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Whether you’re a pro packer or someone who may need a little extra help, packing cubes are the hero products you never knew you needed. While, yes, it might seem silly to pack your bag with, well, more bags, these storage containers are actually worth investing in.
Packing cubes keep your gym bag or luggage super organized during travel and once you arrive at your destination, since you can transport the cubes to dresser drawers at your Airbnb or hotel, or keep them in your bag if you’re backpacking or camping. Some feature mesh panels, so you can peek inside without having to open them — turning your organization into chaos — and others boast durable, water-resistant construction to protect your belongings from leaks, spills, and wet weather. (Has anyone else had a bottle of shampoo explode in transit?) What’s more, you can also snag cubes with built-in compression to squeeze in an extra outfit or two.
They’re easy to use: Just pack your clothes into the cubes first (many brands recommend rolling your items to prevent wrinkles and to capitalize on space), and then fit the cubes into your duffle or suitcase like a game of Tetris. Still not convinced? Many Amazon reviewers who were skeptics before trying packing cubes now say they don’t know how they ever traveled without them, and flight attendants love them, too. (Related: 5 Eco-Friendly Trips That Are Better for You and the Environment)
Ahead, shop the best packing cubes, according to customer reviews.
Amazon’s number one best-seller in the “travel packing organizers” category, this set is made of a water-resistant fabric that the company claims is 26 percent thicker than others on the market, meaning they’re super durable and can withstand wear and tear. A set includes three packing cubes, a bra and underwear bag (to keep your intimates separated to prevent them from getting deformed), a laundry bag, and a shoe holder.
One reviewer wrote: “Used these cubes about three times now. Currently packed for upcoming trip in a week. Saves on space and ladies you can pack more clothes!!! Last trip to Caribbean, I was able to get 13 outfits plus three bathing suits in one carry-on suitcase and still had room!!! So far everything is still in one piece, have not had any issues with rips or broken zippers.”
Made from water-resistant nylon, this set of packing cubes comes with four zippered cubes and one laundry bag, so that you can separate your dirty clothes at the end of your trip. Also nice: The mesh cutouts allow you to see what’s inside each cube without having to open them, which comes in handy when you’re looking for a fresh pair of undies or your favorite swimsuit. (Related: 11 Road Trip Ideas That Are Actually Active)
“Wow — I’ve purchased travel bags before, but these are reasonably priced, well-constructed, and even come in multiple colors that I enjoy. They include an instructional card (with great tips, BTW, on how to pack for various-length trips), and information on their YouTube videos to guide you to pack for a short, medium, longer (10+) day trip using these bags,” reported a shopper.
These cute, compression packing cubes are durable, water-resistant and lightweight, coming in at just 10 ounces. They feature a double zipper system that allows you to either expand or compress the bags for easy packing and compact traveling — and actually claim to save you up to 30 percent more space in your luggage for other essentials. They do so by using double zippers; you pack the cube full, zip the first zipper to close it, and then zip the second zipper to reduce the height of the cube. (Related: How to Organize Your Activewear with Help from Marie Kondo)
“I travel frequently for work and I am a serious over packer,” shared a customer. “I typically pack business casual items, day wear, and pajamas. In other words, my suitcase is always a mess and usually I need to pack and check a much larger suitcase than I actually need. I am seriously in love with the Well Traveled compression set. I seriously just packed at least 10 outfits and a week’s worth of pjs in my CARRY ON. With room for like four winter sweaters. I feel like a legit travel rockstar.”
Available in three colorways (black, blue, and red), this packing cube set is from trusted travel brand Eagle Creek. It includes three different sized cubes for clothing and accessories, and each of the cubes has built-in mesh so you can easily identify what’s in each compartment without having to open them. The brand recommends you roll your items within the cubes to maximize storage and minimize wrinkles. The only downside is this set does not come with a laundry bag, according to customers.
One fan said: “I travel a lot, but this is my first experience using cubes, and I will use them from now on. Much easier to pack, find and repack [items] — especially when you don’t have a dresser available to you. It just makes you feel more organized. In the future, though, I’ll bring along a small duffel or plastic bag for dirty laundry.”
If you can trust a brand to make packing cubes perfect for all your adventures, it’s legendary outdoor co-op REI. This set of three packing cubes is made of a lightweight, strong ripstop nylon with a durable water repellent coating. They’re expandable — just zip to adjust their sizes from 4 liters to 6 liters (S), 8 liters to 12 liters (M), and 13.25 liters to 20.5 liters — to fit all your packing and gear needs, depending on the trip. Bonus: They each have a see-through mesh pocket with a blank card so you can list what’s inside and don’t need to go digging around.
One reviewer went so far as to call them magic: “Cannot believe how much I can pack in each cube. 6 turtleneck sweaters, 2 T shirts, 1 fuzzy sweater, and a pair of leggings in the larger one for example. Squashed down further after packing but clothes don’t look squashed at the other end. Also I am way more organized while living out of a suitcase.”
While they might be simple, these packing cubes from Amazon have earned over 6,700 five-star ratings from reviewers. The set, which comes in six colors, includes a slim, small, medium, and large cube — all with mesh top panels for ventilation and easy identification of contents. (Related: How to Have a Healthy, Stress-Free Vacation, According to Travel Experts)
“I used these on a recent trip to Scandinavia and they helped me keep my backpack nicely organized. The cubes are really floppy but they’ll take shape as you fill them. I liked that I could fold them or squish them into my pack after filling them. I didn’t have any problems with the zippers and none of my cubes tore after two weeks of regular use,” noted a shopper.
One of the more affordable options on Amazon, this set comes with seven packing cubes that are lightweight, water-resistant, foldable, and easy to store. The set includes three cubes, one shoe bag, and three laundry bags (although you can certainly use them for stashing makeup, skin-care products, and more) to keep your items separate and organized. Pick from four patterns: leopard, floral, stars, and polka dot.
Even a flight attendant swears by them: “I’m a flight attendant and these are perfect. So cute and they make the worst part of my job (packing) easy. Thank you so much!”
This set truly has all your bases covered, since it comes with four packing cubes, a shoe bag, a toiletry bag, and a second clear, TSA-approved toiletry bag to hold your carry-on liquids. The cubes are made of durable, water-resistant nylon and are incredibly light, so they won’t add extra weight to your suitcase. (Related: How to Get the Mental Health Benefits of Travel Without Going Anywhere)
“Sometimes my husband and I end up packing in the same bag if we’re only going away for a short time,” shared a customer. “Our clothes get tossed about trying to find what we’re looking for and half the time I think I forgot something, because I can’t find it in the mess. I used these packing bags for the first time last week on a camping trip and I LOVED how neat and organized I was able to keep my clothes. Pants in one, tops in another, undies and [camisoles] in a smaller one, and more. As always, I overpacked but this time, it wasn’t a problem. The bags hold way more than I expected them to and I was happy knowing I had clothing choices even if I didn’t need them. I would definitely recommend these to anyone who travels.”
These pretty cubes come in nine muted shades and will keep the inside of your suitcase looking incredibly organized. The set includes three different sized cubes, a bra and underwear bag, a shoe bag, a toiletry bag, a makeup/skin-care bag, a cable bag, and a laundry bag. They’re perfect for weekend backpacking and camping trips, tossing into your gym bag, or for longer vacations. Together, they all fit into a 26- to 28-inch suitcase.
One reviewer wrote: “When I first became aware of packing cubes, I thought they seemed completely unnecessary and a waste of precious suitcase real estate. Then a friend gave me these as a gift to celebrate my impending trip to Iceland. I’m now a devout convert! These little devils saved me so much time and aggravation, I still can’t believe it. When I got to my hotel room, it took me exactly six minutes to unpack and put stuff away. Getting dressed in the morning was faster because used items were in cubes separate from fresh. Packing to return home was faster because, well, I was already basically packed. I just popped the cubes back in the suitcase and voila.”