- I’ve used packing cubes both personally (as a mom of two) and professionally (as a travel journalist) for nearly 20 years.
- After testing dozens of different packing cube options, these are the packing cube sets I think are particularly great for kids and their adults.
- I’m also sharing a bonus idea for maxing out every single inch of your suitcase space.
If you aren’t using packing cubes to keep your family organized while traveling, you’re missing out on organizational bliss. Every traveling family needs a set of packing cubes in different sizes, because they give you the ability to pack items well in advance of a trip and make the daunting task of helping kids pack a lot easier.
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Packing cubes also keep all your clothing in one place while on the trip and make it easy to transport dirty clothes back home. There’s truly no negative to using them in your suitcase. After testing many different packing cube sets, these are my picks for the best packing cubes for kids and traveling families.
1. PRO Packing Cubes
With 10 cubes in the set, PRO Packing cubes are ideal for families. The 10 cubes come in different sizes, which make it easier to fit larger and smaller clothing items, and in two different vibrant colors. This set features two large cubes, four medium-size cubes and four extra small cubes for things like underwear, shoes, toiletries or charger cords. The packing cubes are lightweight so they don’t create extra bulk inside your suitcase. The cube fabric is also water resistant and durable, too.
2. Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set
Eagle Creek was an early entrant on the packing cube scene and has a devoted following (that includes me) that appreciates the brand’s well-designed packing cube options. Its Pack-It Reveal Cube Set 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 you can see through, sturdy handle, and good compression capabilities.
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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 Reveal Cube set comes in four colors, and unlike most packing cubes, Eagle Creek’s come with a lifetime warranty.
3. Amazon Basics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set
This Amazon Basics four-piece packing cube set (a large cube, medium cube, small cube, and slim cube) takes the best of packing cube features and combines them into an affordable set. The narrow, slim design is ideal for families who may have already invested in larger packing cubes. The small and extra small cube sizes are ideal for smaller clothing items like underwear, socks, T-shirts or even accessory items. The mesh top panel allows kids to see what is inside too without opening the cube. They don’t feel luxe, but they are hyper-functional and pretty durable.
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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. While Amazon doesn’t offer a mix-and-match option for sizing, it does sell sets of small, medium, and large packing cubes. 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.
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4. Tripped Travel Gear Packing Cubes
All the style points go to Tripped Travel Gear packing cubes, which come in cute travel-scene designs like a beach, sunset or road trip. It’s so fun to open your suitcase and be greeted by all these fun designs.
The six-piece set includes two large compression cubes, two small compression cubes, a slim tube cube and a laundry bag/ shoe bag. The addition of the laundry bag makes it easy for little kids to put dirty clothes in one spot. Once clothes are zipped inside these packing cubes, the compression system eliminates any extra bulk, too.
5. Shacke Pak Packing Cubes Set
Shacke Pak’s packing cube set is made up of four 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 opening and closing the cube).
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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.
6. 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, it also fits well into other suitcases (I’ve tested). They’re nice and blocky, so they fit a ton and are a good option for kids who are just learning to use packing cubes. The set of six cubes is made from water-resistant nylon and each cube is a different size. They come in six colors, including black, blush (pink), and brick (deep red).
7. Taskin Dual Sided Compression Packing Cubes
Taskin is so smart with its packing cubes (also available on Amazon) that offer a clean and dirty side in each cube. The set of six (three large and three medium) cubes feature two separate sides to store clothes. Use the clean side to hold all of your clothing, and after wearing some of the clothes they can be stored on the opposite, designated dirty side of the cube. The compression zipper eliminates any extra air in the cube and allows for tons more space inside your suitcase, which beats using a laundry bag every time.
Bonus: 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. Clothes are definitely going to get more wrinkled with this option, since compression bags really squish all the air out, but wow can you fit a lot into a bag packed with compression bags. Here’s my choice for easy-to-travel-with compression packing bags.
Samsonite Plastic Compression Packing Bags
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I use packing cubes?
In my opinion, packing cubes offer serious return on investment for travelers. They make packing easier and more organized, help you teach your kids to pack , allow you to fit more stuff in your luggage, and simplify unpacking, since you can just zip them open and pop them into a drawer.
What are the best ways for families to use packing cubes?
There are a variety of ways to organize packing cubes. Each family member can have their own unique color or design, making them easy to identify. Packing cubes are easily lived out of while traveling, making packing to go home more efficient too. There could also be a steadfast rule that every person is only permitted a certain number of packing cubes if they’re sharing suitcases, and if things don’t fit in the packing cube, they can’t come on the trip.
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Courtney Elko provided additional reporting for this story.
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