Mindful Packing
Mindful Packing

After stepping off a plane, it feels justly satisfying to stroll right past the cache of people huddled around a luggage carousel. Packing all of your travel essentials in a carry-on is a definite departure from gruelling checked bag recovery times and concerns about lost or damaged possessions. Whether you’re jetting off on a brief weekend getaway or a week-long journey across an ocean, doing away with bulky overstuffed luggage will inevitably lead to a more stress free vacation. But with cabin baggage limitations, there are a few things you must consider.

When deciding what to pack before setting off on your travels, remember that a few versatile and interchangeable items go a long way. So start with the basics. A casual sweater, a pair of everyday denims or slacks and a classic T-shirt will do wonders from both a function and fashion standpoint. Before you place any item in your suitcase, take an additional pause to reflect and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Unless the answer is a resounding yes — as it would be with a pair of hiking books on an excursion to Mount Kilimanjaro — you’re likely choosing want over need. Does it make sense to pack three statement sweaters instead of an adaptable loopback pullover? Is it necessary to bring multiple shoe options beyond a solid pair of trainers or slip-ons? Probably not. When plotting items, choose ones that work among each other and can easily intermingle. Flexibility here is key. For instance, a windbreaker or jacket that can take you from daytime to evening. A pair of slacks that are just as comfortable for wandering the streets of a city as they are while socializing at an impromptu soirée.

Standard Issue Travel System packing cube
Standard Issue Travel System packing cube
Chapter travel kit
Chapter travel kit

“A few versatile and interchangeable items go a long way.”

Once you’ve got your trip wardrobe laid out, it’s time to do some strategic packing. In a wave of popularity, organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is certainly something to guide you by. While the efforts of her book declutter your entire surroundings, taking a page from her tactical folding methods will not only help save space but also save you from wrinkly attire. Though it may seem counterintuitive, each prepared item should stand on its side versus laying flat in your suitcase as it traditionally would.

Oxford leather wallet
Oxford leather wallet

While Kondo’s method contains specific steps for each item (shirts, sweaters, pants, socks, etc.), the overarching theme in the variable steps are folds. And many of them. After starting with the item laying flat and transitioning to standard retail folding (like what you often see in stores with the arms folded in on themselves), go one extra step and fold it over once more so it becomes rectangular in shape like a pencil case. Perhaps the most “revolutionary” of the items to stow away are socks. Opposed to haphazard bundles, each pair is folded meticulously into compact rectangles. So much so that they stand on their sides without falling over. By stacking the tightly folded items next to each other, like you would stack books, you’ll soon find yourself with much more room for souvenirs.

Trade Carry-On luggage
Trade Carry-On luggage

With your items selected and finely folded, from here on out it’s just a game of Tetris. Strategically stow clothing that can navigate the trolly ridges in your Trade Carry-On luggage, whereas shoes and packing cubes from the Standard Issue Travel System should be kept flat. A Chapter travel kit filled with your now-standardized 100ml shampoo and conditioner bottles can also be utilized to fill a void, which will prevent items from jostling in transit. Another key tip for breezing through security lines is to keep your travel kit and laptop unobstructed for easy access. As you effortlessly prepare your items for X-ray, those around you will both admire and appreciate. Upon arrival, the freedom of leaving the airport immediately is a small victory every time.

*As seen in Issue 08 of The Journal — a complimentary Herschel Supply print publication that celebrates design and travel.

Written by Sheila Lam
Photographed by Stephen Wilde

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