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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Packer

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Packer

Disclaimer: This post contains mentions of medical terms to describe body parts that one may or may not identify with and pictures of penile prosthetics that are not safe for public viewing. 

Choosing a packer is a very personal process. With the wide range of choices currently on the market, it can also be pretty overwhelming. 

We've created a quick guide to choosing the right packer for you, whether it's you're looking for your first one, or looking to upgrade what you've already got.

What is Packing?

The practice of wearing padding or a phallic object in the front of one's trousers or underwear is called packing. This is commonly practiced by FTM transgender men, transmasculine individuals, or people who want to present as male. Packing is often done to give the appearance of having a bulge or a penis. 

If you want to learn more about what packing is, check out our other blog post

Where to Start: DIY

People choose to pack for a variety of different reasons. For trans men and transmasculine people, it's often a way to relieve bottom dysphoria, which is gender dysphoria related to one's genitals. Packing can also help adjust the fit of certain garments, especially to prevent the crotch area of a pair of trousers from caving in.

Still, packing isn't for everyone. Having a package can get a little used to at first, and before investing in a packer, many people turn to DIY solutions to get a feel for it.

Socks are often a good starting point, especially for people who aren't sure if packing is for them or not. There's a pretty good reason why they're considered the universal first packer for trans guys and transmasculine folk: it's accessible (since most, if not all people own a pair of socks), cheap, and pretty effective. The bulge is usually created by rolling up a pair of socks and putting it in one's trousers.  

Another alternative to socks is the gel-filled condom, or the gak. This is another fairly common packing solution, and is great because they give the wearer full control over the size and firmness of the packer. Some people choose to wrap their gel condom in pantyhose to reduce chafing and make packing more comfortable. If you want to read more about making your own gel-filled condom, you can check out this tutorial!

The accessibility of DIY packers make them a very popular choice for people looking to pack for the first time, and we highly recommend trying these methods if you're new to packing. Still, they do have their downsides: packing with socks tends not to create the most natural-looking bulge (which can be a deal-breaker if someone comes in close contact to it), and they tend to unroll fairly easily, especially during physical activity. The extra material in the crotch area can cause extra sweat and dampness to build up over the course of the day. When packing with gaks, one thing to keep in mind, especially if you're an active person, is that they may get punctured. Their fragility also makes them quite hard to wash. These need to be replaced fairly regularly, depending on how often they're used. 

Store-Bought Packers

If you decide that you want to invest in a packer (or another packer), there are a number options available on the market that meet different needs, preferences, and budgets. In recent years, more realistic packers have been developed, giving people who pack more choice in terms of color, material, size, function, shape, and feel. 

Functionality

Today, there are a number of packers that provide different functions, depending on your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. To name a few, there are the foam packers, basic/soft packers, STPs, hard packers, and pleasure packers. Some packers nowadays can even combine two or more of these functions, like the pack-and-plays and the 4-in-one's.

In this chart below, we've listed some common functions provided by modern packers, and matched them with the type of packers that have them. 

 

Packer Functionality

Packer Type

Pack

Stand-to-Pee

Play

Pleasure

Foam Packer

x

 

 

 

Basic/Soft Packer

x

 

 

 

STP

x

x

 

 

Hard Packer

 

 

x

 

Pack-and Play

x

 

x

 

3-in-1’s

x

x

x

 

4-in-1’s

x

x

x

x

(Please note that this is a rough guide, and is not representative of all packers that are currently on the market).

There are a number of considerations to take into account when choosing what type of packer you need based on their functionality. While 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 packers have the most number of features, some complain that they are too big and heavy to pack with, which can make their experience with packing uncomfortable. Packers that provide both the packing and playing functions also tend to come with a flexible rod (which can be removable) to simulate an erection for penetrative sex. These rods can be quite squeaky, especially when they're new, which can be a dealbreaker for some. 

Foam Packers

Foam packers are usually lightweight foam cups that are put into the front of the trousers to create a bulge. The general upsides to using a foam packer is that they're lightweight, adjustable, easy to wash, and easy to secure with the right kind of underwear. They are also adjustable since you are able to cut the foam to your desired size and shape. Some foam packers have indents in them, which can help give the bulge a more "natural" appearance. 

Since they're lightweight and breathable, foam packers are a great option for everyday use, whether you're looking to exercise with them, or if you want to just take a day off and relax. They're generally able to give the wearer a natural-looking bulge without sacrificing comfort. If you're interested in packing with a foam packer, check out our all-in-one packing boxers that have a 100% secure pouch built-in for your foam packer (which is also included in your purchase). 

Still, foam packers may not feel the most realistic for the person wearing it, and some people prefer to have a bit of weight to their packer. 

paxsies foam packer

 

Basic/Soft Packer

Soft packers are usually made of soft silicone or some other type of porous material, through they come in a variety of materials, including 100% silicone and cloth. As the name suggests, these are made for the sole purpose of packing, and aren't suitable for play for STP purposes. They usually come in a phallic shape, and depending on where you look, come in a variety of sizes and skin tones to suit your needs and preferences. Some even give you the option to choose between circumcised and uncircumcised! 

Paxsies stocks two types of soft packer: the budget packer and the ultra-soft silicone packer. These are very similar to the Mr. Limpy by Fleshlight. Our budget option is perfect if you're looking to try out packing with a phallic packer for the first time. On the other hand, our ultra-soft silicone packer is an improved version of our budget option made of softer, more durable material.

If you prefer a packer that isn't realistic, don't worry! Not all soft packers are phallic - there are some shops like this one that create packers of different shapes that still effectively create a bulge!

 

Stand-to-Pee Packers

As the name implies, stand-to-pee packers (STPs) are packers designed to help the wearer urinate while standing. These packers are generally hollow, creating a funnel for urine to flow through. For some FTM trans men and transmasculine people, this can help relieve dysphoria immensely, especially when using public toilets. 

These usually tend to be firmer than soft packers, especially around the base of the funnel to ensure that the cup doesn't collapse while the user is urinating. If you're looking for an STP that's also comfortable for packing, it may be worth looking into STPs made of softer, more flexible material that allows for the device to bend or "go limp". While this may cost slightly more than a basic STP upfront, they tend to be more comfortable to use every day.

Two other things to note when looking for an STP are the angle of the device and the size of the hole. Both of these factors contribute to how easy it is to use the device while peeing. Because urine flows through the device, an STP that has a downward angle when pressed against your anatomy will make the urine flow faster, and the hole at the end plays a role in determining how quickly it flows out from the device. Some STPs may have a smaller hole or a slightly flat or upward angle. If this is the case, the wearer may have to "start and stop" the flow of urine to prevent backflow or spillage.

If you prefer non-phallic STPs, there are a number on the market as well, though these are generally marketed toward cis women. Some popular examples are the GoGirl, Whiz, and the Pibella.

We stock two types of STPs at Paxsies: the budget STP and the ultra-soft silicone STP. They both have a wide cup, wide hole, and downward angle, so they're designed for easy use whether you're a beginner or STP pro! The difference is that our ultra-soft silicone STP is made with softer and more flexible material, which makes it more comfortable for everyday packing as well!

Hard Packers

Hard packers, or play packers, are designed to be used for penetrative sex. These are generally firmer and more rigid than soft packers, and are generally too stiff for everyday packing.

Hard packers are available in varying sizes, shapes, colours, and materials depending on your needs and preferences. An important and often overlooked factor to consider when choosing a hard packer is its angle. This depends largely on your anatomy, and this plays a huge role in how easy it will be to use the device during play.

While using a hard packer during play, it's important to use lubrication to ensure a comfortable experience for both parties. That being said, it's also important to consider the material of the packer you buy to make sure it is compatible with the lube you have. Most play packers are made with 100% silicone or a mix of silicone and another material, so using silicone-based lubricant can damage the packer and cause faster wear, but these generally last longer can can be easily cleaned and sterilized between users. 

6" Ultimate Realistic Dual Density Pack and Play Dildo - Vanilla

Pack-and-Play

Similar to hard packers, pack-and-plays are generally stiffer and less flexible than soft packers. However, in contrast to hard packers, these have an added feature that allows for more everyday packing. Most pack-and-plays have a flexible rod or hard silicone in the shaft so they retain their firmness and shape during play, but these also help adjust the angle of the packer for everyday packing comfort. Some models also give the wearer the option to remove the flexible rod from inside the shaft for more thorough cleaning and for extra comfort while packing.

FTM Packers for the 21st century | GenderGP Transgender Services

3-in-1 Packers

Generally combining packing, STP, and play functions, 3-in-1 packers give the wearer the ability to use them in most everyday situations. 

Like pack-and-plays, these usually have a removable flexible rod that makes everyday wear for packing and STP purposes more comfortable. Because these packers have multiple functions, they are generally more expensive than the other types of packers discussed above, and are more commonly made of more premium, durable material like 100% silicone so they can withstand everyday use.

Not all 3-in-1's provide these functions. Others, like the Joystick by Transthetics, combine the packing, playing, and pleasure functions by adding a removable vibrator for the pleasure of the wearer, and forgo the STP function.

These tend to have more of a focus on realism, so extra detail tends to go into the design and colour of the packer to mimic a cis man's penis as closely as possible. These are usually also larger than other packers to make them suitable for play, and may be harder to pack with, especially for beginners.

 

4-in-1 Packers

These packers combine all four functions of packers in one device. They provide, pack, STP, and playing functions to the wearer and have some sort of feature to give the wearer pleasure during play as well, unlike most pack-and-plays. These features generally come in the form of some soft ridges on the upper surface of the packer meant to rub against your anatomy or as an attachment on a removable flexible rod with a small hole at the base meant for the user's anatomy to simulate the sensation of penetrating a partner.

Like 3-in-1 packers, these are usually at a higher price point than other types of packers and are made from premium materials to withstand everyday use. Also, these tend to have more of a focus on realismso extra detail tends to go into the design and colour of the packer to mimic a cis man's penis as closely as possible. These also tend to be larger than other packers to make them suitable for play, and may be more difficult to pack with, especially for beginners.

Freetom 4 in 1 STP or Stand To Pee Packer for transmen | Shopee Philippines

Materials: What Packers Are Made Of

Most packers are made of 100% silicone or some kind of mix between silicone and another material. In this section, we will outline the pros and cons of 100% silicone packers and packers made with silicone mix.

100% Silicone Packers

Because silicone is a non-porous material, packers made with 100% silicone are easier to clean and sterilize than other materials. They're generally easily cleaned with a mild soap and some water, and can be sterilized by boiling it in water for a few minutes since silicone retains its shape very well. Some are even dishwasher-safe, so you can clean and sterilize it by tossing it in the dishwasher for a quick cycle if you want. Because they can be easily cleaned and sterilized, you don't necessarily have to use a condom during play (though we still highly recommend it).

Silicone packers are also free from phthalates, which has been a hot topic of discussion especially in terms of potential dangers to human health. Again, while there is no firm consensus on whether phthalates actually pose a significant danger to our health, some people may be more comfortable knowing that their packer is phthalate free, especially because these products tend to be in prolonged contact with our skin.

These also tend to be more durable than other types of packers. It takes a lot more wear and distress to cause a tear in the packer's material, and because maintenance is much simpler, it's generally easier to make sure that they remain in good condition for longer. Once a crack forms, however, it can be much harder to prevent tears in the packer. This usually tends to happen with pack-and-plays, 3-in-1's, and 4-in-1's, especially when used in conjunction with an o-ring harness, since this can cause extra wear to the base of the packer's shaft, which is extra prone to tearing. Using or storing these packers next to rough edges, like zippers, can also cause damage to the product.

While 100% silicone packers are more durable than others, they usually don't allow for as much detail to be put into the packer. Because of this, they tend to be less realistic than packers made of other materials, though this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some stores offer to paint the packer for a more realistic look, though the paint usually wears off over time.

Silicone-based lubricants are not suitable for this type of packer, since silicone-to-silicone contact can cause the material to degrade faster. We don't advise storing silicone packers next to other silicone products or using condoms that contain silicone for the same reason. Instead, we recommend using water-based lubricants and silicone-free condoms for play, since these are compatible with 100% silicone packers.

Silicone Mix Packers

Silicone mix materials constitute a wide variety of materials, ranging from CyberSkin, elastomer, jelly, and others. These tend to be more affordable than 100% silicone packers. A common feature of materials in this category, however, is that they are porous and get dirty more easily than packers made of 100% silicone. They are also harder to clean, especially because dirt and bacteria can easily accumulate on the surface and in the pores of the material. These packers cannot be sterilized by boiling in water, unlike with 100% silicone packers, since these types of material do not hold their shape as well and are prone to melting or deforming when exposed to high temperatures. Because of this, you need to use a condom during play, even if the packer has just been cleaned, especially if you plan on changing sex partners in the future.

These types of packers are generally able to more closely mimic the feeling of real skin and are easier to detail than packers made of pure silicone. This means that packers made of these types of materials tend to be more realistic both in look and feel than their 100% silicone counterparts. However, these are less durable, and the quality of these packers will degrade over time even with intensive care.

Some types silicone mix materials may become greasy to the touch, especially after a long period of storage. This is because these packers degrade over time and may leave oily residue. This makes some packers unsuitable for prolonged skin exposure as they may cause breakouts and other skin problems. Because of this, it's important to consider whether your skin is sensitive or not. If it is, silicone mix packers may not be right for you.

Phthalates are also commonly used in manufacturing these types of products, and as stated earlier, these may or may not cause health problems down the line. 

Cleaning these types of packers usually means washing them with a gentle soap and some water. Because they tend to be sticky after washing and drying, we recommend rolling them around in cornstarch to make them less tacky and to preserve the quality of the packer as much as possible.

Packer Size: Is Bigger Always Better?

The short answer is, no. While it can be tempting to choose the biggest available packer on the market (we've been there), it's important for you to consider what size is proportional to you and your anatomy. Age also plays a role in determining what size packer would be proportional to you as well. Bigger packers tend to be heavier, less comfortable, and more difficult to pack with as well. 

When choosing the size of your packer, it's also important to consider what you're going to use it for. If you want to use it for play, then perhaps a larger packer may be suitable, especially for penetrative sex. On the other hand, if you want to use it for everyday packing, maybe a smaller packer would be okay as well. 

As far as we know, there are no phallic packers on the market that allow the user to shift between flaccid and erect sizes (though this is in the works). Some FTM trans men and transmasculine people who pack opt to get two or more packers to accommodate different everyday needs. 

There are a number of resources online that can help you get a better idea of what size packer to get according to your anatomy. Erectionphotos is a handy resource that might help you get an idea of what size packer might be proportional to your body. It's non-pornographic and non-sensational, but is definitely not safe for public viewing.

What Colour do I Get?

The colour of your packer may seem unimportant for some, but for others it can make a huge difference in feeling like your packer is an extension or part of your body.

As a general rule of thumb, cis men's penises tend to be a shade or two darker than the tone of the rest of their skin. Packers nowadays come in a variety of different colours for people with different skin tones, and stores that offer premium packers, like Reelmagik, allow customers to borrow colour swatches and even choose different tones and blend them together to make sure the colour of their packer matches their skin tone perfectly. 

What Kind of Packer is Right for Me?

As we stated earlier, choosing a packer is a very personal process. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a packer, including colour, size, function, and material.

While we can't tell you exactly what kind of packer meets your needs and preferences, we hope that this guide has given you the information and tools so you can make an informed decision about choosing the best packer for you!

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