Sometimes I feel like I spend half my life either packing or unpacking for a trip. It’s part of my job as a travel writer.
Often, I find myself trying to wedge more stuff into my carry-on bag, so I can leave my big suitcase at home and avoid luggage fees. (Annoyingly, some airlines, including Frontier and Spirit, now charge for carry-on bags, too.)
Enter the compression packing cube. A company called Nomatic that makes luggage and accessories recently sent me three packing cubes to test.
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The trio of collapsible fabric cubes feature a series of zippers that allow you to stuff them with soft goods, then smoosh them down to about half their unpacked volume. It works especially well with fluffy winter clothing like sweaters and puffer jackets.
The cubes come in three sizes – small (7.75 inches by 7.75 inches, $19.99), medium (11.5 inches by 7.75 inches, $29.95) and large (11.5 inches by 11.5 inches, $39.95.) The front side of each is made of mesh material, so you can see what’s inside.
Testing the Nomatic packing cubes
I put the cubes to work, stuffing them to the gills. I probably crammed way more clothes into each one than I should have. In went my biggest sweater, a pair of sexy (ha!) flannel pajamas, some fleece pants, and a stack of T-shirts. I had to sit on the cube to flatten it enough to work the zipper. (Not advisable; that probably strains the zipper, even though it seems extra sturdy.)
When I finished, I had a solid cube of very-dense clothing that I tucked into my carry-on. It saved me tons of space. (It was also kind of heavy.)
My advice? Get two of the big ones, which work well for shirts, pullovers and sweaters. I use the small one for underwear. The medium holds any extras.
My new compression cubes, which are designed to work with Nomatic’s line of luggage, are going into regular rotation.