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  1. #1
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    A few questions re: packing cubes

    I just looked at the packing cubes; there are some photos of the small one (in a few poses), the large and the end-filling pieces.

    1) The small one is shown with socks inside, but I wonder if anyone can point to more thorough pictures showing the cubes, as used in an Aeronaut especially. I'd like to see a sequence of shots that show both how each cube is actually filled, and a shot with the bag as open as possible zipperwise but with the cubes inside, so show how snug they are inside. Without anything to get scale, I'm a bit slow in trying to see how the cubes actually interact with the bag. Perhaps further browsing will answer this question ...

    2) How different are Tom Bihn cubes from (say) the ones from Rick Steves? If one has Steves' cubes already (or sneaks off at night to buy some now), can they be put to good use in the Aeronaut/Brain bag/any others in particular? I've never packed using cubes, but am warming up to the idea, am experimenting with some basically rectilinear small canvas bags I have randomly around.

    3) Can't we call them Soft-shelled Packing Rectangular Prisms?

    timothy

  2. #2
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    Sorry no pictures but maybe I can ramble a bit to help. I'm not a pro yet with this but I've had some experience.

    With my Aeronaut I have 1 big cube on the bottom and two smaller ones on top. With all cubes packed I can still fit something else in the main compartment but if it's anything of bulk it will push the bag out. I think I've tried in the past to put all three in the main compartment and then add my LL Bean toiletry kit and it was too bulky. It would work if I moved something to the side.

    I suppose that is one nice thing about the cubes - they are designed to be the right size. You pack the cubes and then just put them in the Aeronaut. No worries about what combo of cubes will work.

    Before I assume too much let me say that the main advantage for me of the cubes is being able to organize. I can put all the socks, underwear, and even t-shirts into one cube, running clothes in another, and pants and bigger shirts in the large. Then I can live out of the cubes without having to load a dresser if I need to.

    Besides knowing that they will fit an Aeronaut perfectly (and thus no wasted space) I'd say another advantage is durability. They do seem very tough. Others might be equally tough but the TB guarantee helps too.

    The only part of the cube system I have yet to perfect is dirty clothes. I almost think you need an extra cube for dirty clothes. For now I usually use a spare bag and then I can take it for a wash all at once. But then it's not organized like it was in the cubes.

    Before I go overboard with recommending the cubes let me say I think you do need to follow some guidelines to make it work. Obviously you need to pack light but I find myself also changing the clothes I buy and wear. For example, I'm starting to buy more simple single color t-shirts that don't wrinkle easily. They can go with several different outfits and they can clean and dry easily. Plus, they roll up to nearly nothing. I can fit these into my small cube with underwear and socks. Same thing goes for underwear in that I now try to find the expensive stuff used by hikers that can be washed in the sink. Instead of 7 pairs I'll take maybe 3 and wash every night. Getting thin clothes that can be washed on the road really goes well with cubes.

    Does that help at all?

  3. #3
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    The material on th TB cubes seems much nicer and slides into areas with more ease IMO.

  4. #4
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    I highly recommend Duofold Tee Shirts
    Tom Welch > Mesa, Arizona, USA
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  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    3) Can't we call them Soft-shelled Packing Rectangular Prisms?
    hehe!

    You may find this user review of the Aeronaut, complete with packing cube picutres useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    2) How different are Tom Bihn cubes from (say) the ones from Rick Steves? If one has Steves' cubes already (or sneaks off at night to buy some now), can they be put to good use in the Aeronaut/Brain bag/any others in particular? I've never packed using cubes, but am warming up to the idea, am experimenting with some basically rectilinear small canvas bags I have randomly around
    I haven't seen the Rick Steves packing cubes in person, but here's a few of the differences between his and ours:

    1) TOM BIHN Packing Cubes are sized specifically to maximize utility of the compartments of the Aeronaut (or Western Flyer). Rick Steves' packing cubes are sized to fit Rick Steves' bags.

    2) Rick Steves' packing cubes are made entirely out of mesh. The TOM BIHN Large, Small, and End Fabric/Mesh Packing Cubes feature one side in Japanese Dyneema Rip-Stop fabric and the other side in high-quality mesh. The TOM BIHN End Fabric/Fabric Packing Cube is all Dyneema fabric, and is great for separating shoes or other items from the rest of your gear. It's up to you whether 100% all mesh or mesh/Dyneema or Dyneema/Dyneema will work best for you. Personally, I like the "body" that the Dyneema gives our packing cubes, without adding any extra weight.

    3) TOM BIHN Packing Cubes are more expensive.
    Current Carry: Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  6. #6
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    More answers/links for the TOM BIHN packing cubes

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    I haven't seen the Rick Steves packing cubes in person, but here's a few of the differences between his and ours:

    1) TOM BIHN Packing Cubes are sized specifically to maximize utility of the compartments of the Aeronaut (or Western Flyer). Rick Steves' packing cubes are sized to fit Rick Steves' bags.

    2) Rick Steves' packing cubes are made entirely out of mesh. The TOM BIHN Large, Small, and End Fabric/Mesh Packing Cubes feature one side in Japanese Dyneema Rip-Stop fabric and the other side in high-quality mesh. The TOM BIHN End Fabric/Fabric Packing Cube is all Dyneema fabric, and is great for separating shoes or other items from the rest of your gear. It's up to you whether 100% all mesh or mesh/Dyneema or Dyneema/Dyneema will work best for you. Personally, I like the "body" that the Dyneema gives our packing cubes, without adding any extra weight.

    3) TOM BIHN Packing Cubes are more expensive.
    Another difference is that the TOM BIHN packing cubes have a loop that makes it easy to either quickly pull the cube out of your packed bag, or to hang it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    The only part of the cube system I have yet to perfect is dirty clothes. I almost think you need an extra cube for dirty clothes. For now I usually use a spare bag and then I can take it for a wash all at once. But then it's not organized like it was in the cubes.
    I use the side cubes for dirty clothes, and put these either in the main compartment or in the side pockets of the Aeronaut. But then, I don't use the side pockets of the Aeronaut for shoes. (The Aeronaut side pockets are also where I put the quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag that holds liquids and gels, for easy access in airport screening.)

    Timothy, you might also like to check the links in my recent post on packing cube sizes/options.

    HTH.


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