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TSA UPDATE on Bringing Aboard Medicine, Gels, Liquids and Aerosols


Please be advised the TSA has restablished the rules regarding bringing aboard medicine and toiletries in gel or liquid form. Travelers can once again carry-on board a domestic airliner their sundries as long as they do not....

Please continue the article at PackingLight's Latest Security Update

Published: 11/1/2006, 8:05 PM


How to Evaluate Travel Clothing Fabrics 101 - Part II: Fibers


In our original discussion in part one, talking about travel clothing and fabrications, we began with understanding the desired serviceability characteristics of all clothing: aesthetics, durability, comfort and safety, appearance retention, care, environmental impact and cost.

To further our understanding of travel textiles we need to learn about the foundation of all clothing and that is in textile fibers and their properties.
Textile fibers have been used to make cloth for several thousand years. The four most commonly used natural fibers during this time have been wool, flax, cotton and silk. These four fibers continue to be used and valued today, although their economic importance relative to all fibers has decreased. Natural fibers are those fibers that are in fiber form as they grow or develop and come from animal, plant, or mineral sources. The other major group of fibers are what we call manufactured fibers or man-made fibers and they are made from chemical compounds produced in manufacturing facilities.

To analyze and predict a fabric's performance or serviceability, start with the fiber. Knowledge of a fiber's properties will help to anticipate the fiber's contribution to the performance of a fabric. Now, it is also important to note that product characteristics also result from other components beyond the fiber itself. The type of yarn and its structure influence hand and performance as well.

The primary fiber properties to be discussed are the physical structure, aesthetic, durability, comfort and appearance retention properties. The physical structure of a fiber is identified by observing the fiber using a microscope. When examined fibers are identified by length, size, cross-sectional shape, surface contour, crimp and fiber parts. Fibers are sold by the fiber producer as staple, filament, or filament tow. Staple fibers are short fibers measured in inches or centimeters. Filaments are long, continuous fiber strands of indefinite length, measured in yards or meters. Filament tow is produced as a loose rope of several thousand fibers, crimped or textured, and cut to staple length.

Perhaps more importantly to travelers is the size of a fiber. Fiber size plays a big part in determining the performance and hand of a fabric. Large fibers give crispness, roughness, body and stiffness. Fine fibers give softness and pliability. Fabrics made with fine fibers drape more easily. Natural fibers are subject to growth irregularities and are not uniform in size. In manufactured fibers, the diameter of a fiber is controlled by the size of the spinneret holes in a machine. Manufactured fibers can be made uniform or can be thick and thick at regular intervals. Important in clothing and especially in luggage fabrics is the fineness of a manufactured fibers and is measured in denier. Denier is the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of fiber. When the term denier is used to describe a fiber, the number refers to the fineness or coarseness of the fiber. Small numbers describe fine fibers for clothing. Larger numbers such as 1680 denier ballistic nylon material describe large or course fibers for luggage for example.

Cross-sectional shape is another physical property of fibers and this shape is important in luster, bulk, body, texture, and hand. Surface contour describes the outer surface of the fiber and may be smooth, serrated, striated, or rough. It is also important in luster, hand, texture, and apparent soiling of the fabric. Crimp may be found in some fibers and refers to the waves, bends, twists, coils, or curls along the length of a fiber. Please see the illustration below for fiber's cross-sectional shapes and fiber contours.

Aesthetic Properties relate to the senses, such as touch and sight and assist in the perception of a textile fiber. Luster, drape, texture and hand aid in this evaluation. Luster results from the way light is reflected by a fabric's surface. Lustrous fabrics reflect a fair amount of light and are used in formal apparel. Matte or dull fabrics reflect little light and are used most frequently for less formal looks. Drape is the way a fabric fall over a three-dimensional form like a body. Fibers influence drape to a degree, but yarns and fabric structure may be more important in determining drape. Texture describes the nature of the fabric surface. It is identified by both visual and tactile senses. Hand is the way a fabric feels to the skin.

Durability Properties pertains to the lasting ability of a fiber for its end use. Abrasion resistance, tenacity and elongation are the strongest determinants of durability. Abrasion resistance is the ability of a fabric to withstand the rubbing it gets in use. This property is especially important in luggage for example. Tenacity, or tensile strength, is the ability of a fiber to withstand a pulling force. Strength may be measured in two ways, by how much force it takes to rip the fabric (tearing strength) and by the force it takes to rupture a material (bursting strength).

Comfort Properties are complex and dependent on characteristics such as absorbency, heat retention, density and elongation. Absorbency is the ability of a fiber to take up moisture from the body or from the environment. In raingear absorbency is obviously important and should be understood by consumers as having possibility of three different characteristics in a fiber: Hydrophilic fibers absorb moisture readily. Hydrophobic fibers have little or no absorbency. Hygroscopic fibers absorb moisture without feeling wet.

Heat or thermal retention is the ability of a fabric to hold heat. People want to be comfortable regardless of weather conditions. A low level of thermal retention is favored in hot weather and a high level in cold weather. Density is a measure of fiber weight per unit volume. Lower density fibers can be made into thick fabrics that are more comfortable than high density fibers made into heavy, thick fabrics. The final characteristic of comfort properties is elongation. Elongation refers to the degree to which a fiber may be stretched without breaking. Fabrics which contain a small percentage of elastic fibers such as spandex tend to be more comfortable because they add elongation to the material.

Appearance-Retention Properties such as resiliency, dimensional stability, shrinkage resistance and elasticity or elastic recovery help a textile product to retain its original appearance during use, care, and storage. Resiliency is the ability of a fabric to return to its original shape after bending, twisting, or crushing. An easy test is to crunch a fabric in your hand and watch how it responds when you open your hand. A resilient fabric springs back and most like will be wrinkle resistant, if not wrinkle proof. A fabric that wrinkles easily stays crumpled in your hand. When it is flattened out, wrinkles and creases are apparent.

Dimensional stability is defined as the ability of a fabric to retain a given size and shape through use and use and is obviously a fabric made of higher quality fibers. Shrink resistance is the ability of a fabric to retain a given size after care. Certain natural fibers are more likely to shrink versus a manufactured fiber which is completely shrink resistant. And elasticity or elastic recovery is the ability of a fiber to return to its original dimension or shape after elongation. Fabrics with poor elastic recovery tend to stretch out of shape.

To better understand many of the textile terms and properties of fibers we have presented a table for your benefit. Please take note of how these properties contribute to fabrics once they are finished.

We hope this in-depth examination of fibers will enhance your ability to understand the travel clothing fabrications we talk about on our clothing product pages. For our next blog/newletters in this continuing series regarding travel clothing, we will examine each of the major clothing fibers such as the natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk. In addition, subsequent newsletters will inform our clients about the world of manufactured fibers or man-made materials.

Published: 11/15/2005, 5:02 PM


How to Evaluate Travel Clothing Fabrics 101 - Part I: Serviceability takes pride in providing the internet's most comprehensive array of travel products to enable you to pack light. In addition, we strive to supply travel tips which make your travels easier. In an upcoming series of blog newsletters we will offer insight into our world of textiles as they relate to travel clothing.

The majority of travel clothing is comprised of technical garment fabrications made up of synthetics, blends, cotton, tencel, microfibers and lightweight rayons. We understand the confusion our clients experience when they receive travel clothing information from the variety of web sites and clothing catalogs available today. Promises of wrinkle-proof materials and garments that practically wash themselves could lead travelers to believe they are purchasing clothing made from a fairy tale. PackingLight promises to concentrate on the foundation of all clothing and that is with fibers, yarns and the serviceability of the clothing you need to enjoy your travels to the utmost.

First, we must define the textile term, serviceability. Serviceability describes the measure of a textile product’s ability to meet consumer’s needs. The qualities travel consumers demand are the following: Aesthetics, durability, comfort and safety, appearance retention, care, and cost. Travelers evaluate their purchases and determine their satisfaction with products based on these concepts.

No matter how much PackingLight explains the technical features of our garments, the aesthetics or the attractiveness of the product is undoubtedly one of the most important attributes of clothing. The question arises when one is shopping for travel clothing; is the item attractive and appropriate in appearance for the culture or for the intended use of that garment? In addition, travelers must ask does their attire make the right statement for destination visited?

Second, durability relates to how the product withstands use. In other words, what is the length of time a garment is considered suitable for the use for which it is purchased? Ask of your travel clothing; will you be satisfied with how well it wears, how strong is the fabric for the environment in which it will be worn and how long will it remain attractive?

Third, comfort and safety are another critical aspect of the serviceability our customers should consider when shopping with us for travel clothing. The way a textile affects heat, air, and moisture transfer, and the way the body interacts with a textile product should be evaluated. Is a garment able to protect the body from harmful effects of the sun’s heat and UV rays? Is the item comfortable for its end use in terms of absorbency, temperature regulation, hand, warmth or coolness? And finally, will its comfort change with use or age?

Fourth, in addition to maintaining comfort and safety a garment should be examined for how long its original appearance will last during use and care. Will the item resist wrinkling, shrinkage, abrasion, soiling, stretching, pilling, sagging, or other changes with use?

Care for a garment is next. What is the treatment required to maintain a textile product’s original appearance? Does the cloth include a recommended care procedure which can be maintained while traveling?

Sixth and certainly important to our clients is the cost consideration. One should consider many factors when coming to a decision to purchase travel clothing such as how much does a garment cost? How much will it cost for its care during its lifetime? Is the cost reasonable considering the product’s inherent attributes, features, benefits and of course, its serviceability to its owner? And finally, can you utilize the travel garments you have purchased once you are back at home?

Please utilize these important serviceability concepts when you shop with us or any other travel clothing supplier and you will be more satisfied with your next purchase. For additional technical travel clothing discussion, come visit PackingLight’s upcoming series on travel textiles and how they can make your travel more enriching.
Published: 10/29/2005, 10:51 AM


The Importance of Easy Care Travel Clothing to Packing Light


A question arises when the topic of travel clothing is discussed: Can't we take a trip with the clothing we have in our dressers? The answer is yes-you can, but you run the risk of either having to pay the hotel desk to do your laundry or having to find a Laundromat during your trip.

Everyday we learn travelers rather venture out without the worry of whether or not they have the correct coinage for laundry at the local Laundromat or whether they can even find such an establishment at all in a foreign land. Travelers tell us they are tired of getting gauged by the hotel front desk for washing a couple of shirts and underwear. They tell us stories of ruined blouses which were once crinkled seersucker, but were now imprinted with the mark of a hot iron by a well-meaning maid. Women tell us of stretched-out undergarments and bras. Men tell us of over-starched shirts and missing socks. The stories continue and the frustrations of a weary traveler are abundant.

The answer to these travel woes? Be prepared to perform your laundry duties yourself. And, laundry doesn't have to be a dirty word. Build a travel wardrobe complete with garments which are lightweight, capable of speed drying overnight, wrinkle resistant and which are appropriate for the climate and culture you are visiting. Further, acquire laundry aids such as Woolite soap packets, laundry line, inflatable hangers, spot remover, and wrinkle shedding aerosol to make doing the laundry not such a dreaded task. In fact, when you really evaluate how long it takes to knead a few garments in a sink and to hang them for drying you are looking at five to ten minutes of work versus several hours at a Laundromat and perhaps twenty to forty dollars for the hotel to do the work. The choice becomes easy to see-let's do the laundry ourselves guys!

Start equipping yourself with the most important layer, the layer against your skin called your underwear. If you start with the incorrect type of undergarments you may as well not equip yourself with the remaining investment in the subsequent layers. Underwear should be made of high-tech synthetics which wick moisture and are quick drying, they should be anti-microbial and should allow freedom of movement on an airplane or a bungi-jump in New Zealand. No matter what your level of activity the quantity of underwear should be merely three or four pairs of briefs and perhaps two to three bras and t-shirts for men.

Once you are supplied with the proper underwear, traveling light requires the type of clothing supplied at Travel clothing must be easily laundered, hung to dry and by morning be ready to wear again. knows of the extreme lightweight travelers who travel with merely two pairs of pants, three shirts and who washes almost every night. While this can be done with relative ease, we realize most of us don't want to go to those lengths on a journey which is supposed to be a vacation.

We suggest traveling with up to six pairs of pants, ten tops, three pairs of travel briefs, three or four pairs of socks, and a lightweight, un-lined raincoat Now if you are traveling in the winter months ahead we suggest layering with our lightweight long underwear and perhaps a heavier sweater and jacket packed into our PackMate shrink bags. But for the majority of our travelers going to somewhat moderate weather you can indeed reduce your laundry and the size of your suitcase by steadily building an easy care travel wardrobe.

Published: 9/8/2005, 11:36 AM


Getting Travelers to Pack Smarter and Travel Easier Can Be Accomplished If They Look at the Weight of the Essentials They Pack


Light luggage, travel clothing and travel accessories are the three ingredients everyone must pack when traveling and ultimately determine if you will be able to pack light. Think about it--Traditional luggage stores and web sites seem to forget this, but when you break down what every traveler must have on every trip it is quite simple really: You have your baggage, your clothes and your "stuff".

Let's start with your baggage. Eighty percent of the the luggage made today is lighter than it used to be because manufacturers have examined every component they put into their lines. First, they have lightened the luggage frames by making them honeycomb and with high-tech plastics. Plus, they have taken the frames out of the suitcase all together. Second, hardware such as telescoping handles, kick plates, corner guards, zippers, zipper pulls, d-rings, etc. have been made lighter with advanced improvements in the high tech plastics, metals such as alumininum and fiberglass, and textile products such as nylon and polyester. Third, manufacturers have improved their designs by removing big bulky frames, made features such as garment fixtures and hanging toiletry bags fully removable, and they have carefully chosen luggage accessories as standard equipment only when the consumer has demanded it. For example, the garment fixtures, the toiletry kits, large zipper coils, heavy-duty d-rings and full, complete "kick-plates" on the underbelly are all items we see less and less each year as travelers continue to ask for the "lightest bag we have".

The next category of products we know will lighten your load are lightweight travel garments. Travelers can lighten their baggage by 70% if they pack featherweight pants versus packing denim jeans such as the Ex Officio's Explorer Pant, Royal Robbins Cardiff Stretch Pants, Columbia Sportswear's Go Easy Trousers or Nomadic Traders lightweight rayons. Garments such as these weigh in at three to four ounces a square yard lighter (versus jeans at 10 ounces a sq. yard)! Un-lined raingear and warming layers are critical too as is quick-drying underwear. The travel underwear is of tremendous importance because we can't pack ten pairs of underwear if we want to pack light. Pack two or three pairs and two or three pairs of easy-care socks and travelers will lighten up considerably. Finally, mix and match your wardrobe to ensure a lot less clothing in your baggage.

The third major category of goods we pack are travel accessories and personal items such as books, camera gear, MP3 and DVD gadgets, Aunt Harriet's newly finished quilt, etc. Travelers have to look into perhaps using U.P.S. or the postal service for gifts and large items. Books, Digital Cameras and gadgets must be as small as possible and deemed essential.

The travel accessories provides such as packing aids (Eagle Creek cubes, folders, sacs, plus Pack Mate Compression Bags), compact hair care appliances, lightweight and packable cosmetic or toiletry kits, tiny travel clocks, featherweight purses and day packs, and other travel essentials must be as small and lightweight as made today. The key is to not purchase travel gadgets because a store, a catalog or a web site with three "bullet points" says a product is helpful; rather, travelers must scrutinize, weigh and measure every single item they pack just like a backpacker heading off into the wilderness. If they find a vendor does not weigh and size products, is not truly interested in selling the essentials you need, and does not discuss luggage size options which reduce your load rather than temp you with more packing space and baggage than you absolutely need you should look elsewhere.

Finally, packing correctly is indeed important and we have adjusted our decade's old packing method to meet the needs of travelers. Our single or multiple bundle method allows our flock of loyal customers to pack for weeks in a single carry-on bag--and it allows them to shop to with our expandable shopping bags. So yes, packing FLAT is the way. Rolling is NOT as efficient and we have pack both ways with the same amount of clothing and bundling will allow more garments and they'll be less wrinkled--especially woven fabrics.

Next, planning in advance of a trip is crucial because you consider every item you pack and make choices on what to bring far ahead of the journey. Last, not panicking and throwing everything in the suitcase at the last minute is imperative. Most of all, going to is a pretty good idea!
Published: 6/15/2005, 4:34 PM


Top Ten Reasons for Traveling in Carry-on Luggage


1. You will never worry about lost luggage. Airline statistics tell us they loose one out of every one hundred pieces of checked luggage. Don't become a statistic!

2. You will never have to worry about late luggage. Airline statistics tell us three bags out of every one hundred pieces checked are late. So, if you check your luggage you might not be leaving the airport with your baggage.

3. It seems every few months there is a new television documentary with a hidden camera showing us airline personal rifling through baggage. If you carry-on your luggage you won't have to worry about stolen goods.

4. You won't have to worry about your luggage getting beaten up by the airline luggage handlers. There are no statistics available, but we all know how airline personal and today's automated luggage handling systems trash baggage.

5. You will be the first in and the first out of the custom's line at international airports.

6. Imagine being in your hotel room while checking passengers are still hoping and praying their bags will come off the carousel.

7. If you are in Frankfurt tonight, and have to be in Paris by tomorrow, but your baggage is nowhere to be found you have a problem.

8. The $150.00 stipend the airlines might give you for clothing in your missing luggage will barely buy you a pair of pants and a T-shirt in Vienna.

9. If your business meeting starts at 8:00 a.m. the next morning and your suit is in your lost luggage it is difficult to give much of an impression during your presentation in those jeans you wore on the plane last night.

10. Most importantly, you will travel lighter throughout your journey free of unwanted mental and physical baggage.
Published: 5/16/2005, 6:35 PM


Why Pack Light? Top Ten Reasons for PackingLight


1. Intelligence
You could save your marriage.

2. Good Health
Your back won't require attention from the native medic who happens to be the local shaman as well.

3. Good Manners
You will enter and exit trains without taking out fellow tourists with your thirty-inch long suitcase, packed with sixty-pounds, and topped with a heaping duffle stuffed with forty pounds of ceramic Don Quixotes for your entire family tree back in the states. You get the picture...

4. Efficiency
You can make use of your a-typical European compact rental car's minimal trunk space.

5. Cost Effective
You will laugh in the face of the porter who expects an ample tip from another typically rich American while you handle your bags yourself.

6. Practicality
If you have ever been to a two-hundred year-old bed and breakfast in Europe, you know elevators and porters are rarely available. Carrying luggage up three flights of stairs is not our idea of a vacation.

7. Pride
You will shock and amaze your friends and family when they pick you up at the airport and ask; "Where is the rest of your luggage?"

8. Adventure
The difference in your mobility is exponentially better if you PackLight. Now you dare to venture several miles away from the train station to the inn on the Riviera rather than stay at the hotel stuck in the busy alley thoroughfare.

9. Security
Your sense of security is greatly enhanced when you don't have your hands and thoughts occupied with burdensome baggage.

10. Independence
You will have an incredible sense of freedom and accomplishment.
Published: 5/12/2005, 6:29 PM


What to Wear When You Travel


Suggestions for the Six Primary Journey’s We Take in the World

Read the rest of the article here
Published: 5/10/2005, 6:05 PM


Luggage Shopping Guide


Nine Ways to Evaluate Your Prospective Luggage Before You Buy

Read the rest of the article here
Published: 5/8/2005, 12:49 PM


Lightweight Luggage and Domestic Airline Mandates


Here are several tips on how you can avoid costly airline monetary penalties

Read the rest of the article here
Published: 5/6/2005, 12:28 AM


PackingLight's Latest Security Update


Advises Air Travelers on Airport, Airline Security Measures

Read the entire article here
Published: 4/30/2005, 5:37 PM


Personal Travel and Security


Personal Travel and Security Issues: Things to do before you leave on a trip and while you are traveling. Plus, tips regarding how to manage your money, driving overseas, your personal attitude, and travel health.

Additional Details on Personal Travel and Security
Published: 4/29/2005, 5:36 PM


TSA Suggestions


Vital information from the TSA on various topics such as effects of x-rays on your film, disabilities or medical concerns of travelers, airport and airline security, and how to dress when you travel (including footwear).

Additional Details on TSA Suggestions
Published: 4/28/2005, 5:33 PM


TSA List of Prohibited and Permitted Items


TSA's list of articles permitted and prohibited on board an American aircraft or as a checked item in an easy to read two column layout.

Additional Details on's Tips for Checking Your Luggage
Published: 4/27/2005, 10:44 PM


Check-In "PAWOBS" - Passengers without Bags: Advice for those checking their luggage


In airline jargon, they're called "PAWOBS," otherwise known as passengers without bags. These are the poor souls wandering aimlessly for the appropriate lost luggage counter. Statistics indicate there are many of you out there.

What can you do to protect your baggage? First, follow's packing method and try to carry-on your luggage. If going carry-on isn't for you and you wish to check your bags regardless of the ominous airline statistics, follow our twenty-three year-old method..

Additional Details on's Tips for Checking Your Luggage
Published: 4/26/2005, 10:29 PM


How to Travel for Weeks with Everything Packed in ONE 22" Carry-On Suitcase's Packing Method provides maximum space efficiency, organizes your baggage and leaves your travel wardrobe wrinkle-free. Travel is easy when you're Packing Light and at we show you how to do it in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method.

Re-examine the three primary items every traveler brings on a trip; Luggage, Travel Clothing and Accessories. By learning how to pack properly with lighter baggage content and by utilizing packing aids we can reduce the weight of your baggage by 30% to 50%. If you can't believe you can pack as light as we do you'll have to try the Packing Method for yourself and discover how liberating travel with merely carry-on luggage can be.

Additional Details on's Packing Method
Published: 4/9/2005, 6:52 PM