Have you ever been in the middle of packing for a trip and realize that you cannot fit everything that you want?  I have been in this situation too many times to count in the past and it is very frustrating.  When packing for a trip to Hamburg, Germany, I planned exactly what I needed and made sure that it all looked like it would fit into my backpack.  The day before I left, I started packing my bag only to find that I had to stuff or leave some things behind.  I went for the stuffing option only to find that somehow everything fit perfectly when I had to pack to return home.

This is a situation that I would not wish anyone to face because it is not only annoying, it is very stressful.  Fortunately, I do not have this problem anymore because I have taken to using packing cubes.  More and more of my friends are also using packing cubes because they make life so much easier.

What Are Packing Cubes?

Packing cubes are, as the name suggests, fabric cubes and rectangles that you use to help you pack.  The cubes will zip closed and you will be able to neatly pack everything into your case or backpack.  There are a lot of different packing cubes on the market and they come in a range of shapes and sizes to meet your needs.

There are some packing cubes that offer you compression zippers to make them even smaller.  There are also some cubes that have two sides so you can keep your dirty clothes away from your clean clothes.  When you use packing cubes, you turn stuffing everything into your case into a fun game of clothing Tetris.

A variety of compression cubes

Why Packing Cubes Are An Essential Accessory

You might be wondering why you need to spend your money on bags that you are going to pack into your bag, which is essentially what a packing cube is.  The answer is that there are so many benefits to packing cubes that it would be daft not to.  Packing cubes not only segment your case into easy to use compartments, you will also be able to find everything that you pack when you need it.

Packing cubes will make packing more efficient.  Most people, my past self included, pack their clothing and other items a bit haphazardly in an attempt to somehow get everything to fit.  When you use packing cubes you do not have to worry about this.  You simply place your shirts in one cube, your underwear in another and your toiletries in another.  You can then place them easily into your case and never have to worry about sitting on it to try and get it to close.

Another benefit of packing cubes is the fact that you will not over pack.  Packing cubes can only hold a set amount and you will not be able to stuff them as easily as your case or backpack.  They also help you organize what you are going to be taking so you can see that you are packing way too many shirts for that long weekend.

If you are a chronic over packer, you might want to look at compression packing cubes.  As they compress when you close them, you actually get to pack more in them.  These bags will remove the excess air from the cube which gives you more space to pack things.

Packing cubes also make it easy to find everything that you have packed.  When you have one cube for your tops, you can easily see what you have available.  You will also never have to worry about rummaging around the bottom of your suitcase and messing up the limited order that you had to everything.

The last benefit that I have found with packing cubes is that they reduce the wrinkles that appear in your clothes when you travel.  I roll my clothes because I was taught that this will reduce the wrinkles and it does when compared to packing folded clothes.  The problem is that you still get wrinkles with this because the clothing shifts when your bag moves.  Packing cubes keep everything in one place, particularly if you are using compression cubes, so they will not wrinkle as they bunch at the bottom of your bag.

two compression cubes in a suitcase

How To Use Packing Cubes To Maximum Effect

There is no right or wrong way to use packing cubes and you should do what feels right for you.  Personally, I use different packing cubes for each item of clothing to ensure that I know where everything is and what I have in my backpack.  A friend of mine uses packing cubes in a very different way as she uses them purely to get more into her case.

When you are packing your cubes, you can fold your clothing and lay it in them or you can roll them.  It is important that you not over pack the cubes because this will defy the point of them and will not help you fit them into your case.  If you are going to be using one cube for your dirty clothing, you should consider adding a few dryer sheets to it so everything stays nice and fresh.

If you are going to be using compression packing cubes, you will need to remove the air once they are packed.  The way that you do this will vary depending on the type of cube that you have.  Some cubes need a vacuum cleaner while others will need you to roll them after closing the zip lock top.  You need to be very careful when you choose the compression cubes you use because you do not want to be stuck in a hotel trying to close your bags only to remember that you do not have a vacuum cleaner available.

Once you have closed the cubes, it is a matter of putting them into your bag.  This is the easy part, unless you have not considered how they are going to fit into your case when buying them.  Before you buy the packing cubes, you have to think about the size of your case and how you will be stacking your cubes.  Fortunately, packing cubes can be bought as a set which ensures that you have some choices regarding which ones you are going to use.

before and after using packing cubes

Which Packing Cubes To Buy?

So you have decided that packing cubes are the essential accessory that your case needs, now what?  The first step will be to look at the size you want to get.  If you do not want to buy a set, you can get them individually, but you need to know what you want.

For anyone new to packing cubes, I would suggest staying away from the large ones.  They usually have more room than you actually need and smaller ones give you better clothing organization.  Large cubes are also less versatile as smaller ones can be switched up depending on where you are going and the case you are going to use.

You also need to consider if you are going with the cheap packing cube from your local bag store or the name brand that costs twice as much.  This is completely personal preference and what you are able to afford at the time of purchase.  Many brand packing cubes will come with a warrantee on the parts or additional features.

Fitting everything into your case can be a nightmare of struggling with zips, sitting on the case and eventually giving up and leaving something behind.  Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this and that is the packing cube.  Packing cubes are essential if you want to make the most of your space and ensure that you are not over packing or losing something in the mess of your bag.