When planning a trip, finding enough space in your suitcase for all your clothes and other belongings can seem like a mighty struggle.
If you do manage to cram all your things inside, you may find yourself endlessly scrabbling for your hairbrush, your flipflops and your charger wedged between rolled up clothes and toiletries.
If this hassle sounds familiar, we’re very glad you found this article! We want to introduce you to the perfect alternative: travel packing cubes.
Read on to learn more about how to use packing cubes, how they differ from compression packing cubes, what to look for selecting your product, and our top pick for the best packing cubes of 2019.
1. Packing Cubes Review: TravelWise Packing Cube System 5 Piece
Our top pick for the best travel cubes of 2019 is undoubtedly the TravelWise Packing Cube System. It has no pretenses, uses no gimmicks to lure buyers in, but is rather a plain and simple good quality, well-designed product.
Sometimes, a brand gets it right and sets the standard for all its competitors, and in the world of contemporary packing, TravelWise is that forerunner.
Features of TravelWise Packing Cubes:
- It’s made of ultralightweight nylon material
- Has a breathable mesh-panel center
- You can identify the items inside at a glance
- They come in 4 colors: blue, lavender, lime green and pink
- Slightly roomier than competing brands
- You get 2 large cubes, 2 medium and 1 small in the set
- Reinforced seams
- Good value for your money
Packing cubes for travel have to meet a few basic criteria in order to be helpful to travelers. If it doesn’t keep your space organized and help you store your clothes more efficiently, it’s not doing its job.
You are looking for a product that is durable – something you can rely on long-term and won’t break on you 2 months in.
You must prioritize form as well as function here: TravelWise packing cubes have a soft shell, meaning they are easier to fit into a backpack while packing cubes with a stiff shell like the Bagail set we have reviewed for you below, are more rigid and need to be strategically fit into a suitcase.
TravelWise Packing Cube Sizes:
Large: 4″x 12″x 17″
Medium: 3″x 9″x 13″
Small: @ 3″x 6.5″x11″
The TravelWise Packing Cube System is the favorite of the day because it ticks all the boxes.
At the end of the day, what every traveler needs is a reliable packing system that promises organization and efficiency, and this product achieves every milestone with consistency.
Packing Cube FAQ
What Is A Packing Cube, And Why Use One?
Packing cubes were designed to allow users to maximize the space they can use in their bag by keeping your clothes and other items on your packing list separate.
The packing cube acts as a useful organizer, with zippered compartments to keep all your belongings easily accessible, neat and secure.
They are created to be ultralight and durable, adding as little bulk and weight to your bag as possible, and withstanding extensive use.
Some have breathable compartments good for keeping dirty and clean clothes separate, while others are sown with waterproof material to keep moisture from ruining your clothes if your toothbrush is wet or you have a damp facecloth you need to pack.
Packing cubes come in a variety of colors and sizes, with small packing cubes often sold accompanied by larger ones in sets of 3 or 5.
The TravelWise 5 Piece Packing Cube System comes with a good scope of sizes that are still small enough to fit in your duffel bag.
Watch out for some of the lower quality, bulky, hefty packing cubes on the market as they may take up more space than they are worth.
Are Packing Cubes Worth It, And Do They Work For Backpacking?
Packing cubes can be a great addition to any suitcase, school bag, gym bag or backpack.
With our top pick, TravelWise, coming in at less than @25 for a set of 5, they are worth the investment – if you pick the right product!
We’ve reviewed our three runner-up products below the FAQ to give you a better idea about what kind of products are out there.
In terms of how useful packing cubes can be for backpackers, we’ve done some research and found that hikers, mountaineers, and campers can benefit greatly from adding 3 or 4 packing cubes to their packing list essentials.
When you are relying on the bag on your back to be your entire closet, keeping it organized is super important.
Having loose dirty clothes jumble around with clean ones is, frankly, pretty gross, and it can be completely avoided by using two separate packing cubes to stare each lot separately – your clothes are cleaner for longer and it becomes far easier to locate that specific item of clothing in a hurry.
Need some clean socks? Consult your sock cube. Want to keep two people’s clothes in one bag? Use to separate packing cubes.
Having trouble fitting everything into your little packing space? The packing cube helps compartmentalize and compact your clothes for a smarter setup inside.
Compression packing cubes are great when traveling somewhere and not planning on bringing many extra things home with you.
The Eagle Creek compression packing cubes are ultralight and have the ability to impressively compact clothes as all the air is forced out.
Although these packing cubes are great for saving space pre-trip, it will be a challenge and a half to9 pack all your clothes back in your backpack out in the wilderness without a vacuum to compress them.
If you are going backpacking, compression packing cubes are not the greatest choice, but if you are going to the grandkids for Christmas, kitted out with 10 homemade sweaters you intend to give as presents, something like Eagle Creek is right on the money.
What Is The Best Way To Use Packing Cubes?
No ultimate rulebook has yet been written on how to use packing cubes. Packing cubes can be combined, shared, specially chosen or collected to create the perfect packing setup for your needs.
Because the best packing cubes on the market come in a variety of colors, it can be a cinch to pack clothes for multiple family members in one bag and easily differentiate between whose is whose when you arrive.
Color-coding can also be very useful for remembering what is in each packing cube, should they not have a clear or mesh cover.
Think of individual travel packing cubes as draws in your dresser, keeping everything neat and compartmentalized.
Tip: Although some packing cubes like the TravelWise Weekender (5 piece) can be used for storing things like electronics and toiletries safely due to its durable material and solid design, consider supplementing your packing list with an extra toiletry bag and 100% waterproof case for things like cameras and tablets.
Best Packing Cubes for Different Clothes
Large Pacing Cubes
Large packing cubes are best used for big items of clothing.
You can use these for packing sweaters, shoes, pants, shirts and perhaps even items for swimming.
Using many large packing cubes can mean you may exceed the amount of space in your bag, so pack efficiently and only pack what you will use.
Medium Packing Cubes
Medium packing cubes are great for storing things like socks, beanies, underwear, gloves, larger accessories, first aid items, and the list stretches on.
A good 5-piece travel packing cube set will come with at least one medium-sized cube.
Medium cubes are the best choice to keep clothes in your backpack well organized, as large versions are often too big, and smaller sizes unequipped to fit a few days’ worth of clothing.
Small Packing Cubes
Small packing cubes are great for shorter trips and a great way to compartmentalize and organize belongings that could otherwise get lost in the abyss of your bag.
Hair accessories, toys, hygiene products, baby supplies and more can be safely stored away and easily accessed.
Make Use of Those Compartments
Storage pockets with durable, reinforced zippers are often installed into the walls of packing cubes, and these compartments add an entirely new dimension to an organized suitcase.
You can use them to sort even the smallest of items into their respective pockets, prevent your things from being jostled around in transit.
Are Packing Cubes TSA Approved?
We totally encourage you to use packing cubes to travel by plane. Packing cubes are TSA approved and actually come in extremely handy at the security check if asked to unpack your stuff.
You can put your liquids and gels in an easily accessible compartment to produce in a flash for security, without rooting around in your bag, keeping everybody waiting.
Should You Use Compression Packing Cubes Or Standard Packing Cubes On Your Next Trip?
Compression packing cubes like the Eagle Creek Pack-It System do wonders for clever utilization of space, by letting you squeeze all the excess air out of the bag.
This vacuum compacts your clothes, so they take up less space in your bag.
This is a fabulous feature if you are looking to bring more things with you than you intend to bring back but can become problematic.
Once you’ve opened the compressed bag, air is allowed back in and the clothes expand in volume.
If they barely fit inside your bag when they were compressed, it will be very unlikely they will fit back in properly.
Use standard packing cubes if you are going camping, backpacking or hiking, and consider compression packing cubes if you intend to travel at length and can conveniently repack all your clothes as neatly as you did before so they fit back in.
2. Packing Cube Review: eBags Packing Cubes 6 Piece Value Set
Our runner-up for best packing cubes for travel in 2019 is the eBags 6-piece set.
These packing cubes are impressive right off the bat, sporting 5 stylish colors to choose from, and fashionable patterns to polish off their expensive look.
Like the TravelWise set reviewed at the beginning of this article, the eBags packing cube sets are soft-shelled, so can more easily fit into a backpack or duffel bag.
Features of the eBags Packing Cubes for Travel
- You receive 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small and 3 slim sizes
- Uses premium self-healing, YKK reinforced zippers with corded pulls
- Lightweight but durable
- See-through mesh for breathability
- A bit flashy for more conservative tastes
What we appreciate about eBags is how they have designed their cubes to fit cleverly together in your suitcase.
They stack together snugly but without wrinkling clothes, making them a great choice for a shopping trip in Berlin, or a 2-week meander through Yosemite Park.
Packing Cubes Sizes:
Large: 17.5″ x 12.75″ x 3.25″
Medium: 13.75″ x 9.75″ x 3″
Small: 11″ x 6.75″ x 3″
Slim: 2.8″ x 14″ x 5″
In short, eBags makes high-quality products that deserve to be right up here on your list of the best packing cubes of 2019, but just not quite ready to take on TravelWise, with a price tag of nearly double.
Is the hike in price here justified? Definitely, if you appreciate aesthetics on-trend packing cubes with seams of steel!
3. Packing Cube Review: Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cube Set
The Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cube Set has a secret weapon: its superior space-saving technology.
Instead of their primary focus bring on organizing items, Eagle Creek is all about optimizing space usage using compression.
The downside to compressing your clothes at home when packing it of course that you may not be able to fit them in as perfect when packing to leave.
Features of Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cubes
- Comes in a set of 2 cubes, one large and one half-size
- They are beautifully designed
- Ultralight silnylon material minimizes weight
- Expands to fit more clothes in as you pack
- Thin, rectangular shape
- Compression technology to compact clothes
- Pricey, but worth it
- Can be unaccommodating of thicker items
- Hard to repack consistently
Packing Cube Sizes:
Large: 14″ x 10″ x 4″
Half-Cube:10″ x 7″ x 4″
While it is great that Eagle Creek has incorporated many high-end features to their packing cubes, it is a bit more difficult to find your items in this bag, and there aren’t a lot of options for storing and compartmentalizing smaller items.
4. Packing Cube Review: Bagail Packing Cubes Set of 6
Not to be outdone, well-known brand Bagail has come out with their own sets of packing cubes for travel – and boy, do they represent!
The main difference between the Bagail 6 Piece Set and the previous 3 products we discussed in this article is their shell stiffness.
Although the Bagail may look like eBags’ design, they are actually made of a slightly more rigid material and keep their right-angles better when packed into a suitcase.
This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you are going for keeping your clothes pristine or fitting more stuff in.
Features of Bagail Packing Cube Set of 6
- Comes in a whopping 14 different colors and designs
- Has a double zipper for easy opening and closing
- Soft mesh used on top for breathability
- Very sturdy construction, won’t break easily
- Reasonably Priced
- Possibly too silky and glamorous looking for some
- Interior seams
Packing Cubes Sizes
Large: 17.5″ x 13.7″ x 4″
Medium: 13.7″ x 9.8″ x 4″
Bagail packing cubes come in Large, Medium and Slim, and when you purchase the 6 unit set, you receive 2 of each kind.
At first glance, it can seem as though there are far too many choices when it comes to finding which packing cubes are right for your travel plans.
After following with us as we explored a little deeper into what makes each packing cube brand unique, we hope that we have made your choice a little easier.
For camping, backpacking, holiday-making and other getaway excursions, your most practically and financially intelligent choice would be the Travel Wise 5 Piece Set.
Try adding packing cubes to your chaotic life and witness the relief o having all your belongings neat, tidy, safe, clean, compartmentalizes and efficiently packed.