Ahh packing! A process which many of us dread, especially if you’re constantly traveling from one place to another.
If there is one thing I cannot recommend enough as a frequent traveler, it is the magic of packing cubes. Many of our readers ask us if travel packing cubes are really necessary and we always respond with the same line: “Absolutely yes, they are worth every penny!”
Unlike using your own plastic or ziplock bags, packing cubes are ultralight with semi-rigid walls. As they have no built -in compartments, they not only organize your things, but they also ensure that you can’t over pack. Bonus!
If you’re looking for packing cubes that keep you organized and ensure you keep to those baggage weight restrictions, we’ve put together a list of best packing cubes to help you do just that.
- 1 Our Picks for Best Packing Cubes to Buy in 2019
- 2 Packing Cubes: Comparison Table
- 3 Why Use Packing Cubes
- 4 Different Types of Packing Cubes
- 5 What to Look for in Packing Cubes
- 6 Best Packing Cubes 2021
- 7 How to Use Packing Cubes
Our Picks for Best Packing Cubes to Buy in 2019
- Best General Packing Cubes: VAGREEZ 7 Piece Set
- Best Lightweight Packing Cubes: Osprey Ultralight
- Best Compression Packing Cubes: Gonex Compression Cubes
- Best Budget Packing Cubes: DIMJ 8 Piece Set
- Best Waterproof Packing Cubes: EzPacking Clear Cubes
- Best Padded Cubes: BUBM Multi-Functional Cubes
Packing Cubes: Comparison Table
|Photo||Price||Bags||Material||Best For||View on Amazon|
|TravelWise Packing Cubes||$$||5||Nylon + Mesh||General Use|
|Shacke Pack Packing Cubes||$$||5||Nylon + Mesh||General Use|
|VAGREEZ Packing Cubes||$$||7||Cationic + Polyester + Mesh||General Use|
|Eagle Creek Pack-It Spector Cubes||$$$||3||Ripstop Silnylon||Lightweight|
|Evatex Travel Packing Cubes||$||6||Nylon + Mesh||Lightweight|
|PRO Packing Cubes & Compression Pouches||$||4||Nylon||Lightweight|
|Osprey Ultralight Packing Cubes||$$$||3||Ripstop Polyester||Lightweight|
|SuitedNomad Compression Packing Cubes||$$||3||Ripstop Nylon||Compression|
|BAGAIL Ultralight Compression Packing Cubes||$$||2, 3, 6||Ripstop Nylon||Compression|
|TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes||$$$||2, 3, 6||Ripstop Nylon||Compression|
|Gonex Compression Packing Cubes||$$$||1, 3, 6||Nylon Mesh||Compression|
|P.travel Packing Cubes||$||6||Nylon + Mesh||Budget|
|AmazonBasics Packing Cube Set||$||4||Nylon + Mesh||Budget|
|DIMJ 8 Piece Packing Cubes||$||8||Nylon + Mesh||Budget|
|EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes||$$$||4||PVC||Waterproof|
|BUBM Multi-Functional Cubes||$$||3||Nylon||Padding|
Why Use Packing Cubes
Honestly, there are so many different reasons to use packing cubes, I could go on forever. But here are some main ones to help you understand why these are such an important part of our packing process.
Using packing cubes makes sure that your bag is (and remains!) organized throughout your trip.
Most sets come with between three and five cubes that are different sizes and allow you to pack different things in them. Whether you’re using a backpack or traditional suitcase, your things will always be divided instead of being one huge mess.
There are two ways you can organize your packing cubes: by items or by outfits.
If you choose to organize by items, you can make sure that all of your t-shirts stay together, all of your underwear is in one place, and all of your shorts are neatly tucked away until they’re ready to be worn.
Alternatively, you can put together different outfits and pack them in cubes. This is especially helpful if you’re on a trip visiting different places with different climates. Put all the clothes you need for the warm part of your trip in one cube, and all the cold weather clothes in another.
Either way, you won’t have to shuffle through everything to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Compress and Get More Space
If you’re like me, your bag is always overflowing and nearly impossible to close without sitting on it and enlisting help from another person. But packing cubes totally change this.
Most packing cubes compress what’s inside of them, making a giant jumble of clothes into a single small package. This is such a lifesaver when it comes time to fit everything in your bag because you’re dealing with small, compressed sacks instead of a tangled, overflowing mess.
Pack With Ease
Along the same lines of what’s mentioned above, using packing cubes makes the packing process a hundred times easier!
Seriously, think about it. You just have to worry about packing the cubes when it comes time to go because everything else is already tucked away. There’s nothing like an easy packing process, even if you’re a pro.
Monitor What You Pack
A final benefit to using packing cubes is you can only take what fits in your cubes.
Once the cube is full, that’s it, finito, no more t-shirts. This really helps cut down on excess clothing. Trust me, you don’t need that extra dress, the six you fit in the cube will be enough!
Plus, monitoring what you pack also helps you stay below the airline’s luggage weight limits. When you have the freedom to throw as much as you want in your suitcase, you’re bound to start cutting it close, but packing cubes help you be mindful of what you’re packing and keep it to what you really need.
Are you convinced yet? Packing cubes are seriously the greatest invention ever.
Different Types of Packing Cubes
There are different types of packing cubes, all with different benefits.
Here are the main ones you’ll come across.
Most packing cubes will fall into the general category unless they’re specified as something else.
General packing cubes will come in different sizes (typically a set of three to five cubes) and colors, making your packing life way easier than before.
General packing cubes are typically made of a sturdy fabric and have some kind of structure mechanism that allows them to hold their shape. This is a bonus because it increases the chance your clothes will stay wrinkle-free while packed away.
If you’re not sure where to start, a set of general packing cubes are a good choice because they’ll allow you to test the waters of packing cube life.
Most packing cubes are inherently lightweight as they’re just a couple pieces of fabric and a zipper but you’ll come across some that are designed specifically to be ultra lightweight.
These are best if you’re worried about your luggage weight, and especially good for backpackers.
When choosing a set of lightweight packing cubes, there are a few things to look out for, the first being the fabric. Lightweight cubes are typically made from thinner fabric, which means it’s more susceptible to rips.
If you choose cubes made from ripstop fabric, your cubes will last longer and any holes that appear will not grow because of this specific type of fabric.
Another thing to think about when choosing lightweight cubes is that they have little or no structure which means wrinkly clothes even if they’re folded and tucked away neatly.
This isn’t a huge deal for most backpackers but if you’re traveling for work or have nicer events to attend, you may want to consider getting a pair of structured packing cubes.
Compression packing cubes are a lifesaver for many a backpacker and overpacker alike. Not only will these cubs fit everything you need, but they’ll compress it all when used properly, giving you more room for other essential items (… or more clothes).
Most packing cubes naturally compress whatever’s inside, but with true compression packing cubes, there’s an added mechanism to really squish everything down.
This mechanism is an added zipper around the outside of the cube, what when zipped up packs everything down to be extremely compact — think vacuum sealing. Many packing cubes will call themselves compression cubes, but only ones with the extra zipper will go the extra mile!
Make sure that the compression packing cubes you get are of good quality and durable, because since they’re going this extra mile, they’re also more likely to rip when overused. Look for ones made of ripstop fabric – nylon is best – with tight stitching around the edges.
Finally, keep in mind that with the added compression, your clothes are going to come out wrinkled. That’s why perhaps these cubes are best for backpackers and beach-goers, rather than those taking a nicer vacation.
A huge category in the packing cube realm are budget cubes. These cubes are super inexpensive and also a good place to start if you don’t want to spend a ton on a set of cubes.
Budget cubes are typically made of polyester which is more likely to rip than fabrics like nylon. Some budget cubes will have ripstop technology, but not the majority so keep your eyes out for this.
When packing in budget cubes, don’t overstuff them the way you may with general or compression cubes. Having too much in them may break the zipper or cause the stitching to come lose.
Budget cubes are great for the price and do the trick, but don’t expect them to last as long as a durable pair. That said, I traveled with a set of budget packing cubes for the longest time before I upgraded and never had any issues.
Finally, there are packing cubes that are made for specific needs. Let’s take a look at some of these specialist cubes.
First up, you’ve got your waterproof or weather-resistant packing cubes. These are awesome if you’re taking a more rugged trip and packing in a backpack. Conditions can be unpredictable in many places and having everything inside your pack protected from outside forces can make all the difference!
If this is what you’re looking for, it’s best to use packing cubes made of material as well as zippers that are waterproof (or resistant). This means extra lining around the zippers so no water can seep through.
Also make sure there’s no mesh on the cubes! This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at what people are calling water-resistant these days.
Besides weather-resistant cubes, you may consider getting packing cubes with extra padding for any electronics and gear you may be taking along. Not only will these cubes keep you organized, but they’ll keep your valuables protected as well.
You can expect padded packing cubes to have more structure than typical packing cubes, as the structure is essential to keep the contents protected if they’re jostled around. This makes packing them a little trickier than normal packing cubes, but as long as you save yourself enough space, you should be fine.
Padded packing cubes are some of the most durable ones you’ll find, but they’re also the heaviest as well. If you’re willing to sacrifice one for the other, you may consider picking up a set of these to have on hand.
What to Look for in Packing Cubes
Now that you know all the different kinds of packing cubes, it’s important to keep in mind some specifics when choosing a set that’s right for you.
Packing cubes are made from a wide variety of materials, but I’ve always had the best luck with ones made from nylon.
Nylon tends to be the most durable, and withstands basic wear and tear better than materials like polyester. Nylon is also lightweight and soft to the touch, making them a pleasure to pack with.
You can tell how durable nylon is going to be by looking at with a number followed by “D.” This indicates how many fibers were used to construct it. The higher the number, the more durable the fabric.
As mentioned before, you also want to choose packing cubes crafted from a ripstop fabric. Ripstop fabric does exactly what it sounds like: stops rips. It also keeps holes from getting any bigger and add to the durability of your cube.
Finally, choosing the right material is also important for the destination.
If you’re hitting the beach, you may want to avoid packing cubes with mesh as they’re guaranteed to get sand all over your bag. If you’re taking a nicer vacation or business trip, go for some cubes with more structure to keep your clothes wrinkle-free.
Finally, if you’re planning on doing lots of activity or are visiting a humid place, it’s nice to have a set of packing cubes made from a breathable material to keep everything inside nice and fresh.
A good zipper is the key to a good set of packing cubes.
The last thing you want is for the zipper to break while trying to fit everything inside! It may seem silly, but the type of zipper your packing cubes have is a really important consideration.
The best zipper brands are YKK and SDS, and they can be found on a wide range on cubes. Whatever you do, choose a set of packing cubes with a zipper from a reputable brand. This will greatly influence the quality of the zipper and how long it will last.
Another zipper consideration is where the zippers are located and how many there are.
My personal preference are packing cubes with two zippers so that I can open the cube up all the way and have the zippers meet in the middle if I’m struggling to close it. However, you can also choose packing cubes with a single zipper that will work just fine.
Keep in mind though that some packing cubes don’t have the zipper located at the edge of the cube, meaning it won’t open up all the way. It’s all up to personal preference, but something to keep in mind, nonetheless.
I’ve personally found that packing cubes with a handle makes a significant difference.
Sometimes my packing cubes can get stuck in my backpack, but one quick tug on the handle, it comes right out. If this is important to you, make sure you get cubes with a reinforced handle so that it doesn’t come ripping off in your time of need.
Sometimes you’ll find packing cubes with extra pockets in them. This is awesome for an added level of organization.
While not entirely necessary, sometimes it’s nice to have pockets to stash your valuables among your clothes where they’re least expected to be.
Having packing cubes in different colors makes the process so much easier because everything is color coded!
With different colored cubes, you don’t need to open each one to find what you’re looking for — you’ll automatically know that your underwear is in the pink cube, t-shirts are in the orange, and bottoms are in the green one. Talk about making life easy!
It’s a great idea to get packing cubes that come in a variety of sizes because having all the same size doesn’t really help with packing.
Different sizes are also great because you can put smaller items in the smaller cubes and larger ones in the bigger cubes… you get the idea.
Finally, the best packing cubes will come with a warranty, whether it’s one year, two, or a lifetime!
If you plan on using your cubes a lot, it’s helpful to get a set with a warranty so that you can swap them out if you’ve had any issues or worn them to the bone.
Best Packing Cubes 2021
Now that you know all there is to know about packing cubes, here are the best ones in each category.
Best General Packing Cubes
This five-piece packing set from TravelWise is most popularly used to organize your things for a weekend getaway.
This assorted set offers a deeper depth of cube, and also has a fabric lid with a mesh “window” in the center.
Although deeper than usual, these cubes are easily compressed, so you can stack cubes and have them fit in your luggage nicely.
Available in teal, silver and purple, these are perhaps more suited for the female traveler or those who want slightly bigger cubes.
What we love about Shacke’s four-piece packing cubes is that their set includes a pretty handy laundry bag. I’m sure many of you hate packing dirty clothes with your unworn items, so this small drawstring bag is a godsend!
Offering a range of sizes, all made of high quality, water-resistant nylon and a great level of durability, these cubes not only look good, but they provide you with a very deep depth.
Going back to the aesthetics, the cubes have an X-design mesh on their lid which looks stylish and prevents the cubes from bulging when they are slightly overfilled. Practical and attractive, win-win!
This seven-piece set is ideal for longer trips and those looking for enough cubes to fit everything for their vacation.
Made from cationic fabric and high density polyester, these cubes are built to last. The cationic fabric is water-resistant, keeping your belongings protected, while the mesh top allows you to see everything inside while letting air out.
This set also features heavy duty zippers, elastic buckles to keep everything in place, a shoe bag, laundry bag, and two smaller pouches in addition to the small, medium and large cubes.
If you’re looking for a stylish set that keeps their shape and everything inside in place, these are the packing cubes for you.
Best Lightweight Packing Cubes
For a big name at an affordable price, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Spector range is always a safe bet, especially if you are a weight-conscious traveler!
Offering a diverse range of sizes and shapes, you can get these cubes as tubes, quarters, halves or full, which are perfect for any type of bag or luggage that you have. What we also love is that you can buy the cubes separately as well as in a set.
Of all its well-designed features, we love that it’s made of ultralight sil nylon ripstop material. Not only does it save on weight, but, unlike mesh cubes, it also saves your clothes from getting wet when you have a leak emergency. Thanks Eagle Creek!
With a choice between black, blue, yellow, orange and gray, this four-piece travel set by Evatex will ensure that you travel in style.
Weighing 1 pound in total, these Evatex cubes have all the classic features: nylon fabric, mesh windows, and durable zipper closures — all at an affordable price!
Their unique selling point? The set also includes a small cosmetic bag, perfect for actual cosmetics or small valuable items that you don’t want to get lost.
Another aesthetically-pleasing design, Evatex really hits the nail on the head with what we want from lightweight packing cubes.
A very popular choice for packing is PRO’s Packing and Compression Pouches. This four-piece set is available in a huge variety of colors and consists of a large cube, two medium cubes, and a small bag.
These packing cubes are super lightweight, have a mesh window to let out extra air, as well as YKK zippers, double stitched seams, and convenient handles.
PRO also offers a lifetime guarantee, which gives you that extra peace of mind!
Wrapping up this section are ultralight packing cubes made by Osprey.
With anything Osprey, you know you’re guaranteed quality, and these packing cubes are no exception. Made from 40D polyester ripstop fabric and sturdy zippers, these guys are sure to save you weight and time while packing.
This set comes with a small, medium and large cube with a grab handle to make accessing your belongings easy and convenient.
The large cube weighs in at only 1.1 ounces while the smaller two are under an ounce each! This is just about as lightweight as it gets.
Finally, these cubes come with the Osprey guarantee which is they will fix any damage or defect no matter when you purchased the product, no questions asked.
Best Compression Packing Cubes
This set of three packing cubes will make your life so much easier by saving space in your pack.
SuitedNomad did a great job constructing these compressible packing cubes from ripstop nylon and reinforced seams. They feature an extra zipper around the middle which allows you to compress everything when the cube is fully packed without having to worry about rips or tears in the fabric of seams.
Plus, these cubes come with a strap, making pulling them out of your bag as easy as can be.
Besides being compressible, these cubes are ultra lightweight making them the perfect travel companion for any backpacker or nomad.
BAGAIL is hailed the packing cube masters, and their compression cubes do not disappoint.
Coming in a variety of colors, you’re sure to love these cubes made from 40D ripstop nylon, which is not only durable but ultra lightweight as well. There’s double stitching throughout these packing cubes, as well as reinforced zippers, making these cubes some of the most long-lasting out there.
The best part about these cubes is you can get them in a set of two, three, or six, making them perfect for any of your travel needs.
TRIPPED Travel Gear makes some awesome cubes which come in a set of two, three or six.
Made from ripstop nylon, everything is reinforced from the stitching to the seams to the zipper, making these cubes very durable.
TRIPPED boasts that the large cube can hold everything you need for an entire week, making these guys super convenient for longer trips.
The set comes with a laundry bag and a shoe bag as well, not to mention they come in different colors and graphics! With hundreds of positive reviews, it’s clear there’s a lot to love about these packing cubes.
Speaking of rave reviews, the Gonex Compression Packing Cubes have garnered hundreds, making them a top pick for this category.
These cubes are made from ventilated nylon to keep everything fresh, and has a tough handle as well as a mesh front that allows you to easily see the contents of the cube.
They come in tons of different colors and you have the option to buy sets of three or six, or even a single large cube if you prefer! The versatility of these packing cubes make them a top pick for us.
Best Budget Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are normally over $20 but all cubes in this section are below this mark! We’ve picked out the best bang-for-your-buck options without sacrificing quality.
As far as budget packing cubes go, it doesn’t get much better than this six-piece set.
Made from durable nylon with double stitching and a reinforced lid, your clothes are destined to stay in place with these cubes. Each cube has a 4.3 inch depth, allowing you to fit everything you need while staying organized.
The mesh top allows you to see everything in side while allowing excess air to escape.
Our favorite part about these cubes is not only the awesome color selection, but the included shoe bag, laundry bag and cosmetic bag!
You can’t bet these cubes if you’re looking to stretch your dollars.
Amazon really did a great job constructing this packing cube set, and reviewers boast of using them for years with absolutely no problems.
The outside is made from lightweight nylon with a mesh front, and there are double zippers and a carry handle as well.
These cubes maintain their form well, making them a good option if you hate wrinkled clothes, and they come in four different sizes to suit all your packing needs.
This set is highly recommended by hundreds of users, so give it a try if you’re looking for packing cubes on a budget!
A last budget pick is a personal favorite: an eight-piece set from DIMJ.
With this set, you get four packing cubes, a laundry bag, a cable organizer, a makeup bag and a small pouch for odds and ends. While it’s not only packing cubes, it’s an awesome set of travel cubes for an unbelievable price.
The cubes are made from nylon with a mesh front and reinforced double zippers. The cubes themselves are lightweight, but the best part about them is that they have elastic straps with buckles on the inside to keep everything in place.
These packing cubes are breathable, space-saving, and easy to access with their carry handle. Plus, the added pouches in this set keep you from having to purchase anything else separately!
Other Great Packing Cubes
If you’re looking for waterproof packing cubes, these clear PVC cubes are the ones for you.
This set of four comes in nine different colors, and each cube comes with a handy carry strap which makes pulling them out of your luggage a breeze.
These cubes are super sturdy and have two-way pull zippers which makes packing easy and convenient. The completely clear front and sizes allow you to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The PVC material ensures that anything inside won’t leak out, and also keeps moisture from seeping inside which is great if you’ll be in more rugged locations with luggage that has a soft shell.
If you’re seeking a little extra padding for your belongings or electronics, give these packing cubes a go.
BUBM cubes come in a set of three, and are made of heavy-duty, durable nylon. They’re also water-resistant and have strong lining, so if anything leaks inside it won’t escape the cube.
These cubes are nice because in addition to the extra padding, they also have divided compartments within each cube, taking organization to a whole new level.
Perfect for protecting electronics, organizing toiletries or makeup, and even keeping your clothes all together in your bag, these packing cubes are a great option if you’re looking for an extra sturdy set.
How to Use Packing Cubes
Using packing cubes is super straightforward!
First, lay out everything you want to take with you. Then organize it by either item type, specific uses, or predetermined outfits. Once you’ve gotten everything organized, you’re ready to start folding.
There are a few ways to fit everything into packing cubes. You can either fold it, roll it, or lay it flat.
We all know how to fold clothes, so get started on that if this is your desired method. Folding your clothes will minimize wrinkles as well, so it’s a good option.
You can also roll your clothes to fit them into the cubes. Start by folding each item in half and then rolling them up to be a compact little package.
A good insider’s trick is to lay several of the same items on top of either other, fold them in on one another, and then roll them up together. This saves a ton of space and is a go-to hack for fitting more in each cube.
A last option is to lay each piece of clothing flat into the cube. While you won’t be able to lay them completely flat because the cubes aren’t that big, you don’t have to fold them all the way. Just fold in half once and lay items on top of each other. This is best for smaller items like tank tops, shorts and underwear.
Once you’ve gotten everything folded, place them in the cubes until you run out of things to pack or have hit the limit of what the cube can hold.
Then zip up the cube and pack it in your bag!
You’re going to want to pack the larger cubes first, followed by medium-sized cubes, and finish with the small ones. It’s almost like doing a puzzle so be crafty and think Tetris!
Once you pack your cubes a couple of times, you’ll be a master.
So, packing cubes. Convinced of their magic yet? We think they are a pretty convenient addition to our packing, especially when you’re carrying small items that you don’t want to lose!
Combined with well-planned packing lists, capsule wardrobes, and the determination to travel light, packing cubes are something that can change the way you travel.
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Need more packing help? Check out our packing lists!
- Europe Packing List: All You Need for a Summer or Winter Trip
- Southeast Asia Packing List: Ultimate Guide on What to Bring
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