Socks & shirts

Optimizing my life and upgrading my travel clothes and luggage.

This year my family and I had planned a big road trip through the U.S.A. We would visit multiple towns and cities, renting a S.U.V. to ride from place to place. Visiting Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Bass Lake, Yosemite, Death Valley and more. This whole trip took us three weeks to complete and during these weeks we spent a lot of hours on the road.

Using a car to drive from destination to destination made it important to pack my luggage tight and with a good system behind it. So I decided to make it a little vacation project and listed the challenges of packed luggage during a road trip.

  1. Constantly opening and packing up your luggage every time you travel between locations.
  2. Try to pack as light as possible, making sure everyone’s luggage fits inside the car.
  3. Have clothes for every type of expected weather.
  4. Separating clean and dirty clothes.

Constantly opening and packing up your luggage every time you travel between locations. Because of the many locations we wanted to visit, we only stayed in the same city for a maximum of three days. Therefore my luggage needed to be easily packed every few days. I decided to create a bundle of every item I took with me. Using elastic bands and folding to reduce the space every item took. This also had the additional effect of keeping everything organised. In my past trips I occasionally needed to search through my bag to find a certain object. However using the elastic bands to create smaller denser packed items really helped with keeping the bag organised. This system used less space than just throwing your clothes in and having more space in your bag is always a good thing!

Try to pack as light as possible, making sure every ones luggage fits inside the car. I decided to only take one travel bag with me that should fit all my luggage. Next to this travel bag I had a smaller bag that fitted inside the bigger bag for longer periods of travelling. Using the elastic band compression of shirts, jackets and underwear, my space for these items was minimized. The next step was to order it in a way everything fitted and supported the weight of each other. This was a step where I was rather lucky. My shirts, underwear and socks created a tight line thanks to the compressed packing. The leftover space in the shape of holes in these lines was perfect to fit things like small travel games, a hat, sunglasses and other items. Another additional bonus of this way of packing was that every breakable item was surrounded by soft shirts or socks to lessen any impact. In the end the one travel bag was enough to fit all my items.

Have clothes for every type of expected weather. This is a tricky one because it also affects the previous challenge. If you want to have clothes for every weather type you have to pack more. But we had limited space in the car because we needed to fit six people and their luggage in it. I went to my closet to inspect my clothing and found a tricot henley shirt I owned. This would do! A shirt that can short sleeved and with a deep v neck during hot days. Or be long sleeved with a high round neck for the colder days. This was a shirt that could be used for multiple weather types. I bought 4 more shirts of the same type. They were cheap and in sale any way. Next to the shirts I packed a jacket for when it would be colder. Now with the upper body handled I only needed to pack 3 pair of pants, underwear and socks. I also used the elastic bands to compress the underwear inside the bag.

Separating clean and dirty clothes. This was a rather easy one more people already use. Just pack a plastic bag with you in which you can put your dirty laundry. This way your clean clothes won’t start smelling like the dirty ones after a few days.

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