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Roll Your Clothing

[David Ahntholz for The New York Times]

I would have missed Packing Tips From Travel Pros in last week’s NYT had I not noticed it last night in their list of most emailed articles. The link was to the accompanying slide show, which I studied first before turning to the article.

The principal tip of the article and slide show is to roll, roll, roll.

[M]any flight attendants roll their clothes rather than fold them to save space. Nerea Gomez-Cambronero, an attendant with Air Europa Líneas Aéreas in Majorca, Spain, has taught friends and relatives to roll-pack clothes. “The rolling-your-clothes tip is the basis of my entire company,” said Don Chernoff, an engineer and frequent traveler, whose www.skyroll.com offers a line of luggage that encourages rolling rather than folding.“It’s a more efficient use of the space.”

Thanks to Gail, I learned to roll in 1996. On the eve of our cross-country trip that August, we bought various sizes of duffel bags for Gail, Joel, and me, and Gail rolled all our clothes into them. Off we went to King Street Station to board the Empire Builder for Chicago, and Gail’s genius quickly revealed itself.

Truth is, I haven’t been a good roller in recent years. The NYT article has inspired me to try it again.

I have one question though. Check out that slide show if you haven’t yet. It starts with a photo of flight attendant Heather Poole sitting on the floor next to her bag and the clothing she plans to pack. The second slide has the following caption:

Folded clothing takes up too much space. Instead, Ms. Poole tightly rolls everything, which also minimizes wrinkling. This suitcase will hold three pairs of shorts, three pairs of dress pants, one skirt, three pairs of casual pants or jeans, three nightgowns, three bathing suits, one sarong, three lightweight sweaters, four dresses, 10 casual shirts, six dress shirts, a clutch, toiletries and two pairs of shoes. She’ll wear the third pair of shoes, as well as jeans and a longer sweater.

Wow! Never would I have imagined fitting so much in so small a bag. She must be an even greater packing genius than Gail.

But wait. Isn’t something missing? My awe is tempered by puzzlement. What about undergarments? Or do the bathing suits do double duty? A little more information might have helped.

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Categories: Clothing, Travel
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