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The Ultimate Guide: Different Ways to Pack Jeans in a Suitcase

Posted by Bea Manzano on
Travel essentials and jeans laid out on the bed with clear packing cubes

Some travelers would say packing clothes - especially jeans - is the bane of their existence. Well, not to be overly dramatic, but packing jeans can be a bit stressful because they’re bulky and tough compared to other clothing items. But it’s not really that complicated to tame these pants into your luggage. You just need to know how to do it properly. And that's where we come in.

After reading this post, you’ll know not one, not two, but three different ways to pack your jeans in your suitcase, plus some tips to make sure you’re doing it right. Get excited to pack your trousers the right way for your next trip with this sweet guide!

To Pack or Not to Pack Jeans?

Jeans packed in green medium cube

That is the question! And that’s what we’re going to figure out in this par. Let us look at some of the usual problems travelers complain about when packing jeans for their trip. In the end, we’ll let you know when’s the best time to pack jeans when traveling and when it’s best to leave them at home.

Problem #1: It's very difficult to hand wash jeans while traveling.

Solution: Okay, first of all, nobody ever hand washes their jeans while traveling. If you do that, you’re an overachiever. . Your hands and wrist will hurt because jeans have bulkier and tougher fabrics compared to your undies. Spot wash your jeans or find laundry services near where you're staying instead.

You know what's one of the greatest things about jeans? You don't have to wash them often! In this article, Levi's CEO Chip Bergh explained that machine washing your jeans very often can actually ruin the fabric. He says spot washing, wherein you only wash the area that has a stain on it and leave the rest of the jeans be, is the best way to clean them.

He even said that the longer you leave your jeans unwashed, the better they will look. Don’t worry, you can get rid of the unpleasant smell by hanging them right away after taking them off, or leaving them out in the sun, or using a neutraliser spray to eliminate the odor. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your jeans ever - it means you don’t have to wash them as often as you might think. 

Problem #2: One does not simply wear jeans to a formal gathering.

Solution: Jeans are actually a versatile piece of clothing. You can dress them down or up with any top, throw in a smart blazer, add some elegant accessories, and voila! You can attend a movie premiere with that getup. Consider bringing a darker pair of jeans. They're much easier to mix and match with any tops.

Problem #3: Jeans aren't very comfortable to travel in.

Solution: Simple. Don't pack jeans that aren't comfy! Besides, if you don't wear them on the daily, why would you bring them for your trip? Only pack the jeans that you have proven and tested to be comfy enough for travel. Besides, it's 2020 people! There are already jeans out there designed to be more stretchable and less-restricting so you can move easily.

Problem #4: Jeans are too heavy to pack.

Solution: Jeans aren't literally that heavy. They become way too heavy when you pack too many of them. That's why you should wear your jeans to travel in, so you'll just pack one more pair in your luggage. That way, it won't take up too much space or add extra weight in your suitcase.

Again, it's 2021! Buy yourself a lightwear pair of comfy jeans. 

So, should you pack jeans when traveling?

Most travelers would say YES! Some would say NO, but if you ask us, it actually depends on four things: where you're going, when you're going, what you're doing, and most importantly, what you prefer.

For example, traveling to cities, cooler places, and such would be the best time to pack your jeans and take them with you on your trip. However, if you're traveling to a warmer destination, going on a trek, hike, or doing activities of the same sort, it would be best to just leave them and wear a pair of shorts or leggings instead.

But remember, if you’re comfy and happy wearing jeans in whatever situation, that’s the best way to go. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise. You do you, girl.

Best Tips for Packing Jeans

Folded clothes in packing cubes and other travel essentials

Tips on how to pack jeans in a suitcase? Yes, please! We’re laying it all down right here so you can show your pants some love every single time you’re packing. These are the best tips for packing your jeans that you never knew you needed!

Tip #1 - Separate pants into rolling + folding piles.  Pants like jeans, leggings, and workout pants won’t wrinkle easily and can be rolled.

Tip #2 - Fold formal (nice fabric) pants! Generally, suit pants and other formal pants that are made of 100% cotton and non-stretchy fabrics that get creases easily should be folded, not rolled. Folding usually prevents these types of trousers from getting even more wrinkled.

Tip #3 - Iron any jeans before packing them in your suitcase. Don’t fold or roll your clothes right away after they’ve been ironed though! Let them cool down by hanging them on a hanger overnight.

Tip #4 - Button your pants before packing them so they won’t poke or create a bump into the folds.

Folded jeans

Tip #5 - If you like to recognize your jeans easily after packing them (especially if you have multiple ones with the same color), fold them in such a way that the labels, logos, or pocket embellishments are visible.

Tip #6 - Make sure the zipper points upward; it’s easier to fold jeans that way.

Tip #7 - Smooth out the creases on the jeans to avoid messy pleats and wrinkles when packed in your suitcase.

Tip #8 - Find a nice and clean flat surface to lay your pants. After getting used to folding your jeans, you will be able to fold them on your lap, just like a pro.

Tip #9 - Brush your hand gently across the jeans to flatten the wrinkles after folding. This will keep it nice and flat and ready to be packed.

Jeans packed in turquoise clear packing cube

Tip #10 - Use large packing cubes to organize your jeans in your suitcase. These cubes are like drawers for your luggage, so they’re the perfect storage for your pants!

How to Neatly Pack Your Jeans in Your Suitcase

Now that you know some tips for packing your pants, let’s put it into practice! In this bit, you’re not only going to learn how to pack jeans to save space, but all the  different ways to pack any pants into your suitcase. Go grab your jeans and let’s do this!

Pack By Folding


Step 1 - Look for a clean, flat surface to lay your pants. You can do the folding on the floor, table, bed, or any sturdy surface to make sure you can fold neatly.

Step 2 - Lay your pants out flat on the surface and smooth out any wrinkles or creases, including the pockets, so they can be folded properly.

Step 3 - Fold the jeans in half, lengthwise.

Step 4 - Fold or tuck in any loose edges, such as the crotch point, so no fabric sticks out when you fold the pants again in half.

Step 5 - Fold them once more in half, vertically. Flip them over and you're done! The pants should become smaller and now ready to pack inside your cube. 

Watch the video below to see these steps in action. Skip ahead to 0:20 to learn how to fold pants for travel.

Pro Tip: Remember, folding won’t guarantee crease-free pants. But, they will definitely be in better shape when you arrive! . As soon as you reach your Airbnb (or hotel), remove the jeans from your suitcase, then unfold and hang them to avoid any more wrinkles or creases from forming.

Pack By Rolling

Step 1 - Lay the jeans flat on the floor or bed. Fold them lengthwise.

Step 2 - Fold the legs of the jeans crosswise, but not all the way to the waistband; just one third of its entire length.

Step 3 - Tuck in the crotch point and from the folded end, start rolling towards the waistband until done.

Step 4 - Do the same with the other pants and pack them inside your cube. 

Watch this video and skip ahead to 0:50 to see how it’s done.

Pro Tip: You can also start rolling from the waist down to the bottom hem of the pants. Just keep rolling until you reach the cuffs and easily tuck into the packing cube.

  Pack By Folding and Rolling

 Folded jeans and shirts packed in clear packing cubes

Step 1 -  Find a flat surface where you can lay your jeans. Make sure to smooth out the pockets and the creases with your hands. Hold the jeans upright and give them a shake.

Step 2 - Fold one leg of the jeans over the other, lengthwise. Make sure both hems line properly. Smooth it out using your hands.

Step 3 - Tuck the crotch point under the legs, or fold it so that it won't stick out.

Step 4 - Fold the pants in equal half, making sure the bottom hems are brought up to the waistband of the pants.

Step 5 - Roll the pants and use a hair tie to keep it together. Store it in your cube and do the same with the other pants.

Other Ways to Pack Jeans in Your Suitcase

If the simple folding, rolling or combination of both are still not to your liking, don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more jeans-packing tricks up our sleeves! Here are some other clever ways to pack your jeans in your luggage.

✔️ Army / Ranger Rolling

From the name itself, the ranger roll or army roll is a technique used by soldiers to pack their clothes efficiently. This way of packing was made popular by a former U.S. Army soldier demonstrating how to do it on his YouTube Channel. The objective of this technique is to make a tight bundle out of any of your clothing items - yes, it’s not only for packing jeans, but for all your clothes! - that won't unravel even when they're tossed and turned inside your luggage. See how he does it in this video.

Here's a step by step run-through on how you do it:

Step 1 - Zip up your jeans and button them up.

Step 2 - Turn the top part inside out a few inches so that it shows the pockets. Tuck the pockets in.

Step 3 - Fold up the sides of both legs and start rolling.

Step 4 - Roll until you reach the top most part of the jeans.

Step 5 - Wrap up the slack right around the roll to lock it in and keep it from unraveling.

✔️ Bundle Wrapping

This packing technique isn’t only for jeans but it involves all your clothing items for the entire trip bundled into one giant pack of garments. This method actually takes a little bit more time and effort compared to the other methods, but wrinkle-free outfits makes it worth it! This way of packing clothes works best with a structured suitcase and is practical if you’re not going to hop from one destination to another and just unpack everything upon arrival. While it keeps your clothes wrinkle-free, it's not easy to access and not TSA-search friendly. Here’s a demo by NBC News.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps for you to follow:

Step 1 - Make a central core of clothes made of tightly wrapped underwear, socks, and other smaller items of clothing in a t-shirt. Lay everything aside. It will be used after all your clothes are laid on a flat surface. Start with your jacket with the collar side down and arms out.

Step 2 - Lay a long sleeve shirt 180 degrees on top of that and smooth it flat with the arms out and collars up. Arrange them so that the edge of both collars touch just the edge of where the core will go.

Step 3 - Working from most tailored to least, arrange your clothes with shirts on the vertical and pants on the horizontal. The last layer of t-shirts will end up in the middle of the bundle. So here's the order of the bundle: jacket, long sleeves, short sleeves, pants, sweaters, shorts and t-shirts.

Step 4 - Put the central core, which you laid aside earlier, back in the center and start wrapping. Wrap the shirts around the core, sleeves first then the body. Followed by the pants. Fold the fabric completely around the core so the material stays straight, not folded, therefore not producing any creases or wrinkles.

Step 5 - Wrap the next layer around that layer until you get to the last piece, which is the jacket. Smooth out any gathered fabric as you go. And you’re done! Gently pack your beautiful garment burrito in your suitcase.

✔️ KonMari Method

Marie Kondo has definitely revolutionized the art of decluttering and organizing things and popularized the KonMari method of folding. You can use this method to pack your jeans and other items of clothing so it can spark joy when you're packing for your trip! Basically, what separates this packing method from others is that instead of the clothes laying flat in the suitcase, they should stand upright; that's how you know you're doing it right. Watch this video and skip to 3:17 to see how to fold pants the KonMari way.

You can also follow the steps here:

Step 1 - Flatten your pants out. Fold them side to side.

Step 2 - Fold the crotch part in.

Step 3 - Bring the top of the pants down to the feet. But for skinny jeans, bring the cuffs up to the belt.

Step 4 - Make sure you always leave about an inch of space. You bring them just below the top when folding it in half.

Step 5 - Fold them inward until you get a perfect little pair of pants that stands upright.

Now you have lots of options to choose from on how to fold jeans for travel. Try to choose one option that works best and stick to it! We recommend packing your jeans in this large cube. It’s the best storing your bulky jeans and keeping them organized for all your trips.

Now that you know the best way to pack jeans into your suitcase, may you find joy in packing for your future trips. It wasn’t that hard, was it? Just remember to pack your dressiest pants in a suit bag so as not to damage the fabric. As for your other regular jeans, storing them in a packing cube will be your best option. 

If you’re a newbie at packing a suitcase, we have this awesome guide on How to Pack a Suitcase. Make sure to check it out so you can start packing like a pro! 

Safe travels everyone!

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