Want something that will make packing easier? Who doesn't?
Several years ago, I purchased four sets of eBags Packing Cubes in different colors – one for each member of my family – through Amazon.com. I've used them on many trips since then, and they have been a great way to organize our stuff for a trip. My sister even borrows them for her family's big camping trip each year and my eBags still look like new.
I fill the bags with clean clothes before the trip, and then re-fill them with dirty clothes to get home. When my lotion oozed on a plane trip, the eBag kept the mess away from the rest of the suitcase. I toss my eBags into the washer and dryer with our vacation laundry and they come out looking like new.
Here is how I use my eBags Packing Cubes.
On a Spring Break road trip to Phoenix, we stayed somewhere different nearly every night. I didn't want to haul all our bags in and out of a hotel every day, so I packed one suitcase with our pajamas, swimwear, toiletries and other items we needed every day. We had 3 other suitcases of fresh clothes, and just brought one of those in each night.
All the pajamas were in one large packing cube, and all the swimsuits were in another. I used the small bags for toiletries. Organizing our stuff is my favorite way to use packing cubes.
The packing cubes kept the everyday suitcase organized, so it was easy to find what we needed quickly and move things around without making a mess. The cubes also made it easy to collect pajamas and swimwear in the morning and drop them in the suitcase. Since the cubes weren't stuffed full, they fit the contours of the case and filled in all the space. They also kept dirty items separate from clean items.
On our trip to New York , we packed everything for 10 days in one large checked bag and two backpacks because we planned to leave the airport during a 6-hour layover in Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We wanted to avoid taking suitcases into Philadelphia, and to minimize bag check fees. Packing cubes made it possible.
Packing cubes allow you to fit more clothes into a smaller space, and keep them organized. I was surprised to find that I could fit four outfits for my children (ages 7 and 10) in one small eBag each. It helped that their wardrobe consisted of lightweight shorts and tees.
To maximize your luggage space, unzip the packing cube halfway and roll the clothing to fit the bag. Keep pushing the rolled clothes to the back of the bag until it is full. The bag will help compress everything so it takes less space than it would otherwise.
There are a few disadvantages to this method, so I only use it when space is the top priority. First, rolling and stuffing takes more time than I want to spend over the suitcase, especially when I'm the only one doing it for four people. Second, the bags do not fit the contours of the suitcase as well when they are stuffed full. Third, clothes may require more ironing when they are packed tight.
Last summer, we took a camping trip with my extended family to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Our tent had limited space for storing luggage and our van was parked a few steps away. I filled our large suitcase with one large packing cube for the family for each day. Instead of bringing all of the clothes into the tent, we just grabbed the one or two cubes we needed. Clean clothes came in the tent and dirty clothes went out every day. This method really kept the tent clutter down.
eBags packing cubes have handles, so I use them like mini-suitcases. On one weekend road trip, I ran out of space in the suitcase for shoes, so I put them in a large packing cube and tossed them in the van separately.
Here are a few more tips, before you buy.
Packing cube sizes
It's nice to have a variety of sizes and colors if you are packing for a family. However, nobody in my family consistently gets the same color because when it comes to getting everything into a suitcase, having the right size matters more than having the right color. The colors and see-through mesh make it easy to tell one bag from another.
The sets I bought came with one small, medium and large bag each. I have never used all 12 of our packing cubes for a single trip, but I do like having all three sizes handy.
Where to buy
You can find eBags packing cubes on the eBags or Amazon websites. Click the buttons below to check options and pricing.