I love packing aids and am always on the hunt for something new that will keep me organized and save space in my bag. I've always loved the idea of compression sacks, the ones suited for sleeping bags or camping gear, but they quickly become a packing black hole and are not always so useful for packing for travel. The Hoboroll takes the compression sack and makes it organizer-friendly. It is the perfect solution for those who like to stay organized and want to pack light, even when they might not be so good at it.
I've traveled with the Hoboroll twice now. First, documented by these photographs, to the Dominican Republic, where I stowed a pair of sandals, two pairs of flip flops, a bulky bathing suit, t-shirt, shorts, and still had one pocket to spare. I liked tidying up all of my bulky items in one place without having to worry where to stow them in my bag. My second trial was on a four day trip to Los Angeles and I decided to use the roll entirely for clothes. I had three tank tops, two t-shirts, a skirt, jean jacket, some scarves, and underwear all stashed inside of it. It was roughly the same size as it was on the previous trip and held my entire wardrobe.
It's easy to pack with five sectioned compartments and drawstrings on each side, allowing you to shift items around into the best position for compression. Compression itself is simple, with two plastic clasps and a single strap that forms a handle and allows for easy pulling. This strap, by the way, allows you to throw the Hoboroll on your shoulder, and becomes a bag itself.
Compression is a great feature, but what I loved most about the Hoboroll was the organization it allows. The five compartments allow you to sort your clothes, shoes, gear, or whatever your heart desires. When I arrived at my destination, I knew exactly where things were and there was no digging in my bag to find a thing. In Los Angeles, I just popped it out of my luggage and already had my clothes sorted for the entire trip.
Depending on the shape of your bag, it may not be the best "fit." Although it's condensed, the Hoboroll can take up quite a lot of room, depending on your bag's shape. For example in my small wheeled luggage, I had to play packing tetris to find the right spot for it. In the bottom of a large backpack, however, I didn't think twice about where it would go. Like all things that keep you organized, you may have to struggle with its spot in your luggage, but checking in and unpacking within ten minutes is worth the struggle at home, in my opinion.
The Hoboroll is made by Gobi Gear and is the brainchild of Chez Brungraber, a botanist who finds herself constantly on the road. Chez has reinvented the compression sack for the travel adventurer and urban traveler, alike. She's trekked it to the summit of Mt. Kilamanjaro and I've taken it to the wilds of Los Angeles. Our gear might not have been quite the same, but we both got there well-organized. The Hoboroll is available in three colors for $28 from Gobi Gear. Check out more photos if it in use on their facebook page.