Are you looking for the best packing cubes in 2021? If the answer is yes you have come to the right place. At Tripcurated we have reviewed the best packing cubes you can buy online and have also included a detailed buying guide.
For me packing has always just been stuffing as much stuff as possible into my suitcase or backpack and then trying desperately to do up the zipper. If you are anything like me you have spent time sitting on your bag while your partner tries to do up the zip.
Since having kids we have trying to limit the amount of luggage we have to carry from destination to destination, lately we have been sharing suitcases between 1 adult and one of the kids. Having everything neat packed loosely in your bag goes out the window the first time you are running late for the bus, train or plane. In that moment you just throw everything in and you are back in your jumbled mess.
A friend of mine recently suggested we look at packing cubes for our up and coming European vacation, picture the Griswold’s in National Lampoons Vacation. I had seen Packing cubes and different types of organizers in the past but apart from toiletry bags had never really given them much of a look. I have spend countless hours online researching the various types of packing cubes (who would have thought there was so many) as well as reading reviews.
Welcome to the Buyers Guide for Packing Cubes, in this guide will will look at the different types and features of packing cubes. How they are used and how they could revolutionize the way you travel. Some people swear by them while others are happy suitcase stuffing or even using a dry sack.
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing Cubes are small rectangular fabric containers that are used for organizing and packing all your clothing. They come in multiple sizes and can really help you fit more clothes and accessories into a smaller size. Usually if you buy a set you get get multiple sizes including small, medium and large which can be positioned into your suitcase with ease. It is sort of like a game of Tetris where you can rotate the cubes to get the ultimate space. Generally they have strong zips on the cube which means you can roll or pack your clothes into the cube and when zipped the clothing compressed out the air.
Different brands have different offerings and some models also include extra compression to reduce the size of the cube even more allowing you to fit more in. You would roll all your t-shirts into 1 cub, socks and undies into another while placing jeans, pants and shorts into a larger one. You will be generally surprised how much you can fit into each cube and how compact your luggage looks when finished. Having each item of clothing designated to a particular packing cube or even color scheme makes it easy to find what you want to wear. You can even pull all the packing cubes out of your suitcase and then easily place them back in when ready to leave. Another good feature of the packing cubes are that they can help you limit how much you actually pack, if you set yourself the task of fitting all your clothing into your chosen cubes then they are great space savers (no cheating).
Are Packing Cubes Worth It?
Are Packing Cubes Worth It? That i a question we here a lot at Tripcurated. A lot of travelers ask us if packing cubes are actually worth the money or any better than just using Ziploc bags. To be honest Ziploc bags do work well for some of the intended uses however the plastic is generally not as strong as that found in packing cubes. Some of the packing cube brands offer good quality bags similar to Ziploc bags which can be used in conjunction with the cubes.
Packing Cube Features
Packing Cube Materials – Most of the packing cubes on the market are made using lightweight materials like nylon. Some offer odour resistant materials which is great when putting in dirty laundry or footwear. Make sure you buy a brand that offers a durable material that allows compression and is breathable. A lot of the cubes we reviewed offered a mesh that allowed some airflow. Waterproof packing cubes make excellent toiletry bags especially if you do not already have one.
Clothing Visibility – After you have packed your cubes you need to easily be able to identify the contents of each cube. Using different colors and sizes can help however to avoid having to open each cube you need to pick one that has mesh section for visibility. Some of the waterproof models are also made of clear plastic which allows easy identification.
Zip Quality – This is one of the most important features to consider when buying packing cubes, read reviews and see if anyone has had difficulty with the zips. The cub is only as strong as its weakest part and a wrecked zip will make your bag useless. Look for extra strong zips with double stitching, some of the compression models use a second zipper to compress the bag and this also need to be durable and able to stand up to the pressure you put it under.
Stitching – As per the zip you need to ensure your cube is well made, try and find models with double stitching and lined seams offering a stronger and more durable bag.
Multiple Colors – This might sound cosmetic however for our trip we needed sets of packing organizers that had multiple colors that could be assigned to different members of our family. For some reason I still managed to get stuck with boring grey. Some of the bigger brands offer different designs and patterns which also look a little better.
Dirty Laundry – Some of the packing cubes we reviewed offered a split section allowing you do mix dirty and clean clothes in one back protected by a separate compartment. This is a great idea however we preferred a separate waterproof and odor resistant cube for dirty clothing and even some damp items.
Washable – You packing cube needs to be easily washable, especially if you travel a lot or use it for a laundry bags as above. Make sure you buy a set that can be placed in the washing machine or hand washed.
Handles – A good quality set of handled is a great addition to all packing cubes. You can easily pick up the cube from your suitcase.
What Size do I need?
The size of your packing cube you buy relies on the size of your suitcase. When my family was planning our trip we wanted to travel with only 2 suitcase for our family of 4 instead of 4 bags like we have previously. After researching we decided that we would buy different colored cubes for each member and we could mix the cubes accordingly. We bought several packs that included small, medium and large sizing which were perfect for us. For a smaller day trip or even for backpacking then smaller cubes or a compression sack might come in handy.
When we were looking at sizes we went to our local outdoor store that sold Eagle Creek Pack-It and tried them out by stuffing some jackets, pants and tops into the cubes, helping us make up our mind on the different sizes we required and annoying the store attendant when we didn’t but them.
Each brand offers different sizes however more stick to a pattern of sizes in rectangles to the point where you could easily interchange different brands into the same suitcase.
Small – We use the small bags for accessories like travel converters and different charges and cords. These are generally quite small and not really useful for clothing although you could pack a few undies and socks for a shorter trip.
Medium – The medium size cubes are perfect for socks and underwear or even rolling up a few t-shirts. These are usually double the size of the small bag.
Large – The large is again double the size of the medium cube and can take quite a few t-shirts, shorts etc and bulkier items. Some brands also offer a larger x-large size.
Compression or no Compression?
Nearly all of the packing cubes we tested offered some type of compression, generally it is just the excess air being squeezed out when you fasten the zipper of the cube. Some packing cubes such as the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter offer extra compression. These cubes feature double zippers, the first zipper closes the cube as per normal while the second zipper cause the bag to flatten its size and compress the contents. It is quite effective especially for fluffy items like jumpers, jackets or pillows.
Compression Bags Another compression option to consider are actual compression bags similar to the Travel Space Saver Bags. These bags work by using a one-way valve at the end of the bag, to use you just zip the bags and roll. The rolling of the bag causes the excess air to escape out of the valve and shrinks the volume of the contents by anywhere from 50- to 80%. These are incredibly useful for jackets or for storing clothing in an attic or basement over along period of time.
How to Use Packing Cubes
Using packing cubes is extremely easy, as mentioned earlier it is like a game of tetris and you need to rearrange the cubes into a pattern in your suitcase. Its actually very easy.
Step 1 – Buy different sized packing cubes to suit your backpack or suitcase, I suggest buying various sizes and multiple colors. (Hint: Amazon have great packing cubes)
Step 2 – Decide which items are going in which cube
Step 3 – Roll (or fold) your items and place into the packing cube
Step 4 – Zip your packing cube, or use the compression zipper to further reduce the volume of your cube.
Step 5 – Place each cube into you suitcase using the different sizes to interlock into the best possible pattern.
Step 6 – Repeat
Step 7 – Relax you are ready to travel
Packing Cube Comparison
The following are 10 of our favorite packing cubes, we have reviewed them and offer you some of the pros and cons of each type. Our list includes several different types of packing cubes and organizers from different brands. They are all great for your next vacation.
The specter range of Packing Cubes from Eagle Creek take their original pack-it range and make them ultralight and ideal for times when you need to pack even lighter like hiking or carry-on luggage.
Made using a 30D Silnylon Ripstop fabric these cubes are durable, light weight and also water repellent and compress the contents of your travel bag or suitcase when zipped. Specter Compression set is also available which adds even more compression by using a secondary zip system.
The Specter starter set offers a Specter cube, half cube and medium garment folder which is a perfect entry into the world of packing cubes and available in a range of colors. Each of these offer a Quick-grip handle making it easy to remove the cube from your bag.
This garment folder is 18 x 12 inches (42 x 30 cm) and includes a folding instruction board which is used to help folder your t shirts or shirts prior to packing. After you have folded all your shirts the edges of the folder join together to compress your luggage further. This is a great idea and very useful.
Also included in the Specter starter set are 1 x Specter Cube which is 14 x 10 x 3 inch (36 x 25.4 x 8 cm) and great for bigger items as well as the Specter Half Cube 10 x 7 x 3 inches (24.5 x 18 x 8cm) which is ideal for socks and smaller garments.
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Amazon Basics are known to be quality and affordable products, this is certainly the case with this 4 piece Packing cube set. The set includes two large, two medium packing cubes which give you a great solution for small and bulky items. The large packing cubes will fit jackets and allow some compression of the bulky items while the medium cubes will allow for pants, shorts, shirts and t-shirts. These cubes will also help keep the wrinkles out of clothing meaning you don’t spend your entire trip ironing.
The AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set are made with durable 100% Polyester and feature a double zipper making it easy to open and close especially when full to the brim. The top panel of these packing cubs are made with mesh so it is easy to see the contents of each cube.
Set includes 2 medium sized cubes (13.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches) and 2 large sized cubes (17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches)
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The eBags Packing cubes are a perfect accessory for all suitcases and your next vacation. eBags are known for quality products and these packing cubes are well made, very durable and feature a Lifetime guarantee. The packing cubes are made using techlite diamond nylon fabric and like the other quality packing cubes feature YKK zippers. Interior seams are designed for extra durability and the mesh tops allow for easy identification.
This set of eBags packing cubes feature Large, Medium, Small and Slim which allows for all your clothing to be packed from bulky jackets down to shoes and socks. Dimensions: Large (17.5″ x 12.75″ x 3.25″) Medium (13.75″ x 9.75″ x 3″) Small (11″ x 6.75″ x 3″) Slim (14″ x 5″ x 2.75″)
- THE ORIGINAL packing cube set
- LIFETIME GUARANTEE: Guaranteed for life under eBags Lifetime Warranty
- SUPERIOR QUALITY: Made with Techlite Diamond Nylon and premium YKK zippers
- DURABLE & CONVENIENT: Interior seams fully finished for durability and soft mesh tops won’t damage delicate fabrics. Mesh allows for easy identification – no more digging around!
- STAY ORGANIZED: eBags packing cubes make the best possible use of valuable space
- 4 PACKING CUBES:
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This fantastic packing cube set from Shacke Pack is one of our favorites, the set includes 5 different size packing cubes that are made from water resistant nylon that is high quality and perfect for the rough and tumble of a long vacation. The cubes are reinforced with X-design stitching which keeps your items more secure.
This set include various size bags allows you to fit more clothes and accessories into your suitcase or backpack while keeping everything organised. You can buy this great set from Amazon or other travel and luggage stores.
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This set of packing cubes from Itzy Ritzy includes small medium and large bags that offer mesh top panel making it easy to view contents and identify what is in each cube. Each packing cube includes a built-in handle to make it easy to organize them within a diaper bag, luggage or purse!
Dual zippers on each cube allow for quick access to your goods and make it easy to utilize every inch of packing space. These are perfect for your next vacation or business trip.
- 4" L x 5.25" W x 2" H
- 6" L x 10.5" W x 2.5" H
- 8" L x 4" W x 4.5" H
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This packing cube set from Lexin set contains 3 clothing organizer bags (including 1 underwear organizer bag), 1 shoe bag, and 1 toiletry bag. These are perfect for hiking, business trips and family vacations.
large (15.7 x 11.8 x 4 inches)medium (11.8 x 9.8 x 4 inches) small (11 x 6.1 x 4 inches) shoe bag (13.7 x 8.6 x 4.5 inches) toiletry bag (9.4 x 7.2 x 4 inches)
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