Tim Foolery

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Packing Cubes – Worth it or a Waste?

Packing cubes are those small, plastic/fabric rectangles used for packing clothes that zip up and are billed as life changing additions to your travel program.  I have friends who tout their benefits and say that they allow them to pack much more into the same suitcase than they could before.

Of course that claim is silly, these packing cubes don’t bend the laws of physics, they just help you keep a bit more organized.  I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty efficient packer – I can mostly live out of a roll a board suitcase (that easily fits in the overhead bins of all but the smallest of planes).  The only time I need to step up to a larger suitcase is when my activities at the destination are quite varied.  For example, recently we took a nine-day trip to the west coast where we had a fine dining experience, then hiked multiple days and then ended at a wedding.  This obviously necessitated several different outfit changes.  Otherwise, I’m using a simple 20-inch suitcase for everything.

I’ve been trying out packing cubes for a few months now, and I’m just not sold.  I bought a three-pack of ebags packing cubes from Amazon and have used them on almost every trip since late 2017.  I’ve tried different packing configurations – loading up my undershirts, boxers and socks into the largest of the cubes and filling my outer clothes around it in the suitcase.  I’ve put those same items split between the two smaller cubes and use the larger cube for my slacks and dress shirts.

The three pack of travel cubes from Ebags.

I just don’t get it.  I do like how everything looks like and organized in my suitcase, but I struggle with finding things, and then struggle with what to do with my dirty clothes.  Usually I don’t unpack when I arrive at a destination, I’ll just live out of my suitcase.

What am I missing here?  How do you use packing cubes?  How do handle dirty clothes while traveling (my mother-in-law made me a dirty clothes bag, but that goes against the sleek aesthetic of the packing cubes)?  Are packing cubes worth all the fuss?

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1 Comment

  1. theotherlisa says:

    I’m a swear-by-packing-cubes traveler for a few reasons. I usually pack a soft-sided overnight bag (for non-flight trips of 3-4 days maximum) or small, rolling suitcase for others. I will use 3-4 cubes – tops, pants/skirts, under garments/pajamas, and, depending on need, sweaters. I like being able to look through clothes independently of the other things that I might not need. But the real reason I love packing cubes in my life is that I’ve converted my husband, who will only use a backpacking backpack for traveling anywhere. Now instead of layers and layers of clothes that have to come out to get something near the bottom, he can pull out his packing cubes. Definitely keeps things more organized and (somewhat) less wrinkled. As for dirty clothes, our back cubes came with drawstring bags that we use for that or sometimes dirty shoes.

    Like

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