I’ve struggled with packing for a long time. My bag never seemed big enough for the amount of clothing and other things I wanted to bring on a trip. I would roll, stuff, and fill up every available nook in my luggage. A few years ago I discovered the wonders of using packing cubes. I can’t believe the difference it made. I am more organized and can fit more stuff in the same amount of space. Now I can’t imagine traveling without them.
If you are new to packing cubes, I’ll go over what they are, how to use them, and what you need. I’ll also review the 5 best packing cubes for travel.
TOP PACKING CUBE SETS
WHAT ARE PACKING CUBES?
If you aren’t familiar with packing cubes, they are a simple but highly effective way of organizing and packing your bags. They are usually come in square or rectangles, have a zipper opening, and some form of a mesh or see through top so you can see what is inside.
You can select from a variety of sizes and shapes in order to fit whatever bag you are packing. You can buy packing cubes in a variety of colors, whether you want to get super organized and color code your belongings or just pick the color that suits your taste.
While they are not super stretchy, you can pack a lot of stuff in them, allowing you to pack a lot more clothes and gear into the same amount of space.
WHY USE PACKING CUBES?
Packing cubes are great if you want to save space, keep organized, and carry more stuff in a smaller suitcase, backpack, or bag. I use them for a variety of things, from packing all my clothes to keeping all the chargers and miscellaneous cables for my electronics and cameras together to holding toiletries and other small items that might ordinarily get tucked away in hard to find places in my bag.
ARE PACKING CUBES WORTH IT?
I love packing cubes and wish I’d found them sooner. I have yet to find a better way to organize and pack my luggage. While zip lock bags will always be a mainstay in my and many other travelers packing routine, they can’t replace packing cubes for pure packing power.
A small investment of around $20 in a nice set of packing cubes will last for years. I’ve always bought high-quality packing cubes like those from the brands I mention in this article, and they have lasted many years without any issues. If you buy the cheap stuff, I’d expect to be replacing them sooner rather than later.
MY PACKING CUBES REVIEWS
I prefer both Eagle Creek and eBags as I’ve used them both for years and would have no problem recommending them to anyone.
I’ve been using Eagle Creek packing cubes for years. They are tough and durable yet lightweight. They make a selection of different organizers, including folders for shirts, sacks for items such as toiletries, toiletry kits, and more. One of the things I really like is that it is easy to add pieces to your starter kit, one at a time and buy only the pieces you need.
They come in 4 or 5 different colors and Eagle Creek offers a lifetime warranty. I use the original style, they also make the Spectre series, which is made from even thinner and lighter ripstop nylon.
eBags packing cubes are one of the most popular brands. They are made from thin, light, but extremely durable nylon. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, 9 different styles at the time of writing, so you’re sure to find one that works for you. eBags stands behind their products and offers a lifetime warranty.
eBags features a variety of different kits. The basic 3 piece kit is a good place to start if you don’t know what you need. You’ll get one each of the small medium and large packing organizers. They also offer other kits in different sizes and styles.
Shacke packing organizers are another popular option for a lot of travelers. They come in a set of four and even includes a laundry bag. You get one X-Large, Large, Medium, and small. The cubes are a little deeper than most organizers on the list at 4”.
One thing that is a drawback for me is that they don’t seem to sell individual pieces so you can’t add individual pieces and sizes. Actually, they have limited sizes too – no slim packing cubes available, at the moment at least.
Amazon has their own brand of packing cubes and they would be ones I would consider if I was in the market for some new cubes.
What I like is that they have starter kits that come in a variety of sizes and styles, giving people a greater choice of where to start. They are made from polyester as opposed to the other bags which are made nylon.
The main drawback for me is there are only kits and you can’t add individual pieces.
OVERALL CHOICE: EAGLE CREEK PACKING CUBES
Overall, my main choice would still be Eagle Creek. They are tough and durable, have a lifetime warranty, and have a wider selection of sizes, styles, and options. I also like the fact you can add additional pieces as you need them. For me, they are the best packing cubes for travel.
HOW MANY PACKING CUBES DO I NEED?
This is kind of like asking “How long is a piece of string?” The answer is going to depend on you, the size of your bag, and how much clothes and other stuff you need to pack. My first piece of advice would be to buy a starter pack, which usually consists of about 3 or 4 different cubes. After, or if, you fill those cubes, then add more as you need them. At that point, you’ll have a good idea what size and type you need.
I started out based on clothing type. I got one for socks, one for underwear, one for shirts, etc.… After that I found I added a folder for my collared shirts and a few more bags to better organize my things.
HOW TO USE PACKING CUBES
You can use packing cubes in a variety of ways. I break the user goals down into three main groups, organize, pack more in less space, and organize and pack more in less space.
Organize – I started out using packing cubes to organize my clothes and accessories in my luggage. Everything was separated by item type, socks, t-shirts, underwear, shorts, and so on. The items were nicely rolled or folded so not to get wrinkled. It saved some space and made finding things really easy.
Pack More In Less Space – Packing cubes are great for stuffing a lot of clothes into a small space. If you don’t mind having a few wrinkles, you can pack cubes to the brim with clothes. Doing so will save you a ton of space and can possibly let you downsize your luggage or backpack.
Organize and Pack More in Less Space – This is how I use packing cubes now. I like to stay organized, but I stuff my packing cubes to the fullest, trying to save as much space as possible. I don’t want to get a larger bag. I keep a few shirts that I don’t want to wrinkle in a packing folder that lies flat and doesn’t take up much space. I don’t overstuff, and I don’t mind commingling a few item types in order to save some space. It’s what works for me.
Packing folders are great for keeping shirts relatively wrinkle free while reducing space in your luggage.
I bought a packing folder to keep a few of my collared shirts from getting wrinkled or ruining their collars. It works awesome and doesn’t take up much space in my bag.
WHERE TO BUY PACKING CUBES
You can buy packing cubes from a variety of stores such as REI. That is where I bought my first set of Eagle Creek packing cubes. Now I recommend shopping on Amazon. They have the best selection I’ve found and it is hard to beat their prices.