How to Fold Pants Military Style? – 4 Easy Steps to Follow

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

how to fold pants military style

The military folding style for clothes is commonly referred to as the “Ranger Roll” and can be applied to a number of clothing articles as a space saving way of packing.

In this article, we will focus mainly on how to fold pants military style. Read on for a step-by-step pant folding hack with pictures.

Ways to Fold Pants Military Style

There are different ways to fold pants. Which one to choose all depends on you and the amount of space you are working with.

But for the military, the Ranger Roll is their go-to technique to properly fold pants. The method was designed as a way to fold pants so they don’t wrinkle and take up too much space.

Service members employ this technique for its efficiency, compactness, and tidiness.

Before beginning to learn military style packing of pants, prepare clothes to practice and follow along with the steps. Here’s an overview of the four steps we’re going to cover in this quick how to army roll pants tutorial:

  1. Zip and button up
  2. Smooth out creases
  3. Roll up leg
  4. Roll and lock

Here’s a Step-by-step Guide to Ranger Roll Pants and to Fold Pants Beautifully

Step 1


  1. On an even surface, lay the pants flat with the buttons and zipper facing you.
  2. Grab the waistband and then fold it inside out, about 3 inches, to cover the top external side of the pants.

Laying the entire pants flat before proceeding gives you the opportunity to flatten it properly and see all the creases. Note that you’ll need a bit of space to lay the entire pants flat.

Step 2


  1. Smooth out all the creases and make sure your pants are without wrinkles.
  2. Once sure that you have smoothened the fabric as much as you can, fold your pants in the middle, one leg over the other.
  3. You should see the backside of your pants at this point, and both legs should line up with each other.

This step ensures that the front and back side of your pants are wrinkle-free and ready for the next steps. Don’t rush smoothening all the creases and lining up each leg when folding pants.

Step 3


  1. Starting from the bottom, start rolling the two pant legs together over themselves while also making sure you smoothen any creases along the way.
  2. Roll the two pants legs until you reach the inside-out waistband, making it look like a loaf.

Rolling the fabric slowly and smoothing it out along the way ensures that when you unfurl it to use, you’ll have minimal wrinkles on your pants.

There’s a learning curve to fold a pants pair this way, but mastering this step makes a lot of difference in lessening the amount of ironing you need to do.

Step 4


  • Finally, to lock everything together, pull the inside-out waistband over the rolled-up pant legs, making it look like a pouch.

This step makes everything look compact, neat, and tidy. The method to fold pants to save space also works if you want to fold shorts military style. You just have to fold both legs towards the middle of the shorts before rolling them.

And there you go, the quick, easy, step-by-step guide on how to army roll pants.

Other Additional Tips and Tricks


Although the Ranger Roll or Army Roll can be applied to any type of clothing, you first have to prep your apparel.

This includes removing all patches, paddings, and anything that might be ruined when rolled or make folding difficult. For items with zippers and buttons, secure them before proceeding.

Other things to keep in mind are:

  1. Polyester, cotton, and elastane are probably the easiest materials to fold using this method.
  2. Roll clothes that have negligible to no wrinkles. The Ranger Roll minimizes wrinkles; it is not magic.
  3. Consider the type of fabric before you fold pants to roll. Thicker fabrics might be harder to work with.
  4. Consider the amount of space in your pack, bag, or luggage. Even if you roll each article of clothing properly, overpacking and jamming clothes too much might just crease your clothes anyway.
  5. If you fold long pants or any item with slippery fabrics like silk, consider using a string to tie them and secure the fold.


Can I use this folding method for all types of pants?

Yes. Although developed for the military and used by the military, this method can be applied to all types of pants. You can use it when you fold slacks or fold cargo shorts as well.

Differences between types of clothing can just be accounted for. For example, the number of pockets, length of legs, and fabric type could vary, but the principle remains the same and could be applied to any type of pants. You can even Ranger Roll jeans!

Will this folding method cause wrinkles in my pants?

There is no full-proof way of entirely eliminating wrinkles when you roll dress pants, but the Ranger Roll is the best way to army roll clothes with the fewest possible wrinkles.

How long does it take to learn how to fold pants military style?

This depends on the amount of time you dedicate to practicing to fold pants small and big and getting the technique down. It could be a day; it could be a week. You need to set aside time to practice.


This military folding technique isn’t exclusive to the army. You don’t have to be an active-duty service member to fold military uniform or roll clothes in the military style. You can benefit from this efficient folding method even as a civilian.

For instance, if you don’t usually have time or easy access to iron and steam, or have your clothing serviced, this method could be a lifesaver.

Mastering how to fold pants for travel gets you ready quicker as you can pull something straight out of your traveling bag or luggage and wear it.

Learning how to fold pants military style is also a good way to conserve space in your dresser or luggage.

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