How to pack a bag for a weekend away - the Eastpack Station Duffle Bag review
Time for another review for our friends over at Stand-Out.net. However, this time we’re going to do something a little different…
The item I’ll be reviewing this time is the Station Duffle Bag from Eastpack and is available on Stand-Out.net for £39.00. Eastpack are a staunch brand who have been making really decent bags since 1952, so I’ve no doubt that this bag will be of good quality.
To really test out this bag I’m going to run a little tutorial on a basic ‘man skill’ that I think is under appreciated: How to pack a bag for a weekend away.
Now, this might sound like an obvious process to cover but I think there are many advantages to getting this seemingly mundane activity right: Ideally you want to pack everything that you can possibly need, without having to carry too much heavy stuff around with you. This process is something I’ve designed to make finding all your stuff easy and very quick: If you’re on holiday, you don’t want to waste valuable time looking for something in your luggage. Also, you might be amazed at how many blokes need a little advice in this area.
Later in the year, when our thoughts turn to boozing and partying in a field, I may well write a piece called ‘How to pack for a festival’ as I think I’ve got this process down to an art but for the meantime, let’s stick to an average weekend away; maybe you’re going to see some friends in another city, you’re going on a stag do, or wedding or perhaps visiting the girlfriend’s parents for the first time. So let’s get started.
1. Step one is easy but essential: Plan.
Get a piece of paper and a pen and write down the days that you’ll be away at the top and start a list below.
If you’re away Friday / Saturday / Sunday and you’re going to be out and about, smartly dressed in the evening and casual for the morning after - plan accordingly. I like to ensure that I have an outfit planned for the big night out but also something comfortable to see out a hangover the next day.
If there’s one big event in your schedule that involves a suit - such as a wedding or a conference, prepare for this separately with a suit bag; crumpling your suit into a duffle for the weekend isn’t ideal.
2. Create ‘day kits’
Generally speaking, there is a formula to most men’s clothing: At the basic level this every-day formula is going to include at least underwear; socks and boxers - and then some extras - like a shirt or a t-shirt.
In this step, we’re going to create a sausage shaped roll of clothing that includes all the basic attire that you need for each day.
Rolling up all your clothes might seem counter-intuitive, but it really works: Your shirt will keep the lengthwise creases and it won’t crease as if it were folded. Also, all of your essential attire will be together in one easy to reach place, so there’s no searching around for those missing socks.
My ‘day kit’ would usually include a shirt, vest or t-shirt, boxers and socks. You can plan everything you pack around this formula. I like to lay out a shirt (make sure it is ironed and folded lengthwise) and on top of this, lay a t-shirt or vest. On top of these two items, lay out the boxers and atop lay the socks across at the bottom.
Using the socks as the centre, roll all of the items around the socks. Try to keep everything tight and you’ll see how useful these rolls of clothing become when trying to save space.
3. Decide on and pack your trousers at the bottom
You can survive a weekend away with just one pair of jeans. However, if you’re keen on taking another pair, something special, some shorts or even swimwear – these can do at the flat bottom of the bag.
Many bags will have a hard bottom – usually just a strip of plastic or card that gives the base some structure. This is very useful as it keeps your kecks flat and therefore tidy. However, the Eastpack Station Duffle bag does not have a hard bottom. It’s only a small disadvantage, but I can’t imagine it would have cost Eastpack a great deal to include one, so it’s puzzling why this was omitted.
Fold your trousers at the knee, lay them flat at the bottom and ensure there are no creases. If you’re taking multiple pairs or shorts, stack them on top neatly.
4. Add your ‘day kits’
Now is the point where you add the ‘day kits’. If they’ve been rolled tightly, they won’t take up much room and should be about the same width as your trousers that are at the bottom of the bag. Pack in each roll one next to the other to create another layer.
5. Extra layers
Now that the majority of your clothing is nicely packed in, you should have some space on top for jumpers, sweaters and jackets etc. I find it’s best to fold jumpers and sweaters, as these crease less easily and are actually bigger when rolled up than when flat.
Lay out your jumpers and sweaters on top of your ‘day kit’ rolls – ensuring to keep everything about the same width.
Now you want to add a waterproof layer to the top if there’s any chance of rain: If you’re going to take a jacket or cagoule keep this right at the top – above the rest of your clothes. If it rains, the top part of your bag may take the brunt – a waterproof layer here can save you from soggy upsets.
Also, you’re probably going to need a towel on your weekend away. This can work nicely as an absorbent layer under the waterproof layer, but over the rest of your clothes. Alternatively, you can include a towel on the very bottom layer (below trousers) if you think moisture will seep into your bag from below.
7. Footwear / Miscellaneous bits and bobs
Of course, you’re not only going to be taking clothes away with you. There’s lots of little items that you’ll need on your weekend away: Sunglasses, camera, ipod, phone charger, passport, travel documents, a comb, a good book - little bits and bobs that you take for granted everyday but couldn’t do without.
As well as this, it’s worth taking a spare pair of shoes. If you’re going to be wearing something smart, leather shoes or boots can be worn whilst you travel, if you are comfortable in them and pilmsolls or light weight trainers can be packed neatly into the gaps in your bag.
It’s a good idea to make use of the space in your shoes - slot your smaller items into the shoes; you’ll know where your stuff is and it’ll be well protected inside the shoe.
Ensure the sole of your shoe is facing out or down when you pack it in - the bottom of your shoe may be dirty and the rigid sole will help protect what’s inside.
8. Get yourself a good wash bag
The process of packing this way might seem a little anal, but it will save you time: Everything will be organised and easy to find.
When it comes to including toiletries, in my opinion it’s vital to have a good wash bag. Your shampoo, shower gel and soap can all be stored in one orderly place within easy reach and this will save you time in the morning. If you pack this well (maybe even wrapping your bottles in plastic bags) you wont have any burst containers and this will save your clothing from being covered in sticky liquids.
There’s lots of good wash bags on offer, this one from Muji looks good.
And how is the bag? Well, it’s certainly big enough for all your weekend attire and accouterments; there’s a lot of space in side, fabric that stretches to accommodate a lot of clobber and it’s light weight. The handles are big an comfortable and there’s a couple of useful little pockets - one on the inside and one at the front on the outside. I especially like the big webbing straps at the front - looks like it could hold a lot of weight. I’m yet to use this duffel on a weekend away but there’s one coming up soon - so I’ll let you know just how it fairs.
Oh, and also; it’s an Eastpack bag - it comes with a thirty year guarantee as standard. If it rips or breaks within thirty years, they’ll fix it or replace it for you for free. Eastpack are that confident in their workmanship - that instills confidence for me.
Find this bag at Stand-Out.net for £39.00 - and that’s a best price promise from Stand-Out.
Thanks to Stand-Out.net