When I was 18, I went backpacking around Thailand, Laos, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. To prepare for living out of a bag for five months, I bought some essentials. A backpack, obviously. But also a mosquito net, a waterproof backpack cover, and a four-pack of sporks for some reason. One purchase, recommended by a friend’s outdoorsy dad, turned out to be incredibly useful: Eagle Creek packing cubes. They’re lightweight zip-up pouches made from a durable fabric with a mesh top so you can see what’s inside. And they really did keep my stuff organised in my massive backpack. But then I came home from my trip, stuffed them in my backpack, and forgot about them.
That all changed in summer 2022, while I was getting ready for an 11-day trip to Tuscany (including a friend’s wedding). Stressed out by travel chaos and sharing a checked bag with my husband, I remembered the old packing cubes. I dug them out of my backpack, giving them a quick refresh in the washing machine. I have four packing cubes — two small, two medium. The smaller ones held underwear and socks, and I rolled tops, shorts, skirts, and dresses into the bigger cubes. Straight away, they helped me get my chaotic, half-packed suitcase organised.
I soon realised the frequently sold-out cubes had other benefits when, at the airport, our checked bag came in overweight. In this scenario, I usually randomly grab clothes from my suitcase, cramming them into my hand luggage. But this time, I just took out a few cubes and popped them into my rucksack. Easy. Plus, not having loads of loose items in my carry-on meant I didn’t risk dropping my underwear on the airport floor while rooting around in my bag.
The packing cubes continued to prove their worth once I got to my hotel. Usually, I don’t bother to unpack, or I hang up a few items and leave everything else in a tangled mess in my suitcase. But the cubes doubled up as organisers in the wardrobe drawers for anything that didn’t need to be hung up. For once, I didn’t start every day of the holiday by rummaging around in my bag.
I’m no longer an 18-year-old backpacker (and the sporks are long gone), but I’ve got a newfound appreciation for one of my old traveling essentials. I’m looking at getting some more cubes, too — I’ve got my eye on the ones with a divider to separate clean and dirty clothes. Never again will I leave my trusty packing cubes to gather dust.
My own packing cubes aren’t waterproof because of their mesh opening (but that helps you see what’s inside). If you’re worried about spills, these compression cubes are water-resistant.
And for something smaller, these half-cubes should see you through. They’re from the same original line as mine.
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