clothing,” says Shirazi, who still travels with a leather jacket he bought ten years ago.
Related: 5 Tips For Stress-Free Travel
PACK YOUR SUIT RIGHT
Linen suits are a popular summer option for weddings and work alike for a good reason, but be warned: They wrinkle like crazy. To keep any suit jacket pressed without having to bring a garment bag, use this folding method:
1. Grab a wire hanger and drape your pants over the bar. Next, put your dress shirt on the hanger, followed by your suit jacket. Pull the sleeves of the shirt through the jacket sleeves, and then stuff the arms with tissue paper to minimize creasing.
2. Cross the sleeves in front of the jacket. Cover the entire folded ensemble with a plastic bag from the dry cleaner.
3. Tuck the wire hanger inside the bag, and lay your jacket inside your suitcase with the shoulders against the back end.
4. Bring the midsection of the suit jacket up to the shoulders, creating an accordion-style Z fold. Tuck any remaining hem underneath the jacket so that you have a rectangular bundle. This creates soft, round edges, eliminating friction… and wrinkles.
Originally published on menshealth.com