32 In Travel Packing

Use packing envelopes and create travel ease

wear what you love

Enjoying a colorful latte in LA


The night I got home from my week in LA I got a burst of energy and unpacked my suitcase, put away clean-enough clothes and tossed the others in the laundry. The high point (and it always is) was finding the TSA flyer inside my suitcase saying they’d gone through it at the airport.

This time I got a double delight in the TSA flyer department. Not only was there a flyer inside my suitcase but there was an additional one inside my packing envelope.


Eagle Creek packing envelopes

Using packing envelopes for easy travel


They actually unvelcroed the flaps, opened it up and put a flyer inside. Oh my gosh! I couldn’t have been happier.

I always expect the agents are looking at my suitcase contents and marveling at how well organized everything is.

This is how I imagine it went down in the TSA headquarters at LAX.

Charlie, take a look at this suitcase. I’ll give her a notice that we snooped through her stuff, but look at this long green envelope. I opened it up and there were two pairs of pants in there, two tops and a dress. And they don’t even look wrinkled. Now that’s pretty darn clever. She must be an expert at this packing stuff!

I couldn’t have been prouder than if I’d gotten extra credit in a subject that I was already getting an “A” in.


Packing systems

When it comes to packing, I’ve tried all kinds of systems. I’ve tried the layering and folding method (it’s probably on YouTube) but unpacking when you reach your destination is not quick. If the trip is heavy on specific outfits for each day, I’ll hang an entire outfit, with accessories and everything, on a flocked thin hanger and put a dry-cleaning bag over each ensemble. Then I’ll gather them together, fold them in thirds and put them in my suitcase. When I reach my destination, I just pull out the outfits and hang them in the closet. No wrinkles.

But for trips home to Minnesota or a working trip like this one was in LA, I find the packing envelopes are easiest.


Eagle Creek Packing Envelopes in use

I picked these up probably 20 years ago at the Container Store. They are by Eagle Creek. Ah, just went to get links for you and they are redoing their website. You can view their products but can’t order them from Eagle Creek. On the site they are called Pack-It Original Garment Folders.

I don’t know why they changed the name to folders. They’re really designed like an envelope. (Here they are at Container Store: Pack-It Folders.) Even the link uses the word envelopes. They flaps fold over onto each other and fasten with Velcro strips. You can pack as much or as little in them as you wish. I try to not overpack them as the clothes stay more wrinkle-free that way. They come in small, medium, and large. It was a splurge at the time to buy each size but I’ve gotten the cost per use down to about five cents each time I travel.


Packing envelopes helped with my winter travel plans to Minnesota

My packing envelopes take lots of trips to Minnesota to see Dad


Working the envelopes for Cabo

Last November when we went to Cabo and stayed with friends I used all three sizes.


Travel packing tips

Eagle Creek packing envelopes


Going from top to bottom, I’ll show you what was in each envelope.

The green one held dresses and skirts.


Using Eagle Creek size large envelope

Two skirts and three dresses fit nicely in the green envelope

In the black medium-sized one I packed tops, t-shirts and pants. This image is missing one pant. It disappeared for a couple of days. It was a flowy linen blue-gray long pant.
Using the medium sized packing envelope

Three linen tops, two t-shirts and two pants (one is not in photo)

In the small red envelope I packed all things relating to swimming.
Eagle Creek envelopes for swimwear

Two bathing suits and one coverup


In addition, I used ZipLoc gallon plastic bags to pack underwear and a black slip and another one to pack scarves.


Packing using ZipLoc bags

Packing undies, scarves, and a slip


To my dismay, I don’t think the TSA agents looked through my suitcase on that trip. At least they didn’t leave me a note. 🙁

When I unpack from a trip these envelopes get stored in my suitcase until the next time. These envelopes have been such useful friends, tried and true.

travel checklist on www.brendakinsel.com

Travel checklist awaits you on www.brendakinsel.com


Oh! Some of you asked about my travel checklist. It sits on my website under Resources but I’ll grab you the link right here.

Any questions about using these envelopes? You probably have favorite packing tips too, right? Let’s talk travel. Do share!



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  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I recently packed for a trip to the Bay Area to visit my daughter and tried the packing cubes. I used the roll method for my clothes. For a two week stay they worked marvelously. I purchased a packing envelope for my husband for his shirts, but for him it was a puzzle to use (he isn’t good at puzzles). I think I will give the envelope a try for the next trip.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      I love it, Colleen! Thanks for sharing your success. And I trust your husband will get the hang of it. Good luck!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    As much as I appreciate good packing tips, today I’m more interested in that lovely white top you’re wearing!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      That white blouse came from Chico’s. I love it too! I took it to an alterations person, however, because the elastic band around the sleeve was too tight. Now it’s so comfortable! Just worn it again yesterday.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I haven’t been on a plane in about 15 years. I can’t tell if you’re being silly or sarcastic or what… the TSA goes through every suitcase? and leaves papers behind saying they did it? What’s the point? That’s horribly intrusive.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      Well, Nomi, it’s part of what’s happened since 9/11. They do not go through everyone’s suitcase. I assume it’s just random. But when they do, they leave behind that piece of paper letting you know they did go through it.
      The first time it happened, it bothered me. But now I understand more precautions are necessary. But it’s all true that I have a fantasy of them opening my suitcase and admiring my great packing!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    I use something similar called “packing cubes” from eBags, zippered bags in a variety of sizes. They are great for organization, particularly on a trip where you are staying in more than one place. They are also great when traveling in the winter, to compress sweaters into less space without wrinkling.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Oh, I’m totally sold on that sweater tip! I travel in the winter to see Dad in Minnesota and that would be great for my sweaters. Thanks, Cathy!!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 4:32 am

    I do that
    I also save those plastic zipper things that sheets come in and use those because they are clear, just sayin

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Yes, Isabella, I have a couple of those in my travel stash as well! I usually air them out on the clothes line to get that smell from the cotton sheets out of them and then they’re good to go!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Hi Brenda – What a coincidence, I had ordered 2 sets of packing cubes that arrived yesterday. I have not used them before and I’m curious – do you stack the items flat or roll them inside the cubes? Planning for a 16 day trip and hoping to keep things wrinkle free as much as possible. Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Deanne, I’ll stack folded jeans or casual pants. I’ll roll clothes as well, like tops and sweaters. Really helps keep them from wrinkling!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I’m the worst packer. As much as I used to go places and such, I ALWAYS overpack. It’s a disease, I’ve decided. The only good thing I do now, is I try on all of my outfits before I go. Yes, it takes an extra hour, but it prevents me from forgetting something important….like a strapless bra, a slip or something like that. It also makes me realize when two pieces don’t work together with the limited shoes that I bring!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      EXCELLENT tip there, Jodie. Trying things on is what I ask my clients to do. Then I write the whole outfit out on their travel chart. They are so grateful. And I do the same for myself. That extra time takes so much stress out of packing!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I recently purchased packing cubes from Aldi’s and used them for my trip to SF a few weeks ago and I have always used gallon and quart ziplocks along with lots of 2X2 in ones for jewelry & meds. And I must add that I read the beginning of your article out loud to Paul and we were LOL. Thank you so much for our morning giggle.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      Sandi, you sound so well organized. I love the sound of those 2X2s. Great for earrings I bet. You’re such an experienced traveler. You could teach us more tricks! Always happy to show up on your screen and be your morning giggle!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I’m a believer! For the first time, I used packing cubes for a 16-day trip in early June to Europe (Paris, Switzerland, Italy). Because our stays in any one place averaged 3-days, I didn’t want to have to be repacking my suitcase at each destination. The ‘cubes’ were perfect! So easy to get to what I needed quickly, without fuss and having to re-organize or re-fold other items. And, all my clothes came out un-wrinkled, ready to wear. I wish I had discovered them many years ago when I used to travel each week for work!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Yay!!! Big success story. Thanks for sharing the details so we could all imagine how you organized for this European trip. I’m so happy!!

  • Reply
    anne catherine
    August 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Your “clothes stories” always amuse me, and are one of the many aspects of your blog that keep me coming back for entertainment, as well as for the tips. Lovely to be whimsical about a topic that interests all of us! (Or we wouldn’t be reading fashion blogs.) I admire your writing skills, and if clothes and situations speak to you, that’s part of the fun! I thought about this recently when I put a dress back in the closet, thinking “Not today, dear. But it will be your turn soon.”

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks, Anne Catherine. I totally love your nurturing closet voice. If I were that dress, I’d be feeling really good that I’d be coming up soon and hadn’t been forgotten. The best!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin - Apart From My Art
    August 2, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Yea!!!! I do something right when I pack. I use those Eagle Creek packing envelopes and other accessories for packing. Nothing just hangs out in my suitcase. Everything has a place. I recently went to Israel for 2 weeks. Only used a carryon!!! Folded linen tops and dresses etc in those envelopes. Worked great. My big question is panties. I thought I’d only take 7 panties and wash in between. But even though I was in a hot place the panties took two days to dry. I did not think hanging panties on the patio rail was a good look for a fine hotel So how many panties do you take?
    Cotton or nylon? Ideas?

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      First of all, great job, Sandra!!! And wow, I wouldn’t have thought about panties taking two days to dry. What a drag! For a two week trip, I’d probably have brought 7 pairs. If I go for only a week, I pack a week’s worth. They don’t take that much space. Mine are nylon, not cotton. xo

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I’ve been using packing cubes for the last few years and they really keep me organized. I’ve given them as gifts to my friends and they love them too. I’m going on a ten day cruise with 2 formal nights and I want to take a carry on. Do you think I can do it? The weather will be mild with cool evenings-Eastern seaboard and Canada (Montreal, Quebec City).

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Oh boy, I wonder if you made it with the carry on! I LOVE the idea of giving these cubes/envelopes as gifts. Brilliant!! I know what I’m doing for next birthdays of friends. Thanks for sharing, Cindylou!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Absolutely love packing tips! I think envelopes/cubes are next on my list, though have started a mini version in the toiletries bag. We still use one large rectangular zipped bag but inside are separate small ziploc type bags (from sample size giveaways from the cosmetics i use) and they are divided by function. Day face, night face, health products, his, hers etc. So many bathrooms have no vanities or door hooks so these stop the rummage. Rolling clothes has so far proved quite successful. The biggest issue for repacking on return is the pillow case containing the dirty laundry. Have taken to roughly folding the dirty items to be able to fit it in: love conquers all doing my husbands as well. Just shows how much space poorly folded clothes take up when we have to use the expansion zip even though there are no additional purchases. And now an enormous thank you for the packing checklist which I’ve personalised. IT HAS SAVED MY SANITY! Thank you so very much 🙂

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      I’m so happy to hear about your packing tips!! You really sound so organized with that his/hers toiletries bag. WOW! And so glad you made your own packing checklist. They really are lifesavers. Thanks so much for sharing your success stories!

  • Reply
    Laurice Gilbert
    August 5, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    That gorgeous white top!

    I wish I’d known about these envelopes when my husband and I did our 7-week round-the-world trip. Imagine how much time and energy I would have saved after he tipped my open suitcase upside down in our B&B in Scotland! (He was standing on the window-sill, trying to watch fireworks.)

    It was all northern hemisphere (though we left, and were returning to, New Zealand in mid-winter), but Honolulu, central British Columbia, Paris, Hong Kong and north-west Scotland (among others) all have very different climate and custom requirements. Envelopes would have been wonderful!

    I like to think I’ll know better next time, but that really was a oncer.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Gosh, you really took on a challenging trip clothing wise. And I just saw in my mind how the suitcase tipped as your husband watched the fireworks. Oh, the things that happen that are unexpected! That’s right up there. Well, even smaller trips are easy when you use these envelopes. Thanks, Laurice, for your share!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 22, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Oh, goodie, I’m doing it right. I love Eagle Creek and use those envelopes all the time. just recently used them for my trip to Israel. They were great! I’m not as organized as you but I fit everything into a carry on for a two week trip! Love Eagle Creek.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      OH my gosh, I commend you! Two weeks with a carryon and out of the country. You win!

  • Reply
    Cimmie S
    August 23, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    If only…I could buy such a great idea/s for packing here in tiny island Tasmania in Australia. Off for 15 day car trip around Victoria (the Mainland) & although I pack well, such envelopes look nifty indeed. Detest either my husband or self wearing creased garments. Having read again Serenity Prayer, I’ll just think ‘oh well’.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      I like your “oh well” plan, Cimmie!

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