You’ve heard it a million times before – rolling clothes is better than folding clothing and it’s how you should be packing! Whether this will be your first time trying it or you’re just looking for tips to help you master the rolling method, this guide to rolling clothes is precisely what you’re looking for!
Does it save space, will it actually keep your clothes wrinkle-free, and when you should avoid doing it are just some of the things covered in this guide to rolling clothes. Keep reading to see if rolling clothes really is the best way to pack and how you can maximize the space in your luggage!
Yes, rolling your clothes saves space in your suitcase and allows you to pack more clothes. This is because rolling clothes squeezes out all the air between folds, so a rolled item will take up less space than a folded item.
Also, rolled clothes will fit more easily into corners and crevices, allowing you to take advantage of every inch of packing space you get. This is particularly great for packing around suitcase handle tubes, which tend to stick out inside the packing compartment, but also for packing in backpacks and duffel bags.
The main advantage of rolling clothes is that you get more luggage space. You can fit more items inside, so it’s easier to pack for longer trips in smaller bags. Also, rolling keeps your clothes wrinkle-free, which is something many people who fold clothes tend to struggle with.
Another advantage of rolling your clothes is that it keeps your luggage more organized. You can see every item you packed at first glance, so you know exactly what to take out. That’s a big upgrade from having to rummage through your suitcase to find that one shirt you packed at the bottom!
Although I’m a big advocate of rolling your clothes when packing, I have to admit that there are quite a few disadvantages to this method, at least until you’ve mastered it.
The first one is that it takes time. When you’ve got a closet full of neatly folded clothes, it’s obviously easier to just take out what you need and place it in your suitcase. But if you’re going to roll the clothes, you need to unfold and roll every item, which is a lot more time-consuming.
If you don’t take your time when rolling clothes and you rush it, you most likely won’t roll the items properly, which can cause the clothes to get wrinkled. Or if there are too many loose ends, you can end up using even more space than you would if you just stuck to folding.
Another thing to note is that rolling doesn’t work that well with bulky clothes. If you’ve got a chunky sweater or a really thick hoodie, rolling them can just make matters worse and ultimately take up more space in your luggage. I’ve found that it’s best to pack these items last and just place them on top of the rolled clothes with as little folding as possible.
Rolling clothes is generally better than folding, but that doesn’t mean you should roll absolutely everything. It’s best to use both methods when packing, so roll some clothes but fold others. It also depends on what type of bag you’re packing – rolling is generally better for backpacks, but you can get away with folding most items if you’re packing inside a large suitcase.
Roll thinner garments like t-shirts, pajamas, and even pants. But don’t roll button-up shirts or sweaters; the former because folding them helps retain the shape, and the latter because they become even bulkier if you roll them.
Rolling clothes properly is easy and anyone can do it. The first thing you should do is place an item face down on a flat surface (bed, floor, table, etc.) and then fold it into halves or thirds, depending on what the item is.
I like to fold t-shirts into thirds. I’ll first fold the sleeves, then fold the t-shirt into thirds, and then roll from the hem up. Skirts should also be folded into thirds but rolled from the waist down.
Jeans and pants are a bit trickier simply because they are bulkier – I like to fold them in half lengthwise, and then roll them from the waist down.
Yes, rolling clothes can prevent creasing and wrinkles, but only if it’s done right. If you butcher the job you can just wrinkle the clothes even more, so it’s essential that you take the time to roll the clothes properly, smoothing them as you go.
On top of that, if you’re packing items that are very sensitive to wrinkles and you need to keep them wrinkle-free, it’s not a bad idea to put them in a plastic (dry cleaner’s) bag before rolling. This will help cushion some of the wrinkles and keep the clothes neater. Try this with formal wear, button-up shirts, and similar items.
Packing cubes and other plastic bags are also great for separating dirty clothes from clean ones.
Packing cubes are a great way of saving space when packing, plus they let you organize your items by outfits or days when you plan to wear them. I absolutely love keeping my bags organized this way because it allows me to keep my luggage pristine while I’m traveling.
Vacuum bags are also a great option and can save even more space. The only issue is that you need a vacuum to suck out all the air, so this isn’t really an option if you’re staying at a hotel or an Airbnb. Also, because clothes in vacuumed bags take up even less space, it’s much easier to overpack and make your luggage a lot heavier than it should be, incurring an overweight baggage fee.
The Ranger Roll method (Army Roll) is a popular way of folding clothes that maximizes the space in your luggage and keeps your clothing wrinkle-free. In essence, it entails creating a pocket for every rolled item so that you can tuck the ends neatly. This is one of the most popular packing methods among seasoned travelers, but it takes some time to master it.
It’s super easy with t-shirts – lay your t-shit on a flat surface, and fold about two inches of the hem inside out. Then fold the t-shit into thirds, sleeves first, until the collar and the hem are of identical width. You can then start rolling tightly from the collar down, smoothing out any creases with your hand as you go. When you reach the pocket, roll the t-shirt inside it to tuck it in.
That’s the essence of the ranger roll, and it’s very similar to other garments. When you’re doing the ranger roll with pants, you should fold the waist outwards, but keep in mind that it will only work if the waist and the cuffs are approximately the same widths. In other words, if you have a pair of high-waisted pants, which have a smaller waist but wider hips and trouser legs, you won’t be able to roll them with this method.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.