I'm trying to decide if I should buy an EC pack-it folder for our upcoming Spain tour or stick with cubes and deal with wrinkles. I've read a few comments that these folders are not practical for tours where you change locations every few days. These individuals seem to prefer cubes for easy access. I've read many who love their EC folders for various reasons, but I've only run across one specific comment about how to remove an article of clothing from the stack of clothes without having to re-fold/re-stack some of the clothes between stops. Is there an easy way to accomplish this, or is it a non-issue? Thank you, in advance!
I've not traveled with the Pack-it but my brother has on RS tours. His shirts were mostly no-wrinkle anyway (perm press or merino wool) so he didn't have issues. I guess the biggest problem is that you might wind up with your shirt folder packed in the middle of your suitcase so you'd have to remove your other packing cubes to get to it. Doesn't seem like it would take more than a couple of minutes. I always flat pack my pants on the bottom of my suitcase but I have everything else pretty much in a cube or bag so things go together quickly.
When I used Eagle Creek cubes I flat packed my tee shirts so they wrinkled less and if you smooth them carefully when you pack it will make a difference in your outcome. Even if you roll your shirts, tug on the sides of the rolled shirt to smooth out the wrinkles then place in the cube you'll have less of a problem.
I also pack a small empty spray bottle. If I'm having a wrinkly time I remove my shirt the night before, spray lightly with water, shake, hang and it's ready to go in the AM.
I use and like the folder for my shirts. I’ve used a cube in the past but find the folder works better for me. It can cause creases but I’m not too picky about it. Not clear to me what that poster was having a problem with. If my shirt is in the middle of the stack I just lift the shirts above it off. Select the one I want and put the rest back. Fasten the fasteners. Easy. Perhaps they’re just a meticulous packer.
For wrinkles and creases hanging a shirt in the shower works well to ease many of them out. For a formal event I whip out the iron to touch up a shirt.
Love the pack-it folders! To retrieve items mid-stack: slide the folding board into the stack, above the item you want to access. Lift the board and take out your item. Then position the board holding the other items back on the stack. Slide out the board. Easier than I’m making it sound.
I’ve been using them for years, even in duffle bags on treks. Hope this helps!
I am with Barbara. It is very easy to use. For my style of packing the folder is the last into the bag. It is like the cap on a jar. Kind of use it to compress the rest of the bag. So, it is the first item out of the bag, on top the drawer or into a draw. As Barbara stated, you just slide the packing guide/board between the folded clothing, lift and pull out the item you need. It is perfect for changing location daily. The bundling style of packing is the one that is impossible to remove one item without undoing the whole bundle. That system would be a real pain if unpacking everyday or so. We only use cubes for organizing loose items or clothing that can be wrinkled like underwear, socks, etc.
We use a combination of folders and cubes. Cubes for things that don't wrinkle such as socks, undies, sweaters, and such. Folders for shirts and pants. Can't say enough good things about folders and have used them on many tours and also independent travels. We would disagree with the statement that "...folders are not practical for tours...". But then we don't know what experience the speaker had with folders. With regard to "...how to remove an article of clothing from the stack of clothes without having to re-fold/re-stack..." we really feel it is a non-issue. Just lift up the items atop the one you want without unfolding them. Takes maybe a half a minute or less.
I'm cheap and made my own folders, but still using them after a number of years and various international trips above and below the equator.
I do make a point of buttoning every button and doing the proper folding method. This makes it very easy to pick up a stack of clothes to get to the one you want. I do tend to put trousers in one and shirts in the other.
I can only think that the problem identified by OP is if the items are a slinky knit or chiffon or some textile that doesn't really hold its shape well. I can see that not working well with the folders. However, polo shirts and even poly knit pants should work. It just requires a little care in moving the items.
I don’t like packing cubes. I have used two eagle creek folder for my past 4 Europe trips. All for three weeks or so. Two trips have been back to back RS tours. Two fit side by side in my RS rolling suit case. By this next two b-to-b tours I am taking the RS convertible back pack and use zip lock bags. I am trying a new method plus i am a minimalist .
If you have two folders fitting side by side in a carry on bag, we are not discussing the same item. The smallest folder would take up most of the room in a standard size carry on bag. One medium size folder just fits inside our 19" carry on bag. You can stack 'em one on top of the other but not side by side. You have to be using something else.
I had used packing cubes for tops, but now I use a small or medium Specter packing folder in my 20” spinner. I’m tall, so my tops and blouses are long—I find a packing folder a more efficient use of space than rolling tops and jamming them in cubes. It’s easy to see at a glance what I have, and easy to pack everything up while traveling. Fewer wrinkles, too.
I pack scarves or a delicate blouse safely on the bottom of the folder, sometimes in an unsealed ziploc bag (so it doesn’t trap air.) Sometimes I use the packing board (which comes with the folder) as a divider between the clean and dirty shirts. The folder works well to compact everything. I leave the top plastic sheet at home, so the top of the folder is soft after it’s packed. In the bag, I Place a cardigan or jacket on top of the folder - this allows everything to compress well. BTW, If the folder is stuffed, the Velcro can catch on clothing inside, so it’s important not to overpack it.
Organization: I roll my pants and put them first in the bag, in between the handles, etc. They are lined up to the right of the bag, with my (ahem, size 12) shoes on the left, so the shoes are at the bottom when the bag is being pulled. Then I put the folder with shirts on top (also to right), and fill in / around edges with small packing cubes for undies, sock, misc. I put a cardigan or jacket on top of the folder. Then I pack my pillow (a travel-size D-core pillow in a compression bag—critical for my bad neck) on top and strap everything downinside bag. TMI, but want to share how the folder works for me.
Folding: I choose fairly thin tops (whether shirt of long sleeve), and fold them in half lengthwise (meeting shoulders together), fold in the sleeves, and then fold them in half (hem to neck). Not rocket science, but it makes best use of the real estate in the folder for my clothes. YMMV.
I recently bought two EC Specter Tech folders. One is 18x12 and the other is 14x10. Depending on the vendor, one may be called large or medium and the other may be called medium or small. Pay attention to the specs for something close to the right measurements.
I tried packing the larger one and had the same difficulty with removing items from the middle. Thanks for the tips on how to do that. I usually pack with EC Specter Tech compression cubes and don't know if I'll use a folder on the next trip, but I'm taking linen so I might use one just for that. They did seem a bit useless with knits.
I'm also tall, so both tops and bottoms are a bit more folded than some of the instructions indicate.
I used the folders when I traveled on business and had business casual attire to keep from getting too wrinkled. Now that we are retired and travel for fun, we only use the cubes, not the folders. If we are wrinkled, frankly we don't care.
The folders are good for button down shirts but I find packing cubes better for polo shirts and t's. Polo shirts in folders seem to get too thick.
Frank——- yes they are by eagle creek . They have several sizes. Mine are 14x10 . I will be glad to send you a pic if you don’t believe me.
One of the things we do at our monthly travel group meetings is demonstrate our packing techniques. A few months ago Kim brought her bag and her packing folders and just blew me away. As we watched she folded and packed shirts and pants. Very neat, very organized, and she did indeed manage to stack them side by side. The result was amazing.
If I ever switch to a rollie bag, I may well copy her technique.
buttoning every button
I use a packing folder too, but I am too lazy to button up. I just fold the shirts the other way, i.e. over front instead of over the back.
I don't get a nice display-like view of the collar and top buttons, but - frankly - I don't care. It's not as if I am trying to sell them.
As stated by others earlier, I used folders for many years when traveling for business. Now I shop carefully for travel-wise clothing and, frankly, don’t care if something is wrinkled. If you’re on an RS tour, no one else will care either.
Taking the folders’ extra bulk, and going through the procedures so they effectively protect your clothing, is up to you. For me, the folder turned out to be a wee too much hassle.
I acquired a nice ultralight polyester travel blazer from Eddie Bauer for my RS Scotland trip so I figured I’d Need my old folder. Turned out the blazer was remarkably resilient so I just folded it carefully and it was the last thing to goin in the bag each moving day. I hung it up in the bathroom while showering and this usually relaxed the minimal wrinkling.
This forum has the most helpful posters anywhere! I mined nuggets from each of you and found my perfect solution. I didn't think to mention that I'm a 5'6", 123 lb woman. I had already ordered a medium pack-it folder that came the day after I posted. After reading some of your input, I knew that I would likely end up using the folder system, but the medium was too large for my clothes. I returned it and ordered two Specter smalls (thank you, Kim). This works perfect...one for pants, one for shirts. As some stated, it's not difficult to remove an item from mid-stack. The folders are a tight squeeze in my RS 21" rolling case, but they fit! I will put them on top of one small cube and two cosmetic type bags, with my shoes in the zippered mesh inner lid. Spain, here we come! Again, thank you, all!