Brief Note on Packing Cubes for GR1s

Quick packing cube note for GR1 users.

I’ve been asked a ton about the new GORUCK Packing Cubes. Since I have both I figured I’d share some initial thoughts. All pictures are taken with the cubes in a 21L GR1, the 26L will just have more room at the top of the bag.

GORUCK 20L Packing Cube

Here’s the packing cube, about 85-90% full, in the GR1:

As you can see, it basically takes up the entire bag, but that angle doesn’t actually show the full story:

The cube is basically twice the thickness of the GR1, so you could only pack it half full and it would work like a charm. Again, that’s not the full story, because:

Yep, it fits in there. I had the cube filled with towels, so they are prone to more compression than other clothing, however I’ve done this same trick with standard clothing. The cubes themselves don’t compress down on their own, but the GR1 is beefy enough to compress it for you. Still, 20L cube in a GR1 basically eats the entire space of the bag, and doesn’t seem worth it to me. This cube seems made for a 40L GR2 — which I no longer have, but GORUCK shows on their website with this cube in it.

GORUCK 10L Packing Cube

The 10L is identical to the 20L but half the width of the cube. So you have the same issues with compression, but now it doesn’t take over a GR1 (and can be paired with the 20L in a 40L GR2). Let me show you:

If this was 30% thinner, it would be a near ideal cube. You can pack a ton in this cube. If you’re packing in a GR1 and want a GORUCK cube, this is the one to get. It’s really solid, if imperfect.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 Aether Packing Cube, Small

What a name. Alright, so we went over the GORUCK options, but the cubes I actually use are these from Tom Bihn, and the pictures will tell you why:

This packing cube is basically the perfect size for the bag. The height is right, it holds a ton, and you can use two in the bag if you want or need them. I could pack for any length of trip in 2 of these.

As if that’s not good enough, they are $21 each. Bargain.


The GORUCK cubes are really nice, but they seem designed for the GR3, not GORUCK’s other bags. They are for people who pack a ton of clothes, not those who travel light. If you want to travel light, the Tom Bihn cubes (be sure to get Aether ones) are my choice. You can compress any of these by over stuffing them, but if you overstuff the GORUCK cubes they won’t fit in the GR1 any more.

With the Tom Bihn cubes, as long as you can close the cubes, you can fit them in your GR1 — but they are small (though Tom Bihn makes more sizes, beware of going too wide for the GR1 if you size up).

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