It’s been a week since I’ve been living out of a pack while traveling Scotland and I wanted to do some gear reviews as I go.

I saw good reviews for these Eagle Creek Compression Sacks through Pack Hacker and decided to give them a go. Some people also call them packing cubes. These are super light weight and thin, and the fabric holds up well. The zippers, however, are complete crap. They’re thin and pop open with the slightest insult. You can zip back over where it popped open to get it to re-seal, but the zippers are rather frail.

Compression bags are made for–wait for it–compression! Put crap in them, squish ’em down to save space. These kinda do that. You can put stuff in them and compress them down, but the zipper may not hold well for you. I will say they’re great for organizing gear, but compression and durability it’s a big fat NOPE.

I have some other packing cubes (they aren’t compression bags because they’re mesh) by L. L. Bean, that I like too. They’re heavier material and since I’m living out of my pack for a month, I brought the lightweight Eagle Creek ones on this trip instead. Before I left Boston, I was already having some zipper issues so I threw some Ziploc freezer bags into my pack just in case. Glad I did!

For true compression for space saving, I now use the Ziploc gallon and quart freezer bags. Work like champs. Granted, I can’t get a pair of jeans or three T-shirts in a Ziploc, but I can work around that. Socks and undies go in the Ziploc for compression and the other clothes now go into the Eagle Creek medium bag. The small Eagle Creek is now a first aid kit of sorts plus charging cables.

If you want organization and light weight but no compression – Eagle Creek.

If you want organization and slightly heavier weight and more durably built without compression – L. L. Bean.

If you want lower capacity but true compression – Ziploc freezer bags. And you can use the heck out of the Ziplocs for organization. These are my new go-to system for compression and organization. And I re-use the heck out of them too. Once the ones I use for compression get battered enough and get holes so they no longer stay compressed, they switch over to organization detail. I can get dozens of uses out of one baggie.

I’ll do a review of my 18 year old multi-day back pack coming up. Wasn’t so sure I’d picked the right pack at the start of the trip, but it’s turning me into a convert. 🙂