Travel Hacks

How to Pack: The Flat Technique

by Pavia Rosati

There's more than one way to tame the suitcase. Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr

Around here, we believe in the art of packing well. We're just of two minds about the best method for doing it. We fall into two factions: the roll and the flat pack. So we held a pack-off with a Rimowa suitcase and a massive pile of stuff (both essential and excess) at the Standard High Line Hotel in New York City and captured it on camera. Which is the best? That's up to you, wanderer.

I'm Pavia Rosati, and I'm a flat packer. It took some convincing because I was a committed folder for years, but, counterintuitive though it may seem, unfolding clothes and laying them flat in a suitcase maximizes space and ensures clothes arrive neatly. I'm known to repack my friends' overstuffed suitcases, just to see how much empty space I can find. (I know: It's a sickness.)

Pavia's Essential Flat-Pack Tips

1. Start with underpants: Place small items on the bottom of the suitcase to create a level surface.

2. Find the longest clothing and lay it in first. Pants, then dresses, then tops. Align garments on one end of the suitcase and let everything else drape over the edge of the bag. You'll tend to it later.

3. Once you've laid everything out in one layer, tuck curved items, like bras, into corners and shoes (in shoe bags!) along the sides and in the middle.

4. Flip the clothing hanging outside the suitcase over onto itself. Do it neatly. This is the crucial move. 

The Pack-Off Continues

Flat isn't the only preferred Fathom packing method. We also like the roll. Check it out.

Special thanks to the Standard Hotel for the location, Rimowa for the suitcase, and Spin The Bottle for the video.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.