Packing Cubes

How good are you at packing a bag?  After many years on the road, I’ve managed to refine packing my bag into somewhat of an artform.  And there’s one tool that I use, that very few people seem to have heard or, let alone have used.  Yet it makes packing a bag ridicoluolsy easy and efficient.    Any guesses as to what I’m talking about?  


It’s the Packing Cube! A packing cube, which ironically isn’t a cube, rather a rectangle, is a small fabric bag that goes inside your main bag.  Think of it as an organisational pouch.  This little packing aide makes all the difference when it comes to saving space and keeping everything inside your bag nice and neat.  Yes, I know packing cubes aren’t exactly the most exciting thing to read about, yet they have made my travelling life so much easier, I just had to share these little known beauties with the rest of the world.


I find the biggest advantage of packing using the “packing cube method”, is the organization.  Usually, digging for an item in a tightly packed bag will cause everything to move around.  And it’s amazing how you can never repack a bag as neatly as you did it the first time - especially when you’re travelling and you’re up against hotel checkout times.  But with packing cubes, you simply need to remove the cube which contains your clothing item.  And because everything will (hopefully) be nicely rolled to perfectly fit the shape of the cube, you’ll be able to remove an item without upsetting the rest of the bag.


Whether I’m travelling on a short business trip which lasts a two or three days or an adventurous month or two in South East Asia, I always travel with just a carry on sized bag.  Checking in luggage is such a pain and not to mention potentially expensive, depending on the airline you travel with.  If you can manage to pack everything into the one, carry on, sized bag, you’ll be able to avoid the check-in queues.  But getting everything into the one bag can be a challenge and that is why I alway recommend people take 2 or 3 packing cubes.


A packing cube will compress your clothes.  For example, I can fit 5 tshirts and a couple of pairs of underwear into one tiny half cube.  I can never believe just how much hits inside each cube.  In my carry on bag, I take one full sized cube - which easily fits a couple of pairs of trousers, two dress shirts, and all my underwear.  And then I also take a half sized cube which fits pretty much all the other clothing.  


Bulky items such as coats and sweaters are a little tricker and won’t fit inside a packing cube.  For those items I recommend using a compression sack which will dramatically reduce the size of these bulky items.  However, I usually only bring a single jacket with me and wear it onto the plane.


So there you have it - packing cubes - the little known travel gadget that very few people use, yet they make life on the road so much easier.  It’s what we travel pro’s use to ensure we only need one carry on bag and quite frankly, I couldn’t travel without them anymore.


eBags Packing Cubes - 3pc Set (Eggplant)
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(price as of Jul 15, 2013)
I use two packing cubes, but if you're not a "minimal" packing freak like me, you're probably going to want three. These will last longer than the bag you put them in!