I Tried Compressible Packing Cubes, and Now I Will Never Travel Without Them

published Jun 2, 2024
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shot of someone packing a suitcase
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

I’m a travel writer who vacations frequently with my husband and two young kids, so I’m used to packing, a lot. To keep us all organized, I rely heavily on packing cubes. With so many tiny human-size clothes, toys, toiletries, and accoutrements, our suitcases all too easily delve into utter chaos by day two on the road. Packing cubes is the only way I can have everything separate and organized, and keep it that way. I never thought I needed them before having kids, and now I can’t believe I ever went without them.

I thought I perfected the system until I discovered these compressible packing cubes from Monos, a boutique luggage line. With these, I realized I could level up my cube game even further.

I heard of similar products before that compress and vacuum seal items so you can pack as much as humanly possible, but that wasn’t for me. What happened when you traveled from point A to point B, opened up the sealed bag, and faced a mountain of clothes that would never fit back in? This new alternative was different. 

What Are the Monos Compressible Packing Cubes?

Unlike my regular packing cubes, Monos Compressible Packing Cubes have two sets of zippers. One is the regular zipper you use to open or close the cube. The other is designed to compress the cube once fully closed to reduce its size by up to 60%, according to Monos.

The cubes are made from tear-resistant nylon twill, and the interior of each has the same soft antimicrobial fabric that is found inside Monos’ trendy suitcases. They come in sets of either four or six (I have the latter) for $90 or $110, respectively. The four-cube set is a bit smaller, ideal for carry-on size bags, while the set of six has cubes ranging from extra large to extra small for all types of items, and easily fits into any large checked bag.

Each cube has a mesh top panel, so you can easily see what’s inside without having to unpack, and the anti-catch zippers are sturdy and durable, reducing snags, tears, and breakage, all of which I’ve encountered with cheaper packing cubes.

Credit: Emily Hochberg

Why I Love the Monos Compressible Packing Cubes

This is where you’re probably expecting me to talk about how I love these cubes most of all for their compression feature. That’s not totally the case. While it’s true that the compression feature is an added, and very welcome, perk that differentiates it from other packing cubes, it’s not a magic potion that allows me to transport my entire wardrobe in one bag. If I overpack these cubes, the compression zipper won’t close and do its job. 

When packed correctly, however, I can reduce a solid half-inch in height from uncompressed to fully compressed. My packed cube originally stood at 5 inches tall; compressing brought it down to 4 and a half inches. Not bad at all.

Credit: Emily Hochberg

But why I really love these cubes and choose them over my previous go-to is because of how sturdy and structured they are. Other cubes I’ve used are pretty flimsy. They do their job, but once open, the cube loses shape and clothes start spilling out, making a mess of my entire suitcase. I lose track of everything, defeating the purpose of using the cube in the first place. 

The Monos cubes don’t work like that. Even when empty, the frame stands on its own thanks to well-constructed, hardy seams around the zippers that stay upright. They’re pliable, though, and can be stored flat when not in use. 

Now that I’ve switched to using these cubes for every trip, my kids’ suitcases (and mine, when I snag them for myself!) stay organized far longer. I can tell they will last for a long time, if not a lifetime. Which is good, since they’re the only ones I want to use.

Buy: Monos Compressible Packing Cubes, Set of Six, $110