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Compression Packing Cubes vs. Packing Shelves

My husband and are travelling in Italy and Croatia for three weeks in July 2017. We have used RS packing cubes in the past, but i have been eyeing compression travel cubes, like the ones from Eagle Creek (, and are also looking at packing shelves that fit inside luggage ( Anybody have any experience with either or both of these packing methods? We are both travelling with bags a few inches bigger than a standard carry-on (High Sierra AT6 with removable daypack). Thank you!

Posted by
731 posts

My husband LOVES these. He's used them for several trip both international and within the states. They are very helpful with keeping your backpack/luggage slim enough to fit inside the airline sizers. As an added benefit, he says they keep his shirts wrinkle free!

Posted by
22977 posts

We don't use either. We use the folding envelope - one per bag - for the shirts and pants. We then use large zip lock bags - 2 gal and 2.5 gal when we can find them - for all of our other items. Work just as well an any compression bag at one tenth the cost. The advantage to the zip lock bags is that you can write on them with a magic marker. I seen the folding shelf and that it adds weight without a gain in function.

Posted by
4429 posts

So if bigger than allowed size, I assume you are checking bags then? You may get away with slightly larger going to Europe but European airports are quite stringent on carryon compliance. There will also be a weight limit, so expect luggage to ge weighed for return flight. Ebags has that luggage weighing in close to 9 pounds which is almost half the carry on weight limit for some European airlines.
This is where compression items let us down...they reduce space, but not be mindful of this.
I have older versions of the Eagle Creek fold packs and agree that they seem to keep clothes less wrinkly. I use a combination of packing cubes and compression packs depending where and what I am taking. If I didn't have enough travel packing aids, I would definitely look at this item. How does the size fit with your luggage internal size? Sometimes compressed items are stiff makng it hard to mold to a luggage interior.
I am not sold,on the usefulness of that shelf unit. Iam...and I am not. It is also 3 pounds of extra weight. Hmm extra pair of walking shoes...or a shelf?

Posted by
4477 posts

I have a couple of packing cubes that I've used for years, great for minimizing wrinkles in t-shirts and shirts that are tightly rolled. And I've never met a zip lock bag I couldn't find a use for. The most versatile compression bags you'll find. And cheap. The shelf thing looks useless at packing more efficiently and only take up space and adds too much weight. With anything over a 24 inch suitcase (which you have to check anyway), I'd be careful about too much compression packing. Yes, you save space. But it's very easy to go over the allowable weight limits.

Remember that you need to leave both room and weight allowance in your bags for souvenirs on the trip home.

Posted by
309 posts

I like the Eagle Creek Specter cubes because they are very lightweight. I have several different ones including the compression set. I do not use the compression set so that I can carry more, but to insure my soft sided luggage doesn't bulge out and exceed airline size limits.

Posted by
10 posts

For what it's worth... Like you linked to, the company has those shelves as an insert intended to fit into your existing luggage the way packing cubes do... But they also have a whole suitcase itself that sort of unfolds with the shelves! The rolling dufflebag actually looks pretty cool!

But I'm a ziploc-baggie traveler, and my husband literally got our current rolling luggage out of someone's curbside "free - please take!" pile, so I wouldn't buy it myself. :-)

Posted by
8196 posts

CJean and Maria make an excellent point regarding weight being as important as volume.

Posted by
362 posts

I have found that compression cubes help with small items like socks, underwear and t-shirts. I haven't tried them on larger items, but they do help squeeze what I was already going to take into a smaller space.

The packing cubes are wonderful, but they only organize me.

Posted by
9931 posts

I like my RS packing cubes and don't go anywhere without them. I find that they compress my items enough and keep me organized. I've only used compression bags for winter travel to make sweaters, etc. less bulky.

Posted by
5697 posts

Compression bag (I.e. Gallon size Ziploc) worked great on my down jacket. I have quarter-size and half-size Eagle Creek packing cubes and packing folders bought at REI annual sales and picked up at thrift shops. Wouldn't travel without them! The new Specter cubes look great -- but not enough better for this cheapskate to buy while the old ones still work.

Posted by
1194 posts

Several have compared the ziplock with compression cubes. My experience is that the Eagle Creek compression cube can compress things way more than the zip locks. There's no contest.
I have a half cube compression cube and it works great for hiking socks and underwear. I bundle wrap and find that the half cube makes a great core. So far I've only taken the compression cubes on intense adventure trips where I'm bringing a lot of hiking socks. Normally I don't bring compression cubes as I'm traveling lighter.
The shelf is to assist overpackers over pack even more.