Learn professional packing tips so you can bring “just the essentials” on trips—and keep your gear in better condition as you go!
Ever come back from a trip only to realize that the dirt on the bottom of your sneakers made its way onto your nicest dress shirt during the return trip home? Or that the contents of your toiletry kit exploded all over the inside of your checked bag?
These types of packing “disasters” are all too common, but with a little bit of insider knowledge, they’re totally avoidable. In honor of National Pack Smarter Month, Eagle Creek staffers have provided plenty of advice on how to help protect your belongings—and save suitcase space while packing. Follow their lead, and learn how to pack your gear like a pro.
Q. What's the best way to pack toiletries?
Toiletries always need to be packed separately, because they usually contain liquids that can stain clothing, destroy electronics, and cause a sticky, smelly mess. That’s why Eagle Creek offers several different packing options, when it comes to storing toiletries.
Liz in Customer Service loves the Pack-It Slim Kit, because its thin design allows this toiletry case to fit easily into any size bag. It keeps toiletries neatly organized in three interior zippered pockets and prevents them from spilling all over your suitcase. The kit features a removable, shatterproof mirror and carry handle, along with a stow-away swivel clip for hanging. “It allows me to separate my makeup, contact solution and hair accessories, so they’re easy to access,” she says.
Q. Shoes always take up so much room in my bag! How can I keep things clean and streamlined?
Think about the activities you’ll be participating in during your trip and consider bringing only three types of shoes: dressy, casual, and athletic (or better yet, shoes that can serve more than one purpose).
Pack each pair in either a Pack-It Shoe Cube Large or a Pack-It Specter Shoe Sac. This will prevent the damp, dirty, smelly bottoms of your shoes from rubbing up against other items in your suitcase. “To protect the shape of your shoes, pack them in the center of your bag, at the bottom,” says Mike in Creative Services.
The Pack-It Clean/Dirty Cubes and Sacs are also great for storing any damp, dirty, or smelly articles of other clothing.
Q. What’s the recommended method for carrying a passport when traveling overseas?
There are two important points to consider, says Mike in Creative Services. “You want a passport to be handy, so you’re not digging through your bag like a lost tourist. But you also don’t want it to be so accessible that you end up at your embassy because somebody swiped it,” he says.
The best compromise is to keep it on you, but hidden. One solution is the zippered RFID Undercover Money Belt, which you can wear around your waist and under your clothes. Another is the Silk Undercover Neck Wallet, which you can hang around your neck and under your clothes. You can also try the Undercover Leg Wallet, which wraps around one of your lower legs, underneath your pants.
“Always keep your passport and any other important documents in the same place every time, so you can access them readily and remember where they are. If you don’t want to keep your passport and ID on you at night, lock those items in your in-room safe,” says Candyce.
Q. What's the most common packing mistake that most people make?
“Most people pack far too much, but you can learn from past packing mistakes. The next time you come home from a trip, list everything that you didn’t use or wear. Then write down what you wished you had brought. The next time you pack, refer to that list, recommends Candyce in Product Design and Development.
Not the type to use a printed list to help you pack? Consider using a packing app, such as PackingPro ($2.99), which can help you record lists electronically and then sync them to The Cloud or share them via email.
Q. No matter how well I pack, my shirts, pants and underwear become one big messy pile in my bag. How can I keep things neat and organized?
Compartmentalizing your clothes is a good idea, because the less they move around in your bag, the less wrinkly and disorganized they get. Putting them in separate organizers also makes them easier to locate when you arrive at your destination.
Mark from the Design Team and Nisa from Operations suggest packing pants and dress shirts in a Pack-It Specter Folder M. This folder is made of Silnylon, so it’s durable, stain- and water-resistant and weighs only eight ounces. It holds eight to 12 shirts or pants. “The folder keeps your clothing neatly folded and compressed during travel, so it helps prevent wrinkles,” says Mark.
For socks and either boxers or panties, he adds, use the Pack-It Clean/Dirty Cube. Roll the garments to save space and keep clean ones on one side of the cube and dirty ones on the other.
Q. If I have to check luggage, which model works best for both business and leisure travel?
Seth and Mark from the Design Team are both big fans of the Tarmac AWD 25. It has four wheels for an effortless carry. It also has unique features, such as the Coat Keeper, which allows you to lay your jacket across the top of your bag (when you don’t want to wear it) and secure it so it won’t slip off. It’s also extremely durable and is covered by our superior No Matter What™ Warranty.
Q. What's the best way to pack items like electronics?
Using a Pack-It Electronic Sleeves is your best bet, says Eric in Sales. “They’re padded and have a molded shell on the outside to protect contents,” he says.
Are you a pro packer? Share your best tips with other traveler in the comments below or on our Facebook page!
Jane Bianchi is a freelance writer who has worked for a variety of national magazines, including Seventeen, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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