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Folding vs Rolling: Which packing technique wins?

Recently updated on August 17th, 2023 at 03:13 pm

It’s the age old travel debate, is it better to fold or roll clothes when packing? Some are firmly in the folding camp, while others fiercely defend rolling. Here, on the humble Trafalgar blog, we’re ready to throw our non-partisan hat into the discussion. It’s time to settle this once and for all, and give the uncrinkled crown to the ultimate packing technique.

folding clothes for packing


Folding currently rules the roost in popular culture. Most people fold when packing. This is probably because we fold when putting clothes away at home, so they’re easier to stack and access. We can just grab and shove straight into our bag. However, the million dollar question is…is folding the best option when packing a suitcase?

The pros of folding when packing

  • It’s quick.
  • It’s super easy and requires minimal effort.
  • For shirts and jeans it’s very convenient.
  • You can fold items along their existing creases.


  • Clothes made of natural fibres like cotton will form creases and wrinkle.
  • It’s not an efficient use of space, takes up more room and can leave gaps.
  • Can be difficult to find what you want if all your clothes are stacked on top of each other.

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packed suitcase


Tightly rolling your clothes allows for much more compact packing. You can fit more clothes in your bag and reduce creases. Popularized by Japanese clean-freak sensation Marie Kondo, this is a slower, more aesthetically pleasing way of packing (typically Japanese, right?). However, drawbacks are that it can take a little longer, and some things don’t roll well.


  • Rolling saves space in your bag, especially if you only have hand luggage.
  • You can organise your bag better, by being able to see every item of clothing.
  • Rolling is great for small items. Especially for items made from synthetic fibres like nylon as they will be less likely to wrinkle.
  • It works well for shorts, socks, synthetic t-shirts, tank tops, some pajamas and sweat pants.


  • T-shirts, jeans, trouser, dresses and swimsuits can often take up more space when rolled rather than folded.
  • Takes longer.
  • Harder to perfect.
  • It’s difficult to roll up button shirts.
  • Formal wear like suits or posh dresses are likely to crease when rolled up.

So as you can see, pros and cons for both. Folding is good for some reasons, rolling for others. So, which is best? How do we solve this dilemma? Is there not an answer for such existential questions? Instead of picking sides, we’d like to bring forward a third option. An alternative, which actually brings out the best of both worlds. Introducing…the humble packing cube.

Packing cubes

Packing cubes are, in our opinion, the best way to organise your clothes while packing. You can fold some things in some cubes, like button shirts, and roll the rest in other cubes. That way, you get the best of both worlds!

Cubes make it easy to categorize your clothes into hot weather vs cold weather, smart vs casual, or whatever way you choose. It also helps you separate your clean clothes from dirty while you’re out on the road.

That’s not even mentioning that its is a great way to save on space, as packing cubes help compress your clothes. They also make it really easy for you to access particular items without the rest of your clothes falling out of your bag.

Do you have any tips for packing? We’d love to hear them! Share your advice in the comments below.

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