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Editors’ Choice Awards: The Best New Packing Accessories 2018

SmarterTravel

From packing cubes to laptop bags, packing accessories help travelers pack and travel better. Our goal in selecting this year’s winner for the Editors’ Choice Packing Accessories category was to select the one packing aid that was so amazing and so helpful, we don’t ever again want to travel without it.

We tested packing accessories that help organize bag, economize luggage space, and protect bag contents. The gold, silver, and bronze winners exemplified a vastly improved packing and travel experience; we love them so much we’ll make room for them in even the tiniest of travel bags.

Gold: Scrubba Air Sleeve

 

Travelers who pride themselves on minimalist packing will love the Scrubba Air Sleeve, a laptop sleeve that doubles as an inflatable pillow. Attach some straps and you’ve got yourself a slim laptop bag, too.

What set this product above the rest, however, is that it provides the most protection we’ve seen in a laptop sleeve—and it does so while keeping things light—just six to 11 ounces, depending on size. The Scrubba Air Sleeve scored top marks in our rigorous testing: We inserted a laptop into the sleeve, then proceeded to drop, bump, and even take hammer to our wares—the laptop emerged with nary a scratch.

Silver: Pack-It Storage Compression Cube

Eagle Creek knows a thing or two about packing accessories, so it’s no surprise to see it rank with high honors in this year’s Editors’ Choice Awards. The Eagle Creek Pack-It Storage Compression Cube maximizes a bag’s space by dramatically compressing clothes.

Our tester packed a weekend’s worth of clothing in a single packing cube, paring the entire wardrobe down to the size of a textbook. What sets this Eagle Creek compression cube apart from the rest is its see-through window and weatherproof qualities.

We tested the National Geographic Pack-It Storage Compression Cube Set by Eagle Creek, but other models are available.

Bronze: Pakmaster

The Pakmaster by Victorinox is an excellent packing accessory for people worried about wrinkled clothes. This accessory will fold your clothes down compactly while keeping them wrinkle-free. The Velcro closure is perfectly designed to never stick to clothes. The Pakmaster expands quite a bit to accommodate several items. Overall, this is a great option for business travelers, or anyone who wants to keep their clothes wrinkle-free.

Finalist: Wash Pouch

The Wash Pouch by Peak Design was a formidable opponent in this test group. It ranked high for its quality materials and thoughtful construction. The toiletry bag’s accordion-style interior displays its contents when hung by the stowable hook. The best part? The toothbrush pocket completely pulls up for easy cleaning.

Finalist: Tech Pouch

The Tech Pouch by Peak Design keeps chargers, cables, and other such wares organized. The bag’s interior is vast and equipped with multiple straps and pockets, all the while keeping contents in full sight. The exterior 200D recycled nylon shell and weatherproof zipper kept water out during testing.

Finalist: Hunter Toiletry Bag

 

Our testers loved the classy dopp-kit look of the Hunter Toiletry Bag by Dagne Dover. This toiletry bag is well-sewn, and its sturdy double-zipper was the best zipper among all the products tested in this category. A few of the mesh pocket inserts are removable, making this a versatile product. The Hunter Toiletry Bag would have ranked higher, but the waterproof neoprene exterior soaked up a little water when splashed sink-side—though the bag’s contents remained dry.

Finalist: Port Kitt

 

The Boundary Supply Port Kitt toiletry bag has many unique features. Its sides are detachable, it has plenty of pockets to keep organized, it separates liquids and non-liquids, and it can be hung. However, the zippers are sticky and the bag is on the pricier side.

Finalist: The Insider Packing Cubes

Away’s penchant for fun-looking products continues with the Insider Packing Cubes. These packing cubes are more than just good-looking, though, because they have good capacity and expand nicely. The durable, transparent material makes packing easier. However, the zippers get sticky occasionally and the nylon material snags on clothes sometimes. The set comes with cubes in different sizes, so you can use the cubes that best match your packing needs.

Finalist: Travel Kit

The Travel Kit by Aer is a sharp-looking toiletry bag. Its compact size is sure to fit in most bags, while its various pockets keeps toiletries organized. This is a smart, no-fuss dopp kit built with weekender or carry-on bags in mind, and it meets the need well.

Finalist: Ovo 150GT Portable Steam Iron

The Reliable Ovo 150GT Portable Steam Iron weighs less than 2.5 pounds, yet is powerful enough to relax the stubbornest of creases. The Ovo is equipped with a water reservoir for spittle-less steaming and a ceramic-coated soleplate for ironing. This is a packing essential for those in need of a wrinkle-free wardrobe at their destination.

Finalist: Pack-It Wet Dry 2-in-1

Pack-It Active Wet Dry 2-in-1 by Eagle Creek is a handy waterproof bag for watersports hobbyists, and doubles as a heavy-duty laundry bag. Get full access to the bag’s main compartment via the transparent, airtight exterior, which keeps wet and smelly contents contained via its TPU-coated mesh exterior. The separate, zippered pocket keeps smaller items within reach. The bag is ultralight, antimicrobial, and machine-washable.

Finalist: Oregami Fit

The Oregami Fit travel organizer helps keep a bag’s contents tidy. These zippered packing trays allow you to pack your items, stack them, and then have instant access to everything in your bag without needing to unpack. Because items are narrowly compartmentalized, digging through an entire bag is a thing of the past.

Finalist: LuxePak

 

The LuxePak is an interesting idea: a tough box that will never spill your liquids. It even comes with three TSA-compliant plastic pump bottles. Our testers found this box is difficult to open and didn’t love that it takes up more space than regular liquid storage bags, but it could be worth the investment if you have fragile bottles you absolutely don’t want damaged.

Finalist: Pack-It Active Laundry Sling Pack

The Pack-It Active Laundry Sling Pack is not much more than a reusable laundry bag. While not a packing essential, road-testing this anti-microbial bag made us love it anyway. It would be most appreciated by backpackers, extra-odorous travelers, and those on extended trips.

Finalist: Pack-It Active Essential Set

The Pack-It Active Essential Set by Eagle Creek is a two-part system that manages dirt, smells, and moisture from sneakers and workout wear. The “sac” hold one large pair of shoes, while the “cube” holds clothes or other sweaty or wet items.  While this item isn’t essential, it would be welcome for fitness-oriented travelers who want to keep their dirty workout wear compartmentalized.

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Editor’s Note: Some products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at editor@smartertravel.com.

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