With the 2017 Game Worn Hockey Jersey Expo this weekend in Chicago, many collectors are seeking advice on how to most successfully and easily pack your things for a trip. Strategies can vary depending on travel method and the items you are carrying. The most difficult method of travel is by air which is what we will focus on.
Be familiar with your airlines baggage policies.
Many airlines charge you by the bag for each checked piece of luggage you have (unless you are a frequent traveler). These checked bags have weight restrictions or additional costs beyond 50 lbs. You are also usually allowed 1 carry-on item and 1 personal item.
Your carry-on bags are not weighed, so plan your carry-on luggage carefully. Research the maximum size roller bag allowed on your airline and bring one that size or smaller. Your personal item can be something like a briefcase or bookbag. Lets stretch the term book bag and envision a duffel bag or large camping size book bag.
Since we are not weight restricted on these carry-on items, we want to pack as much as we can in these bags, starting with our highest dollar first. If we keep our most expensive or most attached items in our carry-on, they will be with us at all times. This will alleviate stress if a bag routing issue occurs. Also, keep in mind, checked bags are picked up on luggage carousels with nobody checking tags.
Your less important items can be purchased on destination. Clothing, hygienics, chargers and other personal items can be replaced. Your jerseys cannot. Your checked baggage can be reserved for these items and more, less valuable items or jerseys such as pucks, strategically packed gear and jerseys.
Since we will be packing most of our items in our carry-on bags that are not weight restricted, we need to maximize every inch of space those bags allow. When packing, the thing that takes up the most space is air. Yes, air. Our objective is to take air out of the equation.
Enter the vacuum cleaner and large freezer ziploc bags. Fold your jerseys you will be packing in your carry-ons in a way that they will sit flat inside the freezer bag. A square or rectangular shape is best as pictured below. Place your jersey in the bag and zip it up half way. Put your most narrow attachment on the hose of your vacuum and place just the nozzle in the bag. Turn on the vacuum. As the air is sucked from the bag, your jersey will compress. Make sure to keep a hand on the jersey and nozzle to avoid sucking the jersey into the nozzle. Try to keep the jersey at the bottom of the bag, farthest from the nozzle. When no more air can be sucked from the bag, zip the rest of the bag up while removing the nozzle.
You should now have the smallest package possible to place inside your carry-on luggage. Pack your roller bag first, then your book bag, starting with your most expensive jersey and working down to the least. Anything left, place in your checked bag.
Gear takes up a lot of space but does not weigh much. You can utilize the space in gear to pack other things. Stuff a T-shirt in a helmet. Put your socks in the gloves. Once you have tried to utilize the space in the gear you are bringing, its time to tetis the crap out of this bag.
Many bags have internal holding straps. Utilize these. Dont worry about the bulge. Once you have packed your items, we will take care of the bulge with baggage straps. Wrap your bag in 2 clip release baggage straps. Once at the top 1/4 and one at the bottom 1/4. Not only with this keep the bulge in check, it can help deter TSA from opening your back to inspect your items and ruining your packing job and it gives the baggage handlers something else to hold on to when moving your page, thus preventing risk of damage.
You are now ready to travel with your jerseys. Good luck!