How To Pack A Duffel Bag

When you imagine packing a duffel bag, what comes to mind? We’re going to guess that it’s a jumbled mess in a shapeless khaki or olive green lump, right? Well, duffel bags have changed, and packing them is a whole new process. Using a duffel bag saves your pack from airport abuse (some airlines don’t cover damaged packs) and provides space for fine-tuning equipment choices on the fly. Look for one large enough to hold your pack, but small enough that you won’t exceed the standard 50-pound weight limit. A smaller bag will also stash easily while you’re on the trail. Overweight bag fees are hefty, so use your home scale to ensure you’re not topping 50 pounds (and be ready to remove a few heavy items and carry them on).

For excellent travel luggage, invest in duffel bags. Their size and lack of rigidity allow them to be stuffed to the gills. With more and more baggage fees for flyers,duffel bags can help you cut down on luggage without cutting down on the things you need for your trips. Learning how to pack a duffel bag is easy with the following tips. It should be simple.  But like finding the perfect outfit at the last minute, that one pair of shoes that seem to have gone missing, or rummaging through your bag for your identification in an airport’s security line, it always manages to evade us.

Why Should I Pack A Duffel Bag (versus a suitcase)?

  1. A duffel bag will ALWAYS fit underneath the seat in front of you.  If you are in boarding group 4 of higher, there’s a strong chance that the overhead space will be occupied by wheeled suitcases long before you board the plane.  Duffels are also ideal for small planes, where wheeled suitcases would be dropped off and picked up in the jetway.
  2. It’s the perfect luggage piece for weekend getaways and beach trips.  Do you really need a wheeled bag for bathing suits, shorts, and sunscreen.  No, you don’t.  You really don’t.
  3. When packed correctly, you can fit 5 days worth of clothing in that bad boy.

Ready to learn how to pack your duffel bag perfectly?  Yes?  Good. Let’s get to it!

Packing A Duffel Bag For Any Trip

  1. Fold down the edges – When you begin packing your duffel bag, fold down the upper edges to allow easy access to the bottom of the bag. You’ll fold them back up as you fill the luggage.
  2. Start with low-priority items Fill the bottom of your bag with items you won’t need in a hurry. If you’re packing non-clothing items, make sure to only put the most durable items in the bottom of the duffel. If you’re packing clothing, items like pajamas and spare pairs of pants work well in the bottom. Make sure you pack the duffel with your large, heavy items first.
  3. Roll clothes Clothing should be rolled into a cylindrical shape whenever possible and placed in a row. This minimizes wrinkling and allows you to pack more clothing into your luggage than folding does.
  4. Continue packing –  Continue along your priority list from the bottom up, folding the edges of the bag up to keep things in place. As you near the top, small clothing items, like socks and underwear, can generally be stuffed into any extra spaces. Reserve items like medication and toiletries for the top or the outer pockets and compartments of your baggage.
  5. Shake it up When you’re nearing the top, jostle the bag. This will help clothing settle, creating more space for packing.
  6. Secure the bag After you have everything packed, make sure to secure the bag with a small lock. If you’re flying, use a TSA lock. These special locks protect your baggage from potential theft while allowing airport security officials to open the bag if they need to manually check the contents. If they need to open the bag and you have secured it with a non-TSA lock, they will break the lock to get in, leaving your belongings more susceptible to theft, whereas a TSA lock allows them to use a universal key to open and re-lock the duffel bag.

Looking to maximize space in your bag? Check out this packing like a pro video below!

Now seriously, how hard was that?  Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your trip. Make sure to visit our guides to learn more about the best practices for traveling!