Article courtesy of Zoomlite

Every traveller knows that space in your suitcase is premium real estate. If you go over your limited weight allowance this can cost you a small fortune. So, we squeeze and push and sit on our suitcase to try to cram it all in. I must admit I was one of the biggest culprits until I discovered packing cubes

Then along came packing cubes. They meant that all the effort squeezing and pushing was zipped shut into individual cubes and the struggle became manageable. But wait! There’s more. Enter compression cubes. They start just like packing cubes, but once you’ve zipped them shut there’s another zipper to squeeze them down even further. Here we take a look at Compression Packing Cubes and see what they can do to help you tame your packing.

Comparing types of cubes

What are packing cubes?

Packing cubes are zippered bags to use within your suitcase or backpack that act like drawers when you’re travelling. They help with arranging and sorting your belongings and help keep you organised. They are perfect for when living out of a suitcase or they can be moved straight into your hotel room drawers of where you are staying. Perfect for all types of travel including caravans, cruise ship staterooms, or overnight train cabins where you have a limited amount of space. By packing like items together it’s easier to find things. By rolling and folding your clothing then zipping them into the cubes you can save space as well.

What are compression packing cubes?

Compression packing cubes are similar to packing cubes, but they provide extra compression through an additional zipper or straps. They’re particularly great when storing bulky items, like jumpers or jackets, and light clothing like shirts, shorts and dresses. Dense materials like denim will compress less. You’ll find you can compress your luggage around 30% using compression cubes, which is great for fitting more into your suitcase, downsizing from a large to a medium, or even going carry-on only.

How do compression cubes compare to vacuum bags?

Vacuum bags are great for around the house when you want to reduce the storage size of large, flexible items. You place your items in the bag, seal it up, then use a pump or vacuum to draw the air out of the bag. They’re often large size bags, which can be too big for travel.  Many require you to bring a pump to properly use them. You’ll also need to release all the air to access items, then suck it back out to repack.

As long as the seals are intact vacuum bags will only work, meaning that after a few uses they can start to break down. Vacuum bags can be useful for sealing away the smells of dirty laundry between washes.  You may also find your clean clothes get wrinkled or smell musty if kept in vacuum bags.

Compression cubes still provide airflow, helping to avoid a musty smell. They’re easy to open and close, saving you time and effort on your travels.

Finding what works best for you

The thing to remember with compression packing cubes is that while they reduce the amount of space your clothing is taking up, they don’t reduce the weight. 20kg of clothing is still 20kg of clothing, just squeezed into a smaller space. Make sure you weigh your luggage before leaving home and bring a travel scale if you’re a big shopper, to ensure you don’t go over your baggage limits.

What makes the best compression packing cubes?

There are a few features to look for in compression packing cubes. Choosing the right cubes can mean the difference between an organised suitcase and a frustrating mess.

  • Check they’re made from quality materials – particularly the zippers.
  • Choose lightweight options – check the weights of your cubes, some come with multiple buckles to compress the air out, which can add to the weight.
  • Make sure the colours don’t run.  Who wants a red cube to discolour your white t-shirt if it gets wet.
  • Be sure they have handles – packing and unpacking cubes from your suitcase is easier if they have handles. They’ll also make it easier if you want to use the cube as a stand-alone bag, such as taking it to a laundry or shower block if you’re camping.  it is also handy as an impromptu carry-on bag if your luggage is overweight.
  • Pick sizes to suit the way you travel – you’ll lose the organisational function of packing cubes if you opt for all large cubes. Get a variety of sizes to suit your needs. If you’re a carryon only person go for small and medium compression cubes. If you’re headed to the snow, you’ll be needing large compression cubes.

Do these replace standard packing cubes?

That’s entirely up to you. Most people will find that a combination of standard packing cubes and compression packing cubes will be best for the way they travel. Each additional zipper on compression packing cubes adds a small amount of extra weight, so it’s worth weighing up what your needs are for each trip. If you’re backpacking and need to squeeze everything you own into one manageable backpack.  Your focus will be different to a trip where porters will carry whatever you bring, or a road trip when you’ve got space for the kitchen sink.

The bonus is saving time and effort!

Luggage organisers save you time and effort. Your holiday time should be spent lounging by a pool, exploring a foreign country, or doing other activity that brings you joy. It shouldn’t be spent digging through a suitcase.  Always, tossing items left and right, only to find that you’ve miscounted and don’t have a clean shirt to put on. And what about saving you space as well as keeping you organised? That sounds like a dream holiday!

The best purchase.

I purchased Zoomlite packing cubes and they have transformed my packing.  With so many brands out there with varying prices to suit your budget and style of packing.  My favourite is the 10 piece packing bundle and this is the best thing for my packing.  I travel a lot and I am away for long periods of time and I like that you can label each pack.  it makes me feel a lot more organised.  My suitcase is an American Tourister suitcase which folds in two and has a middle compartment and this has been a blessing.  No more having to sit on my suitcase to close it.

Snaffle Travel is a travel company that specialises in equestrian tours and riding holidays.  Contact us at