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One of the most common questions we get is: should I use packing cubes or packing folders? The answer is: it depends. While there are a variety of luggage organizers available not all of them serve the same purpose.
Our readers help you answer this question so you can determine if packing folders vs cubes are a better option for you. Find out what they recommend!
Packing Folders vs Cubes
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
“Packing cubes vs folding envelopes: what is your choice? I just packed tonight in envelopes for the first time. They do actually seem quite easy, and I hope it will minimize wrinkles, but we’ll see how they survive this trip.”
If you’ve ever wondered how people can pack so much in so little of a suitcase and keep everything organized, they’re likely using a packing organizer.
Packing organizers have risen in popularity over the past years, with many traveling folk unable to imagine packing for a trip without them, (TFG included!). They allow optimum use of the space in your luggage, keeping everything organized and in place during your travels, and making the task of unpacking and repacking simple and stress-free.
While there are a number of different types of packing organizers, packing cubes and packing folders (also called packing envelopes or folding envelopes) are the two most popular options. Not only do many brands make them, but they also offer a simple packing solution for keeping your items organized and tightly packed.
While, for the most part, the decision between packing cubes and packing folders comes down to personal preference, there are a few times when one could make more sense than the other:
Do You Roll or Fold Your Clothes?
The rolling versus folding clothes debate is a whole other topic, but if you prefer rolling your clothes, packing cubes will work better. As packing cubes are square and rectangle shape, you can roll your clothing to fit more into the cube.
As one reader says, “I like to roll a t-shirt or sweater to fill the space in a cube. You can get a lot in without stuffing,” while another adds, “Cubes are better for rolled things, like socks, underwear, tights, etc.”
However, if you prefer to fold, you can use either. With cubes, you can roll or fold, while envelopes are best for folding.
Learn how to use packing cubes to travel carry-on only!
How Do You Organize Your Luggage?
If you’re trying to fit as much as possible into a small bag, consider the layout of your luggage to decide between packing cubes and packing folders. For many of us traveling with rectangular bags, packing cubes can stack nicely, while we can slip in envelopes on top of luggage.
One reader explains, “One of the determining factors in choosing one or the other is the configuration of your bag. I have a bag with one long inner pocket perfect for one of the larger envelopes, so that’s where that particular envelope goes when packing. But the inside of the bag is better for cubes.”
It also depends on how you like to organize your clothing. Another reader adds, “Cubes are good for sorting, so if you want to sort underwear, socks, and your nightgown into one cube, and t-shirts and so forth into another cube, that configuration works.”
Find out how to pack more efficiently!
How Much Do You Need to Pack?
Some readers prefer packing folders so they can fit more into each organizer. One reader says, “Being plus size, I find packing cubes helpful for some things but I cannot fit nearly as much as someone who is a smaller size since they use less material. I really like the packing envelopes for this reason.”
Another reader adds, “I tried a little experiment awhile ago. I stuffed shirts into my packing cube until it was full then tried the envelope. I was able to get 8 shirts into the cube and 11 in the envelope.”
However, if luggage weight is a concern, you can still fit in plenty in cubes. One reader says, “I like packing cubes; they weigh less. I use a large one, lay 3 pair of pants on my bed, lay 9 folded tops at the waistband if the pants and then keep flipping over till you get to the hem of the pants. Drop in a cube, and you have 27 days worth of outfits! Another small cube for underwear, bras, a tank dress, and a nightgown. Good to go!”
Use these sample travel capsule wardrobes to help you downsize your belongings!
Do Your Clothes Easily Wrinkle?
Some travel fabrics are more prone to wrinkling than others, which will impact your decision on packing cubes versus packing envelopes. Several readers prefer envelopes for delicate clothing and cubes for more durable items.
One reader says, “I think envelopes are best for clothes that wrinkle and packing cubes are best for clothes that do not wrinkle,” while another adds, “I love both envelopes and cubes. I use envelope for items I don’t want to wrinkle, which is usually my tops and bottoms. I use cubes for underthings, scarves, jammies, and other items.”
Find out how to pack clothes without wrinkles with these nine helpful tips!
What is the Best Packing Organizer for You?
Ultimately, different packing organizers work best for different people depending on your needs and travel preferences. Many of our readers use a combination of both.
One shares, “I use the envelope for packing jackets and blazers or shirts, and then I use the packing cubes for everything else. Years ago, I started by using Ziplock bags, but they rip open often. I then progressed to my first packing cubes. Several years later and I now have several different sizes to choose from depending on where I am going and what I am wearing.”
Another says, “I use envelopes for work clothes when I’m on business trips and I use cubes for underwear and weekend clothes. For leisure and holidays, I don’t use the envelope because I’m too lazy to fold casual clothes using the folding guide. When using cubes, I fold instead of roll as I find that my rolling method takes up more space, plus it wrinkles my tops and tees.”
In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a 4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes. These are the only packing cubes sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase and they also have a unique color-coded and numbered organization system – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.
I put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!
Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!
Which of these packing organizers will you choose to organize your clothing?
For more tips and ideas on packing organizers, please read:
- Packing Cubes Video Tutorial: Learn How to Pack Light
- Packing Organizers: The Luggage Accessories that Help you Travel Light
- Packing Clothes for Travel: How to Organize like a Pro
- How to Use Packing Cubes: 8 Step Strategy to Travel Carry-on Only
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