Pack it up or pack it in: either way, getting gear to pack down just right is consistently one of our biggest travel headaches. But fear not, notorious over-packer, because there are a handful of products out there built specifically for “making it fit.”
Whether it be shrinking supplies down or just organizing for the road ahead, here are a few of our favorite packing tools guaranteed to help you get the most out of your next adventure.eBags Ultralight. Featuring five bags (two large, two small, and one slim) weighing in at eight ounces total, the system is a barely-there packing buddy that will keep your gear from spilling out and expanding your bag to epic (and unfriendly) proportions. Spring loaded frames help keep cube shape, but also pack down flat when empty, eliminating any empty airspace in your carry-on.
Combining organization and compression all in one package, the Gobi Gear SegSac Compress looks like a sleeping bag sack, but actually utilizes four compartments to help separate things like socks, t-shirts, and pants for easy access without having to repack your entire bag for a fresh pair of undies. When the sack is packed, yank down on the four compression straps to shrink the bag down. With 30 liters of storage space, and weighing only five ounces, the SeaSac can be combined with your luggage or ride solo on the next road trip.
So, it’s not built for climbing shoes and ski pants, but for anyone that wants to keep a few of those flannels (and the occasional button-down) pressed and folded right out of the duffel bag, this is your tool. Built to fit in most carry-on bags, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Garment Folder holds up to 12 items, and packs down thanks to a pair of compression wings that strap down over your clothes. Not exactly an expert on the folding front? The Pack-It even includes a folding board with a folding tutorial. You’re looking better already.
Another great compression option, the Osprey Packs StraightJacket Compression Sack features a rectangular design that makes it ideal for long van trips and maneuvering for more trunk space. The shape also makes the StraightJacket easy to store in larger suitcases. For those that are consistently shifting from the water to the road, the StraightJacket is also water resistant, providing a little extra protection for that oh-so-valuable dry change of clothes.
Keep the adventure rolling with the Rolo Travel Bag, a roll-out travel bag that stores easily for road or air travel. Mimicking a camping bedroll, the Rolo offers three storage compartments for shirts, pants, and socks, and features a hanger that turns your bag into a traveling closet, one hook at a time. The perfect option for short trips and minimalist travel gurus, the Rolo is as comfortable at the campsite as it is in the hotel bathroom.
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