Trakke Foulden Clamshell Packing Cubes Review
The Trakke Foulden Clamshell Packing Cubes open completely for easy packing, though the wedge shape makes it tricky to gauge how much fits inside.
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- Materials have good durability and weather-resistance
- Large cube fits bulky clothing really well
- Very open design that lets you pack freely
- Dry-finish waxed canvas relatively hefty and thick for a packing cube
- Wedge shape makes it tricky to gauge how much clothing you can stack
- Large gap between sizes available at time of review
1.9 oz (53.9 g)
(Medium) | 4.23 oz (Large)
11.4 in x 15.4 in x 4.72 in (29 x 39.1 x 12 cm)
(large) | 7.87 in x 11.4 in x 4.72 in (small)
Canvas, YKK Zippers
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Trakke is one of those brands with a very distinct style of gear. Take their Canna Backpack, for example. It uses dry-finish waxed canvas, AquaGuard-style zippers with ring pulls, and a beefy metal ring in one of the pockets for attaching accessories. If you take those same ingredients and make them into a pouch, you have the Laggan Mini Accessory Organiser. So, can these same ingredients work in packing cube form?
Looking at the Trakke Foulden Clamshell Packing Cubes, the answer is yes (minus the metal ring, which is not present here). These are premium-feeling and durable materials that complement a packing cube’s purpose, as simplistic as it may be. However, materials don’t tell the full story of how a packing cube performs, so let’s take a look at that now.
On the outside is Trakke’s favorite dry-finish waxed canvas. The key terms there are “dry” and “finish” because it makes a ton of difference. See, while plenty of gear out there uses waxed canvas, they often have a residue-y feel when you handle them. That’s enough to turn some folks away, but that’s fortunately not the case with the Foulden Clamshell Packing Cubes. It also has a DWR coating that helps keep the cubes very weather-resistant. So despite the classy and chic styling Trakke has going on here, the Foulden Clamshell Packing Cubes are quite resilient.
That said, the primary reason brands often go for a thinner material for their packing cubes is weight and space. Ideally, packing cubes shouldn’t take up extra space in your bag or contribute to your packing list’s total weight. Unfortunately, compared to, say, ripstop nylon, canvas has a lot of heft and thickness to it.
Next up are the zippers. Trakke uses dual YKK-branded AquaGuard-style zippers that are fairly beefy compared to the small ones we’ve seen on other packing cubes. These also contribute to the cubes’ overall weather resistance. In fact, we can’t help but feel that Trakke went overkill in this aspect. That’s good news if you plan to take these cubes outdoors, less so if they spend 99% of their lives indoors.
Using these cubes as standalone pouches isn’t as crazy a thought as it seems. There’s a top handle you can use to bring them to a nearby laundry room, for example. That said, we mainly use the cubes’ handles to hang them in hotel room closets.
At the time of writing, there’s only this orange colorway and two sizes: small and large. A third in-between size might’ve been desirable, but these two sizes work fine for us. We’ll discuss more about size and capacity in the next section, but first, we’ll talk about how the cubes open.
Inside The Packing Cubes
As the cubes’ name suggests, they open fully like clamshells, with the zipper going around three of the four sides. Trakke split the halves into wedge shapes, kind of like the toy shovels we used to bring to the beach to make sand castles. It’s a very specific comparison, but honestly, it’s what the shape reminds us of.
Packing can be tricky because the wedge shape means the side walls are sloped, making it hard to gauge just how much gear you can stack vertically. Fortunately, you can simply fill the side with the carry handle since that’s where the wall is highest, giving you a better idea of how much gear you can stack. Confusing? Don’t worry; it’s much more intuitive once you see the cube in person.
On the other hand, this seems less intuitive than just having a flat fold-out cover. Take the Tortuga Packing Cubes, for example. Their uniform side walls are easier to pack because you have clear height boundaries, and it’s only a matter of zipping the cover if you follow that limit. In the Foulden, on the other hand, you have to arrange gear on one half and make the other half swallow the excess.
The good news is that if you manage to overpack the cubes, the beefy AquaGuard-style zippers feel durable enough that you can really tug on them to get full closure.
Both the small and large sizes were enough for our needs. The large cube handles bulky clothing like denim jeans and thick layers very well, fitting multiple rolls of each. In total, we could fit around twelve shirts, plus a few bottoms and a hoodie. Meanwhile, the small cube takes care of a similar number of smaller articles of clothing, like underwear.
That said, if you’re looking for more granularity, other brands offer more sizes, which may be more efficient for your packing needs. Tl;dr your mileage may vary.
Lastly, although Trakke’s choice of dry-finish waxed canvas may not be the most efficient use of weight and space, it is a good compromise between durability and malleability. The material is not so stiff to prevent you from squeezing it into the tight spaces of a travel bag, but also not so flimsy that the clothing inside ends up very wrinkled.
- Interested to see if the material breaks in over time
- Weatherproof zippers are a bit overkill
- Spacious interior seems easy to pack
- Material is still in great shape and has broken in pretty well over the course of two weeks
- Unique clamshell bucket shape takes some practice to pack
- Zippers feel durable and give a lot of confidence when overstuffing the cubes
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