The Simple Pool Noodle Hack For Protecting Fragile Items In Your Suitcase

Head to any pool or beach during the warm-weather months of the year, and there's a good chance you'll see the water dotted with colorful foam tubes. These floating accessories are often referred to as "pool noodles." Originally designed as backer rods for industrial expansion joints in the 1980s, these products were soon repurposed as pool accessories. They quickly became popular with kids across North America, and water-bound adventurers have never looked back.

Pool noodles are typically used for floating in the water or as a helpful accessory for teaching someone how to swim. They can also be used for engaging in epic water battles with family and friends. However, as is seemingly this product's nature, the pool noodle has a way of easily being transformed for other purposes over time.

You'll find that with some simple alteration, a pool noodle can even become a perfect travel accessory for protecting fragile items in your suitcase. It's a convenient option when you don't want to land at your final destination to find shattered bottles or souvenirs in your bag. Use a box cutter to slice a pool noodle to the same height as the item you're packing. You can then slice it halfway through lengthwise to create an opening to safely insert the fragile bottle or item into the pool noodle for safekeeping in transit.

Create bumpers or DIY packing peanuts

Pool noodles can also be used to protect fragile items in your suitcase or in a carry-on that you don't necessarily want to spend time wrapping up individually. In this scenario, you can cut a pool noodle into smaller sections to create interior bumpers for your luggage. These can be easily placed between items in your suitcase that you don't want to risk hitting against each other as the luggage is jostled around in transit. The cushioned foam is easy to maneuver into small spaces in your bag. If you're worried about the bumpers shifting during travel, a small piece of tape between the pool noodle and the items in question will hold them firmly in place.

If you're traveling somewhere sunny and fun with a pool noodle in hand for vacation, you might be surprised to learn that you're traveling with DIY packing peanuts too. Instead of going out and buying these helpful packing items while traveling, you can dice up a pool noodle into small pieces that are really sturdy at no added cost. You can then use these to pad souvenir boxes or other fragile packaged items in your suitcase and head home without any added stress included.

An ideal option for art and frames

Pool noodles make great flotation devices in the water and durable packing materials, too, thanks to their polyethylene structure. The closed-cell foam of a pool noodle is composed of tiny bubbles packed tightly together. The formation of these bubbles makes it impossible for water to penetrate the surface while the pool noodle remains light and bendable and retains its form.

Because a pool noodle is water resistant and resilient, it's a great option for protecting art or framed items in your suitcase too. Whether you're delivering a photo or painting, or transporting a framed souvenir home, creating a pool noodle frame to line the item is a simple way to ensure added protection. Pool noodles can be sliced lengthwise to match each side of the frame and slipped on accordingly. Putting the entire piece of art into a protective plastic and sealed bag afterward keeps the foam bumpers from shifting during travel.

According to SITA, an aviation data company, the rate of mishandled baggage in the aviation industry increased by nearly 75% from 2021 to 2022. Numbers like these give travelers plenty of motivation to protect their packed items as best as they possibly can. Using a pool noodle to protect fragile items in your suitcase is a simple, effective, and inexpensive route to making sure everything in your luggage gets from point A to point B in one piece.