Packing cubes are lightweight, zippered pouches that help you to stay organised when you’re travelling. They help to keep clothes compact, make them easier to find, and are a great way to store groups of items, like toiletries, in one place.
Packing cubes aren’t always cube shaped though! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are also commonly known as travel organisers, compression cubes or packing organisers.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about packing cubes, and pretty soon, you’ll wonder how you managed without them!
Packing cubes are a great way to organise your luggage. You could use packing cubes for backpacking, business trips, air-travel or even commuting. Instead of loading your clothes, underwear and accessories separately into your bag (which usually results in a big old mess after a couple of days) you can use packing cubes to keep everything neat, tidy and easy to find in your bag.
The basic principle is this:
You divide your clothes and accessories into groups (eg. Shirts & T-shirts, Underwear, Sweaters, Toilettries etc).
You put each group into its own packing cube, keeping them contained and accessible.
You pack the packing cubes into your main bag.
Sometimes, this method is known as ‘Inception Packing’ because you’re packing a bag within a bag.
When you pack items individually into a larger backpack or suitcase, you end up with a lot of wasted space because of awkward gaps between the contents.
Sometimes, you’ll cram more and more stuff in, which is great when you’re checking in your luggage at the airport, but not so great when you spend the next week living out of an overfilled, poorly organised bag.
By containing the contents of your bag, and breaking them down into smaller groups, packing cubes make it easier to maximise the space in your bag, while making each group of items easy to spot.
Because packing cubes hold your clothes more tightly together, they are also less susceptible to creasing in transit, and can help to make your backpack more stable.
Whether you’re a frequent flyer, holidaymaker or backpacker, there are tons of ways that packing cubes will make your life easier:
Packing cubes will save you space:
No doubt you will remember a time when you tried to cram too much stuff into too small a pack. By eliminating dead space and compressing your clothing, packing cubes will save space in your pack, meaning you can fit more in your luggage. If you travel with hand-luggage only, this is a huge benefit! For more tips on travelling with carry on, check out our article on How to Pack Hand Luggage Only.
There are lots of ways to pack well without using packing cubes (like these awesome packing hacks) but generally, it takes more time, effort and consideration. Packing cubes make packing easy for everyone, and take out the hassle of staying organised when you are travelling.
Ultimately, this comes down to your personal preference. There is no right way to do it.
However, here are some helpful tips that will help:
To choose the perfect size packing cube, you need to have some idea of what you’ll pack.
To give you some ideas, here are some examples of how we use ourFoulden Packing Cubes:
Again, it depends on what you are packing, but generally, less is more.
If you have too many, there’s always the temptation to over-pack. If there’s ‘extra-space’, we tend to fill it, so just remove that option!
You can buy our Foulden packing cubes individually, but we designed them to work well as a set, and we find that there aren’t many situations where we need more than 3!
There are lots of different types of packing cubes. Some have compression straps, some can expand and contract depending on what you need. Our packing cubesare simple, waterproof and bright orange, so they can handle any kind of weather and they’re easy to find! Perfect when you’re pitching your tent in a downpour!
There are lots of things you could use instead of packing cubes. If you’re on a tight budget, try using ziploc bags. They aren’t as durable, and they won’t withstand ‘cramming’ but they are a good start.