Travel Tips

Best Packing Cubes [2023]: Backpacker's favorites for travel!

Updated on:  
December 1, 2022
Reading Time:  
3
 minutes
Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
Contributor
Keeping your belongings organized and easily accessible in your luggage sounds like a dream. If you haven't come across it before, packing cubes are the perfect solution to managing your things while traveling.

Let's face it... It's always a struggle to pack for a trip, regardless of how long or short it is. 

For some, it may be due to the lack of planning (psst ... if this is you, we have just the app to solve all your headaches!). 

But for most, packing is a struggle, no matter how prepared you are. It can get pretty stressful, from managing to stuff everything into your suitcase to reopening the luggage every 5 minutes to check whether you've packed enough socks or shirts.

For me, even when I meticulously plan and pack everything beforehand, there's almost always something I leave behind.

Imagine this.

You've carefully planned out your perfect itinerary, including the cheapest flights and the most exciting destinations and attractions. While you get hyped up for the trip, you realize that the biggest nightmare is yet to come. Packing for the trip. YIKES.

Keep reading to find out what a packing cube is and why I rarely travel without it anymore!

Organizing and packing shirts and pants for travel
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

What's a Packing Cube Set?

Packing cubes are flexible compartments of bags designed to help travelers stay organized by compartmentalizing clothes inside their luggage.

Packing cubes aren't actually always cubes!

They can come in multiple shapes and sizes, but their end goal is always the same, to reduce the amount of space your clothes take up in your suitcase. Depending on the length of your trip and the number of clothes you're planning on bringing, you can opt for larger or smaller packing cubes.

Can you buy them separately?

While you can purchase packing cubes individually, many come in sets (some even come with the purchase of a new suitcase!), giving you various size options.

With packing cubes, you can organize your suitcase and know exactly how much space a cube will take up before you've even packed it. Typically packing cubes use zippers to close, which means that anything you put in them will be easily contained.

There's no risk of them opening during travel. You can fit loads of clothes or anything really into a packing cube, zip it up, and have it slot easily into your suitcase. This is especially handy when flying airlines that have strict luggage size restrictions.

Even better, they can double as laundry bags or something to put your valuables in during a day trip.

Organized suitcases with folded clothes shoes and sunglasses
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Packing cubes vs compression bags

While packing cubes are a great way to save space and organize your packing, they’re not always the most space-saving packing option. If you’re looking to take up as minimal space as possible in your suitcase, compression bags might be a good option for you. 

Compression bags are specifically designed to be squished down to remove all the air in them prior to packing so that they take up very little space. Due to this, compression bags are typically plastic, almost bigger versions of Ziploc bags, with either a vacuum hole or a sealed close.

One big difference between the two is the amount of effort it takes to pack them.

With packing cubes, you only need to fold or roll your clothes and zip them shut.

Compression bags, on the other hand, require slightly more attention. Since you have to remove the air from the compression bags, this is an additional step that you don’t have to take with packing cubes.

It’s also important to think about where you’re going. You don’t want to use compression bags that require vacuums only to discover you don’t have access to one when you’re packing to leave!

Best Packing Cubes to Buy in 2023!

Without further delay, let's get into my list of the best packing cubes you can possibly buy to start your travels right in 2023!

With so many brands out there, and while many packing cube sets are similar, here are a few I've picked out of the bunch that are the best in quality and affordability!

1. FlightDeck Essentials Packing Cubes

I loved it so much, we decided to sell them ourselves. Needless to say, ours is definitely up there in quality! The score here is definitely biased, but hey, we wouldn't have started selling our own if we've found a decent one ourselves!

This 9pcs set of packing cubes is designed to speed up packing while keeping your things tidy and organized from the beginning to the end of your travels.

With 9 different colors and patterns to choose from (the pink with polka dots is my fav), there's a cube for everyone!

Being super lightweight and durable, with a breathable mesh top, you can easily locate your clothing items when you're in a rush to venture out and explore.

Did I mention that they're also made in the US?

Rating: 4.6/5

Pros:

  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Variety of colors & patterns
  • Easily packable

Cons:

  • Not a name brand
  • No Lifetime Warranty
  • few reviews
  • Biased, since we're the seller!
pink packing cube travel organizer
Image Courtesy of Flightdeck Essentials

2. Ebags Packing Cubes

These lightweight packing cubes are a great way to optimize space without adding any extra weight to your suitcase.

This highly-rated set comes with five packing cubes, designed to stand up when empty so you can easily pack.

They also are designed to neatly fit together, no matter the set you buy so your packing will be organized and efficient.

Our Rating: 4.4/5

Pros:

  • Durable & lightweight
  • Premium Zippers
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Tons of reviews!

Cons:

  • No compartments
  • Few varieties
  • Expensive!
ebags packing cubes
Image Courtesy of Amazon

3. Eagle Creek's Packing Cube

These packing cubes come with a handle so you can easily carry them or use them for more than just packing in your suitcase. This set comes with a small and medium cube.

Our Rating: 4.3/5

Pros:

  • Durable & lightweight
  • TSA-Approved
  • Compressible mesh-top

Cons:

  • No Warranty
  • Few varieties
  • Comes with fewer cubes
  • Expensive!
eagle creek packing cubes
Image Courtesy of Amazon

4. Bagail Cubes

This six-piece set offers packing cubes in three separate sizes to give you multiple options for your packing. Complete with handles, you can grab and go with these packing cubes anywhere.

If you don’t fill one up completely, they’re designed to squish down to remove excess air so the cube takes up even less space!

Our Rating: 4.6/5

Pros:

  • Cool patterns/Colors!
  • Laundry bag included
  • Sleek premium materials

Cons:

  • No Warranty
  • Smaller than it looks
bagail packing cubes
Image Courtesy of Amazon

5. Away Travel Cubes

If you’re a fan of the Away brand for suitcases, you’ll be pleased to know they also make packing cubes!

Even if you don’t own an Away suitcase, these water-resistant packing cubes would be a great addition to any traveler's suitcase. In my opinion, packing cubes should not be this expensive, so I personally would not be buying any more of these from Away. While that's the case, I can definitely see the premium look that attracts other travelers though!

Wondering what Away luggages are like instead? We've wrote a separate full review on Away Travel, check it out!

Our Rating: 3.9/5

Pros:

  • Sleek premium materials
  • Water-resistant
  • Variety of Colors

Cons:

  • No Warranty
  • Expensive
  • Comes with fewer bags
away packing cubes
Image Courtesy of Away

6. Rick Steve Packing Cubes

The world’s well-known travel guide, Rick Steve, also has his own packing cubes! This set of three, easily collapsible packing cubes, are what you'd expect as a merchandise. Super functional, but no additional features.

With all sides made of mesh, you’ll easily know what’s in each cube as well. However, I think having the different choices of color and patterns can really brighten up your mood when packing for a trip, so that's a deal breaker for me.

Our Rating: 3.1/5

Pros:

  • Rick Steve Merchandise
  • Purely functional

Cons:

  • No Variety
  • No Warranty
  • Barebone
  • Comes with fewer bags
rick steve packing cubes
Image Courtesy of Rick Steve

7. CalPak Packing Cubes

This five-piece set comes in a variety of colors so you can travel in style. The cubes include a water resistant envelope pouch, as well as an organizing label so you can keep it on top of what’s in each cube.

CalPak is a widely known travel brand, making travel-related products since 1989. While CalPak has gained quite some fans, I personally wouldnt spend 50+ dollars on packing cubes, CalPak or not.

Our Rating: 3.8/5

Pros:

  • Variety of colors
  • Premium look
  • Branded with mesh-top

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No Warranty
calpak packing cubes
Image Courtesy of CalPak

Do packing cubes really help?

Absolutely!

Packing cubes are a great help in multiple ways during the packing and traveling process. They help contain your clothes into a more compact space. Since all your clothes are zipped up into the cube, you can easily move them around while packing and have them fit neatly into your suitcase. 

They’re also a great organizational tool. It’s much less of a hassle to find an item from your packing cubes, rather than having to ravage through your bag looking for that one pair of cute socks you packed. 

Packing cubes can also be super useful for packing cords and other things that can easily get tangled. By putting them in a cube, you can ensure that they stay in one place, and minimize the detangling you need to do when you arrive at your destination. 

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Verdict: Are Packing Cubes Worth It?

So now you've gotten all these new information about packing cubes, we've circled back the most important question: Is it a gimmick, or is it actually worth the purchase?

While it can be debated if packing cubes ultimately save a lot of space, the organization you get out of them can be worthwhile for many travelers. That means that for some travelers, it may be worth it to be organized, especially if you're a digital nomad where traveling is your lifestyle.

Packing cubes are a fantastic way to keep your suitcase organized, and to neatly fit in everything before you zip up your suitcase and head out on your travel adventure.

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Published on:  
November 2, 2022

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