Probably one of the most dreaded parts of travelling is the packing to leave for a trip. Now, you don’t only have to pack the right clothing, documents and itineraries. You also have to make sure you have the right electronics, chargers and accessories. Chances of forgetting something for even the most seasoned packer is often likely. Fortunately for Andre, I do most of the packing. Fortunately for me, over the years we have amassed some great luggage and tools that make packing a lot less stressful.
Eagle Creek, is the company that has come to our rescue, over and over again. Years ago, in preparation for our first trip to Indonesia, when we knew we would be having to lug bags through the jungle and on and off trains, boats etc. We began our hunt for the “perfect” travel luggage. We chanced upon Eagle Creek at a local travel store, The Travel Bug. Ten years and thousands of miles later we know we made the right choice.
Eagle Creek was certainly not the cheapest option but the lifetime guarantee and the durability have made it an excellent buy. We bought two carry-on size bags with zip-on/off backpacks. The carry-on bags also are convertible backpacks themselves. A quick unzip of the bottom reveals secret straps. Really an ingenious solution for truly adaptable luggage.
At the same time, we also purchased a large standard size bag and like the carry-ons, it was much more than it appeared at first glance. First off, the bag is two bags in one. A solid hard rubber bottom bag with extremely durable wheels. As well as a top separatable duffle bag. Which is also convertible to a backpack. These three pieces have served us well and even though we had some zipper issues, from packing too much into the bags. Eagle Creek repaired them at no charge and even made improvements by adding extra clips to prevent the strain from happening again. Now before you ask, we have not been paid for this endorsement but the products and service have been exceptional and probably saved us at least hundreds of dollars over the years. Before Eagle Creek, we were going through luggage every few years. Which is something many people I'm sure can relate to. But, let’s back to the packing.
Packing is a chore and I don’t know anyone who really enjoys it. But being organized is the key to a successful pack. Some of the smaller items we purchased at the same time as the luggage are really the unsung heroes. Yes, they were made by Eagle Creek too, but there are several brands available now offering the same products. They are the packing cubes and garment holders. These collapsible beauties help save space, which is at a premium when travelling.
Even with the best tools you still need the technique. The handiest of these is the clothing roll. Most articles of clothing can be rolled so they take up less space. The other benefit to rolling them is they don’t get as wrinkled or creased as easily. This works best for underwear, socks, t-shirts, shorts, and even some pants. For instance, in one packing cube you can fit ten to twenty t-shirts and shorts, or socks and underwear for two weeks in a space of 18’’ x 12’’ x 8’’ high.
Andre’s favorite tool though is the garment holder complete with folding board. I think it takes him back to his time working in a clothing store. In a smaller garment folder, you can fit four to six pairs of pants or dress shirts, a larger one will hold about double that.
I should admit the space saving is also great for another reason. It allows ample room to shop at your destination and not have to purchase or pay additional baggage fees to haul your loot home.
Often when we travel we don’t bring much in the way of formal clothing with us. But on this trip, we experienced our first cruise. Cruising requires a different level of attire and for this Andre introduced me to a new technique of folding a suit jacket so that it doesn’t wrinkle or require a separate garment bag. This technique can also be used for other types of jackets. The video is attached to the bottom of the post as the technique is much easier to show than explain.
The most valuable tool though when packing is a list. Over the years we have used good old-fashioned paper, word processing files, and apps to keep organized. Regardless of the choice having a list to check and if you are slightly OCD like we are, check again, is a great way helping to ensure nothing is forgotten. Well, maybe if you are lucky.
Packing is a stressful time and can inevitably result in short fuses and “Bickerson” moments but being armed the right tools and techniques, can help it go much smoother. Which will help the trip start off on the right foot. If something is forgotten more than likely you will find it at your destination or you may find you never really needed it all.