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Compression cubes

I just heard of these. I have several Eagle Creek cubes in different sizes that I use in checked baggage. I normally check my baggage when traveling within the U.S., I like to take a few more things, and not worry about my liquids. Anyway, I love the organization they bring.

The first time I went to Europe I didn’t use them, just rolled my clothes and I doubt there was any air in there when I was done! Ha!

I just recently traveled to Florida with my carryon and used 2 large cubes, rolled everything. They fit, but a lot of other stuff did not and I had to stuff my RV veloce bag.

When I got home I wanted to see if everything would fit if I just rolled my clothes with no cubes, and it all fit...even the stuff I had to put in the veloce bag. So now, for our Italy trip in September I was planning on using no cubes. But then I heard about the compression cubes.

Any experience with these?

Posted by
847 posts

Compression cubes don't really reduce your bulk very much, maybe 10%. If you compress your clothing to the max, using compression stuff sacks from outfits like Osprey (link below), you end up with solid cylinders and inflexible bricks that wrinkle your clothes and are actually inefficient because they don't bend or squish into corners and nooks. You can usually shove your rolled up clothing into conventional cubes or cram it loosely into your bag and end up with the same amount of stuff in there. But compression cubes have fans and you may turn out to be one of them.

Like you, my cubes keep me organized. I like that. My heavy duty REI cubes have a compression feature but it's more convenient to close things up and less functional for bulk reduction. Also, the topic of compression cubes comes up often around here; you can search back through the packing forum and see plenty of discussion threads.

Happy travels.

Posted by
2320 posts

I like cubes for organizing and keeping my suitcase tidy, and have a set that can be zipped to compress, or left as-is and that's usually fine as I don't overpack in the first place--more likely to compress if I am travelling carry-on only.

Posted by
1179 posts

I think you need to remember that the main goal of packing cubes is organization.

They do not help you pack lighter. Compression cubes actually add weight due to the double zipper mechanism.

Compression cubes serve the following purpose:

  • They compress big fluffy things, like puff jackets. With that said, most jackets come with their own storage pocket so the cube isn’t needed.
  • They can be used to squish down wrinkly things like underwear and socks.
  • They are great when you have a size limitation. For example, you are traveling with only an under-seat bag. The significantly smaller bag size means you may need to compress your clothes to make everything fit in the tiny bag.

I would argue that you shouldn’t take compression cubes just so you can get more clothes into a normal sized carry on bag. At that point you are taking too many clothes. Using a compression cube will allow you to overpack your bag and make it unwieldy and heavy. You will still have to cart your heavy bag around once you’ve left the airport!

I have many times used the 1/2 cube compression for my underwear, socks, rash guard, and long johns. Then I bundle wrap my regular clothes around the 1/2 cube “core” and slip the whole thing into a full cube. This is how I often travel when I’m using a 22 liter bag as my main bag.

But know this - a compression cube will make the contents of the cube come out a wrinkle mess.

Posted by
3685 posts

I love my Eagle Creek Specter Tech compression cubes. I don't leave home without them. I don't roll anything because no matter how I do it or how I pack it, the rolled items come out more wrinkled than if I fold them.

One warning about compression cubes, they squeeze the air out, but not the weight. That makes it easy to overpack.

Posted by
9718 posts

I pack like Lo does. I didn't find rolling helped me at all. I used the Eagle Creek Specter Compression cubes for several years and it seemed they were kind of humped up in the middle if I rolled things. They made more of a cube shape when I folded. I cut a flexible plastic cutting board to the size of the cube so I had a template and folded my shirts around that so they were the exact size. Now some of the Eagle Creek compression cubes come with a folding template but my homemade one worked well.

I have since switched to another kind of cube called Compass Rose Compression Cubes by a blogger called Travel Fashion Girl. I don't really follow her but I love her cubes which are more rectangles, lol. They slot upright in your carry on like books in a bookshelf. I don't even unpack them - I can just load them zipper side up and pull things out. There is a learning curve on them as to how to fold things. Rolling might work with these cubes. They don't really compress like the Eagle Creek ones do as they do not have that extra zipper to squish things down.

I've gone to checking my carry on as well. I don't mind the extra few ounces the cubes weigh. They keep me and my suitcase organized and I like they way they perform.

Your trip, your suitcase, your choice!!

PS - Welcome to the packing addiction club, lol!

Posted by
9718 posts

Adding another thought or two....

I got one set of my Eagle Creek sil-nylon compression cubes at Sierra Trading Post. I just did a quick search online and they have one or two but not the set I actually got several years ago. IF you have an STP near you, I'd swing by there when you are in that direction and see what they have, otherwise, I'd check their online site once a week or so.

I got another set at my local AAA store, so if you have an AAA membership and a nearby agency with a good store drop in there as well. They are slightly cheaper with the member discount. Check and see if they are having any kind of packing seminar as well. I went to one years ago and they gave everyone something like 20% off for attending.

I have transitioned my compression cubes to other uses. I'm currently using one for my winter accessories - glove liners, neck gaiter, beanie hat, wristies. It's just the right size that I can throw it in the car each time I go out and not have to collect them.

Last trip I also used one for my "back of the airline seat" bag - snacks, sleep mask, ear plugs, an extra chapstick, WetOnes, etc. and another one for my food bag for my carry on tote/bus bag for my tour.

Posted by
847 posts

Pam: Yeah, I do that: I use my extra cubes at the end of the cold season to hold much of my winter accessories in one convenient and compact package. Right now, I've got most of my spring-summer cycling stuff in a cube.