I started travelling the world almost 20 years ago and haven't stopped since. I have been to all 4 corners of the world and over the years have refined my travel "recipe". In this case, my recipe is how to pack the most while still being able to travel (in most cases) carry-on only using the one bag approach.
Before looking at the Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Specter On Board, I want to take a second to talk about cheaper products.
The cheapest of the bunch are Chinese made knock-offs you can buy from Aliexpress, DHGate, DealExtreme or eBay. I bought a handful of these to test, ranging from the very cheap ones at $4,99 all the way up to their top of the line one listed at $36.05.
First you wait between 4-8 weeks to receive the Chinese products. Once you start testing them you realize all the issues wrong with them:
- cheap zippers that don't open/close smoothly
- cheap inconsistent stitching
- cheap plastic material that either cant contain a small leak or that rips after a couple of uses
- illogical compartment design
Unfortunately most travel stores in malls resell these cheap Chinese products with their store name on it (relabelled) usually at a premium price.
Why I love Eagle Creek
Over the next few weeks, I will write reviews about various Eagle Creek travel tools that I recommend. The Specter line from Eagle Creek is designed with the frequent and light traveller in mind. They are extremely light weight, durable, easy to maintain and will simplify anyone's travel.
Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube
- It has 2 smaller zip pockets on the top flap and 7 organizer slip pockets.
- The central compartment is large enough to accommodate a medium blow dryer, medium hair straightener or it can even carry a small travel cube with shoe polish, shoe brushes or whatever else you want to carry in there.
- Eagle Creek has used a thin yet durable "silnylon" ripstop material which is lightweight, easy to maintain and allows you to see through it ( making content identification easy).
- It is water resistant and stain resistant.
I purposely let a tube of toothpaste "leak" and the material contained it perfectly within the toiletry bag. I tried the same experiment with a face cream and once again the material contained it which meant nothing else got dirty or stained. Now I do recommend sealing creams and liquids in a ziplock style freezer bag during travel (freezer bags are typically more sturdy) but this will protect your luggage even if you don't.
Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I love and only travel with RedOxx luggage. RedOxx makes light, durable and flexible luggage but the thing I love most about their products is the lifetime warranty, Well Eagle Creek offers a lifetime warranty on their products as well:
Travelling is extremely demanding on gear and the one time I tried to use an Eagle Creek product warranty, they replaced the item no questions asked (and without any hassles).
I love reading internet comments related to products I am reviewing. I read a bunch of complaints from people that obviously don't travel much. Here are some elements I want you to keep in mind.
My main Redoxx luggage is the AirBoss and it has a soft flexible outer shell. This makes it incredibly light and expandable yet it also means I have to fully stuff it if I want it to be stiff and solid (which I don't of course). Same thing here.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube is made from a flexible material which means it won't stand easily on its own. But this is something you want. You want a light and flexible material not something heavy and rigid like leather or pleather.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube is washable but if you want to keep it working for a long time, don't throw it into the washing machine. To clean this product (or most other travel cubes or flexible luggages):
- first make sure it is completely dry and dry wipe any spots stains or dirt
- You can use a soft dry plastic bristle brush to gently clean the cracks and crevices. The important words here are soft plastic bristles and very very gentle strokes.
- Using an air compressor, I then blow any dust or debris away
- Using a mild soap (like Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-in-One Soap) hand wash the Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube in lukewarm water. Gently stirring the item in a tub of water or a large sink.
- Then I rinse it off with fresh lukewarm running water and let it air dry. Never dry it in the automatic dryer or under the sun.
Because it is flexible, you will need to 2 hands to open and close the zipper. The zippers are equipped with pull ties making opening and closing easier.
Overall I think this is a fantastic addition to anyones travel kit and I know you will get years of satisfaction from it. The only 2 issues I had with it are:
- I wish the price was a little lower ($45 on Amazon.com LINK). Don't get me wrong, I would gladly pay $45 for this product because I know all of the careful thought that went into the design of this uber useful toiletry kit but casual travellers may find it a bit too pricey.
- As a single man that shaves his head, I travel with a very limited number of toiletry items. I found that product was often 50-60% empty for me but remember it is light and flexible so it doesn't take any extra space. It curls and compresses around the items it is protecting.
If you travel moderately (or more) and are looking for the most convenient toiletry bag than this is it. You should go buy it. You will love it.
If you travel once a year for a beach vacation, I would still say buy it because I hate cheap travel gear that breaks, but you could be forgiven for buying something a little cheaper.