Packing Cubes: It’s Hip to Be Square

I’ve been hearing the packing cube hype for a while now, but hadn’t pulled the trigger on purchasing a set for myself. I felt confident in knowing how much stuff I could shove into a bag. I’ve taken cold-weather international trips with only a carry-on.

“Packing cubes, I don’t need no steenking packing cubes,” I thought.

“Hyper-Lite” packing cubes from eBags
photo from ebags.com

Then, a dear friend purchased me a set, just before a three-day weekend road trip. It would be a good test for the cubes – a retreat that required a few changes of clothes for a variety of activities – anything from jeans to a dress to a swimsuit (or in my case, two swimsuits – because Florida), a variety of shirts, and clothes to sleep in.

The cubes she gave me were a set of five Hyper-Lite Packing Cubes from eBags. Per the eBags website, it contains one “slim” (13×6.5×3.5in), two “small” (6.5×6.5×3.5in) and two “large” (13x13x3.5in) cubes. When full, they fit nicely inside a standard rollerboard carry-on, with remaining room for my toiletry kit, a jean jacket, a slim pair of sandals and a full-sized hair straightener.

The cubes can be packed however one likes – some people put a day’s outfit(s) in a cube. Some take an empty cube to put dirty clothes in. I chose to pack one type of clothing per each cube:

Large Cube 1:

  • Two pairs of jeans
  • Two pairs of leggings
  • One pair of shorts

Large Cube 2:

  • Four t-shirts (two regular, two long-sleeved)
  • Three long-sleeved blouses
  • Two tank tops
  • A lightweight hoodie

Slim Cube:

  • Two swimsuits
  • A swimsuit cover up

Small Cube 1:

  • Undergarments and socks

Small Cube 2:

  • A sundress

This was way more clothing than I could have ever needed for the weekend. Put me on an international trip and I can mercilessly cut the extras. A road trip four hours away, and I pack more clothes than the Queen on a goodwill trip. By the time the weekend was over, a little more than a third of the clothes I had packed remained unused (including both swimsuits). If needed, I could have made it at least two or three more days on the extra clothes I had packed. The packing cubes made it very easy to efficiently pack a larger volume of clothing.

I would normally be ashamed for over-packing, but it was in the over-packing that the cubes’ true power revealed itself. Thanks to the added layer of organization, repacking at the end of the trip, and unpacking back home, weren’t the usual depressing after-travel chore.

Overall, I liked the packing cube experience and additional order they bring to the packing and unpacking process, and recommend them to anyone interested in giving packing cubes a try. It’s hip to be square.


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