Most helpful positive review
567 of 570 people found the following review helpful
Well designed & built -- prefer these to my Rick Steves cubes
on February 16, 2011
After 25 years of international business travel, I only recently discovered packing cubes. Honestly, I thought they were a gimmick until I tried them. If you take trips where you're moving to a different city/hotel every couple of days, packing cubes are terrific, as they let you "unpack without unpacking" -- i.e., you can remove the cubes to get at your stuff, but still repack your suitcase in under a minute the next morning just by popping all the cubes back in place. They also keep items (especially business shirts) neater, and they're very handy when a security screener needs to go through your bag. My packing cubes paid for themselves the first time I had to go through a secondary security screening at the airport.
In terms of specific brands and models of packing cubes, I prefer the eBags medium-sized cubes over the Rick Steves cubes. Two of the eBags medium cubes fit perfectly side-by-side in a typical 21" carry-on roller-style suitcase (e.g., the eBags TLS mini or the Rick Steves 21" carry-on roller, both of which I use), whereas the Rick Steves smaller cubes leave a lot of extra space on the sides. Also, the eBags cubes are shorter (about 3" vs. 5" for the Rick Steves cubes). Personally, I prefer to use more of the shorter cubes, with different types of items in each cube (e.g., shirts in one cube, underwear in another, etc.), rather than stuffing a lot of different stuff into a larger cube.
Having said that, packing style is a matter of personal preference, and others may prefer the deeper and smaller Rick Steves cubes, so the real question is quality and durability. Both the eBags and the Rick Steves cubes are well made, and the zippers on both work well. I think the eBags cubes will be more durable over time, though. The Rick Steves cubes are mesh on all sides. The eBags cubes use a very light, solid fabric (like parachute clothe) on the sides and bottom, with mesh on the top so you can see what's in the cube. I think the parachute cloth (which is reinforced with mesh) will last much better than pure mesh, and it doesn't get snagged on things as easily. The fabric doesn't add any discernible weight relative to all mesh, as far as I can tell. I also like the handles on the eBags cubes -- nice feature.
Whichever brand you get, it's worth the investment. Packing cubes really do make travel easier. My only wish is that they weren't so expensive.
UPDATE 4 July 2012: When I wrote the above review, I speculated that the eBags cubes would be more durable. Sure enough, the mesh of the Rick Steves packing cube has torn around one of the seams, but the eBags cubes (which I've used more heavily) are still going strong with no signs of wear.