How to Pack Your Seabag

The seabag traditionally carries a seaman's clothing, toiletries and other essentials.
The seabag traditionally carries a seaman's clothing, toiletries and other essentials. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A seabag is an oblong canvas bag issued to military personnel to transport belongings from place to place. Normally approximately 26 inches in diameter and 36 inches high, these drawstring-top canvas bags can hold approximately 10 outfits, a small toiletry bag and usually one or more pairs of shoes. The trick is to pack the bag so that you waste zero space. You can do this by deciding ahead of time what is absolutely necessary to take and organizing these items prior to packing.

Things You'll Need

  • Seabag
  • Clothing
  • Toiletry items
  • Waterproof dry bag (optional)

Unfold and expand the seabag. Set it right-side-up so the bottom is on a flat surface such as a floor, table or firm bed.

Roll down the sides of the seabag almost to the bottom of the bag so that the bag stays open. This is similar to rolling back the sides of a plastic bread bag or a large bag of chips.

Begin packing the items you will need but need the least on the bottom of the bag. Place clothing or soft items in the center bottom of the bag. If you have any hard items that will not break, such as a book, put that in the bottom-center and pack softer items around the edges, using all available side space.

Pack items in order of necessity, continuing in the manner described above, placing rigid items in the middle and soft things around the sides, pushing out the canvas and using all available space. Push down to stuff things down periodically. Roll the sides of the bag up as you pack until you near the top.

Place an extra pair of socks, a warm layer of clothing, possibly a pair of shoes and your toiletry bag near the very top. Include any special papers you may need to retrieve quickly while traveling near the top also.

Draw the seabag closed with the drawstring. Secure the seabag closed with the use of a lock or a knot you can release easily. Attach any travel tags as necessary to identify your seabag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Roll up pairs of socks and fold the ends of one sock over the entire ball to keep socks as small as possible. Stuff socks inside shoe cavities to save space. Consider rolling t-shirts instead of folding them. Optionally, before you begin packing, line the seabag with a waterproof dry bag. You'll find dry bags at sporting goods stores and diving shops. They will keep the contents of your bag dry if your seabag becomes exposed to the elements.
  • If you are military personnel, pack only the items you are allowed to pack for your journey. Most company commanders or military station outfits have a checklist available for you as a guideline of what to pack in your seabag.

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