Using Eagle Creek’s Pack It Cubes
One of the trickiest parts about packing is figuring out a way to fit everything in one bag. I’m usually a light packer—but doubted my skills during a five-week trip that required prepping for activities that ranged from a night at the opera to hiking.
Fortunately, I discovered the beauty of packing cubes. Travel outfitter, Eagle Creek, let me test a couple versions of its Pack-It storage cubes while I was on the road and I will never pack without them again. The cubes allowed me to fit more into my luggage, stay organized, and even leave a little leftover room to bring home some souvenirs.
How It Works
These soft zippered cubes maximize space by compressing contents, preventing clothing from spreading out and occupying space in your luggage. The packing system also makes it easier to organize your belongings – it’s easy to locate a specific item without having to rifle through your suitcase and take everything out of its place. Once you arrive at your destination, you can keep the clothes stored in the cubes when you transfer them to drawers. They come in a variety of formats and sizes that can be used beyond just suitcases – they can be stored in backpacks, tote bags, and duffles. All it takes is three easy steps:
Step #1: Roll It
The best way to compress clothes and reduce wrinkles is to roll them. Here’s an extra step I take to keep them secure: For knit shirts, fold up a 2-3” cuff at the bottom of the shirt. Next tuck in the sleeves, fold the shirt in half, and starting rolling it in from the collar. As you approach the bottom, you can tuck the rolled portion into the cuff. The same method can be used for pants in the opposite direction by creating a cuff at the waistline, folding them, and rolling from the bottom up.
Step #2: Zip It
Once the garment is rolled, it can be placed into the cube. Because the cube zips, contents stay in place and compact. This makes it easier to squeeze clothing inside, allowing you to pack few extra pieces that would not have been able to fit otherwise.
Step #3: Pack It
Once the cubes are filled and zipped, place them directly into your bag. The Pack-It system is versatile enough to configure in many ways. The larger cubes can usually be laid flat and stacked into a suitcase, but the smaller ones can also stand upright if you’re short on space. Check out our video to see the many ways the cubes can be arranged.»
It is possible to purchase the cubes individually or in sets that come in a three sizes. The amount of clothing that can fit into a cube depends on its thickness, but I found cubes usually hold at least 20% more than packing without them. Below is a breakdown of what can be stored in each:
- pants and jeans
- heavy tops
- light clothing like tees and tanks
- work-out clothing
- skirts and sundresses
- men’s swim trunks
- socks (tip: if you’re packing shoes, store socks in them to make even more space)
- belts and accessories
- women’s bathing suits
- electronic items like cords, chargers and batteries
Eagle Creek also offers some organization specifically designed to hold clothing accessories, shoes, toiletries, and electronics.
Eagle Creek has a reputation for creating quality, durable gear. All the Pack-It systems come with a lifetime warranty. I only tested the original Pack-It and Pack-It Specter systems during my trip, before the company came out with a water-resistant and antimicrobial Sport version designed to stash workout gear. All the cubes come with quick-grab handles and are washable. I prefer using the original Pack-It system, but choosing the right type all depends on your travel needs:
- structured so that it holds its shape better and compresses more
- has a breathable, mesh top so you can see what’s inside
- uses two sturdy zippers that go almost all the way around so that it’s easy to access clothing anywhere in the cube
- Doesn’t fold down as easily
- More expensive
- extremely lightweight
- stain and water repellent – good for beach and camping trips
- machine washable
- if there’s leftover space in the cube, the remainder can be folded under or rolled in to save space
- easier to shape and fit into tighter spaces
- only has one zipper that goes less than half-way around, making it more difficult to locate and access clothing stored further back in cube
- it’s translucent but difficult to see exactly what’s stored inside, contents are best be seen through the white color
- though well-made, the thinner material provides less structure
- Pack a couple of spare Specter cubes in your bag to store dirty laundry.
- Eagle Creek also offers two-sided cubes that allows you to separate clean and dirty clothes or is also good for couples to split.
- The cubes come in a variety of colors. If you’re sharing a suitcase with a partner, assign each person their own color to easily differentiate belongings. You can also color-coordinate types of items for easy identification. On my trip, I packed active wear in blue cubes and dressier clothes in red.
Where to Buy
Eagle creek sells its Pack-It system online on its website and Amazon, plus is available at stores like REI, The Container Store, Sport Chalet, and local outfitters. Some retailers like REI and Ebags sell similar systems in varying sizes and colors, but I have not tried them.
If you’ve used packing cubes by Eagle Creek or other companies, share your experience in the reply section below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.