Friday, 1 January 2016

Pack Smarter

medium cube

Packing Cubes

I’ve often wondered how some people manage to travel with just a carry on – I think part of their secret must be packing cubes.

Why are they so good?

You will be amazed how much more you can fit into your suitcase using these cubes. They are made of lightweight material with mesh tops, so you can see what is inside them, but don’t add much weight to your overall luggage.

An added bonus is that you don’t mess up your packing when you are just trying to get one item out.

Some people have one cube for “bottoms”, one for “tops” and one for “underwear”. Others put whole outfits for each day in a separate cube if they are going away for a short time, so they only have to open one cube a day.

There is a label when you buy them that says “Beware: Packing cubes can be addictive”. I don’t doubt it!

Where do I buy them?

I bought the eBags brand from Amazon as they had good reviews and use YKK zippers which are the best there is. They come in different colours, so you can have different colours for different types of clothes or different members of your family. There are many brands on Amazon to choose from. They put them on sale around big sale days eg Black Friday. Sometimes the manufacturer will have specials on their website. eBay also sells some.

What size?

The eBags brand has a number of different sizes. So to start with I got a set of 3 medium and a set of 3 small. Two small fit into the same space as a medium. That worked for me and I bought a second set of medium and small for my husband, in a different colour. There is also a ‘slim’ which could fit down the side or in between the handle rails at the bottom of your case. You can also buy a set of mixed sizes, which would give you a large, medium and small. Most people say the large is too big, and I found the medium is as big as I needed. As a basic rule – you need the medium one for jeans, long pants and jackets. Nearly everything else will fit into a small one. But as you get a set of three in each pack, you can use an otherwise unused medium and fill it with the contents of two small ones.

To fold or roll?

For a t-shirt or shirt – fold the width in thirds so that you fit the width of the packing cube, then fold the length in half, then roll
  • For jumpers and jackets, I found it easier to just fold into the shape of the cube
  • For jeans, pants and shorts – fold until you get the width of the packing cube, then roll
  • If you need extra ideas, there are some You Tube clips which show you how to do it

A medium cube will hold the following female clothes:

  • 2 x jeans, 1 x shorts; or
  • 1 x jeans, 2 x shorts, 1 x outdoor pants (zipper legs); or
  • 5 t-shirts, 4 x long sleeve shirts; or
  • 1 x polar fleece jacket; or
  • 3 x t-shirts, 2 x jumper (pullover); or
  • 2 x jeans, 2 thin pants, 1 x nighty, 1 x shorts
small cube - 5 female t-shirts

A small cube will hold the following female clothes:

  • 7 x knickers, 3 x pr socks, 2 x bras; or
  • 5 x t-shirts; or
  • 4 x long sleeve shirt; or
  • 2 x jumpers; or
  • Items from two small cubes can then be transferred to a medium cube
closed small cube

A medium cube will hold the following male clothes:

  • 2 x long sleeve shirts, 3 x shirts; or
  • 1 x polar fleece jacket; or
  • 2 x jeans, 3 x shorts

A small cube will hold the following male clothes:

  • 6 x pr socks; or
  • 7 x boxers
I found that I could fit all my clothes for travelling into 3 medium and 2 small cubes and the same for my husband, so while his clothes take up more space – he doesn’t take as many items.

My carry on would fit 3 x medium and 1 x small or 2 x medium and 3 x small – but there would be no room for anything else.

My larger case is too big for carry on – it will fit 1 x medium cube and 2 x small cubes in the bottom section which is 65cm x 36cm x 9cm.

While in the top section I can fit
  • 4 x medium cubes, or 
  • 2 x medium and 4 x small cubes; or
  • 3 x medium and 2 x small cubes
Of course I haven’t mentioned shoes or toiletries, hair dryers etc. But there is plenty of room for these, as I don’t need that many cubes.

small cube - 4 female long sleeve tops

Medium cube - contents of two small cubes
For odds and ends, use zip lock bags


  1. Hi Jane, this is a great idea I will look into it further, enjoy Mexico!

    1. they make packing so much easier, but unfortunately they don't stop you from taking way too much!

  2. What a great idea! Jane you should have posted a few months ago, since I visited the Phil twice!. Anyhow, thank you , this makes sense and I could use them in our future travels.

    1. You will love them, it's just hard stopping at a few...