Packing cubes FAQs

Packing cube fullA few weeks ago a friend and I were talking about her upcoming  business travel. “You always talk about packing cubes!” she said. “What’s the deal? Are they really  that awesome?” And thirty minutes later when I was still espousing the wonders of packing cubes she may have been sorry she asked…..

Here are the questions I am most frequently asked about packing cubes. Do you have  a question I missed? Leave it in the comments and I’ll  add it!

How do they work? Do they really keep things organized? They work by compressing the air out of a stack of clothes. I can fit a whole week’s worth  of clothes into one cube (pictured, packing cube emptyright). Sometimes I need to travel with a giant polyester tablecloth that, when not in a cube, takes up literally half of my suitcase. It fits perfectly into a half-sized packing cube, and will then even fit into my purse. The cubes do definitely keep things separated, and if that helps you be organized on a trip then great–that’s just  the  secondary function to me for work trips. For personal trips, I will often  put my baby girl’s clothes in one cube and baby boy’s in another, then drop  both cubes into a suitcase.

Do your clothes wrinkle? Most of the clothes I bring are wrinkle-resistant, so no. Occasionally something Packing cube comparisonwill have a few wrinkles so I will hang it up the night before I’m supposed to wear it. Rarely does anything get really  wrinkled, but on those occasions I hang up my outfit in the bathroom while I shower to steam out the wrinkles. I avoid using hotel irons at all costs–I’ve had too  many mishaps!

Do they last? I have had my Eagle Creek  packing cubes for almost ten years and have used them on  hundreds of trips. One of the  cubes has a small tear in the front but is still fully functional. I think I spent $30 back then, and have made that back over and over every time I don’t have  to pay to check a bag!

Are there alternatives? Definitely! Travel Fashion Girl uses gallon Ziploc bags. Plenty of suitcases come with compression straps, which have a similar purpose. My preference is still the packing cubes, as  they are high quality, long  lasting, and  don’t have to stay with any particular suitcase.

I love, love, love my packing cubes and recommend them to everyone! They are a key component to my carry-on strategy.

Readers, do you use packing cubes? Do you have a favorite brand?


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  1. Eagle Creek cubes are great; I’ve had mine for several years. I think I’ve had LL Bean cubes for about 20 years. I can’t imagine packing without cubes; they make everything so much easier.

  2. Good to hear they last a long time! I bought a few last year after clients on our Prague Spring Festival Tour raved about them, and have been stuffing and zipping since then! I still use a larger plastic vacuum packing bag for sweaters and other heavier winter things, but am happy with the cubes for the majority of our packing.

  3. I have a few different sizes of ebags packing cubes. I LOVE THEM! I travel often, both business and personal, and they truly have made my trips easier. I usually take an empty cube, so I can use it for my dirty laundry. Then I don’t have to stuff dirty stuff in the same cube as things that I may not necessarily want or need to wash when I return home from my trip. I even use one of the smallest ones as a makeup/toiletries bag.

  4. I love packing cubes and use them every time I travel. Together my husband and I use up to ten or eleven each time we travel in different sizes and different brands to sort/separate/minimize/control items such as: underwear (him and me separately) shirts (him), dresses/skirts/slacks/tops (me – rolled, in one bag, enough for one month), cords, chargers plus my pivoting Quirky extension cord (one bag), first aid/travel meds (one bag), electric toothbrush and toothpaste (one bag) — I think you get the idea. The kind I like best are the ones with mesh tops, so you can easily see what’s in them. But you don’t have to pay full price for packing cubes. TJ Maxx almost always has one brand or another for sale. (I’ve picked up sets of 3 ebag ones for gifts more than once for $10 there).

  5. I have had the Eagle Creek Specters for years now and love them for all the reasons you gave above. However, my mother has thought of an additional reason to love them – if a “suitcase-pocalypse” happens and your bag pops open, all your underwear isn’t lying in the terminal for all to see. Words of wisdom.

  6. If you subscribe to, they will send you discount emails. Wait for a 30% off (or more) and 99 cent shipping offer. I’v picked up the Eagle Creek cubes for between $4 and $8 each. Discount stores also carry similar brands (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, etc.). I am so unorganized when I travel, so these cubes help me keep things in order. I love them. When I pack them I put slacks in one, shirts in another, etc. Then I pull them out of my suitcase and store them in hotel drawers unzipped, but still packed so that alike items stay together.

    I also use Think Tank Photo cable management pouches for all my tech stuff. Their pouches are fantastic. And Tom Bihn makes carry-ons and backpacks that can be accessorized with cubes, sacks and pouches. The more “homes” I have for the stuff I travel with, the easier I find I can keep it all organized.

  7. 1. My problem with Eagle Creek packing cubes (I have around 30 of them) and for that matter, Eagle Creek duffle bags (of which I own perhaps 15) is that after 15 – 20 years or so of use, they stink.

    2. Everytime I return from a trip, I wash and dry the items I have used. And at each of my intermediate stopovers, I spray the outside of the duffle bags with Lysol or similar disinfectant. I store the items with bars of cedar or “fragrant” soap like Irish Spring original green. Nothing seems to work in removing the musty odor.

  8. Packing cubes have made a huge difference to me. I have a set of the e-bags cubes and another set by Ecosusi which were slightly cheaper on Amazon. (I’m in the UK and found a bit less choice than there seems to be in the US). I’ve never noticed any problem with wrinkling with any fabrics. (I wouldn’t pack anything that was really prone to wrinkling! Although actually on our last trip my husband and I packed 2 suits into a medium flat packing cube and they were totally fine – just turn the jackets inside out and button up before folding). They are brilliant at keeping your suitcase organised and using the space efficiently, and you don’t have to completely empty a suitcase just to get one thing, so it helps keep your hotel room organised.

    I reckon that packing cubes would be fine on a gentle, cold, machine or hand wash if they get a bit smelly. (Some of mine suggest a cool hand wash on the care label)

    I love Lindsay’s suggestion above to pack an empty cube for dirty laundry! Genius!

  9. I have a variety from Ikea and MEC and just toss them into the wash after I get home along win all my travel clothes. I’ve also found that cosmetic pouches work a treat and look quite cute as well. I even have canvas ones for shoes. Makes packing and travel a lot easier.

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