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Best Overall: LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes at Amazon
"Does a great job of keeping wrinkles to a minimum."
Best for Longer Trips: Pro Packing Cubes at Amazon
"Comes with packing cubes in various sizes."
Best for Durability: eBags Classic Packing Cubes at Amazon
"Made with Techlite diamond nylon and premium YKK zippers."
Best Style: Calpak Five-Piece Packing Cube Set at Nordstrom
"The selection of prints and colors alone is Instagram-worthy."
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Four-Piece Packing Cube Set at Amazon
"The cubes remain durable and affordable."
Best Value: Gonex Travel Packing Cubes at Amazon
"Popular because of its affordable price and quality products."
Best Compression Cubes: Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Set at Amazon
"Can save up to 80 percent packing volume."
Best Waterproof: Away The Insider Packing Cubes at Away
"Its waterproof nylon construction keeps your items dry."
Best Lightweight: Osprey Packing Cube Set at Amazon
"Perfect for backpacking or other outdoor venture."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
When using packing cubes that compress items, there is likely to be some wrinkling involved; however, the LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes do a great job of keeping wrinkles to a minimum. The gray cubes are a little more stylish and professional-looking than some of the competition and feature mesh windows for breathability. The set includes three packing cubes: two large (measuring 15.5 x 11.5 x 4 inches) and one medium (11 x 11 x 4 inches). They can compress from four inches to one (although you are not removing air, just packing the items flatter). These compression cubes are much larger than others on the market, so if you are packing small items you may want to consider a different option. All in all, though, our product tester raved that the LeanTravel cubes "make the packing process easier and less stressful."
Best for Longer Trips: Pro Packing Cubes
If you’re packing for a longer trip, you’ll need a few more packing cubes in various sizes, so the Pro Packing Cube Six-Piece Travel Cube Set is a must. Made of ultralight, durable rip-stop nylon, the entire set can fit inside one bag – making them easy to store when not in use – and comes with sturdy zippers that can withstand the test of time. Each packing kit includes two small cubes, two medium, and two large, with the large size measuring 17 x 11.5 inches — fitting coats, sweaters, and dresses. The set comes in 11 different color options, but the multi-color set is a convenient choice that will keep you organized (or it can be shared among two people).
Best for Durability: eBags Classic Packing Cubes
Known for making efficient luggage and travel accessories, Ebags’ packing cubes are just as durable and useful. The four-piece set is made with Techlite diamond nylon and premium YKK zippers and includes a slim (14 x 5 x 2.75 inches), small, medium, and large (17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches) packing cube. These stackable cubes can be used as impromptu drawers in a pinch, thus saving the hassle of packing and unpacking. Available in several different colors, they also make excellent gifts. Although they are washable, it is recommended to let the cubes air dry. A lifetime warranty is included.
Best Style: Calpak Five-Piece Packing Cube Set
Staying organized while traveling doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style — enter the Calpak Five-Piece Packing Cube Set. In addition to large, medium, and two small travel cubes, the set includes a water-resistant envelope pouch, in case you plan a trip to the beach or pool. All packing cubes are made of polyester and feature a top carry handle, an exterior zip pocket, a mesh front, and an ID tag to label your cubes. The selection of prints and colors alone is Instagram-worthy, including options like marble, leopard, gold, silver, and more. Paired with Calpak's other fashionable suitcases, these cubes make traveling a breeze.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Four-Piece Packing Cube Set
While a lower price usually means lower quality, the AmazonBasics packing cubes remain durable and affordable. Although there are six color options, if you’re not picky with the color you can save a few bucks (for example, red and blue are often cheaper than other options). The set is made of polyester and comes with four travel cubes: two medium and two large – ideal for heavier packers. The large cubes measure 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches and comfortably hold hoodies, sweaters, and jeans, while the medium ones (13.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches) are great for pants and long-sleeve shirts. They also feature dual zippers and a mesh front for identifying items quickly.
Best Value: Gonex Travel Packing Cubes
Gonex is one of the most popular brands for packing cubes because of its affordable price and quality products. A standard set includes a large (17.3 x 1 x 3.54 inches), medium, and slim (narrow) packing cube, as well as a laundry bag. And they're all made of durable, rip-stop nylon. The cubes are available in a variety of color options ranging from bright green or yellow to more traditional black or red. The lightweight travel cubes include carry handles, sturdy double zippers, and can fit comfortably in a hotel drawer or carry-on luggage. Reviewers felt that the sizes were perfect and that the cubes made living out of a suitcase much easier.
Best Compression Cubes: Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Set
Eagle Creek takes the traditional packing cube design to the next level of compression with this cube set that will save travelers space in their luggage (thus allowing you to bring more). The travel cubes have a patented one-way pressure valve with a two-way zipper designed to compresses items without a need for air vacuums. The set comes with two pieces (small and medium) and are constructed from nylon with a breathable mesh top and easy carry handles. The cubes can save up to 80 percent packing volume, however, keep in mind that clothes will wrinkle in the bags. To help keep you organized, they are available in seven different colors.
Best Waterproof: Away The Insider Packing Cubes
Add to your Away collection with these packing cubes specifically made for this cult-favorite luggage brand. The cubes' waterproof nylon construction keeps your items dry, while a mesh panel helps you easily find clothes. The packing cubes even come with stylish color options that match the brand's suitcases, including navy, pink, brick, sand, and more. Depending on your load, there are two sets to choose from, each with varied cube sizes: the set of four, which is designed to fit inside The Carry-On and The Bigger Carry-On, and the set of six, which is suited for The Medium and The Large checked luggage.
Best Lightweight: Osprey Packing Cube Set
From trusted backpack brand Osprey, its Ultralight Packing Cube Set is perfect for backpacking or other outdoor venture. As its name implies, the packing cubes are super lightweight, thanks to its 40D polyester ripstop construction. The grab handles add convenience, while the zippers help secure your items. Easy to pack with, the rectangular-shaped travel cubes come in small (7.5 x 5 x 2 inches), medium (10 x 7 x 2 inches), and large sizes (14 x 10 x 2 inches). It also comes in two color options, though the electric lime is a fun, eye-catching choice.
What to Look for in Packing Cubes
Features While more generic packing cubes will do the job, some have special features worth looking into. Compression cubes, for example, keep clothes as tightly packed as possible, while other sets offer dedicated bags for laundry, underwear, and shoes.
Price How much you spend is, of course, up to you, but consider how much you’ll be traveling. If you’re a frequent business traveler, it might be worth it to opt for a more expensive set. If you’re a once-a-year flier, cheaper cubes will likely do the trick.
Waterproof material If you’re traveling to a rainy or humid climate, consider waterproof cubes for extra protection. After all, you didn’t do all that organization just to wind up with wet clothes. (For backpackers especially, these rainproof cubes can be lifesavers.)
Which to Buy, Compression Sacks or Packing Cubes?
By David Dean
While some travelers go for the 'throw it all in and hope' packing method, most prefer a little more organization in their suitcase or backpack. Internal compartments can be useful for separating clean clothes from dirty, but that's about as far as it goes.
Luggage space is often at a premium as well, especially when traveling to colder climates or with a mixture of 'work' and 'play' clothes. While some luggage comes with compression straps on the inside, outside, or both, they don't reduce space all that much. Typically, they're just used as a last-ditch attempt to get an overstuffed bag to close.
Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways to deal with each of these problems, as well as some innovative options that sort out both at once.
Available in all manner of colors and sizes, packing cubes are made from a semi-soft, lightweight fabric. They have a zipped, often meshed lid, and are designed to keep various items together in your luggage. For example, you might keep shirts or blouses in one cube, underwear, and socks in another, and miscellaneous items like books and chargers in another.
Being square or rectangular, they're ideal in suitcases. They're not always as useful inside a backpack, but depending on its shape, it can still work relatively well.
The main aim of packing cubes is to keep your luggage organized, letting you quickly lay your hands on an item without having to dump everything else on the floor to find it. Opting for different colors and/or sizes for each cube is a useful identification technique, or resort to masking tape and a marker pen.
What packing cubes won't do, however, is give you extra space in your bag. In fact, unless you have square luggage and use up all of the available space in each cube, you'll often end up with less usable room.
Compression sacks generally resemble a heavy-duty plastic bag, with a zipper for loading and unloading, and a one-way valve for squeezing the air out. The idea is to fold bulky items like sweatshirts and jackets into the compression sack, then vacuum-seal the bag to end up with a flatter, smaller—and often waterproof—package.
Like packing cubes, compression sacks come in different sizes and colors. Their effectiveness depends largely on what you're trying to compress. Solid items like books won't compress at all, while thick t-shirts, sweaters, and the like will squash down to as little as a quarter of their original bulk.
They can also be used to keep things organized, although they aren't as convenient as packing cubes if you need something in a hurry.
Don't forget: while compression sacks can provide plenty of extra luggage space, they don't reduce the weight. That's important if you're trying to avoid checking your bag or carrying it up a few flights of stairs. Despite typically being made of heavy-duty PVC, a compressed sack doesn't have much give, and won't deal with sharp objects well.
A few companies have come up with innovative ways of combining packing cubes with some form of compression.
The HoboRoll, for example, is a five-part packing cylinder with compression straps to cinch the contents, which can also be carried by itself for an overnight trip. The company also offers a smaller, ultra-light version for when space is super-tight.
Eagle Creek and others also make what they call compression cubes, which work like a standard packing cube but have a 'compression zip' to help squash everything down. You can also buy larger (20-30 liter) compression bags that operate much like day packs, with flip-top lids and straps down the side.
None of these varieties, however, reduce space as much as a dedicated compression sack.
There's also the simple option of putting compression sacks inside packing cubes–it provides maximum flexibility, at the cost of extra packing time.
So Which Should You Buy?
If you don't have a tendency to over-pack and just want to keep things organized, opt for packing cubes. They're light, relatively cheap, and mean you won't be the person everyone is waiting for as you try to find that vital something at the bottom of your bag.
For those who just never have enough luggage space, compression sacks are a better choice. They require more work to unpack and (especially) pack, but can't be beaten when your priority is to fit as much stuff as possible in a limited space. Waterproofing is a useful side benefit.
When you really need flexibility, check out the combination options. They don't squash down as much as a dedicated unit, but even a bit of extra space might be all that's needed to get that stubborn zipper to close.