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Which packing cubes are better?

I've looked at a lot of different methods of packing and saving space in the suitcase. I've decided to go with the packing cubes but don't really know which one's I should put on my wishlists.

I've been looking at Eagle Creek and Samantha Brown. I also wonder if anyone here has used travel space bags by Ziplock (or other brand). I was thinking I could use those for dirty laundry.

Posted by
14067 posts

You'll probably not get a consensus, lol!!

I have used the Eagle Creek sil-nylon compression bags for several years but just got back from 5 weeks using these and loved them.

They were developed by a travel blogger, TravelFashionGirl. What I like is that she's sized them so they sit up vertically in the suitcase so they are kind of like drawers in a dresser. Several times i did not even take them out of the suitcase, was able to just unzip them (unfortunately the handle is on the bottom if you have the side up where the zippers meet, but no big deal) and get a clean shirt and unders out without unpacking. Very easy.

Loading them efficiently had a bit of a learning curve since I flat-folded shirts in the Eagle Creek cubes and these are not as wide as those so I did a few trial packs and then was able to leave them packed for a few days to check on the wrinkle state of my shirts.

I wound up using 3 in my RS 21" roller bag. One for shirts, one for cardies & long sleeve shirts and one for underwear, socks, nightgown. I used the 4th one as my back-of-the-airplane-seat cube with my iPad Mini, eye mask, glasses case, ear plugs, motrin, chapstick etc - everything I need during a flight so I don't have to keep getting in to my personal item.

For those that are in to "competitive light packing" they are a bit heavier than the Eagle Creek sil-nylon ones but I loved they way they keep me organized and the weight wasn't onerous to me.

I have no connection to this person or product, just a satisfied customer.

As far as dirty laundry, I sink wash as I travel so don't really wind up with dirty clothes until the last few days.

I also flat fold my pants in the bottom of my suitcase. I stack my extra pair of shoes on the end with the wheels, then just started slotting my 3 packed cubes in. I fit my toiletries bag and my other smaller items in between 2 of the cubes and/or on top of my shoes. Very neat looking suitcase, if I say so myself!

Posted by
4574 posts

Which are better? Not to be glib, but "the ones that work for you". I watched the video for FashionTravelGirl with her narrow cubes, but I would never get out the wrinkles from my clothing. Also, no cubes reduce weight of clothing - just volume - so you still need to consider the final luggage weight. I seem to have a medium for most of my clothes, and a small for some rolled up shirts, underwear and swimwear. I do like the very light ones I have from MEC, but that is a Canadian brand.
I think we all agree that large cubes are too large for travel.
The travel space bags could work for laundry, but I find they still take up space due to the semi rigidity of the plastic part around the clothing. I used one for a while to take a pillow. I finally gave up on that and put the pillow in first. Everything on top compresses as much as a space bag would.
Eagle Creek is always well designed and I like their clothing folders for keeping shirts and decent slacks tidy and requiring little to no ironing.

Posted by
4380 posts

I use Lewis and Clark because they are lightweight and expandable and I am into competitive light packing(with myself). I am considering purchasing the Fashion Girl ones for trips when I take a rolling carryon and will be moving hotels often. I've also seen a bag designed to hold everything, including a tablet, for the back of the plane seat and it looked interesting.

Posted by
14067 posts

I was concerned that an extra fold in my shirts would lead to more wrinkling in the Travel Fashion Girl cubes but I just folded, tugged at the edges of my shirts to smooth them out and they were as fine as they are out of the Eagle Creek cubes. I also travel with a small spray bottle so I can spritz things and hang the night before if I decide they are too wrinkled. Really never had to use it in 5 weeks.

I do place the cube on my folding surface so I can fold the shirts to the exact width of the cube.

editing to add: Cala, just weighed one of the cubes and it is 2 5/8 oz for one. These were her beta test in January but the ones on Amazon look the same.

I'll also admit I'm a sucker for cubes and such so if you have a link to the back of the seat cube...I'd love to look at it! The TFG cube holds an iPad Mini with a case but just barely.

Posted by
4380 posts

Pam, I don't know if this is the one I saw-but I like the fact that it's waterproof. I think if I used it, I'd have to set the alarm on my phone(and annoy those around me if I forgot to repack the bag and/or turn off the alarm) so I wouldn't run the risk of leaving it on the plane. I'm also thinking that I could put liquids and electronics in it and just remove it from my carryon at security.

Posted by
2788 posts

We have used packing cubes for our yearly one month tour of Europe. We purchased them from RS elsewhere on this web site in hopes of supporting his efforts.

Posted by
14067 posts

Thanks for the link Cala! I have been pulling whatever cube I use slightly out of the pocket so I can see it and not forget!

Posted by
13 posts

My whole problem is I am not a small girl. My clothes are big and heavy and I need to make sure that I can fit them all in there without worrying. I was thinking of rolling them inside the packing cubes to maximize space. I don't care so much about wrinkles. I'm gonna make sure to bring stuff that doesn't wrinkle that easily.

I like ebags "classic" cubes in bright colors (easier to see and harder to leave behind). The slimlines are useful also. Eagle Creek makes good stuff and I have a couple of those as well. Wal-Mart has cheap cubes - 3 for $10. They work.
Samantha Brown luggage is sold on HSN. It does not have good reviews for durability nor for customer service. I would not buy it.

Posted by
15277 posts

I have cubes and cubes and cubes and then some more. Lots of different companies.

The first thing to look at is your bag and the internal dimensions. Is it a one compartment bag where there is little room in the lid or two compartments that can be packed equally? What are you taking and what method are you planning to use to pack-- rolling it folding or both? How strict are the weight limits of your airline?

Cubes will actually help you to condense your clothes.

Once you figure out how you will pack each cube you can then start playing Tetris fitting the cubes in your bag.

My favorite manufacturers of cubes are Eagle Creek, eBags, Bago and Lewis & Clark.

I will admit to being a little obsessed with this. I take out graph paper, draw a rectangle of my bag to scale, know the dimensions of my cubes and packing accessories and then figure out how to fit it all in.

Posted by
2129 posts

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Rick Steves cubes. I have others but always go back to these. I like that I can see through the mesh tops & sides. And I always roll my clothes within the cube.

Posted by
7347 posts

When my husband replaced his old RS backpack-style suitcase with one with wheels, there was a special promo where he received a free set of the RS packing cubes. Some of those quickly became mine! Previously, I used the white tight mesh drawstring bags for lingerie and everything else just went into my carry on.

I like that these weigh nothing - only the bottom surface is made of nylon fabric. The sides & top are black open mesh with zippers that open across three sides. The medium size is large enough that I just fold my shirts and capris with one extra fold and place them the same way I would to place in our dresser drawer. The large will easily hold dresses. The second medium is good for lingerie.

If I was purchasing new ones, I would be looking for similar sizes. Some packing cubes are tiny or odd-shaped and require a lot of rolling or extra folding, or require that you open several cubes to get dressed. I just open two each morning: one for lingerie, and one that’s either the shirt/capris or the dress cube.

Posted by
7347 posts

For dirty laundry, I take along a plastic bag, I.e. a Target bag. My suitcase has a bottom separate section, so I place the bag there. Since I wash clothes in the sink during the trip, it’s kept fairly small. If I bring a second pair of shoes, I also use a Target type plastic bag.

Posted by
299 posts

Bought mine at Winners (Marshall’s), work great. Cheap to...bonus!

Posted by
3 posts

Love the eBags packing cubes. I had also another brand (cant remember now which ones) but the eBags won out. They hold a lot more than you think, are lightweight and nice fabrics. And eBags always seems to have a sale on.

Posted by
506 posts

Packing cubes in-general I find to be pretty handy. For trips over a week in length, I use them; any shorter I'm fine just laying my clothes in a few rolls. I wouldn't necessarily say that one brand is better than the other, I would point-out that more reputable brands will use better materials and zippers; zippers being the key as they're dealing with all the stress and their hem stitching is going to be more exacting. No need to buy a cube for shoes, use the plastic bags you find in the vegetable section from your super market; socks get jammed inside the shoes.

Personally, I'm a fan of Eagle Creek's cubes. They have two flavors, their original which uses a heavier material and the very lightweight Specter collection. I've used both, the Specter of course helps save on weight and space. What shouldn't be left out and I find super useful is the Garment Folder. Great for keeping wrinkles to a minimum on dress-shirts, you can fold-up quite a bit with them. I believe RS presenter/guide Sarah Murdoch uses a folder for her dresses and bottoms. The heavier material cubes I'll use for short trips when I just want to go minimalist and carry a laptop back and/or messenger bag and the insides are getting squeezed-in with laptop/files/paper work/cables. Compression bags I use only in the winter, as sweaters and pants take up a lot of space or, month long trips, again helps keep a lot tight.

Just remember to pack one or, two drier sheets to help manage the smell in your luggage. After 10-days, your bag will smell and the sheets will help keep things at bay until you're able to do some laundry.

If cubes are just too complicated, you can try THIS method of packing.

Posted by
5697 posts

Ziploc bags -- just the regular freezer bags, not the fancy ones with one-way valves. Put clothes in, zip it almost closed, then put it on a hard surface, sit on the bag to squish the air out and zip it fully closed. (Doesn't work as well if you sit on a soft bed.) 2-gallon size compressed a puffy down jacket.
For regular clothes I like Eagle Creek -- and whatever occasionally shows up at the thrift store for $3 per bag.
Also, mesh laundry bags from the Dollar Store for smaller items.

Posted by
985 posts

M - I've used both packing cubes and ziploc baggies - the large ones. I found the XL were just too large. Yes, they have a vacuum valve on them but I didn't use that. I did like Laura B and just sat on them after filling and zipped the baggie closed. The plus is a nice, neat, flat backpack to slide into the overhead on the plane. The plus is my clothes will stay dry in my backpack during a downpour during transport (although I am likely to step into a doorway or store during the worst of it). The negative is that you pretty much have to unpack everything to get to anything, so I only used these bags when I am staying somewhere for at least a week and will be mostly unpacking. I would never use baggies like this when on a tour because it would be a big hassle, but using just one for dirty laundry would work well. I just used a plastic grocery bag though as I did laundry every 2-3 days while on tour and didn't need to compress it or use anything larger.
I bought ebags bright yellow and red cubes years ago. The bright colors means they are easy to spot and I will not leave any behind. I have the trio plus I bought some of the slim bags to fill in the gaps. We toured with these and they were great - never unpacked the cubes the whole month we were gone.
I also have used the RS cubes and they are okay, but I felt the need for something more restraining and bought the ebags cubes and I like them better.
Yes, I try to keep weight down as I carry it all on my back, not in a roller bag, but I don't go as far as buying due to the weight of the cubes.

Posted by
796 posts

I use a few brands. The smallest Rick Steves one and small rectangular thin Eagle Creek ones. I do roll my clothes and shirts fit in both easily. Pants do not go in cubes for me but tuck in the long side of the rolling bag. For dirty laundry, I bring some mesh zip bags that I wash delicate undies in, they work well. I also have used plastic grocery bags for the dirty laundry. I have used small ziplock bags for clean undies , the small ones fit well in the suitcase. Most times I pack clean undies in the extra shoes, lining the shoe with a plastic bag first. My smallest umbrella fits in a shoe, great was to keep the shoes from being smashed down.

Happy packing!

Posted by
4574 posts

M, I am also 'not a small girl', so that is where I balk on the narrow cubes. However, I consciously shop for lighter weight fabrics (rarely knits) to work for travel and work. Polyester isn't a dirty word in this decade. Even cotton shirts work when properly folded. There are YouTubes for that. It is also the reason I started with the concept of a garment folder (I made mine, as Eagle Creek is expensive in Canada). It allowed for compression, but kept things tidy. I used 2. Now I take even fewer clothes, and use the middle size for trousers and wrinkly clothing, and if I have light knits, I roll into the smaller cube.
Travel packing is an ever evolving system in my world. Luggage limits for carry on keep getting smaller or more restrictive, and my body keeps ageing where weight matters, so I keep trying to find methods that suit the restrictions, and the type of travel. Safaris require different items than a city break in Paris in Winter....for example.
Did anyone suggest asking friends if you can borrow and trial run theirs? They are typically washable...just hand to dry.
As to dirty laundry, I just stuff it around the suitcase, or use a standard zip lock and compress.

Posted by
302 posts

You have lots of helpful links already so I will just add: On trips 3+ weeks I have started using a large size compression bag for once laundry starts to accumulate ( I sink wash underwear and some tops). I keep it on the very bottom. I appreciate any laundry-ish smell being tightly sealed since the suitcase is always closed.
Whichever cubes you choose, what I like is they force you to limit what you take! For a typical 3+ week trip that would be 3 each underpants/ bras, socks (sometimes) and 2 sleepshirts in a small one, 4-6 tops (rolled) in another smallish one and the large one for 3-4 pants/skirts.
Or, pants folded in half flat on the bottom. I never unpack in hotels. I tend to now wear the same bottom piece 3-5 days in a row, just get out a fresh top and underwear at night. The cubes really help keep organized and are the secret for really packing light!

Posted by
4054 posts

I'm with Laura B., preferring large bags that zip shut. Lighter than cubes; just as easy to organize; cheaper. They can be found in the storage section of some general-merchandise stores. Avoid the ones that need a reverse vacuum cleaner. I gently fold small bundles of clothing -- pants wrapped around a couple of shirts, for instance -- and slide them flat into a bag. When fairly full, I lie down on the bag to compress the air out and zip the seam closed. I do this in private. Heavy seams are obviously more durable.

Posted by
139 posts

Hi!I have a fixation with packing cubes and packing cubes reviews.

I have tried 2 brands but own 3: Eagle creek (the pack-it original), Sharper Image cubes that I get for round $17 at TJ Maxx and set from Travelon that I got also at TJ Maxx but haven't used. So far, my favorites are the Sharper Image because they're lighter than the Eagle Creek ones and come with a bigger packing cube, let me give you the measurements:

Sharper Image:
Small: 11 x 6 x 3 in
Med: 13 x 9 x 3 in
Large: 17 x 12 x 3 in

SM: 10 x 6 x 2.2 in
Med: 10 x 8 x 2.2 in
Large: 14 x 8 x 2.2 in

Eagle Creek:
X-Small: 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in
Small: 10 x 7 x 3 in
Medium: 14 x 10 x 3 in

I'm very curious about the Rick Steves and now the Travel Fashion Girl ones... I hope you find ones that work for you :)

Posted by
752 posts

I learned about packing cubes on this site and absolutely love them! My brand of choice is Rick Steves cubes which I have used successfully for several years now. I’ve looked at other cubes, but I really like that Rick’s cubes have the fine mesh top for easy viewing. Also, the three sizes he offers in the set seem to be just right for my clothing.

For dirty clothes, I bring gallon ziplock bags. These are handy bags for a variety of other things, too. i.e., wet swimsuit.

Posted by
37 posts

Love the Eagle Creek cubes and folding boards. I've been using the heavier ones for years. Now I've moved on to the colorful, lightweight pieces that help to keep the weight down in my suitcase. Though Eagle Creek is expensive, their products are durable and well designed. When traveling from city to city with short stays, it's nice to work out of your suitcase instead of unpacking each time.

Posted by
15867 posts

my clothes will stay dry in my backpack during a downpour during

We use rolling bags and tuck a garbage/trash bag into each big enough to fit over them. If having to walk in the rain, poke a hole in the bottom big enough to get the handle through and just slide over your bag to keep it dry. That bag can also be used for other purposes, like containing laundry.

Posted by
4 posts

I am 6’1” and size 16/18. I have 3 brands of packing cubes that I have used on 2 trips to Europe and 2 trips to Mexico. Shacke (from Amazon), Rick Steves & Eagle Creek. The Rick Steves are my least favorite. My favorite is the Eagle Creek. They have different styles, some with compression, folder style ones for more tailored things. My favorite combo is some small & tube shaped Shacke cubes and Eagle Creek’s medium and small Spekter compression cubes.

Posted by
156 posts

I've been pretty happy with eBags' cubes, though they don't offer compression cubes (though I haven't checked lately). If you want to save a few bucks, check out the selection of compression cubes on Amazon. Personally, I find a lot of Eagle Creek's merchandise relatively overpriced, though their guarantee is the best in the business. And I've never been disappointed with their luggage and backpacks..

We've used the clear plastic "space bags" effectively for large items such as heavy coats and sweaters. Being able to compress a down jacket is a lifesaver if you're looking to save space on a winter trip. For anything else, though, I prefer a fabric cube or compression cube.