Best Packing Cubes for Any Type of Travel
Packing cubes have the potential to save you a lot of time and hassle when you travel. If you love to be organized or if you just hate digging around your suitcase for something you can't find, then you'll wonder how you ever lived without packing cubes when you start using them. We've collected a few of the best packing cubes on the market so you can find the right set for you.
Our Top Packing Cubes Picks:
Finding the Best Set for You
If you’ve never heard of packing cubes, they are lightweight pouches made of thin material. You fold your clothes and other items and place them into the cubes (which, incidentally, are often rectangular and not cubes) which you then stack into your suitcase.
All of your things will be separated neatly, and you can even pull them out and put them into hotel drawers with nothing out of place. There are a lot of different kinds of packing cube sets out there, so here are a few things you should look at before deciding.
The material that your cubes consist of is important when considering how you will use them. It will determine the cubes’ advantages and how you will use them.
- Synthetic Fabric or Canvas: Cubes made of fabric are some of the most common. You’ll often find cubes made of polyester or nylon. They are light and breathable, so your clothes will be less likely to mildew or get musty. That breathability goes both ways, however, and you may find that your clean clothes smell a lot like your dirty ones, but that's a common hazard no matter how you travel. Fabric cubes are often water resistant but not waterproof, so they aren't suited for especially wet conditions. They are quite durable, though.
- Mesh: Some cubes consist of a mesh material. These cubes are the most breathable of all, and you can see through them, so your stuff is always easy to find. Obviously, these cubes aren't waterproof, and they are more prone to ripping and tearing as they can get caught on zippers and the like. Despite this fragility, mesh cubes are often very light because of the low amount of material used in its construction, so they are suitable for you if you don't plan on roughing it too much.
- Plastic: Cubes that are made of clear plastic are quite different from those that aren't. They are waterproof or very water resistant, and they are almost always transparent. Plastic cubes don't breathe very well, but that can be a blessing if you have some especially pungent items in your bags. However, plastic cubes are slightly bulkier and rigid than fabric or mesh cubes, which can ever so slightly reduce the amount of space and available weight capacity in your suitcase. So if you often find yourself just barely getting your travel bags closed or narrowly getting them underweight, plastic might not be the best option for you.
When deciding on a cube, it’s a good idea to know how strong and durable it will be to get an idea of how you can use it and how long it will last. Fabric cubes will have a denier rating that will tell you how strong the fabric is. A common denier rating might look like this: “600D polyester.” Usually, the higher denier number, the stronger and better.
Some cubes offer a compression functionality in their design. In theory, it compresses your clothing after you have packed it into the cube to save you space in your luggage. It usually accomplishes this with a flexible material and a strong zipper. You can stuff everything you need into the cube, and when the zipper is closed it squeezes the contents down giving you more space.
Price and Amount
Depending on your and your family’s needs, you may need just a few cubes or many of them in different sizes. The companies that make these cubes offer them in different sets. These sets may have three or up to ten bags in the set, and they can have varying sizes of cubes within them. Sizes range from small toiletry bags to large cubes designed for multiple garments.
You'll likely have to do some shopping around to find the best fit for you. Sets with more cubes, of course, cost more but due to fluctuations in different brands' pricing, you may be able to find a ten-piece set for the price of another company's three-piece.
You’ll next need to consider quality and features. The following reviews will be mainly on three-piece sets, but they can give you a good idea of what to look for and how much the larger sets might cost, as the larger sets just have more of the same cubes found in the three-piece set.
These are some of the best and most popular packing cubes out there. We’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons so you can decide which are best for you.
The EZPacking company is family owned and was born out of necessity when the founder’s daughter went off to college. Their cubes are made from clear plastic, with all of its advantages and disadvantages. The cubes are, as the name suggests, transparent so you can see what you are looking for. The material is exceptionally durable and will last a long time, but it isn’t breathable like fabric.
As the material is plastic, it is rigid. This enhanced structure does mean that it takes up slightly more space than a fabric cube, but in return, it allows for vertical packing. Fabric cubes will bend, wrinkle, and be hard to fit if not laid down flat. But the EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes can be inserted into your suitcase anyway you like to make use of every inch.
- Durable plastic
- Rigidity allows for vertical packing
- Many different color choices
- Can be bought individually, or cheaper in sets of four or more
- Material not breathable
- Takes up more space than fabric cubes
- Marginally more expensive than other brands
- Cubes don’t stretch or expand
- Cubes a bit smaller than fabric counterparts
Amazon makes their own cubes for travel for their Amazon Basics line of products. They usually come in sets of four with a small, medium, large and slim cube included. As you might expect from a product line called, “Basics,” these cubes are functional and affordable with no frills.
The cubes are made from polyester, but the top is mesh, so it allows you to see the cube's contents and gives your items some extra ventilation. That's all well and good, but if you travel often and your things see rough conditions, the weaker polyester fabric and mesh is prone to snags, rips and tears. It might not last as long as you like but if you travel infrequently or are very careful, that might not matter, and the lower price tag may entice you.
- Exceptionally affordable
- Webbing handles for convenient carrying
- Mesh top for ventilation and identification of contents
- Double zipper pulls for fast and easy opening and closing
- Several color options to choose from
- Flexible, able to stretch to accommodate more things
- Polyester and mesh material not as durable as other cubes
- No compression system
- Can’t be bought individually
- Not machine washable
- Soft material doesn’t hold its shape
Eagle Creek is widely regarded as a leader in the packing and organizing market. Self-professed "organization nerds," their products are popular and trusted. The Specter line of products is one of their latest and offers many advancements in features and technology.
The Specter line is made of durable nylon that is water resistant, so it's great if you plan on taking them into the outdoors or to rainy locales. The fiber is also translucent so you can get a pretty good idea of what's inside the cubes without opening them. All of these nifty features do come with a higher than average price, however. There are also some odd design choices like an awkward carrying handle and a zipper that doesn't zip all the way around the cube.
- Strong and breathable nylon material
- Translucent to help identify contents easier
- Water resistant
- Included folding instruction board
- Lightweight and stretchable for increased capacity.
- Sold individually, or save money buying a set of three
- Good compression functionality
- Relatively more expensive than other sets.
- Only a handful of color options
- Thin material doesn’t hold shape
- Zipper does not go all around every side of the bag, may make retrieving items difficult.
eBags is a well-known brand popular for their travel bags and accessories. They've been around for almost 20 years and have made quite the name for themselves. Their packing cubes are a good mix of quality and affordability. They have many features you might expect on higher-end models at a lower price point.
eBags’ cubes have a mesh top like the Amazon Basics cubes, but ebags’ are made from nylon and not polyester meaning they are stronger and will likely last longer. The zippers are premium YKK corded zippers so they open and close more easily and will last longer. eBags offers several different varieties of cubes which you can buy individually or in sets of three or more.
- Tough and durable nylon
- Mesh top for ventilation and vision
- Premium YKK corded zippers
- A wealth of color options
- Breathable fabric with bound interior seams to resist snags
- Lifetime guarantee
- Mesh top may be prone to snags and tears
- Thin material does stand up when packing, making it more difficult
- Slightly more expensive than other brands
- No compression system
The Pack-It line is Eagle Creek's original cube design. It's the product line that put them on the map. The Pack-It cubes are generally cheaper because they are the older model, but that's not to say they lack in quality. They are well designed and are made from a 300D polyester micro-weave, but don’t have the fancy new features more recent product lines have.
Notably different from the Specter line is the Pack-It’s material. It is polyester so it may not last as long, and it isn't transparent so you can't really see what's inside while it is closed. However, some of the bags do have mesh tops, depending on the type. All in all, there are seven different cubes in the Pack-It line of varying size, shape and function.
- Not very expensive, despite being from a well-known brand
- Mesh tops on some of the cubes
- Sold individually or in sets of three or more
- Polyester material has a high denier rating than other polyester cubes
- Several different types of bags for all traveling and packing needs
- Good compression functionality
- Polyester material not as durable as nylon or plastic
- Mesh tops may be prone to snags, rips and tears
- Not translucent or transparent, so only some cubes allow you to see inside
- Does not hold shape very well when packing
Conclusion: The Winner Is…
We found the best packing cubes for our money was the original Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes. Their Specter line had some great features for backpackers and for travelers who like to rough it, but the peculiar design choices and higher price point likely isn't worth it for the average traveler. Despite it being made from polyester, the quality and craftsmanship stood out above cheaper cubes. The Pack-It cubes are just great all around, and they have a lot of different kinds of bags that you can buy individually to customize your packing and finally get organized.