Rolling your clothes sucks.
There, I said it. And I said it not because I don’t ever do it (though I rarely do nowadays) but because it isn’t a very effective way to pack your suitcase. Well, it’s about as effective as the way your parents taught you how to pack your bags; stacking your clothes one on top of each another, each piece covering up the next. And although I will give some points to those who “roll” over those who pack in the generic… or dare I say geriatric way, I still want you to understand why Rolling Your Clothes Sucks… and why my Filing Method rules.
1. Rolling Creates more wrinkles.
Don’t just believe what everyone tells you, and do a test for yourself and you will find that even if you take your sweet ass time in doing a perfect t-shirt roll, you will still end up with more wrinkles than you would have folding your clothes. Fewer creases, potentially yes, but significantly more wrinkles.
Proper folding is the key to a perfect pack. Items should be folded in order to reduce the number of wrinkles or creases, and should be folding specifically for each suitcase you are using. Less movement is always better so having a nice snug fit is best, and that’s why I believe people like the idea of rolling, cause you can put them together so nicely, or so it seems…
2. Circles don’t fit well into squares.
Think of it this way. What could you fit the most of into a square suitcase (assuming they were contained the same volume): A cans of coke, or a square juice-box? Juice-boxes, right? The cylindrical shape of a coke can leaves way too much space left open in the corners. Have a look at my excellent drawing skills for my example of this idea and how you might lay them in your suitcase…
So understand that you are not saving space by rolling your clothes into round cylinders. And by squishing all your rolled items into your bag you are actually squishing them into pseudo-squares (as they are being pushed in an attempt to fill in those empty corner spaces), so in reality you might as well make them into a square like shape to begin with! Compressing your clothes is what saves you space… and there are many more efficient ways of doing that for a suitcase, like my method, the FILING (CABINET) METHOD.
*I do, however, understand that there’s an argument to be had if you travel with a duffel bag, some rolling can be beneficial, but then of course you still have to deal with this issue…
3. It hides what’s what.
By rolling your clothes, you are hiding away all the key differentiating features to your clothing. A t-shirt logo will be hidden, the back pocket stitching to a pair of jeans, hidden… aside from color or wash, you don’t know exactly where the clothes you plan on wearing are without a little trial and error; pull this one out, unroll it, “oops, wrong one…”, now you kind of take the time to re-roll, half-ass of course, cause you’ll redo it better later (classic); put back in, disrupt your pile again and pull out the other one that looked like the shirt you wanted…
You should be able to see everything you have from the moment you open up your bag! Save time and energy while also saving your pack from being pillaged each time you pull something out. The Filing Method makes this easy; you see it, you pull it out. No moving things out of the way just to get at the one item you actually want.
Don’t understand how the Filing Method works yet? Let me explain the basics: Think of packing like you are filing paperwork in a Doctors office… open the drawer, File Vertical, close drawer. Basic. The other files there will keep it condensed and upright and easy to find when you need it without having to look through the other papers first.
Your packing method should be a good combination of all things that will enhance your traveling experience, not hinder it. More time digging through your clothes is more time wasted while you could be out enjoying your vacation. And although attempting to arrive with the fewest amount of wrinkles and creases is good, it always helps to understand that no method will eliminate them altogether. Learn to be OK with that cause
There’s more to packing then just reducing wrinkles and creating more space.
You have to be practical. Packing in a way that helps with only issue isn’t a great plan either. Have you ever seen or heard about the “Engineering or Bundle method“? The one which involves laying your pants down first so they extend outside of your bag, then you place your shirts in a similar fashion but 90 degrees to that… blah blah blah… then you fold it all up into a wonder (and completely impractical) bundle of joy (that will take 20 minutes to dismantle when you want something from there) that will save you space (maybe, if you do it well enough and have enough clothes the exact dimensions of the suitcase or shove socks into random empty holes) and free from wrinkles (except all the ones that will come from bag slumpage when you place your bag upright and tote it around). Sound like a good and practical way to pack? Not for me.
By Filing your clothes, you will gain ALL of these pros at the same time, instead of just one or two of them:
- save space
- stay (relatively) wrinkle-free
- be able to see all your clothes from the moment you open your suitcase
- become overjoyed (and wowed) by your new sense of order in life or on the road… or at least in your suitcase!
- impresses your friends. Especially your OCD or nerdy friends, and especially your mom.
Summary: Packing methods, other than the Filing Method, make life on the road more challenging and time consuming. Or if nothing else, give filing a try and challenge yourself to learn a new method! If it isn’t for you, no problem, do what works best for you and your suitcase! I just wanted to you to have the facts :)
The end. Rant, over.
(And as always, if you need more of these tips, then help support an nerd/artist and buy my book! :)
I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You to Chris Walla. If you haven’t heard, he recently played his last show with Death Cab For Cutie at a great festival in my hometown of Victoria BC called, Rifflandia. Chris was a huge part of Death Cab, but he was also a huge part of helping me get this How To Pack book off the ground. Chris was the second artist willing to be a part of the book, second only to Tegan and Sara. Chris and I spend a morning taking a few pictures before a good long day of pre-production for Tegan and Sara’s Sainthood album and I couldn’t have been more thankful for it. Some of my favorite photos for the book came from this shoot, including my handmade/hand-sowed sock-wing suit that allowed Chris to take flight… well when jumping off a fridge at least. In fact I’ll add a couple never seen before shots just below here, after all, that the whole reason to come to the site right, special content?! Chris produced Tegan and Sara’s, The Con and Sainthood albums if you weren’t aware, so yes, he’s a true talent that man. On a side note, Chris has a lot of really great socks. And this was before it was cool to have cool socks. He’s the cool sock originator i feel.
So to Chris, Thank you to for being a big part of my book and thank you for the great music you made with your bandmates for over 17 years! You are a wonderful person and I look forward to seeing what’s next for you my friend.
*photography by my good friend Rob Campbell.
Infomercials. We’ve all seen them, we can all recite them, (think “sham-wow!”, “linguine-bikini”, or “wow that’s a big schticky” and that’s all from just one pitcher!) and yes they are extremely annoying so I’ll stop talking about them BUT I would love for you to imagine just for a moment that this next paragraph is done in that style of voice!
“Have you ever struggled to get all your clothes into one suitcase? Now imagine how much fun packing would be if you got to play tetris with your clothes? Image how simple it would be if you were playing with all the same sized objects? Now what if I tell you that this can all be done and that you, yes even you, could actually learn to enjoy packing your bags?! That’s right, it can be done and I can show you how! But just wait, that’s not all! I can even show you how to save precious space and learn how to pack more into your suitcase! With just one simple payment of $17.95 you’ll be able to learn not only all my tricks, but also those of all your favorite rock stars!”
See how fun that was? Well either way, the reality is that packing with the rock star method, (or the filing method as I like to call it these days) can actually be much more fun than the normal methods like rolling or the other traditional one… and way more fun than imagining me with an infomercial pitcher voice, that’s for sure! The key is in the folding. Find a way in which the depth and width of each clothing item is the same… I can get more technical if you like but I can’t iterate enough, packing should be fun. Make an art out of it. Learn to pack your clothes vertically and treat them like files in a filing cabinet so you can see everything you brought with you from the moment you open your suitcase. Or have a little more fun and make shapes or patterns with your clothes and tetris it up! There are enough things to worry about before and during your travels, so don’t let packing add to that stress. Have fun and safe travels!
here’s an old series of shots I was doing for an animation showing how easy it is to fill a suitcase and see what all is in there as well as remove and replace items while you travel… Oh and ya that was also an attempt for subliminal messaging and a link to my book on amazon talking more about all of this, including tips and tricks from some pretty cool musicians. Here’s one more link :P
Suitcase Packing Expert, c’est moi?
Last december I was invited to be on a national television show (CTV’s The Social) to teach the shows hosts how to pack a suitcase. In short, it was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (despite feeling like a bit green for tv and sounding like a bit a bumbling goofball). Actually I loved everything about it, from flying out to Toronto to being my quirky self on the show. But the part I loved most was just before I was about to go on… I was backstage in my little green eating cantaloupe and asking the show producer how she first heard of me. Her answer was the best I’ve ever heard.
“I was just Google-ing ‘packing experts’ and I came across your name…”
So with that new jump in my step I went on to fumble my way through the show… no I’m kidding, I did alright, ha. I don’t like talking too much about myself and what makes me an expert (which I understand is important, society likes to see framed papers on the wall or at least ‘cool’ street credit like playing playing bass for a popular band) but once we got past that and into the straight packing facts, I was golden! That’s where I hit my stride. Less self talk and more nerd talk is what I always say. The point is, I actually do know my stuff and I really am here to lead this new suitcase packing style revolution! So who will join me?
Here are a couple pics from a magazine spread that I was asked to write… I called this shot the How To Pack Starting Point. (The First image above has the final packing pic on the right)
Talk soon. (And PIN away all you Pinterest friends and fans :)
Don’t forget to check out the book for more tips on packing!
It’s family time, and whether you are going home for Christmas or any other time of the year, you may want to bring back with you a favorite bottle of wine you just can’t get at home. Maybe you’ve spent a year as an Au pair in Southern France or you’ve escaped from the North American winters with a fall jaunt to Argentina? The point is, there’s plenty of great wine from all over the world that needs to be shared with the ones you love… and yes that includes you bringing it home for yourself! So sometimes you just have to put it in your suitcase to get it home. Oh but what about Duty free shopping? Well it just doesn’t cut it when you have traveled and tasted your favorite wine, bottled strait from the source and need to get it home. Whatever the case, here are a few tips to help ensure your bottle gets home safely… despite the airport baggage handlers best efforts. Oh and Obviously it’s never ideal to put wine into your checked luggage but just to let you know, I have successfully ported wine this way a few times… (hmmm, there’s got to be some sort of clever joke involving ‘port’ and wine here right? I’ve got nothing, but feel free to let me know if you’ve got one….)
Here are my step by step tips for packing wine into a suitcase:
1. Most importantly, find a good wine worth taking back with you.
2: Find the most bulky and padded item in your suitcase, like a hoody or a sweater.
3: Wrap the bottle with it, taking special care to add extra padding around the neck, i.e. if you use a hoody, use the hood to wrap a few times around the bottle’s neck as it’s most vulnerable there.
4. Place the bottle into the middle of your suitcase (length-wise and bottle-bottom facing the suitcases’ side with wheels) to ensure it has the maximum amount of protection from all sides. By packing it in this way, when the bag is upright, so is the wine, and even if the bottle settles down a little closer to the wheels side, it’s still resting on the thickess and strongest part of the bottle.
5. In my bag, I have a mesh pocket on the top flap filled with my socks and underwear so this provides a nice padding for the top-side of the bottle…. So it works for me but just be aware of how your bag constructed; if you have to bury it down a little more, then do it. Again, make sure to protect it from ALL SIDES.
And there you have it, you should be all good to go now… but of course you can still be more cautious by first putting the bottle into a sealed plastic bag… then maybe another larger bag over that… but then I feel that if the bottle is going to break, a plastic bag isn’t going to hold up against sharp broken glass anyway… so live a little, take a risk and start packing that wine into your suitcase anyway! Safe travels my friends.
Oh and enjoy the wine!
…responsibly of course :D
Holiday travels can scare anyone. Hordes or people all trying to get somewhere at the same time and all with an extra sense of urgency. Combine this with the fact that for many of these people, it’s the only time of the year in which they travel… ie. Travel noobs clogging up the system :P
These holiday travel tips will be fairly obvious advice to most of you, but you’d be surprised how much you can forget in the rush of the holiday season! Here are a few reminders for those of you in this scenario:
1. Give yourself more time than you think… in each and every part of pre-travel!
2. Pack earlier in the day, not the night before.
3. Get to the airport hours before, not an hour before.
4. Do your research, know what you can and can’t bring with you as well as weight restrictions for baggage.
5. Don’t forget your passport if you are crossing countries.
6. Don’t forget to pack your gifts and presents!
OK so while we’re on holiday travel tips as well as talking about presents and gifts…
I’ll be very brief. You have friends and I have books. And you’ll want to impress your friends with your choice of gifts for them right? Perfect, cause I’ve got you covered. I’m not even kidding. (While tooting my own horn at the same time) The book, How To Pack Like A Rock Star, is the perfect gift for your friends as it combines those laugh out loud moments along side the “Holy crap, this is such great practical advice! What an amazing gift giver you are!” and “Best. Friend. Ever!” comments.
But order now so you’ll be sure to get it before Christmas!!! PS you can’t buy this book in stores. Oh and why not, for a little more incentive for ya I’ll add a holiday promo code : XMAS to make the book an even $15 bucks for the holiday season. I’d love to share the book with you, will you share it with your friends? Hope so!
Hope the basic holiday travel tips helped a little but for those of you wanting more, don’t worry, ‘How to safely pack a bottle of wine in your suitcase’ is coming soon! Also did you catch how I photoshopped the book into the image above, (my attempt at subliminal messaging, making travel synonymous with How To Pack…!).
As always, feel free to Email me with any questions or inquiries!
Shaun – email@example.com
(If you have any difficulties with the checkout, PLEASE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you out! Or if you feel more comfortable buying from Amazon, then please click here! Amazon.com or Amazon.ca)
The title, How To Pack Like A Rock Star was meant to be fairly self-explanatory and obvious, but how did you interpret it? Did you read it as, how to pack like a ‘rockstar’ (as in, a slang reference to something being done in the best possible manner or to “describe something good”). Or did you interpret a little more straight-up as it reads, ‘Rock Star’ (as in “Someone who is in a popular rock band”)? That space, or lack of space between the two words, makes a big difference to me. So how did you interpret it?
(thanks urban dictionary for these)
The truth is, there is no wrong answer and both ways are right. Officially I was referring to the musicians in the book who contributed their expertise (so the Rock Stars), but in saying that, I also fully intended and expected for more people to see it the other (rockstar) way… because it is after all (in my opinion!) a far superior way in which to pack. So then why am I saying this now? To remind you and me of one key point: You don’t have to be a musician to pack like a pro!
I was reminded again of this when professional soccer player Matt Watson of the Vancouver Whitecaps sent me a picture of his suitcase packed with pure class and elegance. Its obvious, and yet I still forget that Pro athletes can travel just as much as musicians, so doesn’t it makes sense for them to be pro-packers as well? Don’t be confused, I’m not saying that it makes sense for all athletes to ‘support Green Bay football’ (Get it? “pro-Packers”. Sports joke. Hilarious, I know…) but what I am saying is that there are a lot of other professions that travel for work. So athletes, musicians, business people, travellers and vacationers alike, let this be a good reminder to all of us that we can all be rockstars within our travels. And as much as I really dislike the use of the word and term ‘rockstar’ (true story), I think it’s fine if you use it in this setting… cause after all, we are reproducing the methods brought forth by true rock stars!
So yes, the Rock Star (aka ‘Rockstar’) pack method is expanding to the world of athletics, thanks to Mr Watson. Will you be the one to rise up in your world? Keep in touch if you do :)