How to Ranger Roll Pants, Shirts and Other Clothes With This Army Hack

There’s a new laundry trend on the rise, and it doesn’t involve scents or softness. It’s an old folding technique that has been brought back into modern-day times, and they’re calling it the Army Roll. 

Much like bundling, this rolling technique is an organizational hack that prevents your clothes from wrinkling. This hack is actually an old military trick. Soldiers would roll up their uniforms to help keep them wrinkle-free during travel, and they named it ranger rolling

Military workers with travel gear walking in front of water
Photo Credit: Pixabay by Pixels

Ranger rolling is used nowadays for not only traveling purposes but for stacking our clean laundry in the dresser. It’s intended to save space and keep your clothes wrinkle-free. People all over the internet are claiming that this is the new best way to store your wardrobe – so I put rolling to the test. 

This Is How We Roll

The first thing I learned with this experiment is that each type of clothing is wrapped slightly differently. Just like standard folding, the shapes and sizes of clothing come into play. Folding a t-shirt is not the same as folding your jeans. The same goes for rolling. Let me explain how it works:

Rolling Shirts: 

To ranger roll, a shirt, start by laying your top face down on a clean, flat, hard surface. Rolling clothes on your bed or other soft surfaces will not do this task justice – trust me, I tried. The clothes will sag and wrinkle if the roll is not completed on a flat hard surface

Once your shirt’s laid out, carefully smooth out any wrinkles using your hands. This is an essential step to keeping your clothes crease-free. Tip: place both hands on the center and swipe them outwards to remove the wrinkles. 

Now, take the hem at the bottom of the shirt and fold it inside out about 3 inches up to form a cuff. Smooth the surface out with your hands and rotate the shirt 180 degrees. The collar should be in front of you. 

Next, fold the sleeves into the center and form a rectangle. If you’re working on a long-sleeved shirt, fold the arms diagonally across the back of the shirt in the shape of an X. 

Fold the collar about one inch and smooth it out. Then, roll up another inch and smooth again. Keep repeating this process until you reach the folded bottom. I found that rolling shirts tightly worked best. Any sags in the roll will make room for wrinkles. 

Roll it all the way into the cuff and tuck the edges around to hold it tight. This clever trick impressed me. I could toss this compact burrito shirt across the room, and it still wouldn’t unfold. 

rolled up white t-shirt on dark background
Photo Credit: Jess Tellier

Rolling Pants:

Prep your pants by fastening any buttons and zippers. 

Lay the pants down on a flat and hard surface so that the waist end is in front of you. Smooth out all wrinkles before you begin. 

Flip the waistband inside out about 4 inches to create the cuff. 

Fold the pants in half so that the legs are forming a straight line. Smooth out again. 

Take the ankles and fold them up 1 inch. Just like the shirts, smooth out and repeat the process all the way up and into the cuff. 

pair of blue jeans rolled up on a wood surface
Photo Credit: Jess Tellier

Check out our how-to video:   How To Roll Pants   

The No-No’s

The next thing I discovered was that there are some materials to be avoided. Bulky sweaters, for example, tend to fall apart as quickly as you roll them. 

A few other items that you shouldn’t be wrapping up like a burrito are delicates and stiffer materials with shape. I’m talking silk, lace, jackets, blazers, suits, etc. Army rolling these will enhance wrinkles. 

Row of blue and light gray suits hanging on a rack
Photo Credit: Pixabay from Pexels

The Fit Test

I filled my dresser back up with my burrito shaped clothing rolls, and it was evident that this was an absolute space saver! Then I noticed how easy it was to pick through and find what I needed without messing up or wrinkling the other rolls. This had me sold on the roll already, but I needed to make sure that they passed the crease test. 

Folded Clothes:

folded pants in a bottom drawer of a light wood dresser
Photo Credit: Jess Tellier

Rolled Clothes:

rolled pants in bottom drawer of light wood dresser
Photo Credit: Jess Tellier

The Wrinkle Test

I left my clothes untouched in the drawers for 24 hours. I figured that giving some time for the wrinkles to set in would help provide more accurate results. I removed a shirt and a pair of pants to trial. When I opened them up, I was flabbergasted with the results! No creases!

Drum Roll(ed) Please….

The verdict is…. Army rolling, Ranger rolling, whatever you want to call it – it works! 

While the rolling process took a little extra time and effort, the results were pristine. I assume that, like regular folding, once you find your groove, the task will take less time. 

If you travel often, I found that you will without a doubt save time packing your suitcase. Just transfer the rolls from drawer to case and hit the road, Jack. 

I highly recommend that you give the Army Roll a try! This space-saving, wrinkle eliminating hack is definitely worth it.