How Packing Cubes Changed The Way We Travel The World

How Packing Cubes Changed The Way We Travel The World

“How on earth will all of this stuff fit into that bag?” runs through every person’s mind while prepping for a trip.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re stuffing a backpack or loading up a giant suitcase, there always seems to be more stuff than actual space.

When we began planning a year of European travel, Brett had the grand idea to live out of carry-on backpacks. Whaaat?

One year’s worth of clothes, for all seasons and types of weather, plus shoes and toiletries, all in one tiny backpack? No way, buddy!

Eventually he convinced me (as did the million packing lists I reviewed on Pinterest).

We bought our bags: Jana had an Osprey Fairview 40 and Brett used a Tortuga. But it was still obvious that our minimal selection of items still wouldn’t fit inside of those tiny bags.

Which is when we discovered packing cubes.

5 shirts + 2 shorts = 1 packing cube

What are packing cubes?

These amazing things are like superheroes. Packing cubes let you pack more stuff in less space. That’s exactly what we needed—and you probably do too!

We bought a few different sizes and brands to see which ones worked best with our clothings and our bags. Ultimately we couldn’t deny that eBags Slim Packing Cubes were the perfect fit for us.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and materials but here are the basics of the set we both use:

  • 3 piece set
  • measure 2.8″ x 14″ x 5″
  • comes in multiple colors (we’ve used the pink, orange, denim, and aquamarine)
  • composed of durable nylon fabric, mesh front for ventilation and visibility, and zippers that don’t catch your clothes
  • easy to compress clothes inside and still zip
  • convenient handle
  • plus there is a lifetime warranty!

A simple set of 3 packing cubes fit perfectly across my carry-on sized backpack, which means they will probably fit your bag perfectly too!

Brett's Away Bag Carryon, egbas packing cubes, and travel clothes
Packing cube #1 = all of those shirts in the right hand column.
Packing cube #2 = socks, underwear, face masks, belts, headlamp.
Packing cube #3 = 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants.
(Not in a packing cube = 3 pair of shoes, 2 jackets, toiletries, tech gear)

What can you squeeze inside of one packing cube?

That’s an excellent question! And people ask us this all of the time.

The obvious answer is more than you think! Here are a few samples of what we fit into one ebags slim packing cube.

Jana (size XS/S)

  • 11 shirts: 4 long sleeve, 3 t shirts, 4 tank tops
  • 7 bottoms: 2 dresses, 2 cardigans, 1 skirt, 2 pair of shorts
  • Underwear, bras, socks, swimsuit, athletic outfit: 8 pairs of underwear, 4 bras, 3 socks, 1 bikini, 1 athletic shorts, 1 athletic capri, 1 athletic tank
  • See a video of how I fit 11 shirts into 1 packing cube!

Brett (size M)

  • 5 bottoms: 3 pairs of shorts, 2 pair of pants
  • 8 shirts: 1 long sleeve, 5 t shirts, 1 collared t shirt, 1 athletic shirt
  • Underwear, socks, hat: 6 pairs of boxers, 1 swimsuit, 6 pairs of socks, athletic hat

How to pack a packing cube

  1. Gather clothes and roll them up into a bundle approximately 5″ wide (the width of the ebags slim packing cube).
  2. Leave one half of the packing cube zipped up, then put your first clothing item into the cube, pushing it toward the end that is zipped up.
  3. Continue putting in your rolled clothing in until the packing cube appears full.
  4. Zip up the long side, leaving one short edge unzipped.
  5. Stand up the packing cube, grip the nylon fabric on top (not the mesh part) and gently push the clothes down toward the bottom. This should open up more room.
  6. Continue stuffing until the cube is tightly packed.

Want to see a tutorial? Here’s a video we filmed years ago right after we started using packing cubes!

Jana's Osprey backpack, ebags packing cubes, and travel clothes
All of these clothes fit into 3 packing cubes!
(Not in packing cubes: 3 pairs of shoes, 2 jackets, toiletries)

Ready to try packing cubes?

Don’t pack for your next trip without packing cubes! They let you fit more stuff into less space, kind of like a Mary Poppins bag.

Get started with this set, and let us know what you think!

Wanna read more about what we pack in our carry-on bags? Check out our gear list here!

The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission when you click the link and purchase an item. Thanks!


Jana is an SEO copywriter and content editor plus travel YouTuber. She loves all things gelato, sunshine, and words. Her perfect day? Tossing on sunglasses to read a book and catch some rays, then dinner with her husband and friends. In her free time, Jana disciples teen girls and cooks from scratch (like homemade pasta). Jana lives in Switzerland with her husband, Brett.

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