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Whether you’re a frequent traveler or just went on a few trips, you may have a somewhat conflicting relationship with packing. We all do. The excitement of having everything planned for a trip suddenly fades when you’re faced with an empty suitcase and a pile of stuff to fit in it.
Since I started using packing cubes, I’m dreading the packing moment a lot less. I was skeptical in the beginning. I didn’t think packing cubes were worth the expense. To me, it looked like more work fitting everything in various cubes. Then I decided to give it a try.
One day, I just bought the cheapest packing cubes I could find. And I never went back to packing without them. I’ve been using packing cubes for years now, and I believe they are totally worth it. I always traveled with just a carry-on, but now I feel like I can fit nearly double the stuff in my backpack. And I stay organized!
So let me tell you more about this great invention. After that, you can decide if you want to make the investment and switch to packing cubes. But before I move on, make sure to also check our life-changing packing tips and minimalist packing list.
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes, as the name suggests, are various-sized cubes where you can store clothing and accessories. However, they may come in different shapes. Generally, you’re looking at small bags with zippers that you can use to compartmentalize your suitcase.
Packing cubes usually come in sets containing several different-sized cubes. They allow you to pack your clothes by type or outfit, so you can keep everything organized in your suitcase or backpack. Many sets come with a mix of packing cubes and zipper bags, which are handy for underwear or laundry bags.
Regular vs. Compression Packing Cubes
You may have heard about compression packing cubes. So, what’s the difference? If regular packing cubes allow you to fit several items, compression cubes can help you pack even more stuff in smaller cubes.
Compression packing cubes usually come with two sets of zippers. One zipper closes the cube, while the other goes all around it and helps compress things and make the cube thinner. A compression packing cube can be handy to pack even more clothes in a small suitcase or backpack.
Benefits of Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are worth it for so many reasons. Here are the main benefits of using packing cubes for your trips.
Keeping Things Organized
The possibilities here are endless. You can pack various clothing items in each cube, like t-shirts in one cube, pants in another, dresses in another, and so on. Alternatively, you may pack entire outfits in small packing cubes, so you only open one cube at a time.
No matter how you choose to organize things, packing cubes allow you to have a tidy suitcase. No more pulling on one t-shirt at the bottom of your suitcase and making a mess of everything else. Also, forget about having to take out all your clothes to find that one pair of shorts buried deep within your backpack.
Packing More in Smaller Spaces
I probably already made this point clear, but you can save a lot of space. If you fold or roll your clothes properly, you can fit much more in a packing cube than you would by throwing stuff in your suitcase. Try, and see for yourself if you don’t take my word for it.
Ever since I started using packing cubes, I travel just with a carry-on, but I always manage to pack everything I need for several weeks of travel.
Various Sizes for Various Items
The great thing about packing cubes is that they come in different sizes. Items like pants and pullovers may take up more space than t-shirts and underwear. You can use bigger packing cubes for bulkier items and smaller ones for thinner ones.
Keeping Clean and Dirty Clothes Separated
Another benefit of packing cubes is that they allow you to separate your clean clothes from your dirty ones. Bring an extra packing cube where you’ll place your dirty clothes, so you can always keep everything else fresh.
Downsides of Packing Cubes
I’d like to tell you that packing cubes are a perfect invention, but there are a couple of downsides. However, I believe these are easy to overcome.
Risk of Overpacking
This one is a real risk that you must pay attention to. Packing cubes allow you to pack much more stuff in the same space, but that adds extra weight. If you travel with a carry-on, you must pay attention not to overpack!
A Bit of Extra Hassle
I won’t lie to you, there’s just a bit of extra hassle when using packing cubes. You need to zip and unzip various bags to grab all the items you need for your outfit, especially if you pack clothing items separately.
Nevertheless, I’ll say the extra hassle of packing cubes is worth it if it means keeping things organized throughout your trip.
How to Pack Using Packing Cubes?
There are two schools of thought around this: the rolling and the folding methods. I use a mix of both, and that has been working out well for me.
Some people prefer folding everything neatly and stacking them inside the packing cubes. I’d argue that this adds extra work to find things inside each packing cube.
Others prefer the rolling method, as it allows you to line up all your items and easily grab the one you need without having to unpack the whole cube. However, rolling may lead to extra creasing.
I find that rolling items that don’t crease easily and folding the rest is a good mix. Even within the same packing cube, I may have a layer of rolled-up clothes and a few folded items on top.
Verdict: Are Packing Cubes Worth It?
If you like keeping things organized and want to make the most of the small space of a carry-on, I’d say packing cubes are worth a try. Buy a small set and see for yourself if it works well for you.
However, if you don’t like the idea of having items packed in several separate bags, maybe packing cubes are not for you. It ultimately comes down to your travel style and personality.
Best Packing Cubes
We have an entire guide about the best packing cubes. Ultimately, your choice depends on 3 things: your budget, how many packing cubes you need, and how important the material quality is for you.
If you’re looking for a small set of high-quality packing cubes, check out this eBags Classic 3 Piece Packing Cubes Set.
Alternatively, the BAGAIL Packing Cubes Set is an affordable option with 6 different-size packing cubes.
Lastly, I’ll mention Pilot’s Packing Cubes Set. The 9-item set of lightweight packing cubes comes in various colors and patterns. Plus, they are made in the US with durable materials to last for your many trips around the world.
Start Packing and Plan Your Trip with Pilot
Now that you’re all set to pack your bags with packing cubes, it’s time to start planning your next trip.