November 30, 2015

Keep Calm and Carry-On: Packing Cubes

It's Cyber Monday, and I'm celebrating by scouring the internet for great luggage deals. This is going to sound like one giant ad for eBags, but I swear they're not paying me (...yet. Psst...eBags? We can take this relationship to the next level any time).

I've always been a fan of traveling with carry-on luggage and skipping the hassle (and fees) of checked baggage, but it definitely makes efficient packing a challenge. One of my favorite packing tools in recent years has been my discovery of packing cubes.

You can find them online in a variety of colors and brands, but I always stick with eBags because of their variety of size and color options, and they always seem to have a sale or coupon going on.

So what are packing cubes and why bother with them? If you travel a lot, you probably already know the rolling trick to help maximize space. I've done this for years and always found that it helps me keep things more compact. The problem is by night #1, I've dug through my neatly rolled clothes and destroyed half of the work, and I can never seem to remember where I put the one tiny little rolled shirt I'm looking for without having to open the rest of them. This is where packing cubes come in. Think of them as little dresser drawers inside your suitcase.

1. They help compress the rolls you've created and keep them from coming undone and moving around in your bag. You pack the cubes, not your bag, then just toss them all inside.

2. You can keep items organized by type or by when you plan to use them. You can choose to put t-shirts in one and socks and underwear in another, or you can pack days 1-3 in one cube and days 4-6 in another cube and never have to mess up what you're not ready to wear yet. This saves me time on trying to decide what to wear, too, because I'm not opening that Friday cube until Friday.

3. They have little handles, so they can be used as a quick and easy overnight bag. If you're like me and there's always that one night of the trip where you're crashing at someone's house and it doesn't make sense to lug your whole suitcase inside, you can just grab one of these and go.

4. It keeps dirty clothes separate from clean clothes. Early in the trip, my packing cubes serve as a divide between the dirty and the clean by the simple method of clean goes inside, dirty goes outside. As the trip progresses and I've worn half of my clothes, an entire cube becomes designated to dirty. This is super helpful because I can never remember to pack a bag for dirty clothes.

Bottom line, do they magically create extra space where there wasn't any? Of course not; nothing will. But they sure do help keep things tight and organized and where I can find them. Check them out on and see what color and size fits you best!

Pro-tip: The Large size is almost the same size as the entire inner compartment of a carry-on suitcase, so I don't find it useful. The small and medium pictured below are my favorites. :-)

Packing before + after with the help of packing cubes.
 (Santa hat is mine; tequila bottle is not. Don't ask questions.)

If you're interested in trying them out for yourself, shoot me an email at or leave a comment with your email address and I will send you a coupon from eBags' friend referral program for 20% off of your order.


Joanna said...

Do you find that the colour of the packing cubes ever rubs off onto your clothes? I am finally going to invest in some of these and would love to get a bright colour, but my concern is that the dye will transfer onto my lighter-coloured clothing. I've read tons of reviews and only saw one that mentioned that problem, so I'm hoping it's not too common. Apparently I just need the opinion of a fellow Hanson fan before I take the plunge and buy, haha. ;)

Holly said...

I haven't noticed that problem, Joanna. The set I own is multicolored with pretty bright colors, and only the outside of the bag has the dye on it. The inside part of the fabric is just white. The new solid green ones I just ordered are green all the way through on both sides, but I haven't tried them yet. I've never had the dye on the outside of the bags rub off onto the clothes outside of the cubes either, though. I think you're safe!

Joanna said...

Awesome. Thanks, Holly!

By the way, your blog is great! It helped me get ready for my first MOE earlier this year, and now it's helping to tide me over while I wait suuuuuper impatiently for the next one. :)