Planning and packing tips

Packing cubes: My favourite travel companions

August 11, 2014 (Last Updated: May 28, 2020)
by Carolyn
Lady packing suitcase

Over many years of travel I’ve always been willing to try new methods of packing in order to get more into my suitcase and to keep it as wrinkle-free as possible, not to mention keeping it neat.

I’ve tried rolling my clothes and even compressing them in zip lock bags, but after using packing cubes (sometimes called packing cells) on my most recent trip they have definitely become my favourite suitcase companions. 

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On last year’s trip I packed my clothes in zip lock bags and then sat on the bags to eliminate excess air before ‘zipping’ them up and whilst this method allowed me to pack quite a lot in each bag, the clothes were quite creased when I took them out. 

When I read Caz Makepeace’s article about packing cubes on her popular website yTravelBlog, I decided to give them a try.

I purchased my packing cubes from Kathmandu during their summer sale and was able to buy three different sized cubes for $25.

Once I got them home and had a play around with what items of clothing would fit in each cube, I quickly jumped on to Kathmandu’s website and ordered another three for my husband to use. 

If there’s no Kathmandu sale on, though, you can grab these similar packing cubes much cheaper all year round.

Hubby wasn’t convinced at first but agreed to use his packing cubes and after just a few days of travelling, he was a convert.

This was a practice run before we left home. By the time I’d been travelling for a couple of weeks, my suitcase was even tidier!

The beauty of packing cubes is that you know exactly where everything is and you don’t have to go rummaging through your suitcase to find a particular item.

All my underwear went in the smallest cube, shirts and skirts were packed in the medium-sized cube and dresses, cardigans and scarves called the large cube home.

I generally travel with clothes made of fabrics that aren’t prone to creasing but I did find that if I folded clothes properly before packing them in the cube, that eliminated creasing even further.

Each morning it was easy to find the clothes I wanted to wear for the day and, if during the day, I needed a change of shirt or had to grab a cardigan, it was just a matter of reaching for the appropriate packing cube.

Having everything packed away neatly in the cube also meant that each morning the bed wasn’t strewn with clothes whilst we searched for something to wear. It’s easy to grab a packing cube by its loop and lift it from your suitcase.

travel packing solutions
For me, packing cells are a much better method of packing than using zip lock bags.

The packing cubes I bought are sturdy with strong zips and with their mesh top, allow air into the bag which eliminates any stale smells. Because they are soft, they were also easy to fit in my suitcase. The smaller cube went on the bottom amongst my shoes and the medium and larger cubes fitted side by side on top.

One of the reasons I loved using the packing cubes was that I didn’t get that dreaded feeling of overwhelm every time I opened my suitcase.

When I lifted the lid I knew I’d be able to find exactly what I was looking for as everything was organised neatly. Winner!

Top image: Adobe Stock Photo / ChenPG