In 20 years of backpacking, one of my most significant packing discoveries was using a large compression sack (later, a dry 40d ripstop nylon bag) to help compartmentalize my clothes inside my travel bag.
Typically, I'd keep dirty clothes in one compression sack and clean clothes in another, which would get progressively smaller until it was laundry time.
This approach was the best choice for me; it made me feel more organized than stuffing everything haphazardly into my backpack, and it allowed me to fit more in the limited space available.
Later, I discovered smaller packing cubes, which further developed this concept of improved organization and packability.
So, when the folks at BAGAIL reached out to me recently to give their compression packing cubes a try, I happily agreed.
They sent me a set of three water-resistant nylon packing cubes in different sizes (a medium-sized bag and two large bags) in blue (my favorite color), along with a black toiletry bag.
I received them before leaving home for a long weekend in New Orleans. It was the perfect opportunity to put them to use.
BAGAIL Packing Cubes
Ironically, I have just as hard a time deciding what to pack for a long weekend in the U.S. as I make a multi-month trip to another part of the world. I picked out six days worth of clothes.
Including what I wore the day I left, I brought:
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of pants
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 3 short sleeve shirts
- 2 t-shirts
- 4 pairs of socks
- 6 boxers
- 1 sweater
- 1 fleece
- 1 pair of sneakers
I used the two large packing cubes to store my shirts and the small one for my underwear.
Each bag has a double zipper design, with one to open and place your belongings inside the bag and the other to help with compression, so it takes up less space once full. When packing, you'll want to make sure to undo both zippers.
Once you've filled a bag, close the zipper for the opening first and then the second zipper for compression.
The BAGAIL packing cubes are made of high-quality nylon fabric and have strong stitching and zippers, so you should feel confident using them, but don't force the zipper if the bag is too full—you don't want broken zippers.
You're better off taking a piece of clothing out than breaking the bag by being too rough.
The travel cubes come in various sizes (and colors), so you may be better off avoiding their small bags. That said, an extra-small bag does force you to make the best use of space.
As you can see in the photo below, the three bags fit snuggly within one side of my carry-on luggage. Due to lower back problems, I use wheeled luggage instead of a backpack.
BAGAIL Hanging Toiletry Bag
The other half of my luggage held the hanging toiletry bag and additional pairs of jeans and pants.
At first glance, the toiletry bag is attractive and looks high quality, without weak stitching.
The material is lightweight and water-resistant, and the double zipper pulls are sturdy and easy to use.
For a long time, I have tried to keep my toiletries and travel gear to a minimum so I can fly carry-on.
Using only airline carry-on suitcases avoids weight limits and removes the risk of overweight charges with large bags. It's a great way to travel light.
I buy toothpaste, mouthwash, sunscreen, and cologne equal to or less than 3oz (100ml). As I'm bald, I don't need shampoo or conditioner.
All that's to say, the BAGAIL toiletry bag is a little bit large for me. This is due, in part, to the two separate side compartments for smaller items and the main compartment.
The photo above shows that it takes up about 20% of my luggage space. In a backpack, it'd feel like even more.
However, women may find the extra space useful for carrying cosmetics, hair products, or larger bottles of liquids and travel essentials.
I could also see it helpful to have the extra space for parents traveling with young children on family breaks. But it may be too big for business travel.
To learn more about the BAGAIL packing cubes and toiletry bag and read customer reviews, check out their website.
Do you use packing cubes? Please share your thoughts on the best packing cubes and how you use them in the comments below.
This review is brought to you in partnership with BAGAIL. The packing cubes and toiletry bag were provided at no cost for review purposes. The author's opinions are his own.