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Thread: Packing cubes - how do you configure?

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    Packing cubes - how do you configure?

    I was looking over the travel luggage page on Tom Bihn's site and also checking out some of the luggage reviews in this forum, and I naturally noticed that the Aeronaut, the Tri-Star and the Western Flyer are all designed to work with Packing Cube accessory bags. This leads to a question for me. Maybe there's an answer, and maybe there isn't (maybe it's a case-by-case thing).

    If one buys Tom Bihn travel luggage, regardless of what it is, and/or if someone buys a Brain Bag or a Smart Alec, and you want to get the packing cubes so you can carry clothes with you on a road trip or a flight, how do you know what to get? My immediate plan is to get a Bihn backpack in the next several months. After that, I want to look seriously at luggage; most likely an Aeronaut. (As a kind of carry-on-able mini-duffel, the Aeronaut looks to be the most versatile travel luggage for air or road) I would like to add other luggage later on down the road.

    But how do you know what to get? Is there a formula to configuring packing cube arrangements? I read over the Packing Cubes page, and I came away more confused that I was to begin with. Is it best to read over the Packing Lists forum and steal ideas from everyone else?

    Also: I really like the design and practical possibilities of Bihn's other luggage accessories, namely the 3D Clear Organizer Cube. That cube is a wonderful air travel design that would really be of help. The Travel Stuff Sacks look really interesting, too. But I'd like to hear from others how they picked out these accessories to work with their luggage arrangement. Did they experiment, or did they know exactly what they had in mind? Also, on the 3D Clear Organizer Cube: what kind of refillable bottles and other dispenser accessories are available and how did you handle that? Where/how did you carry a shaving razor?

    Thanks in advance.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I was looking over the travel luggage page on Tom Bihn's site and also checking out some of the luggage reviews in this forum, and I naturally noticed that the Aeronaut, the Tri-Star and the Western Flyer are all designed to work with Packing Cube accessory bags. This leads to a question for me. Maybe there's an answer, and maybe there isn't (maybe it's a case-by-case thing).

    If one buys Tom Bihn travel luggage, regardless of what it is, and/or if someone buys a Brain Bag or a Smart Alec, and you want to get the packing cubes so you can carry clothes with you on a road trip or a flight, how do you know what to get? My immediate plan is to get a Bihn backpack in the next several months. After that, I want to look seriously at luggage; most likely an Aeronaut. (As a kind of carry-on-able mini-duffel, the Aeronaut looks to be the most versatile travel luggage for air or road) I would like to add other luggage later on down the road.

    But how do you know what to get? Is there a formula to configuring packing cube arrangements? I read over the Packing Cubes page, and I came away more confused that I was to begin with. Is it best to read over the Packing Lists forum and steal ideas from everyone else?

    Also: I really like the design and practical possibilities of Bihn's other luggage accessories, namely the 3D Clear Organizer Cube. That cube is a wonderful air travel design that would really be of help. The Travel Stuff Sacks look really interesting, too. But I'd like to hear from others how they picked out these accessories to work with their luggage arrangement. Did they experiment, or did they know exactly what they had in mind? Also, on the 3D Clear Organizer Cube: what kind of refillable bottles and other dispenser accessories are available and how did you handle that? Where/how did you carry a shaving razor?

    Thanks in advance.
    I think that most people start by looking up the dimensions of their bags on the product pages and then check the dimensions of the packing cubes. At that point they run a search of the forums to see whether anyone else has asked this question and what the replies have been. As a general statement, if you are going to limit yourself to Dyneema packing cubes that are exclusively designed for the Aeronaut, you may have a harder time getting good fits with other bags that are backpacks and smaller, simply because the Aeronaut is so large. I'd try one of the end pocket cubes. The most convenient packing cube size I've found for using with other bags and backpacks is the Tri-Star medium size (e.g., with the Synapse 19, Synapse 25, and Smart Alec). the large Aeronaut Packing cube is generally too large for these bags.

    Have you tried to use the Forum search function? Maybe we can help you improve your search technique if you describe what you've tried, if you haven't had good enough results.

    Here's one thread that came up when I searched Packing cubes- TriStar vs Aeronaut

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I started a little bit differently with my planning for packing cubes. I made the decision to purchase the Aeronaut first and then do a practice pack in it to get a feel for what contents I would like packed in cubes. I have been a packing cube person for many, many years, having been through many iterations of the Eagle Creek systems. I currently own a large number and variety of Eagle Creek cubes, etc. If you own any of these, by Eagle Creek or other brands, and you are familiar with cube packing, you could practice pack with those. My guess is that you already have some ideas about advantages and/or inadequacies of what you have. Also, for me, it also depends upon how you are traveling. People traveling with lots of gear often like a lot of separation from the clothing. I believe there is a fun video on two young men packing with Aeronauts for a trip to Japan. They have different planning/organizing/and packing styles. It's kind of a kick and might prove informative. For me, if I am going to only one destination and staying for a period of time, I don't bother with cubes for the clothing. But if I am making multiple stops, say 5 hotels on a tour of southern Mexico, in 2.5 weeks time, the cubes are indispensible. Otherwise you drive yourself crazy keeping your clothing straight, orderly, and not looking as though you just crawled out of bed in it. So, this is kind of a long-winded way of suggesting that you go ahead and buy your aeronaut first. Make friends with it. Practice pack it. And make notes of what would be helpful to have. It would cost you an extra $10 (if domestic) to do it this way, but it sounds like you are going to make other TB purchases anyway, so maybe you can order your cubes at the same time.
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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    I asked this very question about the Smart Alec, and got a detailed response (with pictures) from Tom Bihn.
    They also made a similar posting regarding the Synapse 25.

    Regarding your other question, I find the 3D Clear Organizer cubes are great for things like chargers or other items where you want to be able to see at a glance what is inside. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite accessories. I don't happen to use that cube for toiletries, though.

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    Registered User terayon's Avatar
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    Packing cubes - how do you configure?

    You can fit 2 large packing cubes, 1 large and 2 smalls, or 4 smalls in the Aeronaut. The packing cube shoulder bag is the same width but a bit shorter than the small cube.

    I think there is a lot of personal preference here, but in my Aeronaut, packing only for myself, I usually use one small cube for pants (1 or 2 pairs) and three-ish shirts. (I am a pretty casual dresser.) I use another for underwear, socks and running clothes (shorts and t-shirt). Running shorts double for sleeping as well, if needed, along with the shirt I wore all day. A sweater or jacket goes on top of these two cubes and usually I put a second bag (LCB, Synapse or Swift) on top of that, to pull out on the plane and as a day bag. An empty bag for laundry also goes in the main section. Running shoes go in an all-fabric cube in one end pocket. 3D org cube as 3-1-1 bag goes in the other end, along with odds and ends. Other toiletries or my iPad cord go in the flap pocket.

    I have a large packing cube, but I prefer the smalls to keep things a bit more organized. If I'm packing for one of my kids in the Aeronaut as well as myself, the large cube might get used or else we each get one small cube.

    Personally I love the 3D org cube as a 3-1-1 bag and also as my "tech bag" (cords, battery pack, adapters, etc). I use 1-oz GoToobs for liquids and they've worked well for me.
    Last edited by terayon; 12-11-2013 at 02:45 PM.

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    I don't seem to have much luck with the search engine for these forums. It is not as full-featured or as powerful as other forum web-sites. I rarely use the search engine here. The link moriond generously provided was an interesting read, though. (Never been to the UK) Thanks for that!

    Maybe I should approach the question this way: the Packing Cubes product page on this site offers a pop-up menu listing the different kinds of cubes/bags. The menu lists four different kinds of cubes specifically for the Aeronaut: two end cubes and one large and one small. If I ordered all four (at $17 to $20 apiece) that would boost the "total package cost" of the Aeronaut by $80. Would this amount to a complete beginner's outfitting for the Aeronaut, or is it more complicated than that?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    terayon must've posted while I was away and before I finished composing my last message. It would seem it is more complicated. Lots of good comments to think about, though.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    Registered User terayon's Avatar
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    I would think more about how you like to pack (how much inside-the-bag compartmentalization you like, what you want contained and what is okay to be free in the bag, and how easily you want to be able to get at things - ie reach-in-and-grab vs having to dig through cubes) before buying anything. The point of the cube system is that they are flexible - they allow for lots of different preferences, and different people will prefer different cubes. Some will prefer no cubes at all.

    I think that buying cubes that will work in your other bags would be a good idea. I have a PCSB that I use as a diaper kit and transfer from my Ego to my Synapse to my husband's backpack as needed. Works great for us.

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    BTW: I have never tried cube-based packing before. That's why I'm asking all these goofy, silly questions.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  10. #10
    JLE
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    I am a packing cube person!

    Over time I have narrowed it down to one of two combinations:
    1. for trips with carry on luggage only (whether this is my Western Flyer or *cough* a wheeled carry on), I use a large WF cube for clothes and a small WF cube for underwear, workout gear, sleepwear etc.
    2. if I am using the Aeronaut or travelling with larger check-in luggage I use a large Aeronaut cube for clothes and a small one for underwear etc.

    I have ended up with these two configurations because they use the packing space in my luggage most efficiently (my wheeled luggage opens out into two zippered halves which adds extra organisation for shoes, toiletries etc). But the other factor that's relevant is my natural folding style. I find I naturally fold clothes to a size that fits perfectly in the large WF cube, which makes it even more efficient. So I try to use that cube whenever possible.

    On the 3d cubes, I am a BIG fan of the dyneema/mesh versions for tech cables and accessories and the all-dyneema version for non-liquid toiletries. Having said that, on my next trip I will be experimenting with a dyneema Side Effect to use for non-liquid toiletries. I think the internal pockets will be really handy for organising things. I don't use the clear 3 D cube as a 3-1-1 bag because I am always aiming to max out liquid toiletries (I hate shopping for these en route), so I usually sneak a slightly larger bag in there. . I use Go-Toobs for shampoo and conditioner and a while back I posted some photos of how these fit in the clear 3D cube, but I can't locate the thread just now (apologies).

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    To further add complexity to decision-making, there are also stuff sack people. If you click on Aeronaut, then download the strip of photos to the right, you will see an Aeronaut totally outfitted with stuff sacks alone, not packing cubes. TB's stuff sacks are just great. I use them in combination with packing cubes in my Synapse or in my small rollie. I use them in my Imago and my PCSB, stuffing in my nano puff or wind breaker. I use them to pack underwear and socks; gloves, wool scarf and hat in another. There are myriad uses. And, oh, I HIGHLY recommend a Travel Tray.


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    Last edited by monkeylady; 12-11-2013 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Correcting location
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    Registered User daisy's Avatar
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    My synapse 19 currently contains a Aeronaut end PC, an Iberian 3d cube (meds etc), a clear 3d cube (toiletries in sea to summit refillable bottles, moisturizer in a gotub, a couple rolls of sport tape), a small padded pouch with a point and shoot camera and a clear small pouch with the camera's cables & charger etc (these two in the inside pocket of the backpack linked together with a key strap), a travel tray with several smallish bottles of vitamins.

    That is all in the main compartment - I love having everything partitioned -so easy to repack depending in destination - this pack is rarely completely unpacked.

    I used to have a quarter packing cube but my dog pinched it.... It too is very handy .. Must get another.

    I could reduce the weight of the things in the travel tray but it's too easy to just grab what I keep on my bedside table in it and stuff the whole thing in the top of the S19.
    List under construction ....

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    Wow. Amazing packing stories. Keep 'em coming! Thanks!
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.


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