How to Pack a Military Duffle Bag

How to Pack a Military Duffle Bag: Smart Traveling Tips

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With the changes in baggage regulations on flights, it’s essential to utilize all of the space you have in your duffle bag. We find that frequent flyers learn that while it may be easier just to throw everything into two to three suitcases, you can save money by packing one of your bags military style.

In this article, we will explain what army duffle bags are, why you should use them, and how to pack a military duffle bag like a true soldier would.

What Are Army Duffle Bags?

Army duffle bags are a specific type of duffle bags that are used in the military. They are made from a soft fabric that easily expands, allowing you to place more items into your bag.

Instead of traditionally being made from nylon or other materials that you’d typically find in a gym or travel duffle bags, army duffle bags are made from heavy-duty canvas materials. Military duffles also provide you with longer straps and handles, as this will make them easier to carry for long periods.

Why Should You Use Them?

You should consider using a military bag if you’re trying to save money and use less space. Having more than one or two checked-in bags can be costly, especially if you could fit all of the contents of both suitcases into one duffle in the first place.

Duffles are also very lightweight when compared to hard-shelled suitcases. When you check your bags, you’ll likely be charged extra fees if your bag goes over the weight limit. If this is the case, having a duffle bag can be extremely useful. Duffles, at max, weigh three pounds, which is around five to 10 pounds lighter than most suitcases.

Lastly, duffle bags come with multiple compartments, which can help you keep your possessions organized. While each model differs, military duffles come with at least two compartments. You can store your dirty clothes in one compartment and clean ones in another.

How to Pack a Military Duffle Bag

How to Pack a Military Duffle Bag

Now that we’ve established why you should choose to use a military duffle bag, let’s get into the details when it comes to packing one. Here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow:

  1. Lay all of the items that you want to pack into the duffle onto your bed or a flat surface. This will give you a better idea of how much space you will need and also keep you from forgetting anything.
  2. The next step is to take any underwear or socks and pack them together into a ball. This can be done by slowly rolling them inside out, but not fully. By doing this, you’ll be able to pack them into your shoes and save a bit of extra space.
  3. Fold your shirts and pants in half and make sure that they are flat without any bumps or wrinkles. Next, slowly start to roll them up until they form into a tube shape.
  4. Place your toiletries into a sealed plastic bag and push the extra air out. Then, take that same bag and place it into your toiletry bag. This can help prevent your luggage from becoming damaged or wet if there's a leak.
  5. If your duffle includes compartments, then place all of your other loose items into those pockets. If your bag doesn't come with that, then you should sort them out and place them into labeled plastic bags.
  6. After that, start placing all of your items into the duffle bag. Place any heavy items at the bottom of the bag and place the lighter ones on top. The heavy ones include coats, jackets, outerwear, and shoes.
  7. The next layer should be your pants. If there are gaps between the bottom layer, then you can place your pants into those.
  8. Next, place your shirts on top of the last layer. Make sure that they stay tightly compacted, as this will give you the most space.
  9. Place any extra items into plastic or mesh bags and then place them on top of the shirts.
  10. Lastly, lay the toiletry bag on the very top, as this provides you with easy access to them without digging through your bag.
  11. The optional step is to fill any other exterior compartments with books, magazines, passports, paperwork, and the likes.

Once you’ve completed all of these steps, then congratulations! You’ve just successfully packed your duffle bag the military way.


No matter if you’re short on cash, want to skip extra fees, or just looking to save some space, military duffle bags can help you reach this goal. Learning how to pack your duffle bag like an army veteran can help you utilize space and quickly get to the items you need without messing up your bag.

You’ll find that it doesn’t take that much extra time or energy to organize it, as it just requires a few extra minutes to roll your clothes and stack them on top of each other. One of the best reasons frequent flyers use this method is because it also allows them to have extra space for souvenirs, electronics, or any additional objects that they want to bring back home. Hopefully, this article has helped you learn how to pack a military duffle bag.

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