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compression packing cubes

I have used regular packing cubes plus some compression sacks. The compression sacks really compress things like underwear, socks, etc., I was wondering if the compression cubes (with the 2 zippers) really save space, and are easy to use, or if the regular ones are just as useful. and if the compression cubes are good, which is a good economical one to get? I would probably only need a few medium size ones.

Posted by
16458 posts

The compression cubes definitely save space as long as you don't take advantage of using them to pack extra clothing.

Posted by
2575 posts

I just use what I have.
Remember compression doesn't reduce weight.

Posted by
2233 posts

I find the extra zipper helpful. I got the Lewis and Clark because they're lightweight-look like they won't be as durable as regular Eagle Creek but the decreased space they occupy is worth it.

Posted by
172 posts

I really like the Eagle Creek compression cubes. True, they do not reduce weight, but they do streamline the bundle. I'm hoping to buy the new Specter Tech compression cubes soon. I have used space bags in the past, but I only like them for dirty clothes.

Posted by
174 posts

I like the Eagle Creek Specter compression cubes. (Recommended by Pam on the forum) They are very lightweight. I've used them for several years. The compression keeps my soft sided luggage from bulging and perhaps not fitting the airline size regulations. I'm careful not to pack more just because of the saved space.

I don't have the new Eagle Creek Specter Tech compression cubes that open wide which I like, but the trade off is they weigh a bit more. For the medium cube the weight is 2.0 ounces vs 5.3 ounces.

I also use several of the smaller Specter noncompression styles for socks, underwear, electronics, toiletries and misc. I've acquired my collection over several years, only buying on sale. I haven't seen a less expensive brand that is as lightweight.

Posted by
9338 posts

The Eagle Creek Specter cubes are my favorites to-date as they weigh almost nothing and easily compress the clothes enough to organize and minimize bulging. I am committed to a 21-inch rolling bag regardless of trip length and these cubes have made packing easier on our current 8 week trip where I had to pack for both warm and cold weather. I use two large ones (one for pants and one for tops), a medium for undies and socks, and I use two small ones for cosmetics and a first aid bag. The small ones are so useful to gather up bits and pieces.

Posted by
17572 posts

I second what Maria said. Packing cubes do not save weight.

Unfortunately, they facilitate over-packing. Learn to pack less, and you won't need them. I do, however, endorse some kind of organized packing - .mesh bag, etc - so you can pack and unpack quickly. Packing cubes, too me, are to big to be effective.

Don't take two separate wardrobes for different weather conditions. Learn to dress in layers. Pack for the coldest weather and just wear a layer less if it is warm.

Posted by
9338 posts

Don't take two separate wardrobes for different weather conditions. Learn to dress in layers. Pack for the coldest weather and just wear a layer less if it is warm.

To a degree (haha - get it?) I agree, Lee. But we had from upper 30s (Fah.) in the mountains to 70-75 a few places. We had hiking in the mountains and pure city time in Paris and London. I needed two LS layers sometimes plus a jacket. Had to go to SS tee on several days or a light blouse.

I think men (my husband included) may manage better with one SS, one LS plus a jacket, but I need more when it gets below 45 F. Still, since I can get it all in a 21-inch bag and it weighs only about 10kg, I think I am pretty darn efficient on an 8-week trip. The key, to me, is no more than two pairs of shoes and no more than three bottoms.

Posted by
1129 posts

I can think of a couple of times where compression cubes were a good solution.
* The first was when I was on a very outdoorsy study-hiking trip in the Middle East. I was able to get all my equipment (day pack, camp chair, class materials, clothing, trail snacks, water system) into a single 45 L travel pack. I used the compression cube to compress undies and then used that as a core to bundle pack my clothes. I slid that into a regular cube.
* The second was when I was traveling exclusively with a 16 L personal item bag. The packing cube compressed my bundle wrapped clothes so I had extra room in my pack. A 16 L pack is on the small side. I needed to make room for my toiletries, electronics, shoes, purse, comfort kit, wallet, phone, jacket, etc.
In both cases I was worried more about bulk than weight. I was trying to get everything into a single bag. It worked.
In both cases I used the Eagle Creek Specter cubes.

Posted by
5146 posts

If what you have is really-compressible (ex. down jacket) a sturdy big Ziploc bag will work -- I put mine in the bag, zip it almost closed, then sit on the bag to get air out and zip it fully closed. Not as elegant as commercial compression cases, but really cheap. And really light. And you can use extra Ziploc bags for all sorts of things.
EDIT: For full disclosure, yes, the Ziploc does leak air slowly, so my down jacket decompresses in my bag and has to be sat on again before the next packing.

Posted by
2363 posts

I just used two small REI compression bags to pack my clothes for a 5 day domestic trip. The compression bags allow me to fit my clothes (excluding slacks) easily into my 12x16x6 PI, to allow room for my electronics, toiletries, small cross body purse and computer. All I'm taking is this PI, so in this case, it is about size, not weight. The entire packed bag weighs 8lbs. This is not how I like to pack, but sometimes it is necessary. I'd rather pack a reasonable amount and check a full carryon, but I have just learned that domestic Delta makes you pay to check your bag, and I will not wait on the catwalk for the entire plane to receive their gate check bags from the airline. So, compression bags pay off when you have to pack a very small bag, IMO.

Addendum: Thinking I might mail some things ahead...

Posted by
7565 posts

As Lynn says, I’ve used the Eagle Creek compression cubes for several years. They do not lead me to overpack because I would be taking the same 5 shirts and 2 sweaters. I like how they use less space and things don’t slide around. The volume of shirts I pack does not fill a non-compression cube.

It IS Lynn in Boise’s fault that I got the extra set of purple ones from Sierra Trading Post last year!

Posted by
890 posts

It's the extra pair of shoes and Fitflops that I have problems packing. Shoes take up so much room and don't smash down. With all my feet problems I need to rotate shoes. I have not found a solution to this packing problem. Any ideas?

Posted by
174 posts

"It IS Lynn in Boise’s fault that I got the extra set of purple ones from Sierra Trading Post last year!"

....and because experienced Pam had two sets, I decided I should have two sets also. But they were less than half price! Usually I use the two smaller ones and one large. However my winter puff coat fits into the larger compression cube so if I travel in cold weather, I'll be prepared with that option.

Posted by
7 posts

"It's the extra pair of shoes and Fitflops that I have problems packing. Shoes take up so much room and don't smash down. With all my feet problems I need to rotate shoes. I have not found a solution to this packing problem. Any ideas?"

Sandals or flipflops, you should only need them in the hotel or for short periods to rest your feet.

The part I like about compression bags is that you can see what is in each bag. I also sort my items in the bags including dirty clothes waiting to be washed. I always pack a few extra bags also for souvenirs.

Posted by
966 posts

I have used both regular and compression packing cubes. They DO make me think twice about what to put into my bag.

I use the regular packing cubes for jeans, slacks & shirts. I use the compression cubes for undies and socks.

As others have said, they don't change the weight of what you are packing. They do change the shape of what goes into your bag. If I were buying more packing cubes, I'd go with the regular ones.