Efficient Ways to Pack Clothes for One Bag Travel

The world is mostly open for travelers and Knackpackers, and we’re all ready for new adventures, and to make up for those two years spent at home.

But before we can relax at the sandy beach, climb new mountains, and explore new towns and cities, we need to pack - which isn’t always an easy task. Depending on your packing style, it can even get overwhelming. And this is especially true for clothes, which are a perpetual puzzle when it comes to fitting them all into a single bag.

Luckily, you're in the right place. This post will explore the best compact ways to pack your clothes for travel!

Pro Tip: Are you a backpack traveler? Check out our posts on organizing backpacks and picking the right backpack size for travel.

knack pack for travel

General packing tips

When it comes to travel, packing is something that you want to get right - and making a packing list for everything that you plan to bring is a good place to start. Clothes will probably take up the bulk of the space in your bag and you might intuitively want to make a list for them first. But before you start rummaging through your closet, you should actually consider all of the other essential items that you may need to pack first. These items may include:

  • all the paperwork and documents
  • mobile phone, laptop, and chargers
  • money
  • hygiene products and accessories
  • medicines and first aid kit

Why is it important to list the non-clothing items? Because once you account for everything else, you'll know exactly how much room you have left for clothes, as well as what bag size to choose for your trip. Not to mention, making this list will help you get ready faster and will ensure that you don't miss anything important.

Pack right for the location

When packing clothes, you need to consider where you’re going, and how long you’ll stay for. Are you going to spend all your time at the beach? Or, are you planning to experience nightlife in some new city?

For example, an extended road trip requires different clothes than a camping weekend at the nearest mountain. If you want to bring everything with you, you have to plan ahead and consider all your needs.

So, think about how many clothing changes you'll need and whether you plan to dress casually, formally, or both during your trip. And don't forget to take the weather forecast into account!

Another consideration is what type of packing style you have. An interesting finding from our own Knack customer research found that 70% of “planners” like to have extra space in their packs for items they will purchase during their trip. To inform which packing technique is right for you, check out our travel packing style survey results.

packing for vacation

How to pack your clothes for travel

Lay out all of the clothes that you want to take on your bed. Now, it's time for the hard part - fitting all of it into the bag! Overwhelmed with trying to find the “best” packing approach? Well, we'll make it easy for you with these excellent techniques.

Roll them up!

Rolling your clothes is ideal if you prefer a minimalistic packing approach and like to travel light. This technique saves you a lot of space and enables you to pack a lot into just one backpack or a bag. Of course, a wrinkle or two is inevitable with more delicate clothes, but it's a small price to pay considering how much it allows you to bring.

How to do it:

When it comes to jackets, shirts, and T-shirts, the method of rolling them up is similar. Turn the bottom of the item inside out. Then fold the sleeves across the middle and fold the article three times, equally. Flip it over and roll it tightly. Finally, attach the folded bottom to the roll.

For jeans, trousers, and shorts, turn the top inside out. Put the legs on each other and flip the item over. Then make a tight roll and attach the folded top to it.

To keep your clothing rolls organized, use our Knack Packing Cubes, which are like drawers for your Knack. They keep everything in place, and compress by over 70% to create even more space in your bag. 

Bundle clothes for travel

Bundling your clothes is an option if you want to avoid creasing as much as possible. It still saves a lot of space, and it's perfect if you have a lot of clothes of different sizes (think long dresses and t-shirts, for example). The only disadvantage is that clothes won't be easily accessible during the trip; You must dismantle the whole bundle to get it if you want to take something from the inner layers.

How to do it: 

Firstly, have the packing order in mind - start with larger and bulkier stuff such as jackets, long sleeves, and trousers, then continue with smaller items such as T-shirts, shorts, etc. Put your underwear in a separate packing cube or bag.

Spread your jacket on a flat surface and add another similar item in the opposite direction. Arrange the sleeves to cover each other. Keep adding items alternately. When it comes to trousers, fold them in half and put them along the sleeves. Pack from larger items to smaller ones.

Put the bag with underwear in the middle to prevent the creasing. Then, roll alternately every layer tightly over the box. Once you roll all the layers, you'll have one compact bundle ready to fit into your bag.

A classic - pack your clothes for travel by folding them

Folding clothes is by far the most common tactic out there. It's not different from packing your clothes into the wardrobe. While it doesn't save much space, it’s a good option if you’re not concerned about having limited space.

One benefit to folding your clothes is that you can move them directly to your wardrobe once you get to your accommodation. Another advantage is that you can prepare different sets for different days and occasions, and pack them together. If you’re using Knack Packing cubes, you can move the cubes straight from your bag to the drawer, without having to fold and unfold. 

fold your clothes

How to do it:

The method is simple. If the item has sleeves, fold them in the middle. Then fold it in half vertically. After that, fold three times, starting with the bottom, and make a rectangle. Jeans are even simpler: put the trousers legs over each other, then fold twice in half. A perfect rectangle is ready!

Vacuum packing clothes for traveling

Vacuum packing uses requires a plastic vacuum-sealing pouch, and a vacuum. This is a good choice when you have bulky clothes, as it will effectively compress even thick coats. The vacuum setup requires a bit of an investment on your part, but it certainly saves a lot of space as all air is removed. 

Summing up how to efficiently pack clothes for traveling

So, let's sum it up! What is the best way to pack clothes for travel? First, you must consider external factors such as where you're going, and for how long. Then, take into account the weather and the quantity of clothes that you're planning to carry with you. Depending on your priorities, there are several excellent techniques you might want to try out - from rolling and bundling, to folding and vacuum packing. Lastly, zip up your bag with ease and enjoy your trip!

The Knack Pack solution: The best way to pack clothes for travel

We’ve designed our Knack Packs to be the ultimate one-bag solution for travel, work, and everyday life. Check out our product comparison guide to find the right Knack Pack for you! Already a Knackpacker? Here are our top tips to efficiently packing your Knack Pack.