How to Pack Using the Travel Capsule Method

by Allie Moore

Apr 21, 2018

© lzf | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

Packing for trips is almost a science: Deciding what to bring and what not to bring can be harder than trying to find a cab on a rainy day. Planners prefer to pack more than they may need, rationalizing that their mood (and thus their desire to wear a specific clothing item) may change once in their destination. A solution for such overpacking problems is the Capsule method, a strategy designed by Wendy Mak who wrote a book on the subject, The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits From 30 Pieces.

The idea of the Capsule method includes dividing outfits into tops and bottoms (sorry, dresses). If a traveler can pair five tops with five bottoms, he has up to 25 unique outfit options when on the road. Tossing in two or three outer layers (sweaters, jackets) and two to three pairs of shoes will increase the potential number of ensembles even more.

Once you have these key separates in mind, the actual process of packing is much simpler and less time-consuming. What takes the most time is deciding which universal tops and bottoms would be best for your destination and that destination’s weather forecast. Packing a handful of tops and a handful of bottoms gives you enough variety to be creative with your outfits and avoid wearing the same thing twice, while also allowing enough time for laundry days, if needed.

The capsule method of packing also prevents the likelihood of packing one statement piece you either won’t wear at all or will only wear once, thus making room for precious space in your luggage that could be used for an extra pair of shoes.


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