If you've ever tossed a bag of dirty laundry in a suitcase, this is the post for you. (There was no time to organize.)
There are plenty of packing videos out there. There are also plenty of articles that vouch for packing cubes. But none of those inform travelers out there exactly how much can go into a packing cube, and the truth is that it's a lot. There's a reason why I always encourage people to make the switch to them, or in desperate times and desperate measures, have taken over the packing process.
Packing cubes are what has saved us, time and time again, whether its flying basic economy, stashing everything into a personal item, or transforming a chaotic suitcase into a manageable process. From there on, feel free to stack those packing cubes like a game of Jenga.
(A TSA officer once commented, after further screening, that opening up my bag was like opening a Russian matryoshka doll. I took it as a compliment.)
Breaking what fitted in the cubes by the numbers.
Really, the secret to cramming everything into packing cubes is by rolling the garments as opposed to having them lay flat, as evidenced by YouTuber BriannasPlanet.
To get a sense of how much it is possible to fit into a packing cube, I took the liberty of dumping all of my clothes out.
|Pants (normal, PJ pants, shorts, tights)||8|
|Shirts (normal, PJ shirts, long shirts, sweaters)||20|
Roughly, here is what the above tallies up into, on the right hand side. This was enough clothes to last six weeks on the road, plus some. There were definitely items we never used, like gloves and sweaters.
There was some further work to do. For easier sorting, its often to do some basic folding and sorting before starting the process, although this is entirely optional.
By virtue of personal preference, it can be beneficial to sort by packing cubes by function (daytime clothes, nighttime clothes, delicates, etc.).
To which I must admit, I'm slightly neurotic, but in my defense, it is often a necessary attribute for keeping track of where everything is when you're on the road more than you're at home.
For the sake of science, here's how it rolled up into packing cubes...
The one thing we didn't end up tallying was how much items we were able to fit in per cube. There are a few reasons for this: Most packing cubes have different measurements, and depending on how tightly the clothes are rolled, different amounts of clothes can be fitted in each time.
Regardless, the end result should look something like this.
Packing cubes are not created equal.
Every packing cube has different dimensions and capacity, and for this particular example, we used Away's Packing Cubes. Not because they're necessarily better, or have been doused in Instagram-worthy millennial magic, but because that's what we had on hand.
In the many, many years we've sorted through various packing cubes from many different manufacturers, we've seen it all, from different materials to separate compartments for clean and dirty clothes. (The alternate solution is to have a designated "dirty" packing cube, or another place where dirty clothes go.)
However, they all go back to the same exact purpose: They're designed to hold clothes. In fact, having different sizes of packing cubes is probably the more crucial thing, since it will allow you to pack for different lengths of trips and let you fit things in different types of bags.
As to whether there is a preference for the Away packing cubes over other packing cubes, we have this to say: packing cubes is packing cubes. Some cost more than others, but there are definitely budget-conscious options out there. Finding a rectangular pouch to fit things in isn't exactly rocket science.
Other than the TSA, no one else can see into and judge the contents of your suitcase.
Here are the dimensions (and assorted capacities) of the Away packing cubes. Note that the total assorted capacity adds up to roughly 23 L, which should fit into any general carry on bag.
|Small (wide)||10 inches||4.1 inches||8.25 inches||5.5 L|
|Medium||10 inches||4.1 inches||4.3 inches||2.9 L|
|Medium (wide)||13 inches||4.1 inches||10 inches||8.7 L|
|Large||13 inches||4.1 inches||6.9 inches||6 L|