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    PACKING CUBE SHOPPING GUIDE

    Whether you are a frequent flier, or an occasional vacationer, packing your bags is always a daunting task.

    And you know that even the most efficiently packed suitcase can become a jumbled mess after a few hours of rough handling. That’s where packing cubes come in.

    Packing cubes are soft-shelled luggage pieces that help you maximize the storage space inside your suitcase.

    They not only keep the different luggage items from mixing, but also keep them in their foldded state, thus maintaining order.

    The way you use your packing cubes is completely up to you.

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    • One packing cube might contain dress shirts while another holds pants and skirts.
    • Smaller cubes might be designated for undergarments and/or personal grooming supplies.
    • Some cubes are used to separate clean clothes from wet or soiled items.
    • For families who share a suitcase, color-coded packing cubes help identify the belongings of individual owners.
    • Empty packing cubes can provide some much-needed souvenir space at the end of a journey.
    • Some packing cubes can be compressed to save even more space. The contents of a larger checked bag may even fit into a carry-on with the use of compressible cubes.

    Read on and we'll help you decide what type of packing cubes are best for you. 

    Investing in a high-end set of cubes makes good sense for frequent travelers who want a reliable, durable packing system.

    CONSTRUCTION

    Because most packing cubes are not designed to be standalone pieces of luggage, durability is always a concern for shoppers. High-end cubes are usually made of strong nylon or polyester, but cheap packing cubes often consist of thin vinyl or another plastic.

    Cheap vinyl packing cubes are usually compressive and transparent, and for many casual travelers, that’s all they need. Vinyl cubes easily separate wet and dirty clothing, and they don’t add much weight to your bag. The tradeoff, however, is durability. Entry-level packing cubes often don’t fare well under rough handling; the sides puncture easily and plastic zippers, once broken, are often irreparable.

    Pricier nylon or polyester packing cubes boast a stronger internal structure than their vinyl counterparts and, as a result, offer more protection against damage. You’re also more likely to find a set that matches the interior dimensions of your suitcase when you shop on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. Those who travel frequently may wish to invest in a set of high-end packing cubes for their added durability and versatility.

    Packing cubes vary in size and material and can be used in everything from backpacks to suitcases.

    VERSATILITY

    Packing cubes can be used to address other storage issues, too. Over time, a quality set of packing cubes can pay for itself in a number of ways:

    • Seasonal clothing and blankets can be stored in large packing cubes and kept under the bed or in a closet or attic.
    • Vendors at public events can store their inventory in packing cubes during inclement weather or between set-ups.
    • Rather than packing a suitcase, a casual traveler can store several packing cubes in the backseat or trunk.
    • Some high-end packing cubes — typically those made of sturdy nylon or polyester — can also serve as carry-on bags or standalone grooming kits.

    The material of your packing cube be a factor in its durability — but also its price.

    CONSIDERATIONS

    If you’re in the market for a better way to organize your suitcase, keep the following ideas and issues in mind as you shop. They'll help you determine which packing cubes will best fit your needs and your budget.

    Considerations

    Fitting Pieces

    Although some packing cubes are compressible, cramming a cube with a depth of eight inches into a carry-on with a depth of six inches will always pose a challenge. The dimensions of your luggage affect what it can accommodate.

    Some people have compared the use of packing cubes to the classic video game Tetris. The trick is to find the most efficient way to pack each cube within a limited amount of space.

    Considerations

    Assigning Colors

    Travelers who plan to share luggage with others should consider color-coding their cubes to improve organization and efficiency. Instead of spending time searching for a specific child’s swimsuit, for instance, a parent will know that all of that child’s belongings are stored in blue storage cubes.

    Choosing a color of packing cubes per family member can make unpacking and finding specific items a snap. To lessen the financial load, investing in several less-expensive sets or individual pieces should do the trick.

    Considerations

    Separating Clothing

    As an added convenience, many packing cube sets include a mesh laundry bag where you can stash wet or dirty clothing. Because ventilation and breathability are known issues with packing cubes, the inclusion of this mesh bag is a definite plus.

    Choose a different color per family member. That way you can easily distinguish which is whose when unpacking.

    Considerations

    Deciding What To Buy

    Some people wonder if they should buy packing cubes as a set or in separate pieces. Buying a full set usually makes good economic sense, but there are some things to consider first:

    • A typical three-piece set usually includes one large cube for bulky items like clothing and two smaller cubes for personal items and undergarments.
    • Larger sets generally offer cubes in a gradation of sizes, from a large garment bag to a small grooming kit. You may appreciate this if you plan to pack a range of items, but before you buy a larger set, make sure the dimensions of each piece will fit your suitcase!

    Casual travelers may prefer to buy individual packing cubes for specific reasons:

    • A small packing cube with pockets could be more affordable than a specialized carry-on or tote bag.
    • Packing a few extra cubes makes it easier to transport souvenirs, business materials, or dirty/wet clothing at the end of a trip.
    How you fold your clothing can make a difference in how much a packing cube can hold. We found that rolling clothing made best use of the space.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Some travelers carry such a light load that packing cubes would not really improve their situation. However, even the lightest of packers may find themselves in need of some extra organizational help now and then.

    We believe the benefits of a good packing cube set outweigh any drawbacks. As a packing cube owner, you’ll spend a few more minutes sorting and packing your belongings, but you’ll probably be glad you did. We urge new or unsure customers to invest in an inexpensive set first, then decide if an upgrade would be beneficial.

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