How to pack a duffel bag
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How to pack a duffel bag for your next camping trip

Nothing is more adventurous than hiking especially for adventurous people. They wait for a time when someone tells them to pack up and let’s go for an adventure. Traveling is fun, but it becomes stressful when it gets to packing. What you manage to pack and carry depends on your traveling style and how much freedom you want to have. If you pack a lot of things, chances are the luggage will limit the amount of fun you want to have and in some cases, packing light isn’t really an option. Do you really know how to pack a duffel bag?

Have a look at our previous review on hiking backpacks here.

One of the best travel accessories is a duffle bag. It’s surprising how many things can fit in a duffel bag if appropriately packed. Remember some airlines charge an extra fee for people with luggage that can’t fit beneath your seat on the plane. The duffel bag, however, can fit there comfortably leaving the passengers comfortable to enjoy the flight.

When packing for a weekend, it’s pretty easy to pack light, but it becomes challenging when packing for an extended period like say two weeks or so. If this happens, you have to be extra careful about what you pack and how you pack it. You have to make sure you pack all the important things first to make sure the trip isn’t cut short by lack of some necessities or having to spend a lot on buying the required items. Take time before the trip and plan on what you are going to use during the entire trip.

How to pack a duffel bag for your next camping trip

How to pack a duffel bag

The activities you are going to involve yourself in also determine the packing you do. If you are going on a trip with outdoor activities, or you are going on a trip in winter, or you expect to enjoy yourself at the beach, you are going to pack differently. Let’s take a look at some of the ways on how to pack a duffel bag for an excellent trip:

Pack only what you require

The first tip on how to pack a duffel bag would be packing only what you require. Take some time before the trip and make a list of the most important things you need for the trip. When packing, have the list and check off items that you have as you pack them. This minimizes the need for packing and wondering whether you have packed all the important things and having to repack again. With the list, you are sure of what you have and what you don’t have giving you an easier time.

Your list should be separated into categories such as clothing, gear, accessories, documents, etc. If you are packing for a hike, you have to consider the terrain you will encounter on the trip, and the same applies to camp. Consider the duration of the trip, weather and the expected activities to make sure you pack efficiently. You realize that a duffel bag isn’t so spacious especially if it’s your first time to try packing light.

Packing precisely what you need makes sure you don’t over pack and get a massive load for nothing while it would have been avoided. If you are going outdoors for camping, for example, there are sleep-away camps that provide you with a list of what you can bring.

Pack the heavy items first

This mostly applies to hikers, campers, and backpackers when it comes to packing their gear. Make sure the equipment is packed at the bottom of the duffel bag. These are the less fragile stuff, and at the same time, they won’t put a lot of pressure on your duffel bag zipper as it’s supposed to be carried with the zipper side up. Packing the light or fragile items in the bottom of the duffel bag compartment is a risk since these things might be crushed by the heavier ones on the top.

To be on the safe side, pack the shoes, gear and other non-delicate items at the bottom. After this, roll all clothing apart from the jackets and place them tightly on top of the boots and the gear. The jackets should go on top of the duffel bag. Place them on top and tuck them on the sides. This avoids having to rearrange your clothes looking for a jacket when it gets chilly.

Pack efficiently to avoid wrinkling

Duffel bags are prone to compressing and creasing clothing. When packing, make sure you don’t just jumble everything together as it can leave a mark on your garments. When traveling, it’s hard to get all the time to iron the clothes after creasing.

To make things easier for you, fold your clothes carefully and arrange them into the compartments of the duffel bag.

Roll your clothing

This is the most effective space saving method when packing a duffel bag, and it’s also the best way to avoid wrinkling. Place specific type of clothing in certain parts of the duffel bag. Put the specific types of clothing together such that you know where to find what fast and easily without having to disturb the other packed clothing. For example, put all your pants together, all of your shirts together and all of your socks together.

how to pack a duffel bag tips


Fold the smaller and loose type of clothing between the folds of the larger items of clothing. On the inside of the bag, fold the clothes that are tough and least likely to crease then work outwards and have a small neatly folded bundle.

Stuff lightweight clothing inside your shoes.

This includes gloves, undergarments, socks and other thin fabrics. This method helps save space, and it also helps your shoes hold their shape after everything else is packed on top. For the sake of efficiency and to make things easier, pack anything compressible and light inside of anything heavy and hollow.

Pack your items in the order of need if you can.

This means packing the items you need most frequent at the top of the back and the ones you need least at the bottom. It will avoid having to nicely pack the duffel bag and having to repack again when digging for a jacket you had placed at the bottom of the bag but you need to use it now.


If you have other tips on how to pack a duffel bag, feel free to share in the comments section.

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