Does rolling clothes save space? It’s the same question most travelers ask of themselves. You are not on your own.
Ask the same question of 10 people and they will all have different opinions. If you had a dollar for the number of times you may have heard somebody begin their sentence with “the best way to pack a suitcase is”.
There are a number of ways to pack clothes in luggage to optimize the space, rolling clothes being one of a number of options you have.
In this post I will measure and work out whether rolling clothes saves space and what other ways you could try to squeeze that last t-shirt into your luggage.
Why is this question so important?
It may seem like such an innocent question but underlying it all is an important issue. It all comes down to carry on luggage. By squeezing as much as you can into your carry on, you can;
- Avoid checking in luggage
- Save on fees
- Avoid baggage reclaim altogether
- Less to carry
- Less risk of losing luggage
If you have decided to ditch the check in luggage, then the key is to optimize your luggage capacity for your carry on luggage.
Before you start, this is what do you need to consider
- Airline weight restrictions
- Personal preferences
Whether you choose to fold or roll will depend on the material. If you simply don’t care about creased clothes, then ignore this section.
If you do care, consider the following.
Light materials like silk and rayon are suited to folding as are very heavy materials like wool. Medium weight materials like polyester and cotton are perfect for rolling.
Airline weight restrictions
It is said that rolling clothes saves space which means you can pack more…I will get onto this…but you need to consider weight restrictions. Airlines limit the weight of check in luggage and some even put restrictions on carry on luggage. Bear that in mind when you try to break a world record.
Sometimes it just comes down to good old personal preferences. Some people like to fold clothes…others like to roll them. There is no right and wrong aspect. Whatever you prefer.
Either way, if you have a strong bias to either way…you don’t need to read any further!
So, does rolling clothes save space?
There are many of us that swear by this method. Those of us that like to pack a light bag and just go. Also known as ranger rolling, this method basically involves folding your clothes and then rolling them up.
The advantage of rolling is that you should be able to fit more clothes into the same space than if you just folded and placed them in there. So instead of folding your clothes and stacking them on top of each other, you are rolling them and placing them side by side and on top of each other.
You may want to check out the KonMarie folding method
There is some dispute over whether the rolling method actually prevents wrinkles. Some argue that it does whilst others will swear that they do. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle…and it really does depend how careful you are.
Roll with care and you can expect wrinkle free luggage.
Advantages of rolling clothes
- You save space
- Reduce wrinkles
- Pack for longer in the same bag
- Better organization of your luggage
Disadvantages of rolling luggage
- If not done well, increase the amount of wrinkles
- Everything is stacked so you can disturb the rolls when trying to find things
- Hard to see what you are looking for
Do they save space – The big question
Does rolling luggage save space? do a search online and you will find hundreds of experiments to prove that they do save space. Having reviewed many of these tests and conducted my own unscientific yet controlled experiment, I can confirm they do save space.
Before you break out the champagne, the space saving is minimal. In fact, it just meant I could add an extra couple of t-shirts. Given the time I spent rolling clothes, was this really worth it?
If I was desperately short of space, I would choose the rolling method because it does offer some space saving. If I’m not short of space, I probably wouldn’t bother to go to the trouble unless I needed to keep my clothes wrinkle free.
The ideal solution I will give you in the verdict below…hint…pay close attention to the packing cubes below!
What are your other options
Aside from the rolling method, you also have a couple of further options that may help you save space. Some people prefer these methods and some will swear by them. Again, it probably comes down to personal preference.
They are a relatively new product but people have been doing this ‘unofficially’ for years. They are essentially boxes that help you to organize your luggage.
The concept is very simple. You organize you clothes into packing cubes. So, for example you might put all your shirts in one etc. Other people might fill one cube with their outfit for the day and the use it as a laundry bag when they are done.
Advantages of packing cubes
- Everything is easily accessible and organized
- You can unpack more easily
- Your clothes are protected in case of spills
- You can use one cube per outfit and then use as a laundry bag
- Helps to prevent wrinkles
Disadvantages of packing cubes
- Potentially they take up more space than other methods like rolling and compression
- There is a cost involved, albeit minimal
- They add to the weight
Another recent innovation and the concept behind them are brilliant. Essentially you are removing the air out of your luggage which means you can really flatten down the clothing.
You simply place your clothing in a compression bag and roll it up. This pushes all the air out and prevents it getting back in.
Some people insist that this can help to prevent wrinkles yet some disagree. This is one of the scenarios where it will work on some materials but not others.
Advantages of travel compression bags
- Fantastic for large bulky items like coats
- It is a great space saver
- Self-compression so no vacuum required
- Keeps your items smelling fresh and protected
Disadvantages of compression bags
- Not suitable for all types of clothing
- They are prone to occasionally re-inflating
- Hassle to remove an item and reflate pack
Does rolling clothes save space? My personal preference is the rolling method and I believe it does offer space savings. Not as much as some would claim but the limited savings plus the other benefits make it acceptable to me.
The better combination in my opinion is to combine the packing cubes and the rolling method. This adds a layer of protection and organization into the process, trust me when I say this works.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you tried any of the methods I have listed? What works for you?