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Packing cubes are a travel accessory designed to help organize and compress clothing and other items in luggage. If you’re interested in learning aout packing cubes and how they can revolutionize the way you pack, here’s a comprehensive overview for you!


Best Compression Packing Cubes for Travel



Table Of Contents



When I started Travel Fashion Girl in 2012, I was always looking for ways to maximize my packing and wanted to share my stories with other women so they could learn from my packing mistakes.

As a long term traveler, I learned the hard way that I didn’t need to pack so many clothes or shoes in order to have style options, and could, in fact, create a capsule wardrobe to save space and reuse clothing for multiple occasions. Figuring this out was amazing, and I even wrote the Pack Light Stylishly ebook to illustrate the wonders of a travel capsule wardrobe.




I love packing cubes so much that I created my own!


However, the second biggest discovery in my quest to pack more efficiently was compression travel cubes for packing!

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—carry on only!

I love the packing cubes system so much that I developed my own!




Left: Compass Rose Medium Packing Cubes | Right: Compass Rose Slim Packing Cubes


Because I live, breathe, and dream about packing 24/7, I designed the Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes to be so much more than a typical suitcase organizer. They offer a new, efficient way to organize your luggage. Separate your belongings by color or by number; you’ll always know exactly where to find what you need.


In case you want to know more history of why I developed my own packing cubes and Compass Rose Travel Accessories, read this article to learn more. it’s truly a passion endeavor that was born out of my goal to learn how to travel carry on only, and finally find products that focus on women’s needs.


And now the Compass Rose Packing Cubes are offered in two sizes: slim and medium! The slim size cubes measure 13″ x 5″ x 2.8″, and the medium size cubes measure 2.8″ x 13″ x 8.5″. Both fit an international carry-on suitcase, and the medium size is great for bulkier items or items you may want to fold too.




Sharing the excitement earlier this year at Women’s Travel Fest with Deanna Debreacht, a long-time reader, who’s holding the new Medium Packing Cubes. So grateful to share this special moment with a fellow TFG!!!


The amazing benefit of these travel packing cube sets is that you can use them as the original set or mix and match them in whatever way works best for you and your trip! So, you can use a slim cube and then add a medium cube for your packing purposes.

The one-of-a-kind color and numbered organizational system enables you to pack using one of five unique packing strategies. You can use the packing cubes to pack based on the clothing item, weather, family member, outfit, or destination.

In fact, check out the video below on the strategy I use with packing cubes that allows me and thousands of women to travel carry on only!



Watch this video to start learning how to organize with packing cubes!


Since offering our packing cubes in 2017, I’ve come to understand the ins and outs of this packing system. I’m happy to share this ultimate guide on the benefits of packing cubes and why they’re worth using. But first, let’s cover some FAQs that we receive frequently.




Using packing cubes can remove the stress of organizing your clothing and not having it fit into your luggage.


What is a Packing Cube?


Packing cubes are rectangular, zippered fabric containers of varying sizes used to organize and compartmentalize items within a suitcase, backpack, or duffle bag. They help maximize space, keep belongings tidy, and make it easier to find items during your travels. They can also be in different shapes and sizes, depending on what they are used for.

There is no best way to use packing cubes, as they can be utilized to hold clothing or essentials in different types of luggage, including a weekender bag for short trips, a personal onboard item, like a convertible backpack, or even a beach bag for a day trip.

Many people new to this way of organizing clothing often ask, are packing cubes really worth it? Yes, they are! TFG readers say packing cubes helps them stay organized, not overpack, yet still bring exactly what they need for a trip, even ones that involve multiple climates.

Mostly though, packing cubes compression benefits keep the weight of clothes to a minimum, as it’s essential to be aware of how heavy your suitcase is since airlines are tightening up baggage restrictions even more—it’s also wise to buy a luggage scale to ensure you don’t exceed weight restrictions.

Another question we receive is how many packing cubes do you need for a suitcase? It really depends on the length of your trip and if you’re traveling solo or with others. Generally, most travelers use 4 packing cubes that can fit inside a suitcase, but for a weekend trip, you might only need 2.




Generally, packing cubes sit neatly like this and often fit a carry on suitcase, while compression cubes can be various sizes.


Difference Betweeen Packing Cubes and Compression Packing Cubes?


We receive this question constantly and can finally clear it up! Packing cubes and compression packing cubes are both used to organize and maximize space in luggage, but they serve slightly different purposes and function in distinct ways.

Packing cubes help keep items separated and easy to find within your suitcase or backpack. They’re typically rectangular or square fabric containers with zippers and provide minimal compression. They maintain their shape, don’t significantly reduce the volume of the contents, and are ideal for keeping similar items together (e.g., tops in one cube, bottoms in another) making it easy to access specific items without unpacking everything.

Compression cubes are designed to compress the contents to reduce the amount of space they take up in your luggage, and they usually have 2 sets of zippers: one to close the cube and another to compress the contents by reducing the cube’s volume. Compression cubes are made of more flexible materials that allow for significant compression of the contents, thus reducing the overall volume. Overall, they’re great for bulkier items like jackets or sweaters.

So, while they both separate and keep things organized, compression cubes squeeze clothing down with more pressure versus structure.




Packing cubes and compression cubes both organize, but compression cubes squeeze items down more and are made of flexible materials.


Pros and Cons of Packing Cubes vs. Compression Bags


When considering whether to use packing cubes or compression cubes for a trip, it helps to know the pros and cons of each.



Pros of packing cubes


  • Great Organization: Keeps clothes and accessories organized, making it easier to find items. You can add cubes for a family trip and use less for solo trips, for example.
  • Maximizes Space: Compresses clothing to save space, allowing you to pack more efficiently in a suitcase.
  • Easy Packing and Unpacking: Simplifies the process of packing and unpacking, especially if you’re moving between multiple locations.
  • Protects Items: Helps protect clothes from wrinkles and damage.
  • Versatile Use: Can be used to separate clean and dirty clothes or different types of items (e.g., clothing, toiletries, electronics).
  • Cleanliness: Keeps your belongings cleaner by preventing them from directly touching the inside of the suitcase or other items. To learn how to clean your packing cubes, read this article!



Cons of packing cubes


  • Added Weight: Packing cubes add extra weight to your luggage, which can be a concern if you’re trying to minimize your baggage weight, especially for air travel, where weight limits are strictly enforced.
  • Reduces Space: Depending on their material and structure, packing cubes can take up additional space, potentially reducing the overall capacity of your luggage.
  • Inflexibility: Packing cubes are usually rigid or semi-rigid, which can limit how you arrange items within them. This can be less efficient compared to simply packing items directly into your luggage, especially for odd-shaped items.
  • Compatibility Issues: Packing cubes come in various sizes, and not all of them fit well in every type of luggage. Ensuring compatibility with your suitcase dimensions is essential.
  • Limited Use: While packing cubes are great for clothing, they may not be as useful for other items like shoes, toiletries, or bulky gear, which require separate storage solutions.



Pros of compression cubes


  • Space Saving: The primary benefit of compression cubes is their ability to significantly reduce the volume of your clothing by compressing air out of the cubes. This can create more space in your luggage for additional items.
  • Versatility: Compression cubes come in various sizes, allowing you to customize your packing system to fit different types of clothing and accessories, from bulky sweaters to delicate undergarments.
  • Protection: Compression cubes can protect your clothes from spills and damage by containing them within a separate, often water-resistant or waterproof, compartment.
  • Segregation: They allow you to separate different types of items, such as clean and dirty clothes, keeping your suitcase more hygienic and organized.
  • Travel Convenience: When going through security or customs, you can easily remove and repack compression cubes without disturbing the rest of your belongings, making the process smoother and faster.



Cons of compression cubes


  • Potential for Wrinkles: Compressing clothes tightly can increase the likelihood of wrinkles. Delicate fabrics and formal clothing may not do well in compression packing cubes.
  • Added Weight: The additional zippers and reinforced materials used in compression cubes can add a small amount of extra weight to your luggage.
  • Limited Accessibility: Once compressed, it can be difficult to access specific items without decompressing the entire cube, which may be inconvenient if you need to frequently retrieve items from your luggage.
  • Durability Concerns: Overstuffing or frequent use of the compression mechanism can put strain on the zippers and seams, potentially leading to wear and tear or damage over time.
  • Risk of Overpacking: The ability to compress items can lead to overpacking, which might result in exceeding weight limits for luggage on flights, leading to additional fees.
  • Bulky Items: Compression cubes work best with clothes and softer items. They are less effective for hard or bulky items that cannot be compressed, limiting their usefulness for certain types of gear.
  • Shape Retention: After being compressed for a long time, some items may take a while to regain their original shape once unpacked, which can be inconvenient if you need to use them immediately upon arrival.


It can be tempting to bring extra clothing when you’re using packing or compression cubes under the mistaken belief they compress, therefore, you can fit another shirt or pair of pants, but the key is to bring what you need and you won’t want for more! Read my Stop Overpacking ebook to master this (I know you can!).




Whether you use packing cubes or compression cubes depends on the type of luggage you’re using and the trip you plan to take.


What is Best: Compression Cubes vs Packing Cubes?


When it comes to choosing between these two luggage packing organizers, it really depends on the luggage you plan on using and the type of trip you’re planning.

Due to their shape and design, packing cubes are best used in a carry-on suitcase, as many have top handles and mesh fabric so you can see your items. Compression cubes are definitely useful for more flexibly shaped bags like backpacks or rolling duffle bags.

However, the ultimate goal is to have compression, a sturdy shape, and a quality design rolled into one packing cube. That’s why so many TFG readers love the Compass Rose Packing Cubes, because the double zippers and durable fabric actually help compress clothing while keeping everything compact, so it’s the best of both worlds!

Overall, packing cubes tend to be the most popular. The key to minimizing space in packing cubes is wearing the right clothing fabrics and using a capsule wardrobe that can be mixed and matched and worn for multiple occasions. Compression cubes are excellent for bigger items like a jacket or trips where you might need a bit more space in your luggage.




When choosing packing cubes, it’s important to consider durability, strong zippers, and much more!


How to Choose Packing Cubes


Now that we’ve covered what packing cubes are and the differences between compression and packing cubes, you may be ready to get organizing!


When deciding on the best travel organizer cubes, 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?


Overall, everyone can benefit from using travel cubes packing products. 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!


These helpful tips cover more details on how to choose packing cubes:


Size and Quantity: Always ensure the cubes fit your luggage and meet your packing needs. For example, not all cubes fit carry on luggage perfectly, so ensure they do. A measurement to follow is 13″L x 5″W x 2.8″H, which is the slim size of the Compass Rose Packing Cubes, and those fit into an international carry on suitcase perfectly. A slim size works best for my needs, and I wouldn’t recommend more than a medium size for carry on.

Fabric: Ensure the fabric of packing cubes is sturdy and can withstand the rigors of multiple trips. The most common fabric is nylon, which is lightweight and often water-resistant. And you’ll want to check if the fabric is ripstop, which means it’s resistant to tearing. Mesh windows are also vital, as having them stitched in allows you to easily see your clothing. Polyester is sometimes used for packing cubes and is not recommended as much because it’s not as durable or water-resistant. However, if you are on a budget, they’re cheaper.

Durability: Look for strong zippers, such as YKK zippers, strong, good-quality stitching, and durable fabric that won’t rip as you stuff your packing cubes.

Versatility: Choose cubes that can be used for various trips. Check out our 5-part video series on how to use packing cubes for 5 different types of trips, such as mixed climates, traveling with a friend or partner, and a short trip.

Easy to Clean: Some cubes are machine washable, which is a handy feature. After returning home, it’s great to regularly keep them clean since they can get dirty after each trip.

Alternate Options: If you’re packing delicate clothing for a special event or occasion, different luggage organizers may be better, such as a travel garment folder that allows for folding only and is meant to minimize wrinkles. Or, if you’re an adventurer traveler, compression sacks work for top loading backpacks and can hold many items but press them down simultaneously.



Rolling clothing is a common method with packing cubes and then using the zippers to help compress!


What’s the Best Way to Use Packing Cubes?


There are different methods to utilizing packing cubes to get the most out of them and be able to pack your entire capsule wardrobe. Here’s how:


Sort and Separate: One way to organize clothing is to group similar items together (e.g., tops, bottoms, underwear, socks) and choose different colored packing cubes to help you remember where you packed each group. For example, the Compass Rose packing system is set up for this; you can allot 1 gray cube and 1 red cube as one grouping and then use the other 2 cubes for another group. You can also separate by weather (hot or cold climates) or by person (if you’re traveling with someone else). Another way to separate is by number. The Compass Rose cubes are numbered 1-4, so one red cube is #1, one gray cube is #2, one red cube is #3, and one gray cube is #4. This allows you to designate colors and numbers for a group.

Roll or Fold Clothing: This has long been a debate on which is best, rolling or folding (read this article for the answer!), but for packing cubes, rolling often saves more space. However, folding can help reduce wrinkles, and readers report back using the Compass Rose Medium Cubes for folding bulkier items, yet the cubes still fit a carry on.

Pack by Size: A good rule of thumb is to use smaller cubes for smaller items and larger cubes for bulkier items. A good example of this is since the Compass Rose packing cubes are offered in small and medium sizes, you can mix and match both in a single suitcase without problem!

Label or Color Code: Since Compass Rose cubes are already color-coded and numbered, the guesswork is mostly resolved! And many do have mesh windows to see items. However, you may buy cubes without mesh or still want to label them. You could use a label maker (but ensure it can stick well), apply write-on tape and use a permanent marker, which is fairly flexible, apply a velcro label that you can swap out for different vacations, or you could sew on more permanent labels. Whatever method you choose, ensure it works for you in the long run!


If you want a visual aid on the rolling vs. folding method, see my video below for a complete rundown of what works best and how readers feel about each!



See this video for examples of rolling vs. folding packing methods!


Round Up of the Best Travel Packing Cubes


Now that we’ve covered the basics of packing cubes and how to use them, review this list of the best rated packing cubes, so you can start organizing today!




Compass Rose Compression Packing Cubes


Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes


Since launching in 2017, readers have voted Compass Rose as the best packing cubes for carry on travel. TFGs say our cubes hold a lot of items in a small space, are easy to use, and so simple to organize everything! Yet, the fabric and zippers are highly durable and last trip after trip.

They have a unique color-coded and numbered packing system that allows you to pack using one of my 6 one-of-a-kind packing strategies: separate your belongings by color or by number, and you’ll always know exactly where to find what you need.

You can also stack them on top of each other like shelves or lay them flat on top of each other. Their strong fabric keeps their rectangular structure. The fabric and quality zippers help you compress your clothing to maximize space.

The great thing about the slim size cubes (13″ x 5″ x 2.8″) and the medium size cubes (2.8″ x 13″ x 8.5″) is they both fit an international and domestic carry on suitcase. Users of the medium sizes say they can fit a lot of clothing but aren’t bulky once placed in luggage. Buy it here!


In this detailed review, find out why TFG readers love the Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes SO much!




Quince 6 Piece Packing Cube Set


Quince Packing Cubes


Quince offers packing cubes in a set of 6, and they’re made of recycled plastic bottles. They’re reported to be durable fabric, have strong mesh, and solid zippers, and rate high with travelers.

Users also say they compress quite a lot of clothing, but if there is any downside, they sit upright rather than stack as slim size packing cubes would with the same amount of compression, so there’s less room in your suitcase to squeeze in or add more items. I cover this packing strategy with slim cubes in my tutorial video. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 16.9″ × 12.2″ × 4.5″ (XL) | 13″ × 9.8″ × 4.5″ (Large) | 13″ × 7.1″ × 4.5″ (Medium 1) | 10.2″ × 8.3″ × 4.5″ (Medium 2) | 9.8″ × 4.3″ × 4.5″ (Small) | 7.1″ × 4.3″ × 4.5″ (XS)




Bagsmart 4 Piece Packing Cube Set


Bagsmart Packing Cubes


The Bagsmart Packing Cube 4-piece set offers an inexpensive organizational solution for budget-conscious travelers or those who are uncertain about investing in branded products.

When Bagsmart first launched their bags it offered a product closer to eBags’s original design. I immediately bought them and was happy with my purchase; however,  Amazon stopped selling them 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 the organization. Buy it here!

Dimensions (Expanded): 15″ x 10.5″ x 6″ (Large) | 13″ x 9″ x 5″ (Medium) | 13″ x 5″ x 5″ (Small) | 21.5″ x 12″ (Shoe Bag)




Away 4 Piece Packing Cube Set


Away Packing Cubes


I’ve not used the Away lightweight packing cubes but reviewers say the fabric is featherweight and the mesh allows you to see all the contents, and the zippers are reported to be solid.

Note that these are expensive compared to other brands and come in 4 different sizes, which can make it a little hard to decide what to put in each, but they are popular. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 13″ x 4.1″ x 6.9″ (Large) | 10″ x 4.1″ x 4.3″ (Medium 1) | 13″ x 4.1″ x 10″ (Medium 2) | 10″ x 4.1″ x 8.25″ (Small)
Set Weight: 0.5 lbs




Shacke Pak 5 Piece Packing Cube Set


Shacke Pak Packing Cubes


While I haven’t tried the Shacke packing cubes, they are popular with budget-conscious readers 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 other colors and includes a laundry bag. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 17.5″ x 12.75″ x 4″ (XL) | 13.75″ x 12.75″ x 4″ (Large) | 13.75″ x 9.75″ x 4″ (Medium) | 11″ x 6.75″ x 4″ (Small) | 20.5″ x 15.75″ (Laundry Bag)




Gonex 4 Piece Packing Cube Set


Gonex Compression Packing Cubes


Our readers are big fans of Gonex’s packing system. While I haven’t used their cubes myself, I have used these packing cubes in a size small, medium, large, and like them.

They’re said to compress clothes down to “nothing” and are also excellent backpacking packing cubes if you prefer not to take a suitcase.

They offer organizers in various shapes, sizes, and designs, so they’re worth a look if you’re looking for options that fit into uniquely designed luggage spaces. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 15.4″ x 15″ x 3.54″ (2 Large) | 11.8″ x 9.1″ x 3.54″ (2 Medium)




Calpak 5 Piece Packing Cube Set


Calpak Packing Cube Suitcase Organizers 


These travel compression cubes by Calpak are another popular choice for readers.

They have a mesh top so you can visually see your clothes and can fit a carry on and there’s a pouch for small items like cords or toiletries. Comes in 5 different sizes. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 16.75” x 12” x 3.5” (Large) | 15” x 11.5” x 3.5” (Medium) | 12” x 9.25” x 3.25” (Small) | 13” x 10” x 1.5” (Envelope)
Weight: 1.8 lbs (Set)




Samsonite 3 Piece Packing Cube Set


Samsonite Packing Cube Set


The sturdy packing compression cubes from Samsonite come in a 3-set. The small is good for undies and socks, while the medium works for tops. The large works well for bottoms or bulkier items, such as a hoodie or sweater. They have a mesh top so you can see your items to pack and repack easily. Buy it here!

Dimensions: 17.5″ x 12.75″ x 3.25″ (Large) | 13.75″ x 9.75″ x 3.0″ (Medium) | 11.0″ x 6.75″ x 3.0″ (Small)
Weight: 0.66 lbs (Large) | 0.44 lbs (Medium) | 0.28 lbs (Small)




Packing cubes is my secret weapon for maximizing space in my luggage.


Need More Help? My 8-Step Strategy to Travel Carry On Only


If you want more help learning how to use 4-piece packing cube set, I’m happy to share further.  Packing cubes have helped me travel carry on only from the US to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, packing cubes have allowed me to maximize my minimal luggage space.

While there are many benefits to travel cubes for luggage, 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.


Here are 3 ways to organize like a pro:

  • Clothing Categories: The easiest way to pack your clothes for travel is to use a different travel organizer cube for tops, bottoms, and other things like undies or swimsuits.
  • Travel Outfits: Pack clothes according to your travel outfits. Coordinate the first few days in advance then mix and match as you go.
  • Weather: Packing according to weather isn’t as complicated as you’d think. Use one packing cube to store 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.


In terms of actual packing logistics, follow my 8-step strategy below:




Watch this video for the complete packing tutorial!


As you can see, the best way to use packing cubes to maximize space is to roll clothing and then use any additional gaps. Using my packing cubes for compression helps make the most of less space and downsize your belongings with ease.

You’ll be surprised to know how much can actually fit into these clothes packing cubes—I never need full-size luggage, and neither will you!


I based this strategy on a 10-piece packing list:





To offer even more help, here are links to our series, 5 Days, 5 Ways to Pack, where we demonstrate the various ways and trips to utilize packing cubes to the fullest (we recommend watching all the videos included):




Packing cubes are great for storing things like toiletry containers at home!



Additional Uses for 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 at home. To make up for the lack of storage space, I continue using packing cubes to store clothes or use them for my daughter’s things.
  • Besides clothing, you can also use them to store other things in your luggage, like electronics, documents, toiletries, and makeup.



What do you think is the best travel packing cube? Please share in the comments!





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