Packing cubes have been around for some years now and their popularity is still growing, it seems, for good reason. For those of us with a passion for organization, it’s an easy sell because of our healthy obsession that “everything have it’s place and there be a place for everything”. Those less obsessed can be persuaded in short order when presented with the following strong evidence : the time saved when packing and unpacking, the reduction in stress when finding items, and being able to fit approximately 1/3 more clothing in your suitcase or backpack. And, when you get to your destination, another advantage is being able to pop the cubes in the hotel room’s dresser and use them like a clothes drawer. It all leads to a more relaxed, pleasurable traveling experience and you feel less like you’re living out of a suitcase.
I used to wonder whether packing cubes were really worth the extra space and weight that they take up. It turns out modern traveling packing cubes are made of extremely lightweight non-rip nylon material so I needn’t have been concerned. In fact, when empty, most sets of 4 cubes weigh little over a pound. When using the rolling technique for the likes of underwear and tee-shirts you can really get a lot in these small spaces. Packing cubes come in many different sizes and colours which allows you to utilize them in a variety of ways. For example, you could choose for every member of the family to have their own individual color of packing cube. This is a good idea especially if family members have their clothes, shoes, games packed across a number of shared suitcases. If you are traveling as an individual or a couple with a shared suitcase, you might choose a different colored cube to contain a specific type of thing e.g green for clean underwear/undergarments, red for dirty clothes, yellow for shoes, black for electronic charging cables etc.
One of the things I need is a flexible storage space for the charging cords for my laptop, iPad and cell phone. Up until now I have used a plastic shopping bag which is less than ideal. Problem solved!
The use of packing cubes allows for better compartmentalization and avoidance of excessive movement and crushing of items, especially when you are traveling with a larger suitcase and/or one that is not full. When you consider that suitcases are wheeled in the vertical position this advantage becomes patently clear.
Packing cubes for travel must have the following features to make an integral part of your packing regime:
– they must be lightweight
– they must have high quality zippers, preferably with a cord pull for greater ease of opening.
– be made of non rip/fray material
– have a semi-transparent mesh on one side which lets you easily see what is inside, while allowing the contents to breathe
– ideally you want cubes of multiple colors and sizes
The packing cubes featured below are highly rated and come in sets of 3 or 4 cubes which vary in size. Typically three of the cubes in each set have the following standard lengths and widths: Large 17.5″x 12.75″, Medium 13.75″x 9.75″, small 11″x 6.75″. The brands vary in their cube depth, between 3-4″, with some people preferring the deeper ones.
Given that the cubes are not large and only come in a small set of 3-4, you’ll probably want to purchase 1-2 sets for each person in your traveling party.
- 1 AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set – Small, Medium, Large, and Slim
- 2 eBags Packing Cubes – 3pc Set
- 3 Bagail 4 Set Packing Cubes,Travel Luggage Packing Organizers with Laundry Bag
- 4 Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes – Travel Organizers with Laundry Bag
- 5 Rusoji Premium Packing Cube System – 6pc Various Size Set
- 6 PRO Packing Cubes Travel Packing Organizers & Compression Pouches for Luggage
- 7 TravelWise Packing Cube System – Durable 5 Piece Weekender+ Set
Although the picture above doesn’t show it very well, these cubes do have large mesh windows on one side which allows you to easily recognize their contents. In fact they have more mesh than some of the more expensive brands below and many people prefer this. They come as a set of 4 useful sizes ( 1 large: 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches), medium: 13.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches, small (11 x 6.75 x 3 inches), as well as a slim (14 x 5 x 2.8 inches), and there are 5 attractive colors available other than the black in the featured image above. You can actually pack the 3 smaller cubes into the largest one if you want to. I like that fact that they are slimline as my carryon backpack has slimish compartments itself so these would fit within it well. Each cube has a fabric carry handle too, which is a useful feature. Washing instructions say these cubes should be hand washed and hung out to dry.
This set of 3 cubes comes in the standard sizes: large measuring 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches, Medium: 13.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches, Small: 11 x 6.75 x 3 inches.
It comes in 10 vibrant colors and has the see-through mesh on top so you can identify the contents within.
Per cube you are paying a little more but eBags have higher quality zipper/zipper pulls and have a life time guarantee. They are machine washable which is a bonus, but should be dried on the line.
This packing system from Bagail comes in 9 vibrant colors and is comprised of 4 cubes as well as a 20″x 14″ laundry bag which I would find useful for keeping my dirty washing separate from my clean clothes. I usually use a plastic shopping bag but this would be much classier 🙂 The cubes are wider than those featured above at 4″ instead of 3″. Some people use the smallest cube as a toilet bag. The zippers are the reliable YKK brand and have pulling tabs with a plastic component which a few reviewers said broke off in their experience. However most people report being very happy with the quality of these travel cubes for packing. Some reviewers reported machine washing Bagail cubes without a problem but one person said that theirs was ruined, so I would recommend hand washing and air drying this brand.
Very similar to the Gagail ones above, this also comes in a set of 4, has a 4 inch depth, and has the laundry bag. I read a review from a traveler who had used both the EBags and Shacke Pak brands. His experience was that the eBags cubes wore a little better in the stitching and the toughness of the nylon fabric. It is recommended that these be hand washed and line dried.
Great value for money the Rusoji comes in a set of 6, made up of 2 identical cubes each in the standard large, medium and small sizes. The depth of the small and medium ones is 3.75″, and the depth of the large ones is 4″. The choice of color is limited to black, grey, bright blue and fuschia. This product gets good reviews despite not having the (perhaps) more dependable YKK zippers of eBags and Bagail.
The Pro brand is good quality (including YKK zippers) and comes a set of 4 different sizes which you can get in the same or varied colors. There are the large, medium and small standard sizes, and an extra small one with L 9″ x W 3.75″. The Large only has a depth of 3.25″, and the other sizes are only 3″ in depth so bear this in mind.
These travel packing parcels come in a set of 5 in the following sizes: Small Size (1 pcs) 11.5″ x 6.75″ x 3.75″,
Medium Size (2 pcs) 13.75″ x 9.75″ x 3.75″, Large Size (2 pcs) 17.5″ x 12.75″ x 4″. There are 5 colours to choose from. I would recommend following the washing label instructions of hand washing and line drying. While some had no problem machine washing them on cold gentle cycle others had the experience of the inner lining flaking away when they machine washed them on the same cycle. The zippers are not YKK and some have received them without the advertised zipper pulls. Rates 4.5 stars on Amazon but on reading many reviews my impression is that the quality is not as good as the brands above.
Image from Unsplash.