Packing Aids

In which we prevent our clothes from making themselves look fat and Cliff gets amorous with a Swedish toiletry bag

He says: Holy smokes! These compression bags are amazing!!

She says: Eye roll.

We had some heated debates over cubes, sacs, compression bags and general packing philosophy (he was a believer, she cried overconsumption wolf). After months of trial and error testing, we agree on three truths. 1. In moderation, packing aids work (and in the case of Eagle Creeks’ Pack-it-Compression Bags, they work wonderfully) 2. Mix-and-match to create the perfect solution for your bag and trip needs. 3. Like with your pack, take the time to practice pack. Buy more sizes than you need; experiment and make returns.

Our packing aid and packing tech:

1. Eagle Creek – Pack-it-Compression Bags

Man we love these things. Combined with rolling our clothes, they saved a shocking amount of space in our packs, turning each facet of our wardrobe into condensed, stackable cloth-bricks. They’re also great for odor control and general isolation of clean vs. dirty and dry vs. wet.

We found the medium and small bags most useful. Large is just too large and bulky for travel. The bummer here is that while you can buy individual mediums, the only way to get your hands on a small is through purchasing the S, M, L-3-pack. Why? We don’t know. We called Eagle Creek in an attempt to make a special order, but they couldn’t help. Annoyance and overpaying aside, these guys are worth it (and spare large bags make a great gift for a clothes-hording loved one).

The more “travel tech” your clothes, the better they will compress. We found that our polyester quick-drying travel gear compresses about 50% from its already slim roll form. Remember that even with compression gear still weighs the same, so don’t over pack just because you have more space (that said, our packs are way too tiny to worry about that). We’re packing an extra empty bag for laundry and wet swimmies.

2. Eagle Creek – Pack-it-Sacs

Like their forbearers the pencil case, these little guys are great for keeping your pack organized. Spill-proof and tear-proof, each Pack-it-Sac can be clipped to any latch, loop, or buckle within your pack for easy access without fear of loosing or forgetting it when you take it out.

We’re packing a variety of colors and sizes in both our bags: a medium for chargers and adaptors; a small for connector cables; and an extra-small as the kitchen junk drawer (multi-tool, duct tape and other miscellaneous gear).

3. Eagle Creek – Pack-it-Specter-Cube-Set

While compression bags worked wonders for the majority of our clothing, Natalie’s dainty lady wear is just too small and too dainty to be worth compressing. We picked the Pack-it-Specter Quarter Cube because of how lightweight it is (and because we were on an Eagle Creek high). It provides just enough space and protection to store bras and undies.

4. Eagle Creek – Pack-it-Shoe-Sac

Again with the Eagle Creek! Shoe bags are must. Made with the same material as the Pack–it–Sacs, the Pack-it-Shoe-Sac is great for keeping your shoes isolated from the rest of your gear. The last thing you want to do is track dirt, mud, or any other type of nasty dirtiness into your pack. These particular shoepacks are great because of their size. We easily fit two pairs of shoes into one sac, thus totally protecting ourselves from unwelcomed foot filth.

5. Thule – Toiletry-Kit

I have never been so excited about a toiletry kit in my life. This thing is badass. Thule is a Swedish company known for its badass trucking equipment. Turns out they dabble in badass backpacks and travel equipment as well. I’m man enough to admit that I spent a lot of time looking at toiletry kits. My criteria: 1. Leak proof; water-resistant. 2. Large enough to fit both his and her needs. 2b. Designed with enough compartments to separate her girly stuff from my manly stuff. 3. Easily portable; stands up alone; built-in strap for carrying and hanging on things. Thule nailed it. Badass.

6. Dry-baggery

Last but not least, no pack would be complete without some simple, weatherproof plastic sac/bag action to keep documents dry. The Seattle Sports Dry Doc was advertised as a waterproof tablet case, but has made a nice dry home for our documents, passport copies and spare passport photos. We keep our Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sac handy incase of an impromptu aquatic outing. Given the difficulty in finding them aboard, , we’re importing a solid supply of Ziplocs, the duct tape of packing aids.