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Travel packing cubes are the ultimate luggage organizers! They maximize the space in your bag so you can fit in all your belongings in an organized and efficient way using minimal space.
This article is going to tell you everything you want to know about packing cubes: how to use them (with video), the best ones to use, where to buy them, the best ways to pack using them, and also if they’re worth it.
Packing Cubes Video Tutorial
Updated May 2017: I published this post in 2013 and have since received thousands of comments and emails from women all over the world. Not only did they find out that travel cubes are much more than just organizational tools, they’ve also learned that they are the secret to packing carry-on only. I hope you’ll find this article as helpful as they did!
Please note: I am not sponsored by any travel company. I genuinely love these organizers and know you will, too!
Why I Love Using Packing Cubes
I’m a full-time digital nomad who’s been living out of as suitcase since 2008. These travel cubes helped me achieve my goal of traveling carry-on only in my never-ending journey around the world.
Packing cubes are various types of organizational pouches for travel that are meant to help you have a neat and efficient suitcase. However, I’ve found a unique way to transform them into something even better!
I had to make a video to show you just how awesome they really are. (New version to be released in 2016!)
It’s important to note that packing cubes do much more than just separate your tops from your bottoms. By using the method shown in this video tutorial, you can compress the space in your luggage, making it easier to travel carry-on only.
You can find additional types of packing organizers in this post!
Why Packing Cubes are Worth It
With a price tag of roughly $20 for a set, I’d say they’re definitely worth a try. I can’t travel without mine and many travelers feel the same way.
While it’s possible to use Ziploc bags to store your clothing, true packing organizers have several benefits and don’t cost that much more money.
These are my top 12 reasons why every traveler should use packing cubes.
Everything for a 1-week luggage-free vacation using one slim cube!
Which Packing Cube Should I Buy?
My preferred brand is eBags as you can read about in detail below. Throughout the past nine years of full time traveling, I’ve also used various other brands including AmazonBasics, Pro Packing Cubes, Travel Wise, and Dot & Dot.
These are my tried and tested packing cubes reviews:
eBags has two types of packing cubes: their original type and the ones with their new ultralight fabric. Their original packing cubes are still my preferred option as they have a durable fabric, strong mesh, and solid zippers.
While the ultralight cubes have the advantage of weighing less than the originals, they’re not as structured and only offer the benefit of organization. I also found that the mesh ripped only after using them a couple of times (not on extended travel).
Even though eBags didn’t create their packing cubes with the intention of offering compression, we discovered this to be an additional benefit and utilize this feature in the packing strategy we developed as can be seen in this packing video tutorial which you can also view below.
This video has a full eBags packing cube review for their original style.
Shop all eBags packing cubes here.
AmazonBasics offers an inexpensive organizational solution for budget-conscious travelers or those that are uncertain about making an investment to the banded products.
When Amazon first launched the Basics line it offered a product that was closer to eBags’s original design. I immediately bought it and was happy with my purchase however Amazon stopped selling it and moved on to the next packing cube trend: the ultralight weight fabric styles.
The ultralight soft mesh design rivals the eBags version mentioned above; they’re both featherlight and serve the purpose of organization.
Shop all AmazonBasics packing cubes here.
Pro Packing Cubes
I was given a set of Pro Packing Cubes to test in 2015. The fabric was ultra-lightweight and seemed incredibly promising. Unfortunately, the quality didn’t hold up and the mesh ripped within a couple of months of usage.
In all fairness, I was traveling full time for four months but this type of problem is exactly why it’s good to invest a little more in quality products. The company has since stated they have improved the quality but I haven’t tested their new version.
Shop Pro Packing Cubes here.
In 2013, I was also provided with a set of TravelWise packing cubes to review and I was delightfully impressed with their products. The fabric was sturdy yet light and the construction was solid.
Because they sent me a set of various sizes, I discovered how to use packing cubes in more ways than just as organizational luggage tools. Their spacious designs allowed me to store and organize a large portion of the clothes in my closet without the need for a box or other container.
I liked this idea and it inspired an entire article on the many uses of packing cubes.
Shop all Travel Wise packing cubes here!
Another big brand that offers packing cubes is Eagle Creek. While I haven’t used their cubes myself, our readers are big fans of this brand. They offer various shapes, sizes, and designs so they’re worth a look if you’re on the hunt for options to fit into uniquely designed luggage spaces.
My husband and I have used their packing folder in a size medium and we did like it!
Shop all Eagle Creek packing cubes here!
As many packing cube brands have popped up in Amazon over the years, Dot&Dot was one of the first to create a design inspired by the eBags slim version. I wanted to see if there was a major difference between them so I ordered it to test it out.
Aside from a slight difference in weight – Dot&Dot was slightly heavier and thicker – the design looked nice and I really liked the bright red color they offered. I only traveled with them on a short two-week trip so I can’t vouch for the quality of their extended use.
Shop all Dot & Dot packing cubes here!
Travel Packing Cubes Video Tutorial
Travel cubes are traditionally sold to help you organize your suitcase. However, I have a unique insight on how to use them not just to organize but also to maximize your luggage space, allowing you to fit more stuff in less space.
I developed this method in 2012 and have since helped millions of women travel carry-on only by using packing cubes in the way shown in the video.
I’ve shown this technique at conferences, been featured in countless news outlets including Oprah, The New York Post, and MSN, and have even appeared on the Fox & Friends Morning Show as a packing specialist.
In this packing video tutorial, I show you exactly how you can compress a generous amount of clothing into a carry-on bag by rolling and adjusting your items.
The clothing used in the video is an example of what someone would pack for a long trip consisting of various climates, activities, and the need to be ready for anything. Watch the video here:
Please visit this post for the picture tutorial.
As shown in the video, I use a 3-piece set of slim size packing cubes. There are various brands that offer this size but I use and recommend the eBags brand. When I first started using them in 2013, I was finally able to downsize my luggage from a 65L Osprey Aura backpack to the 40L Osprey Farpoint. Read my review!
I went from overpacking a large bag to traveling with only what I needed–carry-on only!
Please note: This was my first video three years ago but I now have newer videos available on YouTube.
Now I pack my luggage in a variety of ways using these organizers:
Traveling luggage-free with one slim cube and all my belongings in the purse (shown above) for a one-week vacation to Puerto Vallarta.
I used two slims on a 4-week trip from Colombia to Portugal including a 2-week cruise. I packed everything in the above backpack. Read more!
I also used two slims to travel carry-on on European budget airlines in the winter. Read about it here!
How to Organize Your Clothing with Packing Cubes
While there are many benefits to traveling with travel cubes, one of my favorite reasons is that they help you organize. When you’re on the go, the last thing you want to do is waste valuable time searching for clothing.
Packing clothes for travel doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are three ways to organize like a pro:
1. Organize Clothing Categories
The easiest way to pack your clothes for travel is to use a different packing cube for tops, bottoms, and other.
2. Organize Travel Outfits
Packing clothes for travel with organizers can separate travel outfits. Coordinate the first few days in advance then mix and match as you go.
3. Organize by the Weather
Packing clothes for travel to destinations with different weather can be done efficiently by separating clothes based on hot versus cold climates.
Use one packing cube to store the clothing for your hot weather destination and use the other for your cold weather destination. The third can be used for layering pieces. Create mini capsule wardrobes for each weather system.
Read this post for more details about how to organize your clothing for travel!
How to Choose the Best Travel Packing Cube
Travelers always want to know: what’s the best packing cube? Well, every packing organizer serves a different purpose. It’s best to have a combination of options to meet the needs of varying trips.
To understand the difference between cubes, folders, sacks, pouches, and other types of packing tools, please read this post on how to choose the best luggage organizer.
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of using luggage organizers like these, the first thing you need to do is determine your needs:
- Do you want to downsize your suitcase to a carry-on?
- Do you want to have a more organized suitcase?
- Do you wish to compartmentalize your belongings more efficiently?
- Are you traveling for business or leisure?
- Are you traveling for a weekend or a month?
- Are you traveling in summer or winter weather?
Whether you’re a backpacker, leisure, or business traveler, everyone can benefit from using packing cubes. I’ve been told that families find these extremely helpful and have been able to pack just two carry-on suitcases for a family of four!
Ultimately, travelers should use different types of travel organizers because needs will change from trip to trip. First, choose one of these capsule wardrobes then review these packing strategies, as they’ll help you determine which items would work best for your trip.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a packing organizer:
What’s the Difference Between Regular and Slim Packing Cubes?
Travel packing cubes are available in various sizes but generally two different shapes: regular and slim. The regular cubes are square shaped and great for stacking in a regular suitcase while the slim ones are slender and can be placed alongside each other.
When I received both sets, I was surprised at how large and wide the regular size cubes were and how small the slim set was in comparison.
What Packing Cube Size Should You Use?
A bit skeptical at first, I tested both and it turned out that the regular cubes are quite big and very generous. Too large, in fact, for my needs. They’re more appropriate for a large size suitcase due to their size and shape.
Because I travel carry-on only and due to the measurements of my bag, the slim size works for me. I can fit anywhere from four thick, fabric pieces like denim or leather to 10+ summer-weight items in each one.
While I think the majority of travelers can make the most of their space with the slim sizes, I wouldn’t recommend you use anything larger than a medium, particularly if your goal is to travel in a smaller suitcase.
I stuff so much clothing into these cubes, you’d think they’d rip easily–but they’re made of extremely durable material with sturdy zippers, which is essential for a long-lasting product. I’ve even thrown them in the washing machine on several occasions and they’re still going strong, three years later.
Additional Uses for Travel Packing Cubes
- In addition to using them for everyday travels, I use them when I go trekking to places like Machu Picchu and can only carry a daypack. Using one cube with the clothing I need acts as an ideal travel organizer and fits neatly in a small bag.
- I use them to hold useful items like sleeping liners, scarves, socks, a travel pillow, and clothing layers, when I have long transportation journeys or long flights and want to have easy access to my comfort items, as you can see in this post.
- When I’m stationary for a few months, I sometimes don’t have a lot of drawer space in my lodging. I continue using packing cubes to store clothes to make up for the lack of storage space.
- In addition to clothing, you can also use them to store other things in your luggage, like electronics, documents, toiletries, and makeup.
They have endless uses at home, too. Read about them here!
Where To Buy Packing Cubes
What do you think about travel packing cubes? Do you use them? Tell us in the comments!
For more tips on travel gear, please read:
- How to Choose a Suitcase
- How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack
- Top Packing Organizers
- Top 10 Toiletry Bags
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