Are Packing Cubes Worth It: Genius Idea or Travel Packing Fad?

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Who remembers Tetris? Who’s looking for a cult to join?

Today’s post is about luggage packing! Yes, it’s packing cubes!

By the end of this post you’ll know whether or not they are going to be worth buying. But for some people, their first packing cube experience is a much more special moment.

There are two types of people in the world…

Packing cube converts (aka believers) and people who can’t understand what packing cubes actually do!

Christy was recently converted:

Nathan and Cayce are believers too:

Merrilee can now travel with the fear displaying her dirty underwear:

It can be confusing to see people so happy with a product when the benefits are not immediately obvious to you.

If packing cubes are so worth it… why don’t people buy even smaller cubes to pack inside their packing cubes. And so on ad infinitum, like Russian dolls?

What is the actual point of a bag that you pack inside your bag?

I think the question isn’t “are packing cubes worth it?”, the question is “are packing cubes right for me?”

The answer depends on your personality and the type of travel that you do. Packing cubes are worth it if you have problems that packing cubes solve. If you don’t have these specific problems then using packing cubes isn’t going to help you.

Packing cubes are just another packing tool. You wouldn’t ask… “is a spoon worth it?”… a spoon is worth it if you are trying to eat soup. But not the best tool for cutting up a steak.

Packing cubes are the same. They are a tool that helps some packers achieve some goals and are useless for other packers with different problems and goals.

I’ll try my best to talk you through the pros and cons and you can decide if they sound like a good idea for you and how you travel.

Benefits of Packing Cubes

There are three main benefits of packing cubes and reasons that people use them:

  • They help you to compress your clothes to save space
  • They help you to segment and organize your belongings
  • They help you to keep things hidden even when your suitcase is open

Do packing cubes really help?

Compression

If you never have a problem fitting all the things you need in your luggage then you won’t be trying to squeeze things smaller. So the compression cubes just won’t have any upside for you.

On the other hand, if you are an overpacker or someone that needs to take a lot of stuff then you’ll be wondering…

Do packing cubes really save space?

You know when your suitcase is full and you really need to sit on the lid to get the zipper closed?

You don’t need to do that when you’ve used packing cubes.

But that’s because you already did the compressing and squeezing when you packed your cubes.

So yes packing cubes can make more things fit in your luggage. But so can sitting your ass on the lid while you are closing the zipper!

But it’s easier to do it with packing cubes. So in that sense they really do help. You also get control over what to compress. You can compress some things where you don’t care about wrinkles (e.g. socks) and don’t put pressure on garments that you hope will stay wrinkle-free.

Packing cubes are worth it if you are someone who sometimes struggles to get your case closed. In particular, you should check out compression packing cubes if saving space is your main goal.

Organization

Also, if you are comfortable with clutter and it doesn’t bother you that all your stuff is just tossed in your luggage then packing cubes won’t fix anything.

Some people love to be organized. It’s their nature. They feel more calm and relaxed when everything has a place and everything is easier to find. If this sounds like you then you might like how you can organize your belongings using travel cubes.

Having cubes of different sizes will make packing easier.

One of the benefits if packing cubes is that you can separate your dirty clothes from your clean clothes.

In contrast, if clutter or mess doesn’t seem to bother you like it does other people, then you won’t feel that this aspect of packing cubes is worth it for you.

In fact, using packing cubes just makes another problem for you. Because you just created an extra packing task for you. Now it’s more work to pack a suitcase because you don’t just need to pack 1 bag… you’ve got to pack 4 or 5 of bags now!

If you don’t care about clutter and mess and don’t need to separate your t-shirts from your socks, then packing cubes won’t solve a problem for you. Although maybe you might enjoy the feeling of being organized if you were just not so lazy!

Privacy

Packing cubes also allow for some privacy. You can open your bag to remove a laptop or something without showing the entire world your holy socks and granny knickers.

If you use hostels or think you might be opening your luggage in public and care about such matters then you might like the privacy of packing cubes.

Downsides Of Packing Cubes

Packing cubes add a little weight to your luggage. If you are carrying your luggage every oz counts. If you use rolling luggage this is a non-issue.

Packing cubes add more zips. You essentially need to open 2 bags to get to the item you want instead of 1. This can be inconvenient and annoying if you’re the type of person who doesn’t really see the benefits. It’s a small price to pay if you are in love with the product.

Cost. Some brands of packing cube are expensive. I personally don’t think you need to go for a packing cube at a high price point. Eagle Creek does make good packing cubes for example but they are not that good!

If you are looking to find a cheaper price don’t be afraid to purchase a newer brand that is pricing lower to try to establish themselves. If you go to page 5 or 6 on the Amazon results you’ll start to see some real bargains and the cost won’t be such a big issue.

The best packing cubes balance price and functionality. There is no need to break the bank of this type of product.

Packing Cube Alternatives

Why use packing cubes if something else will do the same job? There’s more than one way to pack

Compression

Take less stuff! That’s the most simple alternative if you can manage it.

You can also achieve some compression just by rolling your clothes.

You can compress clothes using vacuum space saver bags. The compression that you can achieve with these vacuum compression bags is superior to compression packing cubes. You’ll squash all the air out of your clothes and they’ll take up less space.

The downside with space saver bags is they they are not so durable. They are also more work to pack and it’s inconvenient to take things in and out.

This means they don’t work well for multi-destination trips where you need to repeatedly pack.

Organization

You can organize your things with ziplock bags and rubber bands. There are many cheaper ways to divide your clothes into sections. But then a plastic bag is never going to feel as luxurious as having a dedicated travel cube for packing.

Privacy

You could use your clothes to hide things that you don’t want people to see. Pack the things you need to take out near the top and pack your sex toys right down at the bottom underneath everything ))

The Verdict

Are you ready to become a believer? Or scared to drink the kool-aid?

The cult of the packing cube is growing and soon until our leader will come to take us to another planet where everything is neatly organized and compressed.

Seriously, I hope this post has helped you decide whether to try those little compression bags or not.

For some people they are life-changing and they become enthusiastic advocates of these little cubes.

If you think you might be one of those people then the cost isn’t so high to find out and you should just go for it.

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2 thoughts on “Are Packing Cubes Worth It: Genius Idea or Travel Packing Fad?”

  1. I love my packing cubes. Using the cubes to organize, that is to pack by garment type (ie. lingerie in one cube, socks in another, etc.) makes unpacking so much easier. It also makes it easier for me to find a specific item if I don’t want to unpack right away. I also like determining how to position each cube in the suitcase (this is just a feel good thing).

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