I move around a lot. I also enjoy travelling (as long as my birds are well looked after). I’m an old-school historian who prefers to physically be where history happened before I write about it. This means I’ve packed a lot and have learned what works really well.
Bar none, the best tool for moving or traveling are Ebags brand packing cubes available (no surprise) exclusively from ebags.com. These cubes have been out for a while — I bought my first packing cubes circa 2002. Though the buying options have expanded and there are some new sizes available today that were not available when I first purchased them, the quality has remained consistent and they’ve handled the abuse I’ve put them through over several moves since really well.
The classic packing cube (there are now ultralights which have slightly different features) come in slim, small, medium, and large sizes. These can be purchased as a single four piece set (see left) or in sets of three of the same size. There’s also a new slim set of slim cubes in three different widths (14″, 10″, and 6.5″). Since my wardrobe is primarily skirts and dresses, I do not find the slim set all that useful. Most of what I wear fits into the medium and large bag sizes with the slim and small sizes working best for socks, underwear (bras fit very nicely in the standard 14″ wide slim cubes), and accessories. Since they come in several colours, you really can colour code for each family member, making it easy to organize and locate every thing for every one.
For those situations where I’m actually packing shoes, there’s a nice shoe bag that holds a lot! Depending on how you pack and the type of footwear, you can actually often put two pairs in the same bag and keep everything else nice and clean.
These essentials (standard slim, small, medium, and large cubes, plus the shoe bag) are the core of the product line and bags I’ve had for nearly ten years. The classics are the best!
But there is a new member to this classic line that does really get me excited as a traveller: the pack it flat toiletry kit. It’s the essential I didn’t know I needed. After all, I’ve been very successful in keeping my toiletries in the slim cubes.
This toiletry kit is not bulky. I use a designer brand toiletry kit for my cosmetics at home. You know the type: it’s basically a slightly elongated cube that is as high as it is wide and a little longer on one side. I never take it with me on trips because it is so difficult to cram into my checked bag — and why would I when I have my slim cubes for the purpose? This new toiletry kit lets me save my slim cubes for other things. It’s very organized with a plastic lined left compartment and a slim compartment on the right. In the middle is an expandable compartment perfect for putting my non liquid cosmetics and of course the main centre compartment that has two zippered compartments and plenty of storage for almost anything you can think of (see photo above). There’s a hook in the top for hanging on a towel bar which I don’t use; I prefer to lay everything flat.
Once closed, this kit lays VERY FLAT. It’s designed to cram into that tiny space we all struggle to find and it works really well. I don’t have a trip coming yet that I know of and yet just a few hours after receiving my toiletry kit in the mail I feel compelled to fill it up and get it ready for the next trip — grab and go with only a few small additions needed — like medicines where it’s important to pay attention to use by dates. I am really surprised how much it will hold. I haven’t figured out the best place for my toothbrush yet — maybe you have some ideas for me? If you do, just comment below!
As much as I love these for travel, I really love them for moving. The cubes are DURABLE and you can put so much more than clothing in them though I don’t suggest abusing them; they are still made of fabric and their are limits to what they can do. But for organizing the small “day one” essentials (I pack these in my luggage sets so I can find them among all the boxes) they are fantastic. Cutlery, can openers, and basic utensils fit in the slim cubes with ease so you can find them immediately. Slim cubes are also great for tea cups and most coffee mugs. Layer a couple plates between clothing items in the medium and large cubes. And of course pack these breakables with small clothing items and kitchen linens. The same skills that make you a world class traveller make you a world class re-locator.
Where ever you are travelling to this year, I hope ebags packing cubes are part of your travel organization strategy. Bon voyage!