The Best Packing Cubes for Travelers

set of packing cubes in a suitcase
(Photo: Shutterstock/Rosamar)

Packing cubes offer serious return on investment for travelers. They make packing easier and more organized, allow you to fit more stuff in your luggage, deliver easy access to items en route, and simplify unpacking, since you can just zip them open and pop them into a drawer. If you’re sharing luggage with someone, packing cubes make keeping items separate an easy task, too. And for parents traveling with kids, packing cubes can provide the structure that children need to pack for themselves (and keep a little more organized).

Best Packing Cubes for 2021

Packing cubes are great for clothes, but they can easily adapt to double duty and hold things like shoes, cables, or accessories. Whether you have a suitcase, a backpack, a duffel, or a weekend bag, travel cubes are the best way to transform packing.

In addition to a range of the best packing cubes, we’ve also included a few packing-cube adjacent items like envelopes and plastic compression bags you might find useful.

Shacke Pak Packing Cubes Set

Shacke Pak’s packing cube set is made up of four water-resistant nylon packing cubes plus an always-handy laundry bag to keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. Each set comes with four sizes (extra large, large, medium, and small). The top flap of each packing cube has a double-stitched X design, which allows it to combine good compression cube strength and durability with the convenience of a mesh window (so you can see through each cube enough to identify what’s inside without needing to unzip anything).

With these relatively deep cubes, it’s easy to roll and then squeeze a significant volume of clothing in while keeping items both organized and relatively wrinkle-free. The Shacke Pak set comes in nine colors, which can be very handy if you’re sharing a suitcase with another person and want your keep items clearly marked.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Full Cube Set Packing Organizer

Eagle Creek was an early entrant on the packing cube scene and has a devoted following that appreciates the brand’s well-designed packing cube options. Its set of three packing cubes come with two-way zippers (handy if you don’t want to totally unzip a delicately compressed cube just to remove one item), a strong mesh front, sturdy handle, and good compression capabilities.

I’ve had a set of Eagle Creek travel cubes for more than a decade, have dragged them around the world, and am consistently impressed by how well they’ve held up. The Pack-It Full Cube packing set comes in three colors, and unlike most packing cubes, Eagle Creek’s come with a lifetime warranty.

YAMIU Packing Cubes

YAMIU’s packing cube set comes with four cubes (one large cube, one medium, and two small cubes) plus a large shoe bag that’s roomy enough to fit a pair of men’s size 13 shoes, a waterproof PVC toiletries bag sized for the TSA’s 3-1-1 restrictions, and a second larger PVC bag that can hold things like wet or dirty clothes.

This set comes with its own storage bag to keep it dust-free when not in use (some reviewers say they bring the storage bag along as a laundry sack on their travels). Reviewers also noted that when they had a problem with the cubes, YAMIU’s customer service was prompt and helpful.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set

One of two Eagle Creek packing cubes on this list, the Specter Cube set offers a slightly different approach to cubes than most. With its zip that only opens the top part of the cube, these packing cubes function more like compression bags that you tuck things into. This makes them superstars when it comes to compression, since you can roll items and then tuck them in, and just keep tucking until the cube is full.

There’s less wrestling with zippers with this style of packing cube, though you lose the convenience of zipping them fully open and popping them into a hotel drawer when you unpack. But for maximizing the amount of stuff you can fit, the Specter compression packing cubes stand out.

JJ Power Lightweight Travel Packing Cubes

While many packing cubes are more like compression sacks in shape when full, the Lightweight Travel Packing Cubes from JJ Power deliver on the promise of cube-like modular packing. The six-piece set comes with two large cubes, a medium cube, two small cubes, and one shoe bag. The cube set fits together at neat angles to maximize packing space, especially in suitcases, where right angles rule. These ultralight packing cubes are an Amazon favorite, with reviewers praising the strong seams and durable zippers.

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes

This four-piece packing cubes set from Amazon Basics takes many of the most popular packing cube features and combines them at an affordable price point. While Amazon doesn’t offer a mix-and-match option for sizing, it does sell sets of small, medium, and large packing cubes.

If you have more than one packing cube aficionado in your home, consider buying multiple full sets and dividing them up; that way, everyone gets a few of each size. These packing cubes offer moderate compression, soft mesh panels, and finished interior seams (so you can cram more in without fear of breaking the cubes). You can choose from six colors, including black, gray, green, and red.

Veken Packing Cubes

Veken’s ultra-affordable set of six packing cubes (including a laundry bag and shoe bag) earns rave reviews for its sturdy 290D nylon fabric, two-way zippers, breathable mesh, and clever labels so you can find items quickly once packed. The four cubes in the set range in size from small to extra large, and the Veken travel cubes come in nine colors, including a few patterns. With six pieces in this set, this is a great option for longer trips.

TravelWise Packing Cube System

Durable, well-reviewed, and affordable, the TravelWise Packing Cube system checks all the boxes for travelers looking for an easy win on the packing cubes front. This set of five cubes includes two small, two medium, and one large cube, available in seven colors. While there aren’t extras like laundry or shoe bags, this set does deliver sturdy cubes with double zippers and mesh fronts. Note that reviewers caution the teal color isn’t the same as in the picture, though the other colors seem to be true to life.

Away Insider Packing Cubes

Away has a loyal following thanks to its luggage line, and receives a similar level of devotion to its Insider Packing Cubes. Designed to fit perfectly into Away’s luggage line, the set of six cubes is made from water-resistant nylon. Each cube is a different size, so you’re always sure to find just the right cube for your packing needs. These cubes come in six colors, including black, blush (pink), and brick (deep red). Though it’s one of the priciest of the packing cube sets on the market, the Insider Packing Cubes earn rave reviews for their quality of construction and cool color palates.

Bonus: Dot&Dot Packing Folder for Travel

Alternately called packing envelopes, packing sleeves, and packing folders, the idea of these clever inventions is to offer a wrinkle-free way to tote items like button-up shirts and dresses. Dot&Dot’s well-priced packing folder set offers two 15-inch folders and a shirt-folding board (with instructions) in each. They can hold multiple items (the description says up to 15 shirts, dresses, blouses, or cardigans, but actual mileage may vary), and the velcro-close sleeves allow you to compress items for easier packing.

Bonus: Samsonite Plastic Compression Packing Bags

If your main goal is to fit as much as possible into a suitcase, and you’re willing to work a little to make it happen, plastic compression bags may be just the ticket. Unlike similar bags that use a vacuum to remove the air once you’ve packed the bag, these compression packing bags from Samsonite just need to be rolled to squeeze out the air, making them more travel friendly. While they are tops at maximizing packing space, note that plastic compression bags can make a suitcase significantly heavier (more stuff equals more weight) and that items tend to emerge wrinkled.

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Christine Sarkis is a traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor. The former executive editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine, Sarkis has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir.

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