When it comes to packing, I have a love relationship with packing cubes. I will never again pack my luggage without using packing cubes. They are the best thing that has ever happened to packing. Being a frequent traveler who has to pack and unpack luggage nearly every week, it is a true lifesaver to have them, because they are the best luggage organizer you’ll find anywhere. If you’re not already using packing cubes, you need to get some ASAP. I promise you’ll never go back.
No matter which type of luggage you prefer to use (suitcase or backpack), you’ll benefit greatly from using packing cubes. Not only do they provide separation for your clothes (such as mine in these, his in those; or shirts in here, underwear in there), they also compress the clothes so you can fit so much more in.
I know that I will never pack again without these packing cubes.
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Are Packing Cubes Worth It?
I’m not sure what the price tag is for sanity, but packing cubes are definitely well within that price range. While some packing cubes have higher price tags, you can find a good set for next to nothing, like the 4-piece AmazonBasics packing cube set for as low as $13. For the price of one airport lunch, you can organize your luggage forever. Definitely worth it!
Our Top Picks
In case you don’t have a lot of time to read through the reviews below of each of these packing cube sets, below is a chart with our top packing cube sets. No matter which set you go with, these are all top-quality and well-used and loved by travelers. They receive high reviews for a reason.
Top Reasons to Use Packing Cubes
- They provide organization for your clothes and other items.
- They compress clothing so you can fit more in.
- They keep your clothing from getting wrinkled.
- When the TSA agent opens your bag and rifles around in it, your underwear won’t fall out on the floor for everyone to see.
- If you take 2 cubes and you have a place to put your dirty clothes, separate from your clean ones.
- When traveling with a partner, you can keep your clothing separate easily.
- When you arrive at the hotel, you can take the cube out of your bag and put it directly into the drawer.
- There are shoes cubes to keep your dirty shoes off your clean clothes.
How to use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes come in various sizes and shapes. The best way to use them is to buy complimentary sizes to fit your needs. You can buy the cubes that will fit into a nice Tetrus pattern in your suitcase, or you can buy two large cubes to put together in a travel backpack. I tend to use the large size for all of my shirts and pants, and the small size for my socks and underthings. If I’m only taking a backpack, I might use two mediums instead, because they fit better in the backpack.
The best packing cubes are about 3 inches deep, are made of stretchable mesh material, and have a sturdy zipper around the top. Fit your clothes into the space and zip the top around them. That’s all there is to it. You can stack clothes, as normal, or roll them up individually. I haven’t really found that rolling helps save additional space, but it does keep everything ultra organized.
The best part of these packing cubes is their ability to stretch. This is why it’s important to buy quality packing cubes, because they need to hold up to excessive stretching when you have just one more pair of jeans you need to fit in. I’ve been able to stretch to the max to fit a few extra things. Never has a zipper broken or the seams ripped.
Where to Buy Packing Cubes
You can find packing cubes all over the place now. It used to be that only one brand was available, eBags Packing Cubes. The eBags are still my favorite. They are incredibly durable and flexible, and they compress everything down so well. But I now have multiple different sets of packing cubes from various brands, and they all work very well.
For me, the best place to buy packing cubes will always be on Amazon, especially with Prime shipping. You’ll get them quickly and you can return them if they don’t suit you (though I don’t see that happening). You can find them also at Target, Walmart, REI, etc.
The Best Packing Cubes 2018
As I mentioned, there are dozens of different packing cube brands now. While I don’t really think you can go wrong with just about any set, there are a few brands that are worth considering over other, unknown, brands. Below is a list of the ones we like most plus packing cubes reviews for each. We’ll start with our favorite:
eBags come in all sorts of sizes and colors. We initially bought the 3-piece set in two different colors: one for me and one for Nick, so we can easily tell them apart. Then we bought shoe sleeves and the Pack-it-Flat Toiletry bag that we now keep packed up and ready to go with our travel toiletries, so all we have to do is grab it and go.Get a set of eBags packing cubes Get a set of Eagle Creek packing cubes
They can be machine washed. As far as I can tell, they don’t come with a lifetime warranty, but Amazon always backs their products, so I’m sure they’d send out a new set if something went wrong. They’re a good option at a decent price.Get a set of AmazonBasics packing cubes
These Shacke Pak packing cubes have gained really high regard from travelers. They are made with high-quality water-resistent nylon material that will withstand the text of travel. The set comes with four pieces, including extra-large, large, medium and small, plus a bonus laundry bag.
One of the challenges of a good packing cube is how well it compacts the clothing inside. A good packing cube will compress everything inside because it’s made of a strong, flexible material. So the space needed to contain the clothing is much less than if you weren’t using a cube. This Shacke Pak cube meets the challenge well. Each cube is 4 inches deep to hold a ton of clothing, and the double-stitched seams do a fantastic job of holding it all in.Get a set of Shacke Pak Packing Cubes
Additional Packing Cube Organizers
The basic packing cubes are fantastic, but there are a few other organizers that are made to go with the cubes.
I especially like the Pack-it-Flat toiletry kit from eBags. It has just the right amount of space and sections to store all of our toiletries. We’ve packed the bag full of everything we need on a trip (makeup, deodorant, medicines, nail clippers, jewelry, toothbrushes, hair accessories, etc) and we leave it packed at all times, so we can just throw in the bag when we’re packing and we have the peace of mind knowing everything is in there already. An alternative to the Pack it Flat kit is the Portage Toiletry Kit. Both have hangers at the top so you can hang them up. But the Portage kit is more standard and fits larger bottles of products.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty* against defects in materials and workmanship
- Premium self-repairing self-healing coil zippers ensure a lifetime of opening and closing
- Hanging hook with removeable pocket mirror for times when you dont have one
- Four separate compartments, each 2.25″D x 9.25″W – center section is 7.75″ wide
- Left section is 3.75″ wide and lined with Clear material to store contents that may leak or be damp
It’s great to have a couple of these sleeves to pack your shoes in their dirty soles off your clean clothes. We also use these shoe sleeves for many other things, like packing bottles of vitamins or stuffing full of socks. They are stretchy, so they fit around just about any pair of shoes. An alternative to the Shoe Sleeves is the Shoe Bag, which is more of a case style with a zipper, and won’t require you to squish your shoes into the bag.
- Wide open mouth for easy packing
- Cinch tight closure with quick release button slider
- Center panel is made of Lycra fabric for stretchy, versatile packing
- Stretch fabric allows for packing of different shaped shoes such as, platforms, golf shoes or hiking boots
- Soft design allows you to fit your shoes easily into small packing spaces
I use these for all our headphones and electronics cables, earplugs, eye masks, jewelry, makeup, busines cards etc. You name it. There are multiple squares in the pack, and they’re all different colors, so you can keep everything packed into different pouches. Then just grab the one we need. They’re small and can fit anywhere. Very convenient way to pack small items.
One of the biggest challenges we have is separating our clean clothes from the dirty ones without creating space issues. It’s really not pleasant to have your dirty clothes stinking up your clean ones. The Eagle Creek clean/dirty packing cube solves that dilemma by providing a bag with two sides – one for clean and one for dirty. It’s keeps them completely separate, and they take up the same amount of room, either way. Sorta brilliant.
- Perfect for separating dirty clothes from clean, a damp bathing suit or smelly gym clothes, or to simply provide even more organization
- Water-resistant LinkSeal Mesh compartment keeps moisture in or out
- Floating LinkSeal Mesh divider keeps two compartments separate
- Mesh for visibility and breathability on other side
There you have it, the best packing cubes on the market to make your packing life so much easier. All of these compression packing cube options will help you pack like a pro. They will soon be your favorite piece of luggage and the reason you don’t mind living out of a suitcase every now and then. I swear by them, and I can’t recommend them enough. Do yourself a favor and buy a couple different colored sets and just see how this changes your life.
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.