Packing cells have changed my life. That’s a big statement, I know. But they have made my travelling life so much easier I wonder how I ever travelled without them.
I just wish I had cottoned on to packing cells years ago, then there would have been no embarrassing underwear trailing from my ripped suitcase on the airport carousel in Paris, or time wasted at Australian Customs trying to jam everything back into an over-stuffed suitcase after a random search.
Packing cells, or packing cubes, are lightweight zippered pouches, often rectangular, for storing clothes and other items in a backpack, overnight bag or suitcase. They are usually made of a nylon-type fabric and often have a mesh panel for breathability. They come in a variety of sizes for different items of clothing or accessories. (In Part 2 of this post I’ll look at the different styles of packing cells.)
So why use packing cells? Here are five good reasons:
1. Personal Organisation
Use different size cells for different types of clothing and you’ll always know where everything is in your suitcase. Use large cells for jackets, pants and skirts, medium cells for shirts or dresses, and small cells for underwear and accessories. Use a cell for items that may only be worn occasionally, like formal wear, or if you’re travelling to different seasons, separate winter clothes from summer clothes.
2. Family Organisation
Cells are fantastic when sharing a suitcase with a partner or family members. Allocate each person cells in a particular colour and it’s easy to know whose gear is whose (and they can’t mess up your clothes while accessing their own). Use cells for keeping children’s toys or other paraphernalia together.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer to fold your clothes or roll them, either method will work within the cells and ensure your clothes are as wrinkle-free as possible. And with packing cells coming in various shapes and sizes, there are cells for everything from ties and belts to shoes and electronics.
4. Space saving
Using packing cells helps keep your clothes neat and tidy, taking up less space in your suitcase. Compression cells ensure bulky items like puffer jackets take up as little room as possible and cells of different sizes can be stacked like a 3D pentomino puzzle, maximising room in your suitcase. Any spaces around the cells can be used for awkward-shaped items like shoes, umbrellas, tripods and souvenirs. If you start travelling with a half-empty case (leaving room for new purchases) the cells will ensure your clothes stay neatly together and don’t end up in an untidy mess.
5. Time saving
Don’t bother unpacking the cells, just transfer them to the hotel drawers or wardrobe shelves. If you return worn clothes to the cells on a daily basis, then repacking is a breeze. This is so convenient when you are constantly on the move – repacking is no longer a time-consuming chore (especially when you arrive back at your hotel after a big night out only to realise you have to pack for an early morning departure!). The bonus – more time to enjoy your destination.
More: In Part 2 of this post I’ll look at the different types of cells available and provide tips for buying packing cells.