Here’s how une femme packs two weeks’ worth of clothing, plus toiletries and some other odds and ends in a 20″ carry on wheeled suitcase. (The bag: Eagle Creek Tarmac 20 )
First, lay out a clean towel on the bed so your clothes won’t get covered in pet hair! (OK, so our dogs are a bit spoiled…)
Then, starting with the shoes you’ll be packing, stuff with socks, jewelry, spare eyeglasses, Clarisonics, electrical adapters, anything that will fit.
This not only saves space, but helps prevent shoes being smooshed. See below, nobody flies for free! Every shoe carries something.
Some people use shoe bags to prevent shoe dirt from contaminating clothing. I tend to clean shoes off with a damp rag or paper towel before packing, and pack with soles to outside walls of bag. I suppose I could wrap in plastic grocery bags in a pinch, but usually I’m just not that squeamish.
Above, you can see the “valleys” made by the structure that houses the telescoping bag handle. Some people avoid wheeled bags for this very reason, but I’d rather wheel than carry to save my neck and shoulders.
Above I’ve used the valleys and gaps to pack my folding duffel bag, my raincoat, and non-liquid toiletries and cosmetics bags. You can see there are still some unused nooks and crannies. Those might come in handy for packing small souvenirs on the trip home.
I’ve packed this time using two Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes for my clothing. This isn’t as efficient a use of space as just rolling the clothes and placing individually in the bag, but as we’re going to be loading up and changing locations three times on this trip, these help keep me organized and make that process simpler when the time comes to re-pack.
First, I start with the pants.
Above, fold flat (not along the crease line) then starting with the waistband end, roll up as smoothly and tightly as you can.
In the first packing cube above, I was able to fit the three pair of pants that I’m packing plus the long black cardigan and short jacket, all rolled.
In the second cube, all of my packed tops, plus my nightwear (including a lightweight silk bathrobe).
Here’s how the cube looks all zipped up. You can really stuff these babies.
Lay the cubes flat on top of the items already packed…
with the heavier of the cubes toward the vertical bottom of the suitcase for balance. As you can see above and below, I haven’t filled the main packing compartment up to the rim, so the lid closes and zips with room to spare.
Above, all the clothing is now packed and secured using the compression straps to keep everything in place. Underwear and bras are in the mesh compartments in the lid on the right. I still have room in the main compartment for my electrical equipment (various chargers and an adapter) if I want.
And there’s another flat-ish (1-2″ deep) compartment in the lid that I haven’t used. Might be a handy space for a compression bag of dirty laundry on the trip home.
My laptop will slip nicely into the padded exterior pocket on the lid of the suitcase for easy access going through security. My clear quart baggie of liquids, wrap and purse will go into my “personal item” zip-top tote.
I’m successfully resisting the temptation to pack any more. Right now, I can easily lift this bag over my head, or pick up and carry up a flight of stairs or three. I don’t want to spoil the magic.
In a few hours, we’re off!
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