Living in a small space comes with its own set of challenges. One of those being, storage.
When we first moved into our van it felt like it was a perpetual disaster. Clothing shoved into random cupboards. Odd items sitting on the countertop with no real home. Blankets always shuffling from the bed to the driver’s seat.
It was honestly a little stressful. We moved into a beautiful home that we were so excited for, only to realize just how unorganized it truly was.
Of course, over the last 3 years of living in the van, things slowly began to find their place. We purged some clothes to make them fit in the cabinet better. We shoved those items that sat on the counter into cabinets. We very painstakingly got rid of the absurd amount of blankets that we hoard. But still, it was never quite ideal.
In Comes Pillowpak
Pillowpak is an incredible company based out of New Jersey. Their original range was initially created out of a need for a bag that could make sleepovers and hanging out with friends easier for parents. But, after hitting the market it was quickly realized that the Pillowpak was useful for much more than that.
Pillowpak is the ultimate minimalist travel bag.
Designed to roll and stow, it simply folds out of the way when not in use so that you don’t have a bulky bag taking up your precious square footage. With a whole range of different packing cubes and bags, Pillowpak is designed to make your life easier.
For the purpose of this article, we will be sharing our own personal experience using the whole Pillowpak collection.
The Pillowpak Collection
We have been using the Pillowpak collection in our daily lives for nearly 2 months now. And, since then, our van has never been so organized. Nor, have we ever been so ready to head out on an adventure at the drop of a hat.
Their collection consists of 6 different bags, each with its own purpose. The center focus being the Pillowpak itself. All components of the collection are 100% machine washable which makes them a no-brainer to bring on any adventure.
1. The Pillowpak
Made of lightweight diamond ripstop fabric, and weighing in under 2lbs this bag is designed and made to be used. The bag features a 55litre carrying capacity which roughly translates to about 3 nights’ worth of clothing, toiletries and of course, your pillow.
And, if you prefer, the pillow compartment can quickly turn into a storage/travel system for the various parking cubes and bags as part of the system.
The bag itself is incredibly modular, with many pockets, sections, adjustable straps, and snaps. When empty, it rolls up very nicely to be stored inside of the Stuffsak, Pillowpak’s latest addition.
How We Used It
Last month we had the chance to adventure around Western Canada.
We loved having the Pillowpak with us on hikes as the ability to carry SO much without strapping on a full-on backpacking bag was extremely convenient.
While hiking we were able to fit both our coats into the pillow compartment at the back of the pack. As well as our lunch, snacks, water for the both of us, camera gear, more clothing layers…I think you get the point! This bag holds a LOT!
We were even able to fit the tripod at the top of the bag as the roll-top was perfect to secure it in place. This was one of our favourite and most secret features. As people who are always creating content and filming, having our tripod on hikes has previously been somewhat annoying. Constantly passing it between each other, negotiating on who has to carry it next. That problem exists no longer – and thank goodness!
The Perfect Overnight Bag
As a vanlifer, I think it’s easy to agree that most of us are like turtles. We travel around in our homes, never too far from our belongings. The Pillowpak became our second shell – so to speak! Its ability to hold so much, and create a home away from home is perfect for us vanlifers. We can really see it coming in handy when stopping in at a hotel for the night.
We’ve been there. Lugging multiple bags, groceries and a pillow into a hotel room as your van is in the mechanics for the night. It’s not fun, and definitely not convenient. Having the Pillowpak during a situation like that, to lessen the load and keep you organized would, in our opinion, be excellent!
2. The Cubepak
This bag is part of the Pillowpak collection and is the perfect day pack. With removable straps, the Cubepak can easily be used to pack away clothing then emptied for a day out.
The Cubepak itself is designed to fit multiple sets of clothing or a compressed full-sized pillow. Made out of the same rip-stop nylon fabric as the rest of the collection, it weighs in at 0.2lbs.
Personally, we have been using the Cubepak for storing heavier items of clothing. Currently, it is full of jeans, 7 pairs to be exact! Storing our heavier items of clothing this way frees up space in our already limited storage. Not only that, but we know exactly where to look when getting dressed in the morning.
When not in use as a packing cube, the Cubepak comes out on shorter hikes. We just throw our water bottle, a couple of snacks and our camera into the Cubepak and head out to explore a new place.
Having the Cubepak has added a level of automation to an activity that has previously, been a little disorganized.
3. Shoe Bag
Having this specific bag is a game-changer.
It’s the organizational tool that we never knew we needed until it entered our lives.
With a centre opening zipper, carabiner clips, and the same machine-washable fabric as the rest of the Pillowpak collection, the shoe bag is priceless.
We’ve toured a lot of vans in person and 9 out of 10 times, there is a big pile of shoes hidden behind the camera. Why? Well, most of the time, shoe storage in a van becomes an afterthought. We have the same issue.
Well, we HAD the same issue.
Honestly, that problem doesn’t exist anymore. Since adding the shoe bag into the van, its become so simple to just store all our extra shoes out of sight. And, since it’s machine washable we don’t think twice about storing muddy shoes in the bag. Just toss it in with the rest of your stuff next time you’re at a laundromat and it’s as good as new!
Another point to mention is the size of the shoe bag. David has big feet, and typically we wouldn’t expect a shoe storage bag, made for the general population to fit a pair of size 15 men’s shoes. Well, our minds were blown when we were able to easily fit his running shoes and a pair of sandals together. A small win, we know. But, those small wins feel too good.
4. Packing Cube
With its capacity at 0.9liters, this packing cube holds just enough to make your life simpler. It has 2 carabiners that you can use to snap onto the Pillowpak itself or clip together to store more compactly.
Currently, we are using the packing cube to store our winter shirts during the summer season. Generally, packing cubes are pretty straightforward. A cube, designed to store clothing for ease of travel. And while that is exactly what Pillowpak’s packing cube does, it isn’t half as bulky as other ones we’ve previously used, nor as stiff.
The packing cube bends easily and fits like the perfect rectangle into cabinet space. Not to mention how satisfying it is to look into our clothing storage and know where to find things without tearing the whole van apart!
5. Utility Bag
This oversized drawstring bag is another thoughtful addition to the Pillowpak collection. Measuring in at 2ft tall and 15.5inches wide, the utility bag is just big enough to carry all those bulkier items.
We have been using it as the perfect laundry bag. It’s lightweight enough that it folds away when not needed. But, also big enough that it holds nearly a week of laundry. Just enough space that by the time it’s full, you most likely need to hit the laundromat anyways.
After using it for the last month, we have come to the conclusion that between the both of us, the utility bag can hold approximately one load of laundry. Not bad for a bag of that size.
Another great use for the utility bag is to store all those miscellaneous items needed when camping. The headlamp, foldable shovel, you get the idea.
6. The Stuffsak
Lastly, we have the Stuffsak. Pillowpak’s latest and greatest addition. Its use is simple yet necessary for this amazing collection.
The Stuffsak is designed to store the Pillowpak itself and the entire collection when not in use. Since the Pillowpak is so easy to roll and stow, it only makes sense to have a drawstring top bag to store the Pillowpak collection inside.
It, like the rest of the collection, is lightweight, machine washable and fits tidily into most cabinets.
Pillowpack – OUR VERDICT
We’ve spent the last few months getting a first-hand experience with the full Pillowpak Collection. And truthfully, we couldn’t have a better opinion. The Pillowpak collection combines thoughtful design with high-quality material, and for that we love it.
We Absolutely Recommend Pillowpak
Whether you’re looking for the perfect storage solution or trying to find a great adventure bag, Pillowpak has got you covered.
After all, the best products come from those who see a problem and are able to create a solution.
That is exactly what the creators behind Pillowpak have been able to do.
Where Can I Find Pillowpak?
You can find all of Pillowpak’s products on their website.
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