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How do I pack a duffel bag?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

A duffel bag, in the off chance that you do not already know, is a cylindrically shaped bag made of cloth in which you put your personal belongings. Duffel is the name of the material, which is thick and, which originated in Belgium, where this type of material was produced.

Differently shaped and more free-form than a traditional suitcase, some travelers take one look at a duffel bag and don’t know where to start. “How do I pack a duffel bag?” they wonder, knowing that simply stuffing clothing into the opening is not the answer.

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Duffel bags were first used by soldiers and were called a kit bag or rucksack, which is a durable pack that is carried on the back. Rucksacks are also called backpacks, knapsacks, pack sacks and haversacks. The advantage of a duffel bag is that it is expandable and can be crushed with no harm resulting.

Duffel bags generally feature a single zipper that runs the length of the bag. The bag is usually made of tough material that can tolerate some abuse. Duffel bags are sometimes constructed of leather, which results in an extremely sturdy bag, but a leather bag is expensive.

A duffel bag is not hard and rigid like a suitcase so it allows you to pack it to the rafters as well as jam it into a tight corner in the trunk of your car or into the overhead storage area in an airplane.  
If you are a first-time duffel bag user you may not know where to begin when you start packing.

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How do you pack a duffel bag?

Here are some tips: Fold down the side edges of your duffel bag. This allows you ready access to the bottom of the bag. As you fill the bag, unfold the sides gradually.

Put the unimportant stuff that you do not need to retrieve quickly in the bottom of the bag. If you are going to put items in the duffel bag that are not clothing, put them on the bottom of the bag because they are sturdy and resilient.  Shoes should be placed in the bottom.  

To take advantage of the space available, roll your clothing into a cylindrical shape and put them in a row inside the duffel bag.

Pack rolled up socks and belts and other small items inside your shoes. This saves space. It also helps your shoes maintain their shape.

When the duffel bag starts to fill up, shake it. This will help the clothing settle and result in more space.

Duffel bags are usually lightweight compared to conventional luggage and are flexible enough that you can squish them into a tight corner if necessary. They do not weigh as much as regular luggage so you are not apt to go over the luggage limit at the airport.  

Duffel bags used to be limited to use by military people or athletes who needed to haul their equipment back and forth to the gym but that is no longer the case. Duffel bags have gone mainstream and many travelers opt to use them. Duffel bags often feature retractable handles and wheels. This type of duffel bag is called a travel duffel. Getting a duffel bag equipped with wheels is an excellent idea because travelers get tired and anything that can assist them is welcome.

There are certainly advantages to utilizing a rolling duffel bag because they are convenient and easy to handle, compared to the heavy, rigid suitcase that you are used to lugging around. Rolling duffel bags may be smaller than what you are used to using, but they are made so that they can accommodate as much as, or nearly so, what you are able to carry in a traditional piece of baggage.

The shape of a duffel bag makes it easy to retrieve items from within because the interior of the bag is spacious.

Don’t Forget!

Take along a couple collapsible duffel bags that you can use to haul your souvenirs home in.

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