Packing for a trip can be a nightmare, whether you’re road-tripping across the country, flying around the world, or hitting the trail. Packing cubes are a great way to simplify your packing, but with all the options out there, it isn’t easy to find the best packing cubes.
Packing cubes are essentially just smaller zippered compartments that fit inside your main luggage or bag. They help you keep everything neat and organized and save space in your bag. Good packing cubes don’t have to be complicated. In fact, simplicity and ease of use are better than fancy features.
I’ve reviewed and researched dozens of the most popular packing cubes on the market to find the best of the best.
For over 40 years, Eagle Creek has been building durable, functional gear for adventurous travelers. Rather than sleek, urban style, they focus on bags and luggage that will take a beating and last a lifetime.
Eagle Creek also has one of the best warranties in the business. If a piece of gear tears or breaks, they will repair or replace it, no questions asked. I love brands that stand behind what they make!
The Eagle Creek PACK-IT Reveal packing cubes are pretty straightforward. Essentially, they are just fabric rectangles with wide-opening zippers and a mesh face. While that may sound underwhelming, you really don’t need much more than that. When it comes to real-world travel, these little cubes perform.
The first thing that stands out is the fully mesh top panel. This makes it easy to see what’s inside each cube without having to open them.
These cubes unzip around three sides and then hinge wide open. The way they’ve designed the zipper line makes these super easy to open and pack. Plus, zipping it closed naturally compresses everything inside (though not as much as a full compression cube).
These mesh packing cubes are also just really well-made. They use recycled 300D polyester fabric and high-quality YKK zippers.
The Eagle Creek packing cubes can be bought individually or in a set of three cubes. The packing cube set comes with three different sizes: medium, small, and extra small. I love having the different sizes, but honestly, the extra small is just too tiny to be very useful.
Of course, they are very simple, with no extra pockets or compartments. If you want a bit more organization inside, these won’t be the best choice. Because they are mesh, they also aren’t the best if you want to keep shoes or dirty clothes separate.
You can find anything on Amazon, especially if you’re looking for cheaper items. AmazonBasics is Amazon’s in-house brand that specializes in budget-friendly products from affordable luggage to garbage bags to workout equipment.
The AmazonBasics Packing Cube Set is a fantastic option for anyone looking to get organized and save space on a budget. These cubes feature similar design and construction to name-brand packing cubes but hit a low price point.
The standard packing cube set includes four cubes in different sizes: small, medium, large, and slim (which is long and skinny). You can also choose to have four of any one type. Honestly, I’ve found the medium cube to be the most useful, so I might choose the set of four mediums.
I like the simple, no-frills design of these packing cubes. They have a simple boxy shape, a single wrap-around zipper, a mesh panel that lets you see inside, and a small webbing handle that makes them easy to grab out of your suitcase.
While these aren’t compression cubes, I honestly think that’s better for budget cubes. Compression cubes can put a lot of stress on zippers, and that can lead to tears in the cheaper materials.
And no, you shouldn’t expect super high-end materials or quality construction. These things are meant to be cheap. I’ve found that they are good enough and hold up pretty well over time.
If you’re looking to make the most of every cubic inch in your suitcase or backpack, compression packing cubes are the way to go. The Monos Compressible Packing Cubes are some of the best out there. Once you pack everything inside, they have a second compression zipper that lets you squeeze everything down by up to 60%.
You can buy these compression cubes in either a set of four or a set of six. In either set, every single cube is a different size. While that’s great for having options, I honestly wish you could get a set that didn’t have so many different sizes.
The build quality of these packing cubes is top-notch. They have a sturdy, water-resistant outer fabric and a silky inner lining with an antimicrobial treatment to keep everything fresh. They also have mesh panels on top to let you see inside.
Due to the materials and design, the Monos Packing cubes have great structure that enables them to stand up open even when empty. That makes them way easier to pack than most other packing cubes, which can be a bit floppy.
Finally, the compression works really well. The amount of space you can save by compressing all your clothes in these cubes is pretty mind-blowing.
If you’re looking for another budget option available on Amazon, check out the Gonex Compression Packing Cubes. This set of packing cubes is affordable but surprisingly well-built.
The GONEX compression packing cubes don’t have much to set them apart from the others on this list. They are simple, and have a pretty standard design with compression zippers that let you shrink down the size.
One thing to note is that the compression doesn’t work quite as well as some higher-end products like the cubes from Monos.
The biggest advantage of the GONEX compression packing cubes is that, for the price, the quality and durability are pretty impressive. Sure, the design isn’t quite as refined as more expensive products, but you can count on getting several years of travel out of these.
Unlike many packing cube sets, the GONEX compression packing cubes come with an extra large cube, which can be a useful size for packing blazers, dresses, jackets, or other bulky items that you don’t want to roll up.
EVERGOODS is an up-and-coming travel brand that builds backpacks, travel bags, and accessories with incredible attention to detail in the design.
I typically travel with just a carry-on suitcase or backpack, and I love using packing cubes to keep everything organized. The best packing cubes for carry-on travel should prioritize organization and easy access to everything, and the EVERGOODS Transit Packing Cube is perfect for that.
Unlike most packing cubes, which are essentially just fabric boxes with zippers, the Transit Packing Cube does a bit more to keep you organized.
There is a zipper that wraps around the middle of the packing cube, and when it’s unzipped, you can open it up into two halves, kind of like a suitcase. Each half has its own zippered mesh lid. I like that this double-sided cube design lets you compartmentalize things a bit more, but it also means you can’t fit big, bulky items.
Besides that, there is one zippered stash pocket on the outside of the cube. This is perfect for small items you want to grab quickly.
In terms of features and design, this may be the best single packing cube on this list, but it is more expensive than most. You’d be able to buy a full packing cube set from cheaper brands for less than this single packing cube.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear builds high-performance ultralight gear for backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, and more, and they make it all in Maine. Their stuff is expensive, but that’s because it is hand-made in the USA with the best materials available.
I recently finished a thru-hike of the 486-mile Colorado Trail. One of my biggest complaints on this trip was keeping my gear organized in my hiking backpack. It always seemed to turn into a jumbled mess.
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pods are designed to solve that problem by compartmentalizing gear inside a backpack. They are the only cubes on this list that I would take on a long backpacking trip.
These packing cubes work perfectly with most backpacking packs, though you’ll want to check the dimensions to be sure they will fit.
The Pods are made with high-tech Dyneema composite fabric, which is one of the most advanced materials for outdoor gear. It is lightweight, incredibly waterproof, and tough as nails. These are some of the lightest cubes on this list.
Hyperlite uses waterproof zippers and fully taped seams to make the Pods virtually waterproof. That makes them great for items you don’t want to get wet, like your sleeping bag or extra clothes.
The downsides? Well, since they are shaped to save space in backpacking packs, they won’t work great for general travel. Also, these things are pricey.
HERO Travel Supply is a family-owned company that was founded in 2016 to build travel gear that balances durability and style with affordability.
Using multiple packing cubes is the best way to organize and compartmentalize your suitcase, and buying a set of packing cubes is perfect for getting several matching cubes that work together perfectly. The HERO Packing Cube Set is one of the best-value sets on the market. It comes with five cubes (2 large, 2 medium, 1 small) and a bonus of a travel laundry bag.
I love that the set includes 2 larges and 2 mediums because I’ve generally found small packing cubes aren’t quite as useful. Honestly, I just use the small cube as a toiletry bag.
The overall design is pretty comparable to most other cubes—these are just rectangles with zippers and mesh side panels—but there are a few features that stand out, especially at this price point.
First is the build quality. No, these aren’t as high-quality as some more expensive options, but they do use tear-resistant ripstop nylon and (more importantly) sturdy YKK zippers. YKK is generally accepted as the best in the business when it comes to zippers, so it’s awesome to see these zippers on a less expensive product.
Another neat feature is the see-through index card holder that makes it easy to label each cube so you can easily see what’s inside.
You don’t get compression zippers, additional pockets, or other fancy features, but overall, these are very versatile cubes at a great price.
I personally don’t love small cubes. I would rather have a few larger cubes that are easier to pack and arrange in my suitcase especially if I’m packing a big checked bag. The Away F.A.R Organizational Cube XL is a massive 25L packing cube that’s bigger than many full daypacks.
The design of the Away F.A.R Organizational Cube isn’t that unique, it’s mainly the size that sets it apart. This thing is big! If you are loading up your checked luggage with clothes, jackets, and gear for a long-haul trip, this will be a great option for organization.
Of course, because it’s so big, it wouldn’t make sense to use it in a backpack or carry-on suitcase. That would be like putting a bag inside a barely-bigger bag and expecting something magical to happen. You’ll just end up with wasted space.
For big loads, though, this massive packing cube is hard to beat.
If you’re looking to save weight in your suitcase or bag, the Eagle Creek PACK-IT Isolate Cubes are a perfect choice.
The overall design of these packing cubes is identical to the Eagle Creek PACK-IT Reveal cubes that earned our top pick. They have the same structure, same zippers, same features. The only difference is the materials.
While the Reveal Cubes use 300D polyester and a mesh front panel, the Isolate Cubes are made of a single material: a much lighter-weight recycled ripstop polyester. That does two things:
First, while no mesh means you can’t see inside, it also means these cubes are much better at keeping dirty clothes or shoes separate from everything else. In fact, the medium size is perfect to use as a shoe bag.
Second, the Eagle Creek PACK-IT Isolate cubes are less than half the weight. The medium size weighs a scanty 1.3oz.
Of course, the ultralight material does also mean these won’t be quite as durable, but they still should hold up well as long as you aren’t stuffing them with sharp pokey objects.
REI is one of the most well-known retail stores for outdoor gear for hiking, camping, travel, and more. With their own brand, REI Co-op, they offer a wide range of outdoor and travel gear that uses high-quality materials at relatively affordable prices.
In my experience, packing cubes come into their own when you’re packing for a family. If you’re traveling with kids, you may be packing their clothes and items along with your own in your suitcase. Keeping things organized and separated becomes even more important, and something like the Expandable Packing Cube Set from REI Co-op is a great way to keep everything arranged.
The REI Co-op expandable packing cube set includes three pretty standard cubes. Each cube has a wraparound top zipper that makes it easy to fully open for packing. Plus, there is a second zipper similar to what you’d find in a compression packing cube. Instead of compression, REI says the purpose is to expand the cube to double the height when you need extra space.
That makes these more versatile than other packing cubes, which is great when you need to keep everyone’s stuff organized on a family trip.
Osprey is the industry leader in the outdoor backpack business. They build high-quality hiking, backpacking, climbing, and travel packs, and they have an incredible lifetime warranty. Plus, they make some pretty sweet packing cubes.
Duffel bags are great for their ability to swallow anything you throw in them, but just stuffing all your clothes and gear randomly inside makes it hard to find what you need later. Using something like the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cubes inside your duffel bag will save space and keep you organized so you can find stuff without dumping your whole bag out on the ground.
This packing cube set from Osprey comes with three different-sized cubes.
They are made with 100% recycled nylon fabric. I try to buy products with recycled fabric whenever I can, so that’s a big win in my book.
My biggest complaint is that, unlike the Eagle Creek packing cubes, the zipper doesn’t wrap the entire way around the cube. That means these don’t hinge fully open and aren’t as easy to pack and unpack.
Peak Design is one of my favorite brands for cameras, every day, and carry-on backpacks. Their products are well-designed with impressive attention to detail. The Peak Design Travel Backpack is a great example of their detail-oriented, user-friendly design, and their packing cubes are no different.
The Peak Design Packing Cubes are designed to work specifically with their travel backpacks, but they will also work well with whatever travel backpack you have.
They are available in three different sizes: small, medium, and a specific shoe bag size. You can buy a single packing cube or get a set of three cubes, six cubes, or eight cubes. I’ve found that using one small and one medium cube is just about perfect for most travel backpacks, giving you as much space for storage as possible.
The Peak Design Packing Cubes also feature one of the best compression packing cube designs I’ve seen. You can shrink each packing cube to nearly half the size using the compression zipper. Impressively, the small compression cube fits 10 t-shirts and the medium fits 20 t-shirts.
So are there any downsides? Well, the Peak Design Packing Cubes don’t have as much built-in organization as something like the EVERGOODS Transit Packing Cube. They also are more expensive than many other options.
13. Monarc Travel Set: Best Sustainable Packing Cubes
Monarc is a new brand on the block that’s built their marketing entirely around using recycled ocean-bound plastic in all their products. For each piece of gear, including their packing cubes, they advertise specifically how many plastic bottles were used to make it. They are certified plastic-negative, which means they collect more plastic from the environment than they use in their products.
I think that’s pretty cool.
Beyond just being environmentally friendly, Monarc also makes very functional travel gear. The Monarc Travel Set includes two compression packing cube sizes (medium and large) plus a travel laundry bag. The packing cube set uses a total of 29 recycled bottles.
These cubes use high-quality materials, and the overall design is pretty standard for compression cubes. The biggest difference is that they are a bit wider and flatter than most packing cubes, which makes them great if you prefer to fold your clothes rather than roll them.
I also really like the easy-grab handle at the top of each packing cube. Sure, it’s a small detail, but it helps when pulling the cubes out of your bag.
The included laundry bag is also a nice bonus. I like it when small things like that come included so I don’t have to go buy one on its own.
One thing to note is that the large cube is pretty big at 13 x 19 inches. If you’re using a smaller backpack or suitcase, it’s worth checking the internal dimensions to make sure it will fit.
The eco-friendly aspect makes these some of my favorite packing cubes, and they’re a great choice for anyone looking to reduce their impact.
Whether you’re packing for a river rafting trip or just want the best protection for a trip to a rainy destination, waterproof packing cubes are a great way to keep your gear dry. Sea to Summit is one of the best companies for dry bags, so it’s no surprise that they make great water-resistant packing cubes.
While many brands use water-resistant materials, the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Packing Cubes incorporate technologies from their professional-level drybags making them a cut above the rest.
Sea to Summit uses TPU-laminated 70D ripstop nylon with fully RF-welded seams and polyurethane-coated zippers to keep dust and water out. These thin fabrics are lightweight, but still strong and abrasion-resistant.
There also is a see-through window on one side that lets you easily see what is inside each of the cubes. It’s not mesh though, so it’s still fully waterproof.
For rafting trips, I wouldn’t rely on these alone to keep my gear dry. Rather, I recommend putting these waterproof packing cubes inside a larger main drybag or waterproof backpack for two-layer protection.
As you’d expect, these are more expensive than other cubes. You’ll spend more on one cube than most other packing cube sets. Still, it’s worth it if you need the best waterproof protection and durability.
Patagonia is one of the most respected brands in the outdoor industry. While they are best known for their apparel, their Black Hole series of travel bags is known for extreme durability and functionality.
The Patagonia Black Hole Packing Cube comes in three different sizes. The largest 10L size is ideal for packing shirts, pants, and gear. The 6L size is great as a shoe bag or for smaller clothes items. The smallest 3L size works well for socks and underwear, or even as a toiletries bag.
This packing cube has a two-sided clamshell design that is great for keeping things organized and easy to find. The downside is that it is just a bit more complicated to open and get at your stuff.
The Black Hole packing Cube stands out for durability. It uses thick materials, burly zippers, and high-quality construction. Add Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, and you can be sure that this packing cube will last you a lifetime of travel.
Of course, you do pay for that, and these are the most expensive on this list besides the Hyperlite Pods.
How to Choose the Best Packing Cubes
There you have it, a full list of 15 awesome packing cubes to choose from. So how do you get the right ones for you? Here are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind as you shop.
Of course, size is going to be one of the most important factors when choosing packing cubes. You want ones that are big enough to carry what you need, but small enough to fit into your suitcase or backpack.
Most brands sell their products in a range of sizes, and I’ve found that medium packing cubes are ideal for most clothing items like shirts, pants, and jackets. They also can often double as shoe bags.
Small packing cubes are great for socks and underwear, or you could use one as a toiletry bag.
Large packing cubes are generally best for full outfits like dresses or button-ups with slacks. The best large packing cubes are wide and flat to keep things from getting wrinkled.
Materials and Durability
At TravelFreak, we always recommend investing in high-quality gear that won’t break after a few trips. Fortunately, packing cubes are so simple that you can usually get durable materials and construction without emptying out your wallet.
Look for things like high-quality ripstop nylon or polyester, water-resistant fabrics, and YKK zippers for the best durability.
Design and Features
While it’s easy to assume that all packing cubes will be pretty much the same, there are a few key features that you may or may not want. Depending on your preferences, here are a few features you may want to watch for:
- Mesh panel so you can see inside
- Multiple pockets for more organization
- Compression zippers to squeeze your stuff smaller and maximize space
- Handles for easily grabbing the packing cube out of your bag
- Label holders so you can easily identify what’s inside
- Separator panels to keep clean and dirty clothes separate
If you’re anything like me, you like to consider the impact your purchases have on the world around you. I always recommend doing your research and trying to buy from companies that use sustainable and responsible business practices.
Many of the products in this list use recycled materials and are made by companies dedicated to fair working conditions and reducing their carbon footprint.
How Many Packing Cubes Do You Need?
The number of packing cubes you use will mainly depend on the size of your suitcase or backpack. Packing in a massive piece of checked luggage? You’ll probably want more packing cubes. Using a small backpack? Just a few will do.
When I’m packing in a smaller travel backpack (under 30L), I like to use one medium packing cube for shirts, pants, etc. and one smaller cube for socks and underwear.
If I’m packing in a larger suitcase, I want multiple larger packing cubes to keep clothes, jackets, and more organized.
As a starting point, I recommend getting a set of three packing cubes in different sizes.
Why Trust TravelFreak?
Here at TravelFreak team, we take our responsibility to give you quality recommendations and detailed information seriously. We’ve traveled a ton, we’re gear junkies at heart and we believe in investing in quality gear that will last a lifetime. We only recommend products that we actually like.
For this article, I researched dozens of packing cubes from the most popular brands to find the absolute best. I’ve tested products, packing them to the max to see what they’ll fit and to test whether I could bust the seams.
The products that made this list are the best in their specific niche. I’ve dug deep into what each one excels at to help you find the best for you.
Best Packing Cube FAQs
Are packing cubes really worth it?
Absolutely. Packing cubes simplify your travel setup, save space, and keep you organized.
Which are the best compression packing cubes?
Do packing cubes really help with space?
Yes, packing cubes help you maximize the space in your suitcase, plus they help you stay organized.
What is the difference between a packing cube and a compression cube?
The main difference is that compression cubes have a second zipper to shrink the contents down.
Is it better to roll clothes or use packing cubes?
You can do both! I prefer to roll clothes and then put them in packing cubes for organization.