How To Use Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes

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

$27.00
TravelWise Packing Cube System 5 Piece
2,800 Reviews
TravelWise Packing Cube System 5 Piece
  • Packing Made Easy.
  • Extra Durable.
  • Functional Design.
  • Arrive Organized.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

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

$18.00
eBags Packing Cubes 6 Piece Value Set
727 Reviews
eBags Packing Cubes 6 Piece Value Set
  • Includes 6 Various Packing Cubes.
  • QUALITY Superior Quality.
  • Durable & Convenient.
  • Stay Organized.
  • Made from Weather Resistant Polyester.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.

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
  • Pricey
  • 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

$8.50
Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cube Set
673 Reviews
Eagle Creek Specter Compression Cube Set
  • Ultra Lightweight Silnylon.
  • Extra Compression.
  • Expanded Dimensions.
  • Expanded Capacity.
  • Water-Resistant.

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

$5.00
Bagail Packing Cubes Set of 6
2,937 Reviews
Bagail Packing Cubes Set of 6
  • High Qaulity.
  • Valued & Convenient.
  • Avoid Overweight Charges.
  • Various Sizes.
  • Worry FREE One Year Warranty.

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″
Small: 13.7″x5″x4″

Bagail packing cubes come in Large, Medium and Slim, and when you purchase the 6 unit set, you receive 2 of each kind.

Conclusion

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.

25 Comments

  1. Kara on April 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I use packing cubes in my ZUCA Pro wheeled carry on. They stack vertically. Love the concept and love the bag.



  2. Linda on April 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I am kind of on the fence about these things too. If I’m packing a plain suitcase with lots of room, they definitely make life easier. But they don’t really help you pack any lighter or more compactly if you know what you’re doing already. An organization aid more than anything.



  3. mike on April 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I can definitely fit more with packing cubes, because the limiting factor is often not how much I can smoosh in to my bag, it’s how much I can easily get to. By helping with organization, packing cubes increase the amount of stuff that I can carry and get to at the same time.

    They’re also great because I no longer spend an hour every night unpacking and packing my bag when I travel.



  4. Jodi on May 5, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I agree with Linda – these are great when you are using a suitcase, but when traipsing around with a pack, they’re hard to use, especially when you need to pack quickly. I’ve found that thin siliconized nylon stuff sacks (like sea to summit’s Ultra Sil compression bag ) in different sizes do the trick. I can unpack quickly and put my clothes in one and underwear/bathing suit/socks, etc in the other smaller one. And they’re water resistant, which is great.



  5. Chris on April 27, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I also agree with Linda. The biggest advantage is in my opinion that you don`t have to pack or unpack the bag.

    @ Jodi: Thanks for the tip with nylon stuff sacks. Simple but effective

    PS: “packing cubes” link is broken.



  6. Mary Alice Coffman on November 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t really see much of an advantage with these. I prefer using my spacepak bags to suck the air out of bulky items like polar fleece to give me more room.



  7. greg on January 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    As a long time travelling climber, skier and occasional surfer who wound up becoming the product guy for a travel storage company i often find myself engaged in the storage compartments vs storage sacs discussion. That choice usually comes down to some of the points that have been well covered in the original article and followup comments. From my perspective another equally important factor concerns the risk of grim weather and the possibility of clothes and essentials getting wet. If that is a possibility then consider weather or water proof storage options.



  8. Joseph Boarman on March 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I answere yes to every question but #6. I guess I need these.



  9. Johnny on June 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I never use these things. My wife thinks they’re the bomb. Like you said though, so also gets giddy about The Container Store. I never seem to have any trouble finding my underwear, so these seem like something extra to pack rather than a help.



  10. innate on July 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

    One further point for consideration are weatherproof cubes. With full disclosure, and at the risk of self-promotion, the Innate team saw a critical need for cubes that keep shirts/pants/frocks dry and sealed up when on the road for deployment on the flight home or a meeting when you’ve got to look your best. We used our stitch-less rf welding technology on recycled and repurposed materials to create a nice option for travellers needing more than mere organizers. Worth considering if you need you are travelling in we, humid environs.



  11. Maria on November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    There is a new compression version that Eagle Creek put out that changed my mind about these thing. You stuff in all your stuff and then the second zipper compresses everything tight. Great for dirty clothes.



  12. Daidri ~ theegetawaygal.com on November 12, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Thanks Tom, great review! I personally love cubes. They were a life safer for me in my backpack while in Italy. Maria, my sister just purchased the Eagle Creek cubes that compress and is absolutely loving them.



  13. hermes on January 4, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I am a bit of an over-organizer, but as I travel a lot I loathe spending a lot of time sorting my stuff and spending hours between one-night hotels. I also travel in the tropics in the third world where rain comes in downpours. I use a cheap (no point inviting crimes of opportunity) one compartment bag because I find organizer bags overkill when I do it all myself inside anyway.

    Ziplocks are too soft and packing cubes are too clever with colour codes and patterns. The only *pure* see-through plastic (not smokey, no advertising, zero extras) are the line sold in Tokyu Hands department store in Japan. They have dozens of sizes and shapes – for everything from toiletries to sweaters. Zen packing. My only criticisms of that bares bones line are that the plastic is a bit hard and the zippers would be better if they extended truly half-way down the sides, or better all the way down so I could create top-open boxes on the road. I actually designed my own very sturdy organizers and have five progressively refined prototypes made in Vietnam. Problem is in my quest for military durability they were too heavy.

    And yes, you get more in your bag without any organizers.



  14. Jennifer on August 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I’m taking my first Europe trip next month and we are backpacking. I have a large backpack (70 liters) and wondering if packing cubes would help. If so which would be best? Considering Eagel Creek and ebags.

    We’re visiting France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. No real backpacking while hiking but a lot of traveling from country to country on trains which is why we’re using backpacks.

    Any feedback would be so appreciated.



  15. Tim Leffel on August 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I would go a middle route and take some, but don’t fill your whole pack with them. They work better in rectangular suitcases. The compression ones Eagle Creek makes are great though because you can fit more in or compress your dirty clothes. But often with a pack, roll and stuff will actually work better.



  16. Michael on June 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Last year I bought a set of packing cubes and looking back, I don’t know how I traveled without them. Makes life so much easier. One thing I would recommend is buying a set of packing cubes that have 2 compartments so you can keep your clean and dirty clothes separate. Really useful when you go on longer trips. I have this set from Amazon and I can’t recommend them enough.



  17. Joanne on October 6, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I think if you’re looking at cubes you need to look no further than Eagle Creek Specter or Pro Packing Cubes. I have both. Apart from price (Pro Packing Cubes are significantly cheaper) it is down to whether you want a mesh window (I like this – allows you to see inside the cube / find stuff) or compression (Eagle Creek compress better but at expense of wrinkles an its harder to pull things out without unpacking the whole cube). Personally I prefer my Pro Cubes 90% of the time as they are more practical.



  18. Wirakorn @ Mora Bushcraft on October 13, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Good idea.



  19. refslady on December 2, 2015 at 11:30 am

    We usually go on a 3 week winter vacation where we are changing timeshares weekly. The cubes are especially useful when I want to unpack at each location – I simply move the entire cube into a dresser drawer and unzip it. Fortunately, we have laundry facilities at each place, so I don’t need to worry about separating clean and dirty clothes.



  20. zeumerka on December 7, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I discovered the usefulness of packing cubes this autumn. I love them because I can use them to pack into my backpack for two days hike and also for my business trips in my suitcase. I tried my children to get packed in them for weekend at grandparents house, and voila they did it without any problem. And finally we did not forget nothing essential…:-)
    I bought thess ones and I really like them http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ABCJ1E



  21. Heidi on November 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I never travel without my packing cubes from Ikea. They are cheap and do what they should do. Am a huge fan of travelling light 🙂



  22. Nikky on January 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I had Bago cubes and during the second trip they painted my white blouse into black. Will never use them again. Since then I tried few more but stopped with Besquirrel packing cubes: they are really very light, durable and cheap.



  23. Micheal on April 18, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I bought a set of eurybia packing cubes last week amzn.to/2pbVzar. It is good so far. I bought bago before. There is not much difference between those packing cubes actually.



  24. ALYSON MARY KIRN on April 28, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I am just getting ready to try them.



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