Packing Travel Info & Reviews

What is the Best Way to Pack One Week of Winter Clothes in a Carry-on?

In this post I will test four ways to pack one week of winter clothes in a carry-on suitcase. You have a few more weeks left to throw in a quick cold weather trip. Everyone wants to travel with a carry-on only. There are so many different ways to do this. So, I conducted a test using four popular packing methods. The same pair of jeans, romper, sweaters, and more were used for each test.

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First is the KonMari method. I use this method in other areas, such as organizing art supplies. And I’ve used it once before for traveling. However, I was packing summer clothes and it’s a lot easier to pack light weight clothing.

For this method, fold the clothes into squares and “file” them one behind the other. You won’t get perfect squares with thicker clothing. However, I think you get the idea.

I’ve included the image below, of the KonMari packing method on summer clothes. Clothes are folded once lengthwise, then folded multiple times widthwise.

This method worked well, even with heavier clothing. All items fit into one side of the suitcase. This left room for shoes and other items on the second side.

Packing Cubes

Then it was time for the packing cubes. These come in many sizes and allow you to organize different clothing items.  When packing winter clothes in a carry-on, you don’t have room to use all the packing cubes in a set. I used the large and medium sizes. I rolled my clothes before putting them into the packing cubes.

one-week-of -winter-clothes-in-a-carry-on

These cubes worked well. This time, I rolled my clothes. Again, everything fit into a single side of my suitcase.

Compression Packing Cubes

Then it was time to test out the compression packing cubes. I was excited to use the compression packing cubes. These are from the Japanese store Daiso. I love this store for inexpensive travel items. Learn more about shopping in Japan in my best places to shop in Japan post.

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The bags are similar to regular packing cubes. The difference is that compression packing cubes have a zipper that compresses the cube and makes it smaller.

My clothes fit best folded flat. I did not fold the clothes or roll them, as in the previous tests. These compact packing cubes made my clothes way more compact than the regular packing cubes. As you can see, for the third time, all items fit into one side of the suitcase.

Vacuum Compression Bags

The last and final way to pack one week of winter clothes in a carry-on suitcase is with vacuum compression bags. I had used the non-vacuum version of these before. I tested these on a two-week trip to Haiti. Everything fit in my carry-on suitcase. However, it was so hard to take the air out to compress the bags. The vacuum makes so much sense.

I placed the clothes inside the bag. They were folded flat for this method as well. Everything fit inside two small vacuum bags. Taking the air out was a breeze using the vacuum.

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To my surprise, I was not able to close the zipper on the inside of my suitcase. If I was to close the suitcase, the clothes would overflow into the second half of my suitcase. That is not ideal.


My favorite method to pack one week of winter clothes in a carry-on suitcase is using compression packing cubes. My clothes were so compact. And I had the added benefit of separating my clothes by type.

My least favorite method for packing one week of winter clothes in a carry-on suitcase was using vacuum compression bags. That method caused my clothes to take up the most room in my suitcase. I wasn’t even able to close the zippered compartment inside my suitcase. 

Do you prefer to travel using a carry-on suitcase? How do you pack to maximize space? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Nice post, Kelcy…
    I’ve used packing cubes in the past, they worked well for me too.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with packing…I’m hoping not to be traveling in the wintertime…a quickie weekend trip when it’s warm sounds good to me.

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