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4 Best Packing Cubes for All Types of Travel (2023)

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Prepare to change the way you pack for travel with my guide to some of the best packing cubes on the market, and learn about how they work, whether they save space or not, and how to use them effectively to travel smarter and more organized.

Best Packing Cubes for Travel

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Everything You Need to Know About Packing Cubes

Everything You Need to Know About Packing Cubes

Packing cubes sound like a solution to a problem that never existed in the first place, right? Surely just stuffing your suitcase full of clothes and things is all you need to do when packing. Trust me; I used to feel that way. And then I got myself a set of packing cubes, and suddenly, my perception and the way I packed changed overnight.

Whether you’re already sold on packing cubes and looking for the best cubes on the market or are still unconvinced as to whether they’re worth the investment, my guide will help clue you up, dispel any myths, and show you some of the best packing cubes on the market for a variety of scenarios and needs.

If you’re ready to start browsing my best packing cube selections on the market, click here.

If not, continue reading.

What are Packing Cubes?

Very simply, packing cubes are a set of square or rectangle-shaped bags that are used together to pack your clothing and luggage. The idea behind packing cubes is to compartmentalize your luggage, so that certain items, and clothing, are stored with identical, or similar items. For example, you would use one packing cube for your underwear, one for your tops and shirts, one for your trousers and skirts, and so on.

The cubes are almost always opened and closed with a zippered front and are then packed together into a larger suitcase, backpack, or carry-on. Sets of packing cubes often come in different sizes but are designed to be fitted together when laid out flat.

The Difference Between Packing Cubes and Compression Packing Cubes

If you’re shopping for packing cubes, the likelihood is you’ll come across the term ‘compression’ on a frequent basis.

The difference between standard packing cubes and compression packing cubes comes down to volume or capacity. Whereas standard packing cubes largely keep their volume, compression packing cubes use valves in the zippers to draw out air from the cube. This means the cube, quite literally, compresses down and squeezes everything inside.

The advantage of this is that you can save a lot of space. Some compression cube manufacturers claim up to 60% of space can be saved if the cubes are used correctly. If you are traveling with smaller luggage or you want to squeeze as much as you can into your suitcase, this can be a great way to do it.

The disadvantage, however, is the likelihood of wrinkles and creases on your clothes. If your clothes are not folded correctly, more often than not, you will see wrinkles and creases once you open the cubes and take out the clothes. For business or high-end travel, in particular, this can be a bit of a nightmare. Some manufacturers claim their compression cubes won’t wrinkle or crease your clothes, but I’d highly recommend checking out the reviews first, just in case.

If your intentions are to organize, opt for packing cubes. But if you’re keen to save a lot of space in your carry-on, backpack, or luggage, and are not too precious about crisp, crease-free clothes, I’d recommend going for the compression packing cubes.

Are Packing Cubes Worth It?

Packing cubes seem to divide opinion online. Some travelers swear by them, and others think they are not worth the money.

From what I’ve observed, the common misconception is that packing cubes save a lot of space in your luggage. Packing efficiently, such as folding clothes in a certain way, definitely utilizes space much better than just throwing everything in, and packing cubes definitely help you do that. However, the space saved is often a small amount.

The main advantage of packing cubes is from an organizational perspective. Having all your clothes and belongings segmented, and not intertwined with each other, makes packing itself, and getting your items from your luggage, much faster and easier. That, quite simply, cannot be denied. As we’ve discussed above, the issue of saving space is addressed with compression packing cubes that suck out the air and compress everything down to a smaller volume.

Packing cubes also allow you to divide your luggage between carry-ons, backpacks, and suitcases, very easily. I can pack all my tops and shirts into a cube, and if I want to take it on the plane in my carry-on, all I have to do is shift the cube. They do save time and help you find things much faster.

Personally, I’m a huge advocate of them. And with so many choices on the market now, packing cubes have come a long way in the last decade. They’re now far more durable, well-designed, and in some cases, even water-resistant. Particularly if you travel extensively and often, I think keeping your luggage organized while also saving a little space can only be a good thing.

How To Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are very straightforward to use. Firstly, you should divide up your luggage and group items together. For example, put all your tops in one pile, your underwear in another, and so on.

Next, you need to look at the size of whatever is going to hold your packing cubes. This could be your suitcase, carry-on, backpack, or rucksack. From there, you can decide how many cubes you have space for.

Once you’ve unzipped your packing cubes, it’s time to decide which size will accommodate which luggage. Packing cubes are best utilized if you fold your clothes properly. You can still stuff packing cubes, and they’ll still be organized. However, you’re going to have a lot of creases and wrinkles in your clothes once you take them out.

Once you’ve packed a cube with items of clothing or luggage, simply zip it up. Once all your cubes are zipped up, you now get to play a fun game of suitcase or carry-on Tetris.

Packing cube sets are designed to be placed next to each other, slotting into place with no edges in the way. The size of your suitcase or carry-on will determine how many you can travel with.

Simply place, slide, and stack, until everything fits in nicely. Be sure to leave some room for some individual items that won’t go into the cubes, such as multiple pairs of shoes.

How Many Packing Cubes Do I Need?

How many packing cubes you need is going to depend largely on the amount of clothing and luggage you intend to travel with. However, with most sets at the very least giving you three cubes, I would be tempted to split your clothing into underwear/swimwear, things you wear on your top half, e.g., tops, blouses, shirts, and things you wear on your bottom half, e.g., trousers, dresses, skirts.

At the very least, that gives you three segments to work with. From there, depending on the amount of luggage you have, the size of your suitcase or carry-on, and your intentions, you can add more. If you have a shoe bag, you can pack up a pair of extra shoes or sneakers, and some flip flops, and so on.

Lay out all your luggage first, and that will give you a better idea of how many cubes you need. It’s a good idea to buy a set of six, for example, to give yourself more than what you need.

Should I Roll or Fold Clothes for Packing Cubes?

Very simply, it comes down to the type of clothing. Rolling is great for thinner, lighter clothes, such as t-shirts, pants, swimwear, and casual dresses. Heavier, or more delicate clothing, however, such as buttoned shirts, smart dresses, and coats, should be folded. You can use a combination of both.

It’s easier to prevent creasing when folding properly, too, so bear that in mind if you’re traveling with more luxurious clothing or nightwear.

Best Packing Cubes

If you’re ready to get into the details, then let’s take no further time to dive right in and look at the best choices of packing cubes on the market.

Packing Cubes for Your Suitcase

We start our list with a choice of packing cube for your standard-sized suitcase and long haul travel. Our packing cube set for your suitcase is larger, as it needs to pack everything you’d need to travel with a suitcase in addition to a carry-on.

1 – Veken 6 Set Packing Cubes

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If you need a strong, durable, and environmentally friendly set of packing cubes, Veken is an excellent place to start. Their set, available in five rich colors, gives you four packing cubes, a shoe bag for an extra pair of shoes or trainers, and a laundry bag to use while you’re away traveling. The sizes are as follows:

XL Cube: 17.5” x 12.15″ x 4″
Large Cube: 13.75” x 12.75″ x 4″
Medium Cube: 13.75” x 9.75″ x 4″
Small Cube: 11” x 6.75″ x 4″
Shoe Bag: 16.96” x 9.06″ x 4.72″
Laundry Bag: 20” x 14”

Made from 290D nylon fabric, you get a packing cube set that is thicker than the standard on the market, while also being waterproof. This is great for when you accidentally spill something inside your luggage or hit a spot of unforeseen rain showers.

The fabric is also environmentally friendly and will help reduce the creasing of the clothes due to the lack of movement inside the suitcase or carry-on. The laundry bag is also a great addition.

Compression Packing Cubes

As stated in the ‘find out more’ section, compression packing cubes use a compression zip, which acts as a one-way pressure valve, to help draw out air and squash everything in as tightly as possible. If you’re really tight for space, and you’re not too overly concerned about creasing, compression packing cubes will be a great purchase for you.

For backpacking, in particular, where even an inch or two of extra space is most welcome, compression packing cubes are a worthwhile investment.

Note: L stands for volume in liters, where necessary. This simply means the maximum volume of the bag or cube at full capacity.

2 – Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

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Another renowned name in the market, Gomex’s compression packing cube set is a great choice for its diversity of cubes and bags in the set.

Combining smooth nylon with breathable mesh cloth, you get a packing cube that not only holds up against wear and tear but also lets your clothes breathe.

The set consists of the following sizes:

Large Cube: 15.4” x 15.3” x 3.54”
Medium Cube: 11.8” x 9.1” x 3.54”
Small Cube: 9.8” x 7.5” 3.54”
XS Cube: 7.9” x 5.9” x 3.54”
Laundry Bag: 18.1” x 13”

Complete with webbing handles, the set is very lightweight and great for smaller suitcases and carry-ons.

The compression only adds to the space you save, and you could easily distribute all six packing cubes between a rucksack and carry-on, or use them all in one carry-on.

Plus, with ten striking color combinations with white, you’ll smile from ear-to-ear when opening up your carry-on to see these little beauties neatly arranged, holding your clothing tightly, with plenty of give.

Packing Cubes for Hiking and Backpacking

3 – Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Specter Cube Set

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If you’re an avid outdoorsy type, you’ll need no introduction to Eagle Creek. Their 30D silnylon ripstop three-piece set is as tough as a Redwood, as it’s made from material often used for backpacks and tents. The set comes with three cubes, and the sizes are as follows:

Medium Cube: 14” x 10” x 3” and 10.5L
Small Cube: 10” x 7” x 3” and 5L
XS Cube: 7.5” x 4.5” x 2.5” and 1.2L

The silnylon is also water-resistant, so you’re clothes will keep dry no matter what spillages or precipitation happen to come into contact with the cubes.

The zippers possess toughness, the cubes all come with a top handle to carry easily, and there are five elegant colored sets to pick from. For a seasoned hiker or backpacker, you can’t go wrong with a set of Eagle Creek specter cubes.

Small Packing Cubes for Carry-On and Shorter Travel

For this section of the list, we’re going to hone in on packing cube sets that work best for travelers who want to travel exclusively with rucksacks and carry-ons.

If you don’t have a large suitcase to house all of your packing cubes, you’re going to need a diverse range of cubes that can be compactly slotted together in smaller spaces.

Our choice of packing cube addresses this issue, boasting a wider range of dimensions and designs.

4 – Yamiu 7 Piece Packing Cube Set

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Okay, now we’re really looking to play some carry-on Tetris! With Yamiu’s seven-piece packing cube set, you get absolutely everything you need to keep all your carry-on items organized, protected, and accessible from the unzipping of a pouch.

Their multi-functional set consists of two small packing cubes, a medium cube, a large cube, a shoe bag, a toiletry bag, and a TSA-approved toiletries carry-on bag. Here’s the size breakdown:

Large Cube: 17.5” x 12.5” x 4”
Medium Cube: 13.5” x 9” x 4”
2x Small Cubes: 11” x 7.5” x 4”
Shoe Bag: 9” x 5” x 17”
Medium Toiletries Bag: 9.5” x 3” x 8”
TSA Approved Toiletries Bag: 7” x 2.5” x 5.5”

For anyone who travels with solely a carry-on, Yamiu’s combination is a dream. The toiletry bags allow you to travel with under 100ml liquids without having to put everything into separate clear plastic bags, and you get a range of sizes at your disposal.

The packing cubes are made of high-quality nylon, which is breathtakingly lightweight and very durable. The warranty is a great option to have, and you get six wonderful colors to choose from. For options, you simply cannot go wrong with this packing cube set.

Packing Cubes Summary

Whether you want to organize your luggage, pack much quicker, or save space through compression, packing cubes are a great addition to your travel attire.

We’ve looked at twelve of the best packing cubes on the market, covering the needs of the long-haul, large-luggage traveler, the carry-on traveler, and the backpacker.

Whatever camp you fall into, once you buy packing cubes and use them frequently, you’ll never go back to the way you used to pack your suitcase.

You Might Also Like to Read

If you’re still keen to add to your travel gear or to buy some great gear to pack into your packing cubes, be sure to check out some of our other articles:

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Everything You Need to Know About Packing Cubes