An Honest Review: Do Compression Packing Cubes Actually Work?

by Packing cubes, Travel Gear

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Compression Packing Cubes vs Standard Parking Cubes: Do They Actually Work?

If you’ve started doing some research on packing cubes and still have little idea what the difference is between standard packing cubes and compression packing cubes, then this article should help you out.

In this article, I aim to answer the following questions:

  • What is a compression packing cube?
  • What is the difference between them and standard packing cubes?
  • Do compression packing cubes ACTUALLY work?

Towards the end of this article, I also provide some tips and recommendations on popular compression packing cube brands that are available online.

You can watch the full video below:

 

If you prefer to read, here’s a quick summary of what I mentioned in the video:

  • Throughout the video, I compare Shacke Pak’s standard packing cube versus the Tripped compression packing cube
  • I started by filling up both cubes with similar amounts of clothing and comparing what they looked like naturally (uncompressed) and after being compressed (the Tripped compression packing cube)
  • The Tripped compression cube was slightly more difficult to pack given it only opens around a third of the way
  • The Tripped compression cube closed nicely with the first lot of clothes, adding more clothes caused bulging in the centre
  • Because of this, the packing cube doesn’t appear much thinner than the standard Shacke Pak packing cube.
  • I also showed the difference in the results due to rolling versus folding the clothing. There didn’t seem to be much difference between the two.
  • In conclusion, I’m not convinced that the Tripped compression cube provides any greater benefit that the standard packing cube.

Next, let’s take a look at the different types of compression packing cubes.

 

Types of Compression Packing Cubes

 

1. Tripped Compression Packing Cubes

Tripped is a brand of packing cubes that is marketed as being created by travellers for travellers. However, in my opinion, they kind of look like an identical copy of Eagle Creek’s compression cubes.

Tripped Compression Packing Cubes

Tripped Compression Cubes | Image source: Amazon.com.au

Overview:

  • Product: Set of 2 packing cubes
    • Medium: 36cm x 25cm x 3cm-10cm
    • Small: 25cm x 18cm x 3-10cm
  • Material: Water resistant, ripstop Nylon
  • Colour: Translucent white and Green
  • Price: ~ $35 AUD | $20 USD
  • Reviews: 79% 5 star reviews, of 3000+ reviews

Pros:

  • Made from smooth rip-stop Nylon which is light-weight, translucent, water resistant and strong. The translucent features allows you to vaguely see what is inside each cube, rather than having to open it every time.
  • Advertised to have strong snag-free zippers and an easy to grab handle which makes it easier to pull it out of your backpack

Cons:

  • Some customers mentioned that the handle broke at first use, which isn’t ideal.
  • Similar to some of the other cells mentioned above, these packing cubes don’t have much structure.
  • Additionally, some have mentioned that when compressed, a bulge tends to form in the middle of the cube which defies the whole point of compression.
  • Although advertised as having “snag free” zippers, some customers have mentioned that they experienced it catching on the bag’s fabric. It’s hard to know whether they just got a dodgy cube…or if this is a common trend.

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com

Tripped Compression Packing Cube

 

2. Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes

As mentioned above, Eagle Creek is definitely a favoured brand for packing cubes, also offering a range of compression cubes. However, are they worth the extra money? I’ll share my thoughts with you below.

Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes

Eagle Creek Compression Cubes | Image source: Amazon.com.au

Overview:

  • Product: Set of 2 packing cubes
    • Small: 25.5cm x 18cm x 8cm
    • Medium: 36cm x 25.5 cm x 8 cm
  • Material: Nylon
  • Colour: White and Green, Blue or patterned
  • Price: ~ $52 AUD | $40 USD
  • Reviews: 81% 5 star reviews, of 1400+ reviews

Pros:

  • These cubes are made from strong non-rip Nylon material and are said to be light-weight, water-resistant, washable and contain anti-staining properties
  • These packing cubes have a less than 1% return rate
  • They are advertised as making it easier to compress clothing and save space in your luggage
  • Eagle Creek offer a Lifetime Warranty and will replace the product in the event of product failure.

Cons:

  • Expensive. These packing cells are a lot more expensive than other packing cubes on the market
  • Given the double zipping, it’s harder to see what’s inside each cube
  • To make the cells lighter, the zipper only opens on two sides. This makes packing more difficult compared to other cells that open completely / on 3-4 sides.
  • There have been some complaints of the compression zipper getting caught on the internal lining of the packing cubes. Therefore, although the material feels durable, you will want to take care when zipping to ensure the material doesn’t rip.
  • Some customers have claimed that there’s not much benefit of using these compression cubes compared to standard packing cubes for the additional price – the compression doesn’t seem to make a HUGE difference.

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com

 

3. Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

Gonex is another popular packing cube brand on Amazon, with a pretty solid reputation. In this section, I’ll be reviewing their compression packing cube set, which consists of three different-sized packing cubes.

Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

Gonex Compression Cubes | Image source: Amazon.com.au

Overview:

  • Product: Set of 3 packing cubes
    • Large: 37cm x 27 cm x 9cm
    • Medium: 30cm x 22.5 x 9 cm
    • Small: 25cm x 19cm x 8cm
  • Material: Nylon
  • Colour: Black, Grey & other
  • Price: ~ $45 AUD | $23 USD
  • Reviews: 70% 5 star reviews, of 1300+ reviews

Pros:

  • Gonex products are generally well-made, good quality and lightweight.
  • The compression functionality of these packing cells does seem to create more space within your luggage.
  • Product is typically delivered on time
  • Gonex offer a 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year warranty which is good. This allows you to easily return the product if there are any issues with it.

Cons:

  • Only 70% of the 1300+ reviews are 5 star which is quite low compared to the other products mentioned
  • Some customers have mentioned that despite appearances, these compression packing cubes don’t have as solid a structure as you’d think from the images. However, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Not having a rigid structure means that you can more easily stuff the cubes into your back and into varying shapes.
  • The zipper doesn’t open entirely, which can impact how you stuff the packing cell. I do, however, feel that this seems to be a shared issue of most compression cells.
  • The expanding zipper can occasionally clamp your clothing, however this is easily fixed by pausing and pulling the zip back slowly.

View on Amazon (AUS) | View on Amazon.com

 

Do Compression Packing Cubes Actually Work?

In order to test this out, I decided to order some compression packing cubes for myself. The classic “curiosity killed the cat” scenario…

Given the mixed reviews about whether compression packing cubes actually work, I wanted to test these out so I could provide an honest and unbiased opinion.

I decided to order the Tripped Compression Packing Cubes (as mentioned above).

On first impression, these packing cubes look to be a quality product, with high quality durable zips, slippery water resistant material and have some structure to the cell.

However, here were some of the downsides I identified:

  • The zips only open to around a half / third of the way which does cause cause some restriction while you pack. Not a deal breaker though.
  • The material is actually incredibly slippery. Combined with the smaller opening, I found that this made it harder to pack them, especially while stacked on top of one another.
  • In order for the compression to work, you need to fold your clothes, not roll. This does somewhat restrict the amount of clothing you can pack, especially for thick and bulky clothing
  • Despite marketed as convenient, the first time I packed these cells I couldn’t get the compression zip to zip up. It seemed like I had packed too much despite the cell being “just full”. I therefore had to unpack and repack, removing around a third of my clothes in the cell. This did add some frustration and extra time into the process compared to my old packing cubes.

 

Tripped Compression Packing Cubes

In terms of whether the compression works, my answer is a combination Yes and No.

Did the second zip compress the cells? Yes.

But is it enough to really make a difference to your packing? I’m not convinced.

I tested my theory by packing the same amount of clothes into my old packing cells (very worn as you can see) and the Tripped compression cells.

  • I started with 7 items of clothing (a combination of jumpers, pants, skirts and tops), however had to remove 3 of these from the Tripped packing cube because it would’t compress. My old packing cube fit the 7 pieces of clothing comfortably.
  • Before compression, the Tripped packing cube was 7-8cm in width (the same as my old cube), and even after compressing, the parcel’s max width remained the same. This is because although the edges were thinned out by the compression, the clothes were simply pushed to the centre causing a bulge in the middle. Particularly true for large bulky items over small delicates (eg. undies, socks, and bras).
  • Although the packing cubes were somewhat translucent, it isn’t easy to tell what you’ve packed inside without unpacking (unless you know your clothes by colour – which is hard for me given I wear a lot of black).

I also demonstrated this in the video above.

Tripped Compression Packing Cubes

 

 

In Summary:

Compression Packing Cubes vs Standard Parking Cubes: Do They Actually Work?

Although, the idea behind “compression” packing cubes is great. I’d probably just stick with my standard packing cubes.

In my opinion, I don’t believe that compression packing cubes provide a big enough benefit to justify the premium price tag compared to standard packing cubes.

Based off my experience (and testing the two different types of packing cubes myself), I found that there really was little difference between the two cubes in terms of width and length, even after compression.

Although compression packing cubes do feel more compact once compressed, standard packing cubes will naturally compress as you pack your bag (eg. a travel backpack). Extra air will naturally be pushed out the more than you fill your bag.

Some could even argue that compression packing cubes actually make it HARDER to unpack your clothes, given you have to open multiple zips to get into it and access your clothing.

If you are particularly set on getting some compression cubes, you may like to try the Tripped Packing cubes. They are great quality, relatively good value for money and have 80% 5 star reviews of 3,000 total reviews.

You also get two packing cubes within the set, one for smaller clothes and the other for larger items, which is pretty reasonable.

If you’d like to take a look at them yourself, you can click the link below.

View on Amazon AUS | View on Amazon.com

Tripped Compression Packing Cube

Alternatively, you can check out some of our recommended standard packing cubes below.

I hope this has helped you with your research. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Happy travelling!

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Hey guys, I’m Ash & welcome to Adventure Travel Pro!

As a seasoned traveller, I share knowledge, advice and inspo for newbie solo travellers and thrill seekers.

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