I feel like I'm an organized packer. I use a packing list, I roll everything, I have 98% of my packing done weeks before I travel. When I pack to come back home, I do things the same as when I left, including using my packing list to make sure I have everything I came with and then figure out how to include anything I've purchased along the way. Of course, one can always be more organized, especially when you can add pockets and/or compartments to your carry-on. Lewis N. Clark knows that being able to find everything in your bag is helpful and even necessary in a lot of cases. I travel with my husband almost all the time, so packing cubes can be useful in keeping each of our things together and easy to find whatever we need for the day.
Here's the thing. You thought that all packing cubes were created equal. Not so. Lewis N. Clark has tapped into an improvement that I can't believe hasn't been on the market since packing cubes have hit it: Expansion. When I stopped at their booth at the Travel Goods Show, I was admiring all their new products (because previously, they had a lot of luggage locks, but not many other things) and picked up a lightweight packing cube set and realized there were extra zippers. Whoa, what? Yes, these nylon cubes come in a variety of sizes, but also become even more versatile because they expand to give you a little more room, so it's like two packing cubes in one.
Sometimes you buy stuff when you travel and you want to organize that as well when you travel home. Simply unzip the expandable part of the packing cube and voila! Now you have extra square inches to play with!
The above large cube was big enough to pack my husband's clothes for a weekend getaway. Because it isn't rigid, it allows you to pack things any way you like, then zip it up and you're ready to pack it in your bag. Got a little extra packing to do? Expand the cube and add those things. It still fits in your carry-on as well as it did when it was its original size.
I used the medium size to pack my own items for our weekend at the beach and then decided to see how it compared with the medium plaid packing cube that is a little more rugged and doesn't expand. The items fit just as well, but needed a little reshuffling to get in there perfectly. As you can see, it doesn't bulge out anywhere and keeps its rectangular shape easily. I also like the soft feel of it. If it gets dirty, just wipe it off with a damp cloth.
I then used the medium expandable for swimsuits, undies and socks. Another great thing about these cubes is that they have nice handles on the top, so you can quickly pull them out of your bag and toss them in a drawer at your destination. Then you can pull them out of the drawer each morning to find what you need and then throw it back in there. I love to keep one specifically for swimsuits, so I can grab it and go when we're off to the beach or the pool. I add a tube of sunscreen and a plastic bag, that way when we're done for the day, the cube goes into the plastic bag to keep everything else dry.
All the Lewis N. Clark cubes have a mesh front, so your clothes don't get all musty inside, especially if you're like me and like to keep some things packed all the time. There are certain things that I only use on vacation, because it's convenient and then I don't have to go track it down every time I pack for a trip. It also helps to see what's inside quickly, so you aren't opening them all to find what you need.
If you're a backpacker or travel with a soft-side bag, like a duffle, the ElectroLight cubes might be more your speed, but if you have a hard-side bag or like a little bit of rigidity, then the plaid cube that doesn't expand may work better for your bag and travel style. Now that you have all your cubes packed, you can stack them in your bag, where they will fit like puzzle pieces, and arrive organized and happy.
Where to buy: On Lewis N Clark Website
How much: $12.49-$43.99
Colors: ElectroLight expandables: bright blue (shown) | charcoal | neon lemon | red
Plaid: beige/mint (shown) | taupe/pumpkin | charcoal/yellow
Sizes: Plaid medium: 11in x 8.5in x 3in | ElectroLight Packing Tube: 13in x 4in x 3in | ElectroLight set: Medium: 8.5in x 11in x 2in - 5in (expanded), Large: 12in x 14.5in x 2in - 5in