Answers to Your Most Common Packing Cube Questions

packing questions

Written by Shannon O’Donnell on

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008 and has lived everywhere from Southeast Asia to Barcelona, where she now calls home. She travels slowly and supports responsible tourism along the way, winning numerous awards for her work advocating for the communities impacted by travel and tourism.

packing questions


This detailed guide answers all of the folding and rolling and fitting questions you might have about fitting various things into packing cubes—such as how to roll clothes for packing cubes, whether packing cubes save space, if packing cubes add weight, and more.


If you hang around the Eagle Creek blog, you’ve heard a lot about packing cubes. Truth is, we’re pretty crazy for cubes … these small, zippy bags are ideal for travelers of all types, from the weekend warrior to the nonstop RTW explorer. We use small cubes when packing our gym bag, to organize our car trunks, and in just about every instance that could benefit from a little more neatness—including creative uses around the house! If you are new to the culture of the ‘cube, however, you may have some questions. Let’s knock them out!


Do Packing Cubes Really Save Space?

In a word—yes! The word “cube” may invoke images of bulky corners and rigid sides, but the name is a bit of a misnomer. Eagle Creek packing cubes, which come in a variety of styles and sizes to mix ‘n match as needed, are squishy enough to pack in closely while maintaining their shape well enough to not crush your stuff. It may be initially overwhelming when you have several cubes and your favorite bag in front of you, but you’ll be surprised how the cubes fit snugly, taking up less room than your personal belongings would otherwise. Packing with a clear plan and a couple sets of packing cubes really does save space, allowing you to fit more in your suitcase. As a bonus, packing cubes are endlessly reusable and therefore better for the environment than plastic bags or other temporary organization measures.


How Do Compression Cubes Work?

Compression packing cubes use a zipper system to allow you to fill and zip a packing cube closed, then use another zipper to squeeze the clothes tighter. The packing cube compresses, sometimes halving the space needed compared to a regular packing cube.

You can also use compression sacs to take compression a step further—using tight plastic sacs to compress your clothes and truly remove all of the air from the packing sac. If you’re trying to save space in your bag, then compression cubes are the best option. But don’t forget that all those clothes you’re packing still add weight to your suitcase, so you should likely not use compression cubes for all items in your suitcase, but rather the bulkier ones.


How Should I Use Packing Cubes in my Suitcase?

Deciding how to fill you packing cubes is an individual choice, but many travelers go for rolling clothes versus folding. Then you play Tetris in your suitcase by fitting the various sized cubes into the space. Some go-getters swear by folding shirts and blouses flat in larger cubes or packing folders to maximize space and keep items in pristine condition (and keep clothes wrinkle-free). The packing cubes holding your larger garments should go into your bag first since they take up more space.

Small cubes are ideal for undies and socks, and these should be neatly, tightly folded and rolled to take up as little space as possible while still preventing wrinkles—these small cubes should go into your suitcase last since they will fit into any extra gaps.

Consider long and thin cubes if the shape of your suitcase leaves a thin gap anywhere—these cubes also work for small items like socks, underthings, scarves, and accessories. Toiletry kits also do well to fill odd-shaped gaps, and packing sacs are another great way to keep small items together that will then slip into your suitcase as you pack.

No matter how you roll or fold, take the time to do it well—you will be grateful when your luggage zips closed effortlessly and you are organized to a “T.”

Packing tip : Wondering which is really better? Read the full debate here: Packing Showdown: Rolling vs Folding Clothes


How About Weight, Will They Make My Bag Heavier?

With airline baggage restrictions, every ounce counts. Packing cubes have substance, so therefore they have weight. However, you will find that their lightweight construction (especially of the ultra lightweight Specter and Specter Tech series of packing cubes) and usefulness make them indispensable. Your clothes will be packed neatly and tightly if you’re using them right, eliminating the need for additional checked luggage. Plus, if you are savvy and use clean/dirty cubes to your advantage, you can pack less because your wardrobe will go for longer, all within one bag. Clean items will stay clean, and dirty items can be tidily contained, rather than wadded in the bottom of your bag—and everything will stay smelling fresh!


How Do I Clean Eagle Creek Packing Cubes?

No need to worry about stinky packing cubes after a long haul! Packing cubes are as low-maintenance as it gets and it’s easy to clean your packing cubes as a part of your regular routine of sanitizing your luggage when you return from a trip. You can throw them in your washing machine with cold water on a gentle setting, or you can hand-wash the outside and inside in the sink or with a soapy cloth. Don’t put them in the dryer, however—this makes the packing cube sad. Instead, let your cubes air-dry overnight. You’ll find them good as new in the morning!


Still having newbie feelings about the power of packing cubes? Find out how expert travelers have maximized the potential of their cubes, and how the pros utilize these awesome travel tools when not on the road !


Related Links (from the Eagle Creek blog):

6 Ways to Use Packing Cubes for Families

4 Ways Travel Pros Use Packing Cubes When Not Traveling  

What Are the Best Ways to Use Packing Cubes?