Tropicfeel Smart Packing Cube 10L Review
The Tropicfeel Smart Packing Cube is designed to integrate with the Nest backpack, though its compression and built-in organization allow it to stand on its own.
- Large capacity fits clothing for extended trips
- Effective compression given its large capacity
- Integrates into the Nest system & works standalone
- Compression zipper can be difficult to close
- Hanging hook doesn’t close, leading to the packing cube falling occasionally
- Footprint is fairly large for smaller travel packs
9.56 oz (271 g)
13.5 in x 11 in (34.3 x 27.9 cm)
Recycled Polyester, Polyester, Recycled Nylon, YKK Zippers
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The Tropicfeel Smart Packing Cube 10L is designed to be used with the Nest Backpack. It slots perfectly into the front of the bag using the Spider Net System to secure it in place. With that being said, both can be purchased without the other, so let’s find out how the packing cube stands up on its own.
Materials & Aesthetic
The packing cube is a lot more durable than others we’ve seen. It’s crafted from a blend of recycled polyester, new production polyester, and recycled nylon. These are the same colorways as the Nest Backpack (minus the new production polyester). It’s fairly thick and feels durable, as it’s designed to fit on the outside of the backpack. Either way, a mostly recycled construction is something to be commended.
As far as colorways go, there are All Black, Blueberry Navy, Amphora Brown, and Desert Green, which is the colorway we have here. We dig all four, and we like the airy feel of the light versions. These are the same color options available on the Nest, so you can match it if you get both.
There are YKK #5 zippers throughout the pack, from the outside to the interior. The zipper pulls are also uniform, with a paracord-like material covered by heat-shrunk plastic on the ends. They’re easy to grasp and feel reasonably durable, too.
The hanger on the interior is crafted from hard plastic and is similar to the top of a standard clothes hanger from your closet. It works well, though we wish it was a clip rather than a half-circle, as it would be more stable and increase the mounting options for the packing cube.
Usage & Features
The Smart Packing Cube is designed to be used with the Nest Backpack. Once you’ve filled it up, it slides nicely into the front Spider Net System on the front of the pack. It’s designed this way so that it won’t take away from the internal literage of the pack, and it succeeds in doing that.
It comes in the same colorways as the Nest and has similar components like the zippers and zipper pulls. Though it acts as an extension of the pack, the cube must be purchased separately, or in a combination on Nest’s site.
Before we jump inside, let’s talk about a few external features. There’s a strap on the backside that makes it easier to carry, meaning you don’t have to take your entire daypack or travel pack to change your clothes in the bathroom at the beach or airport.
There’s a compression zipper that runs all the way around the exterior of the cube. Honestly, it’s fun to expand—like opening a birthday present from someone who uses too much tape.
Moving inside, we’ll start with the area around the hanging hook. There are two large mesh storage areas here with zippered closures. They’re a good spot for socks and underwear, or you can use one for clean undergarments and one for dirty. Just remember which is which!
The other side of the cube is more complex, and larger, due to the compression aspect. This side has a compartment, whereas its opposite was just pockets. There’s a dual-zipper to open the compartment so you can only access a portion if you want to. Once you’re inside, there are stretchy straps all over the place. It appears to be the same material that’s on the bottom of the kangaroo pocket and the right shoulder strap of the Nest Backpack–a stretchy elastic that snaps back nicely.
The interior of the flap that opens the compartment has two straps that form an X. It’s an excellent spot for a sweatshirt or towel. It can’t overhang the edges; otherwise, you won’t be able to close the flap.
The inside of the compartment has more straps to work with. This time, they’re organized in a zig-zag line down the center of the back wall. These are tailored to single articles of clothing—shirts, pants, skirts, etc. You can easily fit one article of clothing per strap, and if it’s a smaller piece of clothing, you might be able to fit two.
The best way to stow clothes here is to roll them up, as folds aren’t as economical as rolls due to wasted space.
Now that we’ve gone over how to load up the packing cube, let’s talk compression. First, close the flap and zip up the compartment. Close the packing cube, and zip the main closure. Then, locate the compression zipper we mentioned earlier. Once you’ve closed that, you’ll be set, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world.
It helps to have one hand on the zipper and one hand directly in front of the zipper pushing down on the clothes in the packing cube and bringing the two sides of the track together. Once it’s closed, the cube is dramatically smaller than before.
The nylon and polyester are strong enough to hold the clothes down, and the YKK zippers have enough grip to ensure the seal isn’t broken. Quality materials don’t go unnoticed, and they contribute to why this cube works so well.
Though it’s designed to integrate with Tropicfeel’s Nest backpack, it works just as well outside of the system. Although it’s large, it will fit inside many travel packs and even a lot of large daypacks. Or, on a road trip, opt for the Smart Packing Cube for your clothes and a smaller daypack for the rest of your gear, camera gear, etc.—that way, you don’t need to bring two backpacks. Heck, you could even use it as a personal item on a lot of airlines.
Overall, the Tropicfeel Smart Packing Cube 10L does its job well. It offers an excellent option for those trying to make their way down to one-bag travel or for weekend trips where you don’t need many clothes.
- The dual zipper makes compressing clothes easier
- It slides nicely into the Nest Backpack ecosystem
- The hanging hook feels sturdy but has a large gap and no clip
- The elastic material can get twisted when adding or removing clothes
- Exterior materials still look brand new
- No issues with the zippers, even when it’s stuffed full