Short on time? Our pick for the best packing cube brand is Peak Design.
Are packing cubes worth it? Read my guide to see who they’re for and the best options on the market today.
Packing can be stressful, especially if you’re heading to a new destination.
There is so much to pack–casual sightseeing outfits, hiking clothes, bathing suits–but is there enough space in your luggage?
I lived out of a backpack for months and even years while traveling. It wasn’t easy – my clothes were always wrinkled, and locating specific shirts took a lot of work.
Before I started using packing cubes, I put off packing until the very last minute.
Now that I have packing cubes, packing is less daunting. It’s easier to keep my belongings organized and my stress levels low.
I hopped on the packing cube bandwagon and never looked back. But are packing cubes worth it for everyone?
Keep reading to learn the advantages and disadvantages of packing cubes and find out which ones you should try.
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Table of Contents
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes are usually rectangular-shaped pouches with zippers. They keep your suitcase more organized by dividing clothes into specific compartments.
These blocks or cubes fit like puzzle pieces and are meant to save space. But when choosing packing cubes, I soon realized there are essential features to know about.
Features to Look For in Packing Cubes
Compression packing cubes are usually made of more substantial material than that of average packing cubes.
Squeezing the air out of compression packing cubes saved so much space in my suitcase compared to traditional packing cubes.
This isn’t a packing cubes vs. compression article, so I’ll keep this short and circle back to the style differences later.
Over the years, I’ve mastered the art of packing my bag in a way that works for me. This means I can find what I’m looking for at lightning speed.
See-through packing cubes help me find things quickly without dumping them out.
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking for a shirt by digging blindly through multiple packing cubes.
It wasn’t ideal for me to go through my suitcase every time. So, I added at least one packing cube made of mesh to help me locate my most used items.
If you’re like me and travel for multiple months throughout the year, you’ll want cubes that handle all types of wear and tear.
I traveled for years, stuffing things in Ziploc bags, and it’s not pretty. They’re cheap and only last for a while.
Now, I always look for nylon packing cubes. Some have a mesh panel, which helps to find items inside.
I can understand the appeal of cheap packing cubes, but thin plastic eventually breaks.
Do Packing Cubes Work?
Packing cubes do work, and they help travelers make bulky items fit better. Most packing cube sets come with a large packing cube, medium cube, and small packing cube.
For the same price, premium packing cubes might come in only one size, but they’re still worth it.
I like having a set to use different sizes of packing cubes for specific things, such as a laundry bag or a stuff sack.
There is quite a difference in luggage space when using compression packing cubes and regular cubes.
The compression packing cubes can save upwards of 20% of suitcase space. This is massive and helped me fit in extra items like jackets.
Regular packing cubes save space, but just not as much. The benefit of regular packing cubes over compression is their ease of use and fewer wrinkles.
Pros and Cons of Packing Cubes
Both packing cubes save space, and people generally buy them for that. If you’re okay with putting more work into fitting your clothes, I suggest compression cubes.
Most packing cubes are easy to use and have helped me fit in that extra article of clothing I desperately needed.
I don’t always stay in accommodations with an ironing board and hate wearing a wrinkled shirt. Gone are the days of rolling clothes.
Packing cubes add structure to the main compartment of a bag so that my clothes aren’t smashed into a ball. Instead, they’re held in place as if I tucked them into dresser drawers.
I first started buying packing cubes mostly to save space. I now use packing cubes because they keep my items organized.
I hate taking everything out of my bag to find a single item that was hiding in the chaos. Especially in a hostel, emptying a suitcase is inconvenient.
Now, I know exactly which cubes have shirts, pants, and socks. I can grab a particular shirt in no time.
Cubes also prevent embarrassing moments when traveling on a plane. I can switch my toothbrush from my checked bag to my carry-on bag without my clothes spilling out.
It Helps to Keep Clothes Dry
Accidents happen, especially when traveling a lot like myself. Bags get dirty and sometimes even wet.
The best cubes offer protection against the elements and do a better job than plastic bags.
I love using waterproof cubes for electronics to alleviate stress. The entire suitcase can be soaked, but proper waterproof cubes keep the contents dry.
Cons of Packing Cubes
Not as Useful for Backpacks
I’m a backpacker, so when I first tried packing cubes, they didn’t seem as practical. They didn’t fit as easily into my backpack as I hoped.
Packing cubes work much better and help maximize space in suitcases.
So, if you travel out of a backpack, packing cubes might not be for you.
Cost Extra Money
Traveling alone is expensive. Spending extra money on packing organizers like packing cubes might not seem cost-effective. I get that.
The best packing cubes aren’t cheap and, for most people, aren’t necessary either.
So, if you’re traveling on a budget and wondering whether or not packing cubes are for you, maybe buy one cube to see if it’s worth it.
Adds Extra Weight
When traveling for an extended period, the weight of your luggage matters.
Packing cubes help consolidate stuff so you can fit more into a suitcase.
Ironically, they add weight to a bag that might have been full but can now carry an extra sweater and jacket.
A set of large packing cubes also adds as much as one to two extra pounds.
The weight of each cube differs from company to company, and it depends on how many you use.
If your luggage’s weight is important, packing cubes might be the first thing to go.
Are Packing Cubes Right For You?
I recommend trying packing cubes if you answer ‘Yes’ to these questions:
- Do you need more space in your suitcase?
- Is your suitcase unorganized?
- Can you afford a new travel accessory?
What are the Best Packing Cubes for Travel?
#1 Peak Design
When I started looking for my next packing cube, I kept reading fantastic reviews about the Peak Design packing cubes. I knew the day they arrived in the mail that these were the real deal.
The Peak Design packing cubes are 70D Nylon/Poly shell. Although they feel thin and soft, they’re very strong and have some stretch, perfect for packing.
I also really like the easy open tabs that made getting to my clothes more convenient
Dual compartments keep my dirty clothes separate from my clean ones.
What Peak Design lacks in a variety of colored packing cubes, they make up for in perfect design and material. These are such high quality that they will last for years.
Compared to other packing cubes on this list, Peak Design has fewer cubes. At first, I asked myself whether this was a waste of money. That was until I read their warranty.
Peak Design has one of the best lifetime warranties around. No matter how it happens, they will send you a brand-new product for free if something like a zipper breaks!
CHECK PRICE ON:
#2 Think Tank Photo
Best See-Through Cubes
Our team tested the Think Tank Photo packing cubes side-by-side with the Peak Design cubes and came out split on which was preferred.
The see-through covers are the best feature of the Think Tank Photo cubes. It’s surprising that such a simple, helpful feature isn’t standard for all brands.
Additional features like the rear-zippered pocket let you sort clean from dirty clothes, or use the packing cube as a two-in-one cube if you want.
Aside from that, the high-quality 300D Nylon material was immediately apparent. The cubes felt good to the touch, and we can tell they’ll last a long time.
In addition to medium cubes and large cubes, they also have a shoe cube (not see-through), which easily fits a pair of men’s size 13 shoes and sandals.
Think Tank also offers tech pouches (essentially smaller packing cubes with well-placed compartments and organizational features).
We didn’t think the tech pouches would be that useful initially. However, they came in really handy for holding and organizing toiletries, cables, medication, and all the other small things for travel.
If you like the plaid twill style, there’s nothing else you can ask for in a packing cube.
#3 Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
Best for Families
Eagle Creek packing cubes get a lot of buzz on the internet for a good reason. I love their compression bags because they are easy to use.
It usually takes me a long time to fit all my clothes into an everyday compression bag. But not with Eagle Creek. These cubes really do help me save a ton of space.
These packing compression cubes are great for families because they’re machine washable, water resistant, and have a lifetime warranty.
#4 REI Expandable Packing Cubes
Best for Backpacking
REI Expandable Packing Cubes are a backpacker’s dream packing cube. With larger packing cubes comes the difficult process of fitting them into a backpack.
These ultra-lightweight cubes are compressible and don’t weigh me as much when going on hikes. When I choose packing cubes, they must meet the demands of my activity.
I can take the same packing cube and adjust the zipper to increase or decrease their size with the REI expandable cubes. Stuff sacks are an excellent complementary tool to these.
I have a packing system for backpacking that utilizes the benefits of packing cubes and stuff sacks.
These REI packing cubes are nylon, so you’ll never have to worry about them breaking down while traveling.
#5 Monos Packing Cubes
Another style of compression cubes, the Monos Packing Cubes, gained popularity recently. They’re pricey, but they pack a considerable punch.
I’ve used plastic compression bags, which don’t compare. Mono’s compression cubes have top-of-the-line exterior, interior, and mesh material.
Mono’s packing cube set comes with four different-sized cubes. The large cubes suit my bulky clothes, while everything else fits in the medium or smaller packing cubes.
I’m also a fan of Mono’s luggage, and their packing cubes fit ideally, giving me more space for more important things items.
BAGAIL is a premium packing cube. I love it because of the price and material!
Bagail is easily the best deal on the market.
Not only do I get the feeling of making the most out of my money, but BAGAIL has a large selection of different colored cubes.
I haven’t seen many packing cube sets that come in everything from leopard print to flamingos – have you?
BAGAIL is currently a #1 seller on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. They have everything you want in a packing cube, and it’s a reasonable price!
I love how they describe what it’s perfect for in each packing cube. The luggage packing cubes that BAGAIL offers are:
- Medium Cube
- Large Cube
- XL Cube
- Underwear Bag
- Sock Bag
- Shoe Bag
- Cosmetic Bag
- Drawstring Bag
These different styles of packing cubes genuinely help create the most space in your luggage possible.
BAGAIL also offers a money-back guarantee for up to 12 months. This helped me not be scared to buy them, when I initially thought the price was too reasonable to be true.
#7 Nite Ize RunOff
I travel with a lot of electronics. That means I need a waterproof bag that I can trust. That’s where Nite Ize Runoff comes in. Their Tru Zip Waterproof zipper keeps all water out.
Using water-resistant packing cubes is another way to diversify my setup when traveling. Sometimes, I don’t use it for electronics but rather clothes.
This waterproof small bag is also a compression cube and helps me save space while traveling. When I do use Nite Ize RunOff for my electronics, it helps me to stay organized.
I trust the Nite Ize RunOff with my life. This company creates other waterproof products for phones. The packing cubes are no less reliable and can stay under one meter of water for 30 minutes.
I’ve never had to test it to its limits, but if that ever were to happen, my electronics would come out completely dry.
Sometimes, I like to look stylish when traveling. Who doesn’t, right? That’s why I love BAGSMART and their packing cube design.
BAGSMART packing cubes stand out from others out there today. The colors combined with the grey mesh make them look high quality. But these aren’t just for looks.
Having a compression packing cube when traveling is almost essential for me now, and BAGSMART is just that. I also love how I can choose the amount of packing cubes I want.
I can choose how many packing cubes I need: two, four, and six. The set of four only comes with three packing cubes and a bag. Similarly, the set of six included five cubes and a bag.
Veken Packing Cubes are fantastic for those first-time users wanting to try it out. When I first bought some, I wanted to use packing cubes for every situation possible. Veken can do that!
I love Veken cubes because of how versatile they are. They can fit in many different styles of suitcases. These genuinely make packing easier.
Usually, I’d be nervous about trying to fit all the different-sized packing cubes into my luggage. Veken squares are 26% thicker and can handle the wear and tear of everyday travel.
It’s also easy to distinguish between clean and dirty clothes bags because of the unique design on the outside of the cubes.
If you’re looking to use packing cubes in the future but are still unsure if they’re worth it, give Veken a try. They indeed are great for every occasion.
FAQs About Packing Cubes
Do packing cubes really help?
Packing cubes help with many things. I use them to save space, help stay organized, and to create fewer wrinkles in my clothes.
If you want to save even more space, I’d suggest using compression bags. This cube style holds the most room in your luggage but takes some strength to fit everything in.
I love to travel by carry-on only. This works perfectly for me because most packing cubes fit in carry-on-sized luggage.
Are packing cubes better than rolling?
I’m a big supporter of rolling your clothes, but this is when I decided to live out of my backpack for a few months. Rolling your clothes creates a lot of wrinkles and can mess up some fabric.
Some packing cubes can work for backpacks, but most of the time, it’s better to use stuff sacks. These stuff sacks can stuff and shrink to a good fit for a backpack.
Packing cubes help to reduce wrinkles by allowing you to fold them and for them to keep that shape.
If you’re traveling with an ordinary piece of luggage, use packing cubes instead of rolling clothes.
Is it easier to pack with packing cubes?
Using packing cubes makes packing a suitcase easier. Generally, they fit in like puzzle pieces.
Most companies that sell packing cubes will have different sizes, and you can fit them into your luggage however you want.
Packing can become more challenging when using compression cubes because they give you so much extra space. Then I have extra space to fill and my suitcase becomes heavier.
If having extra space is not bad, then using compression bags is your best bet.
Do clothes wrinkle in packing cubes?
Clothes may still wrinkle in packing cubes, but not nearly as much as when not using them. Rolling your clothes will wrinkle them so much that it’s only a good idea if you’re using a backpack.
Packing cubes help keep your clothes in the folded position that you put them in. This is ideal for me when traveling because I never know if I’ll have an ironing board.
Do packing cubes save space?
Packing cubes save space, but not as much as you might think. A regular packing cube can save around 5% of space and is used primarily for organization/to reduce wrinkles.
The best packing cube to save space is a compression cube. These are harder to use because you have to squeeze your clothes inside.
Once inside and zipped up, these compression cubes can save up to 20% of space in your luggage!
If you’re like me and want to bring multiple pairs of shoes, I suggest using compression cubes over regular packing cubes. They’re designed to make bulky items more compact.
Conclusion: Are Packing Cubes Worth It?
Packing cubes can help relieve the stress of packing and help make sure your clothes stay wrinkle-free. They are worth it if you’re using a standard piece of luggage.
Many different brands and styles of packing cubes are on the market today, but my favorite is the Peak Design packing cube. You’ll never question whether or not using packing cubes is worth it.
Peak Design’s lifetime warranty alone makes their products top-notch. The high-quality material helps keep the packing cube slick so it fits into any luggage.
The amount of time and space I save by using packing cubes is undeniable, especially when using a compression cube.
Many budget-friendly options exist, but I suggest jumping straight into a quality packing cube like Peak Design.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip Anderson is a freelance travel writer, personal trainer, and adventure enthusiast from Virginia Beach. Growing up, he spent most of his days either hiking in the Shenandoah, going to the beach, or working out. He is currently traveling through Latin America while working on projects to share his adventures with the world.
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