Superfluous Travel Item I Need (Kinda): Packing Cubes

Posted on
Nov 18, 2009
Posted in: S.T.I.N.K.s

This isn’t just about an item that I was convinced I needed – it’s about one that I actually bought. And holy cow, have they changed my life.

No, really.

Okay, fine – but they’ve changed the way I pack, and that’s a big part of my life. So there.

I first became aware of packing cubes when I went to Italy with the lovely Pinguina in 2008. I had seen them before at luggage stores, but the price kept me away. I figured they fell into the vast category of entirely unnecessary and potentially satanic products: like peep-toe Ugg boots (designed for getting pedicures in cold weather), a yodeling pickle, and anything from the Paris Hilton “clothing” line.  These things were just invented to make you spend your money and question the existence of god, right?

Pinguina had a few packing cubes in which she carried smaller articles of clothing (socks, bras, t-shirts, etc.). And they while they first seemed totally unnecessary, the ease with which she unpacked and repacked her bags, and was able to find exactly what she was looking for without leaving her hotel room and suitcase in shambles had me convinced that I needed them, too.

I bought three of them for a subsequent trip, and I have used them ever since. It was glorious. For a hyper-organizer like myself, there’s nothing better than putting things in little bags BEFORE putting them in your bag. It’s like the Russian nesting dolls for your luggage. Plus, everything fits into your suitcase so easily and symmetrically, you’ll find yourself humming the theme to “Tetris”.

Also, I just realized I managed to squeeze two references to Russian pop culture into one paragraph. Which is bizarre, but nevertheless makes me proud (after all, I’m half Russian. It was bound to come out somewhere).

Of course, the downside to all this is the price. I have three of Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Cube Organizers (because that’s the brand they carried in the store I went to), and they ran me about $12 each. You can find them a little cheaper on  Amazon.com, but not by much. There are also less-expensive options made by ebags and (sigh) Rick Steves. I don’t think there’s a big difference between the brands, so I’d go with cheaper if possible (as long as it’s not Rick Steves).

Okay, fine. So Rick Steves Packing Cubes dont actually have his face on them. I dont know if thats a selling point or not.

Okay, fine. So Rick Steves' Packing Cubes don't actually have his face on them. I don't know if that's a selling point or not.

Of course, the true test of the awesomeness of the packing cube came from Rand. Every time he leaves for a trip, I ask him if he wants to use one of the cubes, and he emphatically refuses, saying he doesn’t see the point. So for his trip down to California last week, I didn’t even bother offering him use of the cubes. But I found he had taken one, anyway. When I commented on it, he immediately got defensive (for the record, defensive Rand is adorable):

“What? You said I could use them if I wanted to!”

You may not realize it, but this is actually a glowing endorsement, masqueraded as a whine, from someone who travels far more than I do. If Rand can admit he needs a packing cube, you might need one, too.

Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • I didn't do nearly all that I set out to do today. But I had a lovely dinner thanks to this man and some excellent out of town guests. So perhaps the measure of a day isn't always about that damn checklist. (Maybe. Ask me again tomorrow when all the stress hits me. 🤔😅)
  • You can't expect things to look *exactly* like the picture in the cookbook. But sometimes they do anyway. #alisonroman #diningincookbook #diningin #cocoabananabread #instadesserts #baking
  • Here it is, folks. The paperback edition of my book is out today. The hardcover came out more than two years ago, so it's wonderful to know that this story of mine still has life and is, gasp, still selling copies. Don't miss the book that Lauren Graham called "the travel companion you'll be happy you brought along" and that some guy on Twitter said was "immature and stupid." It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. #bookstagram #summerreading #bookworms
  • This lady. ❤️❤️❤️ So proud of her.
  • HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! I really want to curl up in bed with this amazing novel today, but I can't - for an amazing reason. Because I'm going to be at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books tonight, discussing it with the author, my dear friend @andreadunlop. Lady, I'm so proud of you. ❤️ ❤️❤️ #bookstagram #summerreading
  • Baking in an AirBnB is always an adventure. I didn't have a measuring cup for the flour so I eyeballed it, and had to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin to make these handpies. Not my best work, but @demeritt and @randderuiter seemed cool with the results, so I'm going to accept that sometimes good enough is, well, enough. 🥧🍴
  • "I hit the jackpot." That's how I once heard Michael J. Fox describe his marriage years ago, and it stayed with me. I've never found a better way of describing our relationship than that. Bells ring. Lights flash. Coins spill everywhere. Now, where's my complimentary breakfast?
  • Someone sent Rand socks with his face all over them, and he's really bothered by this but I'm gonna rock the hell out of them.
  • I told him to stop looking at the camera.
  • Eating junk food on the ferry with this guy right before dinner is kind of the dream.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.

BE AWESOME. BUY IT.