8
\$\begingroup\$

I am going to be traveling by plane and was considering taking my vinyl mat along to run a short session of 5e on it. My problem is that it doesn't matter which way I roll it up, it's too long to fit into my suitcase. I can't even angle it. Is there some way of folding it that won't result in damage? Would it help to wrap it around stuff so the folds aren't tight?

There was a reddit thread on this, but it just said folding would eventually damage it.

No, cutting it to shorten it is not an acceptable solution.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Steve at that price it would likely be cheaper to just buy one there \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Nov 28, 2023 at 3:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking for a RAW answer? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2023 at 2:47

4 Answers 4

12
\$\begingroup\$

The clear vinyl window on early Miatas has a similar issue. There, the recommendation is to put something like a pool noodle in the fold to keep it rounded and prevent creasing.

If you fold it carefully around your clothes so that none of the folds have a tight bend radius, you should be okay. I would try for at least a half-inch radius.

However, you might instead want to try a less strict approach to spacing and movement. Even if you usual preference is to play with a mat (mine is too), you can still do fine with either just minis in an approximate position or pure theater-of-the-mind. Getting used to either can help speed up your gameplay by letting you pick different tools at different times.

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if creating a paper version of the mat would otherwise be sufficient for a one-off. Arrange A4 sheets on the mat and draw the lines which are visible through. Do NOT tape them yet, but mark the relative positions. Then transport the pile of sheet in your luggage and tape them on arrival. Bit of effort, and probably one-time use, but guaranteed not to damage the mat... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 8:44
11
\$\begingroup\$

Frame challenge - Leave it at home

Like you said, folding a vinyl mat is eventually going to damage it and even if you roll it carefully around other stuff there is no guarantee it will stay this way as plane luggage tends to be manhandled quite a lot, plus it's an extra weight that you're going to have to carry around, it's just not worth it for a single short session that you're just considering running.

Use a paper sheet instead - you can either glue/tape several standard paper sheets together or buy a big poster-sized one if you need to, you should be able to get either easily at your destination unless it's somewhere really exotic. Or use a virtual table top.

If you really have the need to take it with you, the way I would do it is by first rolling it around some flexible tube (like a foam noodle), then arranging it very gently along the edges of the suitcase and packing it tightly with clothes or something else relatively soft so that it doesn't move. You're looking to round it rather than bend. That would be a last resort option for me though, I'd much rather leave it safe at home and improvise something than risk breaking it.

\$\endgroup\$
6
\$\begingroup\$

Poster tube as a separate item

Academics seem to have reasonable success carrying poster tubes as hand luggage. Depending on what else you are carrying and your airline's policies, this could be an option.

Checking in a poster tube is also an option, though probably not worth the cost unless you can check it for free somehow, and you'll have to weigh the risk of loss/damage. I once successfully flew a 20" x 30" aluminum print -- which couldn't be bent at all -- in a box on Southwest.

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is risky and completely dependant on the goodwill of the gate staff, if they decide to make it a problem OP can easily end up having to choose between paying multiple times as much as the mat is worth for oversized luggage undeclared during check-in or throwing it away. The question you link AND the answers are all from ~10 years ago, airlines were much more lax with luggage and stuff at that time, I fly a lot and wouldn't do it, seen too many people trying to sneak something through and fail. \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Nov 28, 2023 at 9:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @AnnaAG poster tube is very much still allowed by airlines. That's the only way conferences do poster sessions (which are still happening now) with researchers from all around the world. \$\endgroup\$
    – justhalf
    Nov 28, 2023 at 9:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @justhalf I didn't say it's not allowed, a lot of things are allowed if you're willing to pay extra for it, I said trying to sneak it as a hand luggage is a risk, you're gambling on the gate staff letting it go, which there is a chance that they won't. If you're willing to pay ~50£ to check it in both ways you might as well buy a new one at your destination. \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Nov 28, 2023 at 9:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I misunderstood your comment, apologies. But even on that front, I've always seen people carrying poster tube into the cabin (and I've myself carried it a few times before, at least until 2019, and in my research group and university people I haven't been aware of any doubt of the ability to carry poster tube into cabin) \$\endgroup\$
    – justhalf
    Nov 28, 2023 at 10:01
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This was going to be my exact suggestion as well! For surety, it should be sufficient to contact the airline with your flight number and ask if a poster case will be allowed as a carryon. \$\endgroup\$
    – mkdir
    Nov 28, 2023 at 14:11
1
\$\begingroup\$

Laminated paper battle plan as replacement

If you are looming just at the problem of creasing, there are pre-folded paper battle maps from paper with a plastic dry-erase side. While they are not as nice as a real vinyl board, they are suitable for travel and belong to some traveling GMs' toolkits, especially for convention use.

A (cheaper) variant of the dry-erase maps folded from about A2 to A4 are just sheets of A4 paper with either grids or map parts and then laminated. This can get whole dungeons or dungeons or cities into luggage without creasing or folding - you start to arrange the map only when you need it, and by not putting out a paper you keep it under "Fog of war".

Tablet-Battlemap

Using a digital battle map, such as Roll20, on your tablet (with just the GM logged in) can seriously reduce the amount of dead trees you lug around.

\$\endgroup\$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .