As someone who travels pretty regularly (about every other month), you can bet I’ve tried all the packing hacks out there. Specific folding techniques, rolling, packing cubes…you name it! I try to travel with carry-on luggage only, so I’ve had to become pretty strict on what makes the trip, and I honestly think packing cubes are the way to go, but not for the reasons you’d think.
I think many of us think packing cubes will give us so much extra space in our luggage, but that’s not always the case. Sure, you can get some compression bags where you can force the air out, creating a vacuum bag that will 100% save you space, but the majority of packing cubes on the market offer organizational perks rather than space-saving perks. When you reframe it under the right light, packing cubes can be a game changer.
I recently had the opportunity to try out some Sea to Summit Hydraulic Packing Cubes on a trip to Norway, and I was pleasantly surprised by these little guys. Depending on your travel needs, these lightweight packing cubes might be just what you’re looking for.
Personally, I found these cubes to help me stay organized, which is a massive improvement for me. I’m known to just throw things in my backpack and figure it out later, but having these bags really did encourage me to have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.
What is Sea to Summit?
Sea to Summit is an Australian-based company founded by Roland Tyson. From an early age, Tyson had a knack for designing outdoor gear, and in 1991, Sea to Summit was born. The company mission has been to create the best and most durable travel equipment that could stand up to the harshest of environments.
Whether you’re using the gear in the Australian outback or the Himalayas, Sea to Summit has earned itself a top spot in the travel gear world. Sea to Summit has a team of nature lovers creating some of the best gear on the market, and creating environmentally-friendly products is very important. This includes bluesign® approved fabrics, transitioning to C0 non-PFC water-repellent finishes, and even shipping products in recyclable materials.
When Sea to Summit is not creating game-changing products, it’s giving back to non-profits like Leave No Trace, The Conservation Alliance, and City Kids to help ensure future generations get to experience the same natural playground we do.
What Does Sea to Summit Sell?
Short answer? Everything.
Over the years, Sea to Summit has expanded its product line to include everything from tarps and tents to cooking cutlery and body wash. Sea to Summit’s wide range enables adventurers of all levels to enjoy their products, which I find rather refreshing.
You probably won’t ever catch me putting together my own tent or setting up a camping hammock, but they offer plenty of products for the everyday traveler too, like these compression cubes, that will give me faith in the brand should I ever decide to tackle the Appalachian Trail in my life.
Where Can I Buy Sea to Summit Gear?
The Sea to Summit website is a reliable option, but if you want that coveted two-day shipping, head on over to the Sea to Summit Amazon page to snag up anything you want and have it delivered in a flash.
Sea to Summit gear is also available from REI. The brand can be pricey, so if you’re an REI member, you’re eligible for exclusive coupons throughout the year, as well as a 10% dividend on anything full price. Not a member yet? If you find yourself buying travel gear or outdoor gear, becoming an REI member pays for itself pretty much immediately.
See Related: Best Travel Atomizers: Portable Options for Trips
Sea to Summit Packing Cubes Review
I tried out the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Packing Cube set, which includes three cubes of different sizes, extra small, small, and medium. Here are the specs for each:
- Extra small: 14.5 x 9.5 x 6 cm, 0.75-Liters
- Small: 21 x 11 x 7cm, 1.5 Liters
- Medium: 26.5 x 14 x 10 cm, 3.5 Liters
At first glance, they seemed perfect for holding on to my tech gear, toiletries, and even clothing like t-shirts, socks, and underwear, and these cubes seemed durable enough to really be put to the test. Made from TPU laminated 700 ripstop Nylon, these tiny but mighty cubes are designed to keep your gear dust free.
They’re water resistant, and they each have a different color for enhanced organization. Plus, the translucent window panel lets you easily view the contents inside, and each bag holds its shape really well. The PU-coated zipper and reinforced, completely welded construction of the seams keeps all of the elements out, which is great for dusty or sandy off-road adventures.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some pros and cons.
Pro: Lightweight & Durable
Overall, the lightweight material and the polished design make these cubes a solid win. It’s comforting to know that the Sea to Summit packing cubes are made from durable materials that can handle anything from a quick weekend in a new city to an epic backpacking adventure.
They’re super light, easy to fit in your suitcase, and keep your stuff protected. The cubes aren’t 100% see-thru, but they are a bit on the transparent side, so you can still see the contents inside at a glance.
Pro: Easy to Pack in Your Bag or at Home
Oh, and each packing cube has a little tab for convenient handling, which is a nice little bonus. I like that it comes in three sizes, the zipper quality is very good, and they’re super durable–I don’t have to worry about them ripping or opening in my bag.
Another wonderful perk is that each of these bags can fit inside each other like a Russian nesting doll, which is convenient for storing them at home!
See Related: The Ultimate Vacation Packing List (+ Printable PDF)
Pro/Con: Value for Money
As of writing, the Hydraulic Packing Cube set is $79.95. While that price tag may seem rather steep, know that you are getting a top-quality product. For my travels, these might be a bit more than I need.
That doesn’t mean that they’re not worth it, though. They truly are a well-made product, and the Sea to Summit brand is a trusted name in the traveling community; I just don’t think I would need something this durable for my travels. Remember, I’m on team hotel, not team hammock.
If you’re going on a month-long backpacking adventure and need some lightweight gear that can stand up to the elements, or even if you’re wanting to treat yourself to an upgrade and take your backcountry camping to new levels, then these might be just what you’re looking for. They can withstand just about anything and are made to handle the roughest of conditions.
If you’re catching a quick flight to hang out in a big city for a weekend, then you might want to find something better aligned with your travels that may be easier on your wallet.
Con: Not 100% Waterproof
It’s important to note that these packing cubes are water resistant, not waterproof. Since these will usually sit in my hotel room, that’s not necessarily a problem for me, but it can easily be a deal breaker for anyone using these on a more off-road adventure. The zipper can withstand some splashes, but if submerged, water will find a way to your contents inside.
That being said, I did have a little spill in one of the bags when one of the caps on my toiletries came off in transit, and while the contents inside all got a lovely coating of hair conditioning spray, it didn’t leak out into my bag.
See Related: Peak Design Travel Tripod Review: Unboxing & Testing
I have to say that after using these cubes, I now see the light. The future is packing cubes, not tossing everything into your luggage willy-nilly. But while these cubes are definitely for me, and I’m for them, are they for you?
The good news is that Sea to Summit offers multiple different lightweight packing cube options, and many of them are sold individually if you don’t need or want the full set. The Hydraulic Packing Cube set is sold individually, and they also offer much bigger options, too, which are great for larger items like clothes, sleeping bags, and anything else you want to keep organized in your suitcase.
Personally, I found the medium size to be perfect for hair brushes and make-up brushes, but I could easily see it being used for tech equipment, power banks, SD cards, etc. Remember, they keep your stuff dust free, which is ideal if you’re camping or in a more primitive setting.
As far as packing cubes go, these are certainly the hardiest I’ve ever come across, and they helped remove the usual headaches associated with packing, organizing, and unpacking. I’ll certainly be using them again!
How do I clean and maintain Sea to Summit packing cubes?
It’s very simple to clean these cubes, all you’ll need is soap and water. Dishwashing soap works just fine, and you can wipe them down with a dry towel or let them air dry.
What materials are used in the making of Sea to Summit packing cubes?
The Sea to Summit packing cubes are made with TPU laminated 70D ripstop Nylon, PU-coated zippers, and RF welded seams that provide IP6X Certification for Dust Ingress Protection.
What sizes and colors are available for Sea to Summit packing cubes?
The Hydraulic Packing Cube Set comes in extra small, small, and medium cubes. While each cube is a different color, you don’t get to select individual colors. If purchased individually, you can select green, red, or black, and you also have the option to get a large or an extra-large cube.