I Tried the Bundle Wrapping Method to Pack and Here’s How It Went

published Mar 9, 2024
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Clothes laid out for a trip
Credit: Jennifer Billock

As a writer who focuses mainly on travel and is currently planning spring break travel to Italy and Iceland, I’ve had to pack so many carry-ons throughout my career. I hate to check bags, so I’ve always flown with a backpack and a carry-on roller suitcase only. A long time ago, I learned the rolling method for packing, where you roll everything piece-by-piece and pack it that way — it’s helped me become a master at traveling without a lot of luggage. But recently I discovered onebag.com’s “bundle wrapping” method. I’m always looking for ways to streamline and consolidate my packing process, so I knew I had to try it.

Quick Overview

What Is the Bundle Wrapping Method?

Created by Doug Dyment of onebag.com, the bundle wrapping method involves packing your clothes by wrapping items around a central core. The goal is to avoid creases and wrinkles and bundle your items so they don’t budge.

The bundle wrapping method involves wrapping your clothes around a central core. Everything is wrapped one by one over the core, so it gets bigger as you add more clothes. The goal is to avoid creases that inevitably occur when you put folded clothes into your carry-on. It’s also meant to reduce wrinkling because the bundle is anchored in your luggage so it doesn’t move around. 

I hate both folding and ironing, so I gave it a shot. First I packed my carry-on with my normal rolling method to see how much space it took. Then I unpacked and repacked using the bundle wrapping method.

Credit: Jennifer Billock

There’s a bit of a process to the method. First, you pick your core item. It should be something that’s firm but still somewhat soft and measuring around ​​11 inches by 16 inches. Stuff that with soft, small items like socks and underwear. I used my iPad case.

Put the core to the side, then grab all the clothes you plan to bring with you. On a large flat surface like a bed or table, lay your clothes flat, one on top of the other, in this order: jacket on the bottom, longer skirts or dresses, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, trousers or slacks, sweaters and knits, and finally shorts. As you layer each item, be sure you smooth out all the wrinkles before putting another piece on top of it. 

Credit: Jennifer Billock

For pants and longer items, lay them out horizontally, alternating which side the waistband is on (either the left or right). For shirts, lay them vertically, alternating the top of the shirt between bottom and top. You want the things that are most likely to wrinkle on the outermost section of the bundle when you wrap it, so closer to the top of your pile. Remember also to close all the fasteners on your clothing, so zippers, buttons, and snaps should be done. Typically, your jacket should be placed face-down, so the front of it is on the flat surface rather than facing up — but that’s mostly for tailored jackets and blazers. I had a normal fall jacket, so I placed mine face-up.

Credit: Jennifer Billock

Now, begin the wrapping process. Place your core item in the middle of the pile and wrap each piece around it one at a time (do not interwrap). I found it was easiest to relocate the core during the wrapping process, lining it up with one edge of the item of clothing before wrapping. Sleeves should be wrapped across the bundle in the natural direction the sleeve falls. Wrap each item firmly, but not so firm or taut that you’re stretching the material.

Once you’re done, relocate the bundle to your carry-on and anchor it in place with the interior luggage straps. When you arrive at your destination, remove everything and hang it up.

Credit: Jennifer Billock

I ran into a few issues with the bundle wrapping method. The first is that I don’t normally unpack when I’m in a hotel — I just take things out of my suitcase as I need them. If everything is wrapped up in a bundle, I’ll have to unwrap it all just to get the one item I want. It’s especially an issue if all my socks and underwear are in the central core. That being said, maybe this method would encourage me to start unpacking fully when I arrive. I noticed as well that the bundle can get quite large if you have a lot of clothes to pack. Don’t be afraid to use more than one bundle with multiple central cores.

Credit: Jennifer Billock

Ultimately, I’m going to stick with rolling my clothes instead of using the bundle method. While it does have its merits, it takes up more depth in my carry-on than just rolling everything does, so it doesn’t save much space because it cuts into the other side of the luggage where I store harder things like shoes and camera equipment. Rolling takes less time and makes it easier to get things in and out of my suitcase overall. But if you don’t roll your clothes and are trying to avoid wrinkles, give it a try!