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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.
Unsure how to use them? 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 if they’re worth it.
Best Packing Cubes and How to use Them
Updated July 2018: 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 organizational tools, they’ve also learned 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 (although I now have my own Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes). I genuinely love these organizers and know you will, too!
Why I Love Using Packing Cubes
I was a full-time traveler for living out of a suitcase for almost nine years. These travel cubes helped me achieve my goal of traveling carry-on only in my never-ending journey around the world.
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes are organizational containers 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. In fact, my method has helped millions of women travel carry-on only!
It’s important to note that these organizers do much more than just separate your tops from your bottoms. By using the rolling method shown in the video below, you can compress the space in your luggage, making it easier to travel carry-on only!
Why Packing Cubes are Worth It
I’d say they’re definitely worth a try. I can’t travel without mine and most 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. They’re a game changer!
Which Packing Cube Should I Buy?
My preferred brand was 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, too.
While these packing cubes all have their benefits, I’ve now created my own version that will take your organization to the next level: the Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes shown below!
These are my tried and tested packing cube reviews:
Compass Rose Packing Cubes
Because I live, breathe, and dream about packing 24/7, I’ve designed these packing cubes to be so much more than a typical suitcase organizer.
Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes offer you a new, efficient way to organize your luggage. They have a unique color and number coded packing system that allows you to pack using one of my six one-of-a-kind packing strategies: separate your belongings by color or by number, you’ll always know exactly where to find what you need.
Plus, they’re the only packing cubes that fit perfectly into a carryon suitcase. You can stack them on top of each other like shelves or lay them flat on top of each other. They have a strong fabric that keeps their rectangular structure.
The fabric and quality zippers also help you compress your clothing to maximize space.
They’re truly the best packing cubes! Buy it here!
eBags Packing Cubes
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 original, they’re not as structured and only offers 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, I discovered this to be an additional benefit and utilize this feature in the packing strategy I developed as can be seen in the packing video below. Buy it here!
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes 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. Buy it here!
Pro Packing Cubes
I was given a set of Pro Packing Cubes to test and 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.
Although I was traveling full time for four months 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. Buy it here!
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
They offer organizers in 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. Buy it here!
Shacke Pak Packing Cubes
While I haven’t tried the Shacke Pak cubes, they are popular with budget-conscious readers that are looking for a larger set with mixed sizes. Because of their square shape and spacious design, these would work well in large suitcases for travelers looking to check their bags vs travel carry-on only.
Our readers prefer the Gentlemen’s Blue color but this set is also available in eight other colors and includes a laundry bag. Buy it here!
Travel Packing Cubes Video Tutorial
Travel cubes are traditionally sold to help you organize your suitcase. However, this unique strategy helps you maximize your luggage space, allowing you to fit more stuff in less space!
I developed the packing cube rolling method in 2012 and have since helped millions of women travel carry-on only when used as 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 the below packing video video, I show you exactly how you can compress a generous amount of clothing into a carry-on bag by rolling and adjusting your items into a packing cube.
I used this 15-piece packing list as a guideline for the clothing, the maximum wardrobe size I recommend you pack for any trip.
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:
As shown in the video, I use a 3-piece set of slim sized packing cubes. When I first started using packing cubes in 2013, I was finally able to downsize my luggage from a 65L backpack to a 40 liter bag.
I went from overpacking a large bag to traveling with only what I needed – carryon only!
You may not always need to use this handy packing hack, but it works wonders when needed! You can also use a combination of folding and rolling within the same packing cube, too.
If you use the rolling method shown in the video, you’ll be able to travel carry-on only saving you money in the long run. More importantly, packing light makes your overall travel experience much more comfortable and stress-free.
Please note: This was my very first video many years ago but I now have newer videos available on YouTube.
How to Use Packing Cubes: Organization
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.
As you can see in the above tutorial, you can organize your belongings while making more use of limited space. Now, I’m sure you know this doesn’t mean you should pack a bunch of stuff you don’t need and weigh down your luggage. There are weight restrictions for carry-on baggage you have to consider.
However, using this technique will help you downsize your belongings with ease. You’ll be surprised to know how much you can actually fit into these products. You won’t need to check that bag after all.
Make sure to watch the video above for the complete explanation!
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.
Travelers use them to organize clothing, toiletries, and many other items. They usually have a square or rectangular shape with a mesh top and a zipper around the sides.
There are various types of cubes available in different shapes, sizes, and fabrics. They also have different names, such as travel cubes, packing bags, and luggage cubes. While there are various types of luggage organizers, packing cubes are by far the traveler favorite!
When deciding the best luggage organizer, first you need to 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 travel 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. 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.
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.
- 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
Here’s a quick overview for each of products on our best packing cubes list:
|BRAND / MODEL||DIMENSION||FEATURES||RATING||PRICE|
|Compass Rose Compression Packing Cubes||13 x 5 x 2.8 in||Set includes: 4 slim: they’re the only packing cubes that fit perfectly into a carryon suitcase. You can stack them on top of each other like shelves or lay them flat on top of each other||Check Price|
|eBags Packing Cubes 6-Piece Set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, small 11 x 6.75 x 3 and slim 2.8 x 14 x 5 in||Set includes: 1 large, 1 Medium, 1 Small and 3 Slim, Techlite Diamond Nylon, includes premium YKK zippers, soft mesh tops||Check Price|
|AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, small 11 x 6.75 x 3, slim 14 x 5 x 2.8 in||100% Polyester, double zipper pull closure, mesh top panel, webbing handle||Check Price|
|Pro Packing Cubes- 6pc set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, slim 14 x 5 x 3.5 in||Ultralight & durable rip-stop Nylon, YKK zippers, 100% LIFETIME GUARANTEE||Check Price|
|Eagle Creek Pack It Specter Compression Cube Set||Large 14 x 10 x 3, small 10 x 7 x 3 (before compression)||Compression zipper, ultra lightweight silnylon ripstop, quick grab handle||Check Price|
|Shacke Pak - 4 Set Packing Cubes||X-Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 4 Large 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 Medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 4 Small 11 x 6.75 x 4||Made from high quality water resistant nylon material, X design with double stitching, laundry bag Included||Check Price|
Examples of packing with packing cubes:
Traveling luggage-free with one slim cube and all my belongings in the purse (shown above) for a one-week vacation to Puerto Vallarta.
Everything for a 1-week luggage-free vacation using one slim cube!
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 only two slim cubes for a 4-month+ trip to Southeast Asia including ultra-light scuba gear in the 45L Patagonia wheeled duffle shown above. Read the post here!
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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