How to Roll Clothes for Packing

By Jenny Green; Updated June 08, 2017

Pack like a pro: rolling clothes and other smart packing tips

How to Roll Clothes for Packing

If you roll your clothes to pack them, you're already halfway along the road to becoming a savvy traveler and packing pro. Expert packers know that rolling clothes reduces wrinkles. Rolled garments also fit better in your suitcase. You can squeeze small items into all those nooks and crannies where nothing else will fit.

Wrinkle-free packing

Rolling clothes isn't the be-all and end-all of smart packing. The fabric of your clothes makes a big difference as to whether they'll be smooth and sleek or crumpled like tissues when you take them out of your case. Check your clothing tags when choosing what to take on your trip:

  • Think twice about 100 percent cotton, linen and silk items, which attract wrinkles like cats to milk.
  • Stick to microfiber, nylon, washable silk, Lycra, wool, jersey and similar fabrics that don't crease easily.

When you're selecting your clothes, figure out what you can leave behind. Crushing as many garments as you can fit into your suitcase creates wrinkles no matter how well you pack. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Take multipurpose items like sarongs, which can function as a shawl, scarf, beach cover-up and skirt.
  • Favor slacks over bulky jeans, and wear your heavy sweater on the flight if you don't want to leave it at home.
  • Stick to two or three complementary colors that you can mix and match rather than entire outfits for every day and evening of your trip.

Rolling vs. folding

Rolling your clothes creates neat little packages that fit well in your case, while folding invites wrinkles wherever the fabric doubles over. Rolling works best with soft fabrics like fleece and thicker materials like denim. If you have an item that picks up wrinkles even while hanging straight in your closet, sorry, but rolling won't stop it from creasing. For very wrinkle-prone clothes, a special kind of folding might actually be a better solution. Spread out one half of the item on the bottom of your case, place rolled clothes on top, and then fold the top half of the item over the rolled clothes. Doing it this way avoids the sharp folds that crease.


T-shirts were made for rolling. Their soft jersey fabric and simple design makes them easy to roll, and when you unroll them, there's rarely a wrinkle to be seen. Place the T-shirt front side downward on a bed and put a finger on a shoulder about an inch in from the edge of the sleeve. Fold back the sleeve along with the side of the T-shirt all the way down from where you put your finger, creating a straight fold. Do the same on the other side, and then roll up the T-shirt from top to bottom. Voila!

About the Author

Jenny Green