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Tortuga Compression Cube Review

The Tortuga Compression Cube only comes in one size, but its effective compression system saves a lot of space when packing bulky travel clothing.

Our Verdict

7.6 /10
Good info






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  • Simple zipper compression is effective and relatively easy to use
  • Ripstop fabric may be thin, but it still feels tough enough for repeated compressions
  • Compression zipper is distinctly white, so it’s easy to spot


  • Handle seems like it’s too big and loose; not low-profile enough
  • Only comes in one size (at the time of writing)
  • Remembering which zipper opens the cube takes some time

Technical Details

  • Capacity


    compressed | 8.5L expanded

  • Weight (oz)

    5 oz (141.7 g)

  • Dimensions

    12.4 in x 8.9 in x 3.1 in (31.5 x 22.6 x 7.9 cm)

    compressed | 12.4" x 8.9" x 4.7" expanded

  • Notable Materials

    Ripstop Nylon, YKK Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    Tortuga Common Decency Guarantee

Full Review

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In our review of Tortuga’s Travel Backpack Pro 30L (the smaller version of the Travel Backpack Pro 40L), we noted it had less compartmentalization within the main compartment than the Outbreaker backpack. This seems like a downgrade, but Tortuga’s reasoning was that it cuts back on weight (having fewer zippers) and gives more flexibility, allowing users to pack how they want without tying them to whatever pockets are available. Coincidentally (or not so, really), Tortuga also sells its own packing cubes to help you organize your clothing.

Tortuga Compression Cube In Use
Tortuga Compression Cube | We’re digging the straightforward name, too.

As its name suggests, the Tortuga Compression Cube distinguishes itself from the brand’s other packing cubes by being compressible. It’s pretty simple in its goal and even simpler in its design. In fact, it even only comes in one size at the time of writing. So, without further ado, let’s check this cube out and see how it works.

External Components

This being a compression cube, what material Tortuga opted for matters more than if it were a regular packing cube. Whereas their regular packing cubes use SHELL70RS fabric, this cube is made of 70-denier ripstop nylon. For those not in the loop, SHELL70RS is a proprietary three-layer fabric made of a polyester shell, a polyester cross-ply, and a ripstop polyester backing. It’s kind of like X-Pac fabric but thinner since it doesn’t need the all-around toughness. Still, SHELL70RS is relatively thick, so it makes sense to use 70-denier ripstop nylon here.

Tortuga Compression Cube Logo
Tortuga Compression Cube | The plain ripstop nylon fabric is thinner than Tortuga’s usual SHELL fabric.

Ripstop nylon is a very thin material that cleverly preserves some of its toughness using a reinforced grid pattern. So, instead of a uniformly thick fabric, most ripstop fabric is thin and just relies on that grid pattern for strength—yes, it’s not just a stylistic choice. Fortunately, despite emphasizing lightness and thinness over strength, the 70-denier ripstop nylon Tortuga opted for holds up well even after multiple compressions and decompressions.

The zippers also play a key role, not only in the opening but also in this cube’s means of compression. There’s really no better choice than YKK for this, being one of the most reputable brands.

Tortuga Compression Cube Handle
Tortuga Compression Cube | The handle isn’t very low-profile.

Tortuga is clearly going for minimalism here, not anything too fancy that’ll just add to this cube’s bulk. That said, we find the side handle too floppy compared to the rest of the cube. We think it could be more low profile, especially compared to other packing cubes that feature a handle, too. Who knows? We’re not bag engineers, so the tolerances could be very hard to tighten for all we know, especially when the packing cube in question also compresses. Fortunately, this is a very minor nitpick since the handle is still pretty thin and doesn’t add much mass.

Inside The Packing Cube

This cube has two zipper tracks, one of which is the compression system. Which one is it? It’s the one with the white zipper pull—a simple but effective way to denote which zipper is which. Even simpler, you just pull it around the cube to make the whole thing smaller or expand it. A neat little detail is that the ends of the zipper track overlap, ensuring a tight seal that leaves no gaps. It’s a system that’s simple enough in concept, though there is a small issue in practice.

Tortuga Compression Cube Zipper Logo
Tortuga Compression Cube | Compression is relatively easy, even with lumpy sides.

See, once you have the cube fully packed, the entire thing can become lumpy, including the sides where the compression zipper runs around. Hence, we use a technique where we tuck a finger under the zipper while we guide it around the cube. This way, it flows more smoothly around lumps, preventing any of the elasticated mesh underneath from feeding into the zipper and causing a jam.

It’s not a huge hassle to do that technique. In fact, we’d say it’s more tricky getting used to that white zipper. Yes, although the white color helps distinguish it from the main compartment’s pair of black zippers, it’s easy to grab the bright one instinctively. Ideally, you should be uncompressing the cube before opening it, but going straight for the main zippers is just more convenient when you need to grab a shirt quickly.

Tortuga Compression Cube Empty
Tortuga Compression Cube | There’s no liner fabric here.

The inside of the main compartment is mostly bare, without even a liner adding to the cube’s overall bulk. In terms of space, the uncompressed volume is 8.5 liters, about the size of Tortuga’s largest regular packing cube. Compressed, it goes down to 5.7 liters, about a 33.3% reduction in overall volume. With this, we can fit several rolls of shirts (rolling is a very efficient way to pack clothing) in a double-stack arrangement. We usually like traveling with layers in case it gets cold, and using a cube like this is ideal for bulky clothing like that.

We always try our best to spread the clothing evenly to minimize lumpiness, and we suggest you do as well. Packing is quite easy since the entire cover folds out, granting you access to the entirety of the interior. In other words, Tortuga makes it easy to pack the cube efficiently, so it’s worth putting in the effort to do so.

Tortuga Compression Cube Stuffed
Tortuga Compression Cube | Rolling your shirts helps save space.

It’s worth noting that this cube works very similarly to the Peak Design Packing Cubes, though that set has more size variety. Still, Tortuga’s compression cube is well-built, and it’s a perfect fit for their travel backpacks, such as the Travel Backpack 40L and Travel Backpack Lite. If you’re all in on the Tortuga ecosystem, this will help save you more packing space.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Compression zippers feel secure and intuitive to use
  • Material is lightweight and sturdy
  • Great middle-of-the-road size for a packing cube
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Compression is easy and effective
  • Digging the soft, flexible material; it stretches easily when the cube is overstuffed
  • Took a while to stop mixing up the zipper pulls
By Lauren Maternowski
Created April 17, 2024 • Updated May 7, 2024
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