Gravel Zipperless Packing Cubes Review
The Gravel Zipperless Packing Cubes are a dynamic travel companion that handles clothing for trips of all sizes, though the hook and loop fasteners may damage certain fabrics.
- Zipperless design has large adjustment range for clothing
- Folds up small when not in use to save space
- Mesh material is flexible around bulky gear
- Hook and loop fasteners can damage certain clothing materials
- Loading the cubes effectively takes some strategy
- Not super lightweight considering there’s no zipper
2.54 oz (72 g)
1.80 oz (51 g)
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It isn’t often you see something revolutionary in packing cube design, so when we saw the Zipperless Packing Cubes from Gravel, we were amped to get our hands on them. We’re a little skeptical about the hook-and-loop fasteners and specific articles of clothing, but that hasn’t deterred us from trying this new cube style! Let’s dive in.
When opened up, these packing cubes are shaped like a plus symbol. The rectangle in the middle is crafted from 210D polyester. This is where you’re clothing will rest, so we dig the durability and protection the bottom offers. If you accidentally set it on something wet, it won’t get soaked right away.
The arms (the top, bottom, left, and right portions of the cubes) are crafted from polyester mesh. This semi-seethrough material is lightweight and easy to work with. Plus, it adds a little extra breathability for your clothing.
Each arm has a hook and loop fastener on it. There are two top and two bottom sections. The bottoms have a large receiver fastener, and the tops have a smaller attachment fastener. This makes it so that you have a lot of real estate to work with when closing the cubes and can still secure it with extra large or extra little gear inside.
However, the hook and loop fasteners don’t mesh with certain types of clothing. It can latch onto sweaters and jerseys and snag them, which isn’t ideal. That said, it isn’t a huge issue if you don’t have that type of clothing or are careful when you’re packing it up.
You can always tell which flap is supposed to go on the top because it has a minimalistic Gravel logo that’s not overly visible from afar. If you want to hide the logo entirely, fold that flap first.
Regarding size, the Gravel Zipperless Packing cubes are as large as you want them to be. Well, within reason. Because there isn’t a zipper, you can roll or fold them up small without interference from the track. That way, when you aren’t using them, you can stow them in your daypack or travel backpack without fuss. Heck, they’re small enough to fit into your sling if that’s your jam.
As far as weight is concerned, these aren’t the lightest we’ve come across. The large size comes in at 2.54 oz (72 g), and the small is 1.80 oz (51 g). Together, that’s 4.34 oz (123 g). The Osprey Ultralight Packing Cubes are just 2.2 oz (62.4 g) for three pieces. The Gravel set doesn’t feel heavy, but they aren’t the lightest around.
Inside The Packing Cube
As you may have guessed, there’s no set capacity for these packing cubes. They come in two different sizes, large and small. However, unlike traditional zippered packing cubes, you can cinch these things down tight around smaller items or expand them out to fit larger clothing.
Essentially, these cubes are as form-fitting as it gets. So, as you wear clothing and move them into your dirty pile, get new shirts, or are on a trip without as much gear, you can cut down on wasted space. They’re designed as a do-it-all piece of gear, so you don’t have to transition between cubes from one trip to the next.
That said, we found them a little hard to get used to. With a standard zippered packing cube, you cram everything inside and hope the zipper will close at the end. With these, you don’t have walls per se, so you need to be a bit more tactical with how you pack.
One way to load this thing is to place larger items around the exterior, like a wall surrounding a fort. Once you’ve erected your guard towers (pants, long-sleeve shirts), you can populate the interior with socks, underwear, t-shirts, and shorts. After you’ve completed the interior like your home base on Age of Empires, close the flaps on the top to give your hard work the protection it deserves. Your packing doesn’t have to be this calculated, but this helps keep things organized and gives these structureless cubes a little substance. If you’re only packing a few t-shirts, simply stack them on top of each other, close the flaps, and call it a day.
Overall, we’re amped with how much gear we can stow inside these cubes, though we find ourselves enjoying traditional zippered packing cubes more, as they take less time and precision to load up. These are an excellent shout if you like to take the time to ensure everything is in its proper place and don’t like wearing soccer jerseys while you travel. If you want to throw things in your pack quickly and have more shirts than a World Cup Mega Store, stick with your traditional packing cubes!
- It uses hook and loop fasteners instead of zippers so that you can cinch down the packing cube for smaller loads
- The closure flaps are crafted from mesh, which we dig for breathability
- We’re curious how they’ll handle a larger pack out
- No issues with the pack materials durability-wise
- Cubes aren’t very water resistant but breathe fairly well with damp clothing inside
- Hook and loop fasteners stay closed fairly well