Issues with Package Design When it Comes to Re-Use

We recently went on a camping trip with my son’s Cub Scout Pack. It was a great trip and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, except for the cold. Having been a while since I had last gone camping, I had to stock up on supplies including a new tent, a tarp for underneath the tent, new air mattresses, and so on. Most of these items came in nice packages that allowed for re-use, meaning I should have been theoretically able to store the items back into the same packaging so that I could neatly return them to my garage when done.

Does that ever really happen as planned though? Of course not.

They just. Won't. Fit.

They just. Won’t. Fit.

When breaking camp, we packed away the tent to the best of our abilities. It still didn’t fit in the nice zip-up bag that was provided. The same thing happened when we meticulously folded up the tarp. And, as you can guess, we were in the same boat with the air mattresses. No amount of stomping, pushing, or cramming would get these items back into the original packages that they were supposed to be stored in. I know this happens to everyone, but come on!

Now, before you say “Yeah, well, that happens to all of us!”, let me just ask you a question — why does it have to?

Why haven’t package designers found a way to make re-packaging work for these types of products? In most of these cases I found that an extra 2-3 inches of space in one direction would accommodate re-packaging the products comfortably. So what if there is a little bit of extra space in the original package for sale? I would think that companies could gain some customer loyalty by providing this. Heck, it could even be used as a selling point in a new campaign.

I’m curious what you think of this concept and what your thoughts are on handling what I think is a common package design flaw. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

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