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Sometimes, I feel like I’m living out of my suitcase—and the times that I’m not living out of my suitcase, I’m living out of my backpack. As a full-time travel writer who also spends many months of the year caring for a disabled parent in another state, I’m constantly on the move and constantly searching for a better packing solution.
For long trips, I use the medium-sized Away aluminum suitcase. For shorter trips or trips where I will be moving around a lot and might find it easier to carry a backpack, I use one of too many options in my collection of backpacks. Regardless of what I bring, I use Thule Compression Cubes to stash and organize my belongings.
I’ve tried out loads of packing cubes, and while I acknowledge that there are quite a few brands with great travel cubes, I also find that they often have one big checkmark against them. The zippers might be hard to move; the material may be so thick that it takes up too much space, or it may be so flimsy that I’m worried it’s going to rip right away.
Thule Packing Cubes
The Thule packing cubes check all the basics when it comes to packing cube features, plus they are made from a durable, 100-denier ripstop nylon material that is both water-repellant and Bluesign-approved (meaning it meets third-party sustainability criteria).
The cubes use a semi-transparent fabric, so you can (kind of) see what’s inside, meaning it’s easy for you to identify what’s in each cube without everybody around you seeing the actual contents. They also feature webbing handles so you can quickly grab, toss, or carry your cubes, while the durable zippers are strong and easy to slide back and forth.
What makes these packing cubes truly stand out is that on top of being strong, sturdy, well-designed, and eco-friendly, they are also compression cubes, which allow you to press out excess air to save space in the bags. One set of zippers functions as the regular zip to close the bag, while another set of compression zippers eliminates all the excess air between your clothes in order to maximize packing space. Pretty sweet, right?
As a chronic over-packer, these cubes have allowed me to continue my tradition of bringing more stuff than I actually need when I travel. During a month-long trip to Scotland this summer, I relied on these cubes to stash several weeks’ worth of clothing since I wasn’t sure how frequently I’d be able to do laundry.
During the month-long trip, I did a seven-day hiking trip, and due to the trip’s space restrictions, I couldn’t bring my entire enormous set of luggage. What did I do? Well, I left a bag with “unnecessary” stuff at my hotel in Glasgow and stuffed all essentials (plus some non-essentials) into my game-changing packing cubes so I could meet the one-bag minimum on the trip. Problem solved. Whether you’re a frequent flier or just a chronic over-packer, you won’t regret adding these compression cubes to your travel lineup.
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