Eagle Creek Pack-It System: Pack-It Cube set ($26.50 MSRP), Specter Cube set ($38.00 MSRP), Specter Starter Set ($56.00 MSRP)

Once you become a parent, it seems you’ll never travel light again. Which is why I feel foolish for not realizing sooner how wonderful and life-changing it would be to use packing cubes. I was able to easily fit a week’s worth of clothing, including swimwear and sandals, for my children and me into one large checked bag for our spring break airplane trip.

The secret? Following the Eagle Creek plan. This means rolling and compressing each individual clothing item and aligning it all in a two-way zippered cube to maximize compression. It’s as easy as using store-bought baby food. The original style Pack-It Cube set contains three different sizes (regular, half and quarter), and comes in different colors, which makes it easy to organize by traveler: My son had blue, my daughter had red, and I had green cubes. The three large cubes fit perfectly on the bottom row of my hard-bottomed, wheeled duffel bag. And once we were at our destination, it was easy for us to keep track of our clothes. And when I say “us,” I really mean me, the Mom. Actually, my four-year-old son kept track of his stuff because he knew what each of his blue cubes contained.

Eagle Creek’s ultra-lightweight Specter Cubes are made from water-resistant silnylon fabric (think tent material but more translucent). I used the cube and half cube for sorting items in my carry-on bags, such as spare clothes for everybody. Looking forward to using these on my family’s next camping trip.

The best part about the Pack-It system is that I could pack in advance and easily modify contents stress-free – even the night before departure – because there was finally a method to the madness of packing for my kids plus myself. On previous trips, I used either labeled gallon-sized Ziploc plastic bags or no organization system at all. But the downfall of Ziplocs is that clothes can’t compress as much and the bags’ seals wear out too quickly.

I’ll never go back to the old way of packing, especially when traveling with children. While the initial price is more than a box of Ziplocs, my family can keep reusing these durable, washable cubes for years. I recently loaned my cubes to a friend who is packing for her three sons – age ten months to five years – for a two-week trip that includes multiple destinations, two airplane itineraries and a rental car. Using these cubes will make her a happier mama.Eaglecreek.com/pack-it. //