Not everybody uses packing cubes, but if you are here you are using them or looking at the benefits of using them. They can be extremely helpful if used in the right way. Here is our top ways in how to use packing cubes.
I have a couple of ways to help you make the most of the space in your packing cubes. This will also be a good way to look after your clothes, make them longer lasting and save you from doing too much washing. Showing you a few tips and tricks showing you how to packing using packing cubes.
If you are looking at using packing cubes for backpacking check out our full review of brands, styles, and sizes here.
Why Use Packing Cubes?
Before we dive in and get to know how best to use our packing cubes, why don’t we answer the golden question… Why use packing cubes in the first place? Personally, I love packing. not because I get to play around with them for photos and write about them but because they work (in most circumstances).
I say in most circumstances because I feel you need to know what you want to use them for and how to use them. That will then open a whole new opportunity in your travel life for packing, you also want to work out how they will fit in your case.
So more on why you should use packing cubes. Do you often go away and want to find something really quick and find yourself rummaging through your stuff? Can’t find it and then you have a messy case? Yeah… done it so many times.
Packing cubes can organise, tidy and compress your clothes to making packing, travelling and holidaying so much easier. We started using them so we could keep our clothes together in our backpacks and pack tighter as we had very little room.
My mum decided to use hers for the first time when she went away for a cruise, knowing she would want to be able to unpack quickly and efficiently. Leaving her to enjoy her time on the boat, instead of spending an hour or longer sorting through all their clothes, shoes and toiletries.
I also find them so so so useful for backpacking, when we go away we travel light. In addition to travelling light, we often like to travel around and explore different areas of a country. This means that we can stay in one place for one night and then another place 2 nights.
Using packing cubes we can separate our clothes into daily outfits or into underwear, t-shirts and trousers. Making it easier for us to find what we need when we need it. You can also use packing cubes to pack for a family.
Each person in the family can have a colour of packing cube and so when you are looking for your sons/daughters clothes you can easily see they are in the red packing cubes.
Folding Clothes For Packing Cubes
Use the Marie Kondo Fold
If you haven’t heard of the Japanese sensation who is helping millions around the globe tidy their homes then you are missing out!
Marie Kondo shows people how to organize and tidy their possessions, though I know you won’t be travelling the world with a kitchen cupboard of Tupperware you will still want to keep organized.
She is big on respecting the items you use, especially clothes. She even thanks them as she throws them away. But back to my point, taking care of your clothes, whether they are dirty of not will, in the end, keep them in good condition and will make them last longer.
By using Marie Kondo’s folding technique will help keep your clothes tidy and good condition but will also mean your saving space in your packing cubes. Using this method also means you can see what t-shirt you are looking for quicker as the print/colour is on show.
If you aren’t much of a folder check out this technique of rolling your clothes. We have all done it to fit socks into shoes etc. Well, it is the same style but your rolled clothes will go into your packing cubes.
Start by going a basic fold to make the item the same width of your packing cube, then simply roll tight and put in. This will, of course, be harder with bulkier items but if you are serious about packing as much into your suitcase or bag look at trading those out for something smaller.
Folding To The Width Of The Packing Cube
One thing I think people forget when they start folding is, it is the right size fold? I like to think of clothes being folded into shapes. So say I have a rectangle packing cube, I can make flat rectangle folds of chunkier square folds to fit in.
It sounds extremely nerdy but it helps. I usually lay the packing cube width next to the item I am folding. This way I can check that once the item is folded it will fit in the packing cube and not get stuffed or crinkled.
This is mainly focussed on people or families who need to keep their clothes separate and organised. If there are more than the 2 of you travelling look at getting packing cubes in different colours. Each person can have a colour and when you are travelling around you know who’s clothes are who’s.
How To Use Packing Cubes
We have traveled around Europe for 6 months with just a 20L backpack. We pretty much travel hand luggage only if we go anywhere. No matter how long we are traveling for or how the temperature was going to be.
To make the most out of your packing cubes you need to understand the best way to fold your clothes to fit in the cubes. Working out how to use packing cubes in your case/bag is probably the most important part of the process.
Deciding to start using packing cubes is great. The bigger step is making sure you can use them wisely, efficiently and resourcefully. There is no point getting packing cubes and filling them only for them not to fit in your suitcase.
Variety packs of packing cubes work well as you can use the smaller ones to fill the smaller gaps alongside the larger ones. Think of it as a game of Tetris, making the pieces fit together in the best layout. This is one of the best tricks on how to pack using packing cubes.
If you want to be super nerdy, take a picture of the layout so then next time you use the packing cubes and the suitcase you can pack it quickly and know it will all fit.
Use your smaller cubes for your smaller items. These will be things like your underwear, socks, bras, and thinner layers. Girls if you are packing thin vest tops or anything light and thin that fold small, this is a perfect place to pack them.
Looking at how to use packing cubes is a great way of working out what clothes you do want to take along with you. It really makes you analyse what you are packing whether it will be worn or not.
Section Your Clothes
A good way to keep tracking of your clothes and utilize your best packing cubes for backpacking is sectioning. If you like to be organised and tidy this is a great way to keep your stuff in order.? Think about packing your trousers in one packing cube and t-shirts in another.
Pack Outfits In Packing Cubes
This is a great way of keeping your clothes organised. Especially if you know you are packing items that only go with that pair of shorts.
I love the idea of packing clothes into outfits as once you have had your wear out of it, you know it can be washed. This is a great tip for family backpacking as you can use these to keep children’s outfits together.
I love the idea of packing outfits for the family into one packing cube knowing that is day 1 and 3 of your trip. Not everyone will use this how to use packing cubes technique but it can really work for some.
I have also seen that some families do this with children’s clothes into food bags for holidays, though I don’t like the thought of all the waste of bags.
Don’t Be Afraid To Use Them For Other Things
When we aren’t filling our packing cubes with clothes we often use them to hold other items. As we travel with 2 cameras, 2 phones and 2 laptops we often have quite the hoard of chargers.
The way you can create a bit more padding and security to the bag is by adding in soft items such as a travel towel that is dry or some clothes.
We never found a storage system that worked for us so we often use small packing cubes to hold our wires together.
You can pack so many alternatives into packing cubes if you want to keep it separate this is a great way to utilize a packing cube. This is a great way of how to use packing cubes for alternative items.
This is completely out there I have to admit and it might not be viable for everyone but dryer sheets are a life saver. If like us you plan to take as little as possible for a trip and don’t want to have to think about washing these are a great alternative.
If you are going for a shorter trip you can include dryer sheets into your backpack to keep your clothes fresh and long lasting.
Be careful these do not directly stain your clothes and I would suggest not putting them directly in with your clothes. There are plenty of other alternatives you could add in such as fragrance bags.
These are our top ways on how to use packing cubes. These are our most helpful and useful ways to make the most of your packing cubes. If you use packing cubes and have any special ways you fold, organise or just store them let us know in the comments below.