The 10 Best Packing Cubes
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Excellent for travel organization, packing cubes allow you to separate clean and dirty clothes for each day of your trip, keep similar items together, or designate one for each family member. If you like to be tidy or are looking for a way to pack more in less space, these are just what you need. We've included sets and some available singly, so you can find just what you need. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 26, 2021:
No changes were made to the Wiki during this round of updates. Of our selections, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech remains the best high-tech, lightweight option and the Eagle Creek 3-Pack the nicest budget-friendly set. You can, however, save even more money with the AmazonBasics 4-Piece. The Dot & Dot is also still our favorite highly rugged choice, and its relatively stiff sides make it ideal for maximizing space. If you're looking for something more designer-oriented, we highly recommend considering something from our Special Honors section.
January 18, 2020:
Although the older Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter remain worthwhile, the updated Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech are the model to beat. They offer zippers that go completely around three sides, an improvement over the zipper coverage on the previous version. The fabric used is exceedingly lightweight, and they're made to high quality standards. If you need a more budget-friendly alternative, there are the AmazonBasics 4-Piece and the eBags Classic to consider. These have mesh for breathability and come in colors ranging from plain and neutral to bright and fun. There's also the Shacke Pak and the Bagail Organizers, choices that arrive with a travel laundry bag, but they are perhaps not robust enough for the true road warriors. Finally, we've added the thoughtfully designed Travelon Expandable. On its outside, you will find two pockets that hold one flat shoe or slipper each. You might struggle to fit bulky shoes, though.
The Insider by Away The Insider by Away come in a number of stylish colors that complement this company's popular luggage, although this set should work well with many other suitcases, too. They offer a very simple mesh and nylon construction, but they're made to high quality standards and should last for a long time. awaytravel.com
Tom Bihn Packing Cube Shoulder Bag Whereas most options have only one function, the Tom Bihn Packing Cube Shoulder Bag doubles as a 4.5-liter day/shoulder bag, which helps make every inch of your luggage space count. It is relatively pricey but can take plenty of abuse, and it comes in a range of handsome colors. tombihn.com
Paravel Packing Cube Trio The Paravel Packing Cube Trio has a sophisticated appeal, especially since these can be personalized with up to three embroidered letters. Made from recycled plastic water bottles, each has a viewing window for fast identification of what's inside. tourparavel.com
Taking The Stress Out Of Travel
And the easiest way to create such a system is to use packing cubes inside your luggage.
In order to help ensure that you have the most enjoyable vacation or the most productive business trip, it's important to spend sufficient time planning for your travel well before the trip commences. This involves conducting at least a bit of research about the places you'll visit for travel undertaken for pleasure and about the people you'll meet and projects to be discussed for business. It means ensuring all of your needed travel documents are printed and collated or else saved to your phone and ready for quick scanning. It involves confirming hotel reservations and double checking your itinerary to make sure you know where and when you need to be in various places. And of course stress-free travel means carefully packing all the things you'll need to bring along.
To be clear, careful packing involves much more than the choice of the items you will bring with you on your trip; indeed it means taking the time to pack those items thoughtfully and with care: even if you have the perfect pair of shoes for every occasion that arises during your trip, if you have to tear your luggage apart searching for them, you'll still manage to cause yourself undo frustration during your travels.
When packing for a trip, first consider everything you might need given the terrain you'll encounter, the casual or formal nature of the places you'll visit and the events you'll attend, and simply for the duration of the trip (with the laundry facilities -- or lack thereof -- taken into consideration). Next look for redundancies: if you're going to a seaside resort and you also love taking a daily jog, might your two pairs of swimming trunks be able to double as gym shorts, for example? And might a certain shirt or blouse be dressed up with the right slacks or skirt, then dressed down with the sandals? It's important to always feel like you have everything you need for comfort while traveling, but these needs can often be met in multiple ways.
Once you have your clothing, toiletries, and other sundries accounted for, lay them all out on a bed, table, or on the floor so you can easily take stock of everything. Finally, it's time to group your items together prior to finally packing them. There is usually a logical approach, such as putting toiletries in one group, casual clothing together, formal wear in another pile, and so forth. But some people also prefer to pack by each day, with their gym clothes, daytime outfit, and evening wear all together in one pile for easy access on a given day.
There is no right or wrong way to organize your packed luggage, just so long as you create and maintain a system that makes sense to you. And the easiest way to create such a system is to use packing cubes inside your luggage.
Choosing The Right Packing Cubes
All packing cubes are designed around the same basic ideas: when you use a series of conveniently sized packages to help sort and store your clothes and accessories for travel, it makes organization and access easier. When those same packs can help protect your belongings, it makes travel less stressful. And when those packing cubes can even compress your clothes, saving space and allowing you to bring more and/or to use smaller suitcases, travel becomes even easier still.
As in life, so too with packing for a trip, it always makes sense to choose the simplest option that suffices.
Before choosing a set of packing cubes, first simply consider how often you travel. If the answer is not very frequently, there are two different approaches to take. First, consider buying inexpensive, less durable packing cubes because they should last for several years anyway, being infrequently used. Or on the other hand, you could consider buying top-of-the-line packing cubes that may well be the only set you'll ever need given the rarity of your outings.
For most people who go on a few vacations and perhaps a few business trips each year, the choice of the right set of packing cubes should be defined not by price, though, but by needs. As in life, so too with packing for a trip, it always makes sense to choose the simplest option that suffices. If you take short trips, then a packing cube set with three pieces makes sense. If you travel for long periods of time, you might need an option with five or even six bags.
Also consider whether your packing cubes are for purely organizational purposes, or if they in fact need to add some protection to your things. Some cubes offer padding and support suitable for storing cameras, media players, and even tablets or small laptops. Others are thin and rather flimsy, perfect for clothing but unsuitable for much else.
Make The Most Of Your Packing Cubes
Keep in mind that the way you use your packing cubes at the start of a trip might not be the same way they are used throughout your travels. One cube might start off holding clean clothing but then be designated as the storage spot for dirty laundry, for example. In fact, you might start off with one cube flattened and empty, and then slowly fill it as you wear clothes during the trip. Packing cubes can help with more than initial planning and organization, they can help keep your belongings sorted and separated during the trip.
Based on design, material, and appearance, some packing cubes are suitable only for use in a suitcase or in the drawers of the dresser at the hotel. Others, however, feature built-in handles and handsome exteriors that make them perfectly suitable for use as a bag to bring books, a cover-up, and other sundries down to the pool or the beach. If you are going on a trip where a day pack might be handy, you may well be able to enlist a packing cube for this purpose, provided you choose the right set ahead of time.
And of course a packing cube is never to be overlooked when helping your children plan and pack for travel. You can augment a youngster's likely limited capacity for strategic travel planning by encouraging them to use a packing cube system rather than simply shoving things in a suitcase.