Best Packing Cubes of 2020
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set is a simple, yet highly rated set that lives up to the hype. Eagle Creek has been perfecting their packing cubes for years, and is a travel accessory-specific company that makes high-quality products they stand behind with their "No Matter What" warranty. This packing cube set comes with three cubes in medium, small, and extra-small, which our testers filled with enough clothes for a five-day trip. Though the design is similar to many other packing cubes we tested, with nylon fabric and a mesh panel on front for visibility and ventilation, the quality of the material is noticeably higher. The fabric is stiff enough to stand up and make neatly packing each cube easy. Since they are not compression cubes, your clothes won't get nearly as wrinkled by being squeezed together. And the cubes can be moved easily to a dresser drawer to keep things organized throughout your trip.
The only downside that we can find about this set is that it is more expensive than some of the other sets we tested that come with double the cubes. But we think it's worth its higher price point, for the quality of the material and the "No Matter What" warranty. Eagle Creek makes many other sizes, shapes, and styles of packing cubes, and someone who needs more than three cubes can mix and match with their other exceptional products.
The AmazonBasics 4-Piece Organizer came out as one of our top choices for a number of reasons. These packing cubes come in 4 different shapes that fit perfectly into a standard carry-on suitcase, with a large, medium, small, and slim cube that fit satisfyingly together like a game of Tetris. The biggest plus we found with these low-cost packing cubes was their noticeably durable material and the addition of ripstop technology — a method of fabric weaving used in hot air balloons and yacht sails to name a few.
Our testers were worried about how large the mesh weaving was, which, although great for visibility and ventilation, can be subject to snags and tears. These packing cubes are a great option for someone who wants a simple, low-cost set for occasional travel, and were the highest quality out of all the budget cubes we tested.
The YAMIU 7-Piece Travel Organizer is an incredible value, with seven total pieces making it a complete set ready for travel. With 4 packing cubes, 2 clear, plastic toiletry bags, and a shoe bag, the YAMIU set can easily cover all your bases for over a week-long trip, easily accommodating a jacket and two sweaters, 5 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, plenty of socks and underwear, and even a quart-size toiletry bag that will help you keep your carry-on liquids TSA-approved.
They may not be the most well-made packing cubes we reviewed, made of shiny, thin nylon fabric, nor are they compressible, but for the sheer value of 7 pieces, these can't be beat.
The Osprey UL Packing Set is made with weight-savings in mind, something that is valuable to the backpacking community as well as for the weight-conscious traveler. Made of highly durable, 40D ripstop nylon, these were not only very light at 2.1 ounces for 3 cubes but very high quality. Their tight stitching and soft and silky feel ensure that they are worth their higher price tag, as well as the fact that they come with Osprey's lifetime, "All Mighty Guarantee" warranty.
The set only comes with 3 packing cubes, but in them our testers could fit 4 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, 5 pairs of underwear, and 2 pairs of socks, making them a good choice for a backpacker who doesn't need many changes of clothes, or those going on a weekend trip. The zippers only open three-quarters of the way, but because they lack structure to begin with, it is actually easier to pack them with this design by rolling up your clothing and shoving them deep inside, completely filling the space. For those who seek a simple and light set of packing cubes made by a company with an exceptional reputation, you can't go wrong with the Osprey cubes.
Though not a big brand name, the packing cubes from Tripped hit many top marks in our evaluation. Not only does this set come with six lightweight cubes that rival those of the better-known, more expensive cubes from Eagle Creek, but these cubes are also compressible making this set a great value.
This set does not have any large cubes, but rather two medium-sized cubes which we actually preferred as they could easily be packed into different-sized suitcases, backpacks, and duffle bags. Our testers were easily able to fit more than a week's worth of clothes inside, and there is also a small, slim, non-compressible bag that is great for a pair of shoes, underwear, or to use as an accessory bag. A bonus laundry bag really seals the deal for this complete set.
Like the ultralight sets we tested, the Tripped packing cubes do not have any mesh to reveal what is inside each cube, opting for slick, translucent polyurethane — a fabric that is stretchier than polyester, but less durable than nylon. The quality of the material is not as high as other ultralight cube sets we tested, and the stitching was noticeably loose in places which is not a testament to the cube's overall longevity. But with the company's lifetime warranty and the excellent slimming action of the compression zippers, these cubes become a great choice.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter cube set comes with three ultralight packing cubes, very similar in size and style to the Osprey UL set. The advantage of Eagle Creek products is that they are a company that specializes in travel accessories and earn top marks for their packing cubes, as well as having a sustainability initiative and a "No Matter What" warranty. While you can purchase these excellent Specter packing cubes to save substantial weight in your luggage (they weigh a total of 2.1 ounces!), you can also mix and match them with other Eagle Creek travel accessories making a complete set of anything you could need for travel.
Our reviewers purchased the white/strobe color of these cubes, for the added advantage of the slight translucency this color provides, allowing you to vaguel see what is inside each packing cube, unlike the Osprey UL set which is a darker yellow color. Each cube only has one zipper that only opens up three-quarters of the way, and the cubes are high-end making them a high-cost for a simple three-piece set. These packing cubes are lightweight and durable, however, (made with 30D ripstop nylon), and are another great choice for those looking to go light on their next trip.
The Shacke Pak 5-Set packing cubes are another incredible value option for those on a budget. Made of nylon and mesh, their quality feels more than adequate and even burly for their low price-point. With big zippers that don't snag, and a thoughtful "x" design on their front that keeps them from bulging upwards when overstuffed, the Shacke set really felt like a steal.
The large packing cube could fit 2 bulky sweaters and a rain jacket, while we filled the two medium-sized cubes with plenty of shirts and pants for a week. The smallest cube is 11" x 6.75" x 4", which is much bigger than the smallest cubes that come in other sets, and can fit enough socks and underwear for a week or serve as a great toiletries or accessory bag. The set also comes with a laundry bag.
The mesh holes on the front of these cubes are less tightly woven than on other, more expensive models, and could be prone to snagging and ripping. This set is another great option for those who don't want to shell out a lot of cash for simple luggage organizers.
The Gonex Mesh Compression Organizers are a 6 piece set of compression-style packing cubes. Made of ripstop nylon fabric and mesh, the set is both light and breathable. With specialized compression-zippers, each packing cube can compress to almost an inch less in height, making it easy to pack a week's worth of clothes into one 19" suitcase. There is a great variety of shapes and sizes in this set, with a large square packing cube, two medium-sized cubes, a small, and a slim. Also included is a laundry bag that could also double as a shoe-bag.
As with most compression cubes the shape of the cubes bulge and become rounded when compressed, making them harder to stack on top of one another. With the Gonex cubes, their expandable mesh front also makes them more prone to bulging, and this greatly limits their space-saving capabilities. The compression zipper can also get caught easily on the cube's fabric, and you must take care to press down on the cube and help the zipper along so as not to cause a tear. While not a remarkable compression packing cube set, the Gonex is a great value and will do the job for those who are excited to save a little space in their bag.
The packing cubes from EasyFun Organizer come in two sets of 3 packing cubes. The best part about these cubes is that each set of 3 is a different color, allowing you to organize your clothes in different color bags, or sort your clean clothes from your dirty ones, or even share your packing cubes with your partner or family members without the worry of mixing them up. The packing cubes included are also some of the largest we tested, with three of the cubes easily packing enough clothes for two weeks, and the entire set of six being a great option for long-term travel.
Clamshell-style packing cubes, ones that zip open all the way around, can be difficult to pack if they don't have enough structure to stand up on their own. These cubes are made of a rather flimsy, nylon material, and lay completely flat while being packed, making it harder to pack them tightly and efficiently. The zipper is also reinforced with only a single line of stitching, which if compromised could render the bag unusable. While not the highest-quality bags we tested, they are a versatile, large-capacity option.
The Bagail 6-Set is another large capacity, budget packing cube set. A step up in quality from the EasyFun Organizer set, these packing cubes are similarly large in size, and can easily fit a two-week trip's worth of clothes. The small bags are a slim shape, which our reviewers tended to prefer, as they fit nicely into the empty spaces in your suitcase next to the larger, rectangular cubes. One slim cube could fit 14 pairs of underwear and the other we used as an accessory bag, fitting all our odds and ends for travel in a convenient place.
The zippers are reinforced with double stitching, which we appreciate in a budget set. The large mesh panels that cover the front bring their durability into question, however. The bags tend to lose their form when zipped open all the way, especially the large bags, causing your neatly rolled items to loosen. This is not as much of an issue with the smaller bags. This set is another good option for those don't travel very often and don't want to spend a lot of money on accessories, or need a set of large cubes for a long trip every now and then.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review comes to you from an avid traveler, Miya Tsudome, who has gone years not knowing that packing cubes existed and is adamant about how much they have improved her life since. Miya values organization, and products that help simplify her way of life. With frequent trips abroad in her past plus many miles backpacking in the outdoors, she brings years of experience packing and traveling with clothing to bring you an honest outlook on how packing cubes can really make a difference in your travel life.
We spent days testing each packing cube set, stuffing their compartments with bulky clothes, seeing how well they stacked on top of each other in a suitcase, assessing the quality of their stitching and zippers, and seeing how well they compressed. Our assessment comes from real-world use, and many hours spent evaluating which packing cubes shined the most.
Analysis and Test Results
At their simplest, packing cubes serve as a way to compartmentalize and organize your clothing in a suitcase. This helps to avoid the mess that can quickly get out of hand if a suitcase is packed with loose clothing, as you dig through your neatly folded layers to find that one sweater you want to wear while waiting for your flight. Certain packing cubes can compress, allowing you to pack more for longer trips, while others have a sturdier, boxy shape that can easily be moved from a suitcase to a hotel dresser drawer, allowing you to stay organized. Some are even made of ultralight, durable material for those who are weight-conscious or those who will be using their cubes for backpacking trips.
Ease of Packing
Being able to pack your cubes efficiently and without hassle is a valuable metric we made sure to test thoroughly. Ease of packing was measured by the structure of each cube set, how many zippers each cube had, and whether or not they unzipped all the way around for easy access. Another consideration with ease of packing was ease of unpacking, with cubes that had mesh for visibility or translucent materials to see what was inside being favorable.
Structure can be nice to have if you'd like to keep your clothes in your packing cubes and transport them from a suitcase to a hotel dresser drawer. This way your clothes stay organized and can easily be packed up again. Having structure can also make a cube easier to pack in the first place, as these will stand up on their own. With stiff, high-quality nylon, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set had the best structure of all the cubes tested. With its double-zipper design and clamshell-style opening, you can open and close the cubes with ease as well as access any specific item you want. The mesh front of the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube set also makes it easy to identify what is inside. The cube set from AmazonBasics also provided decent structure, a clamshell, zippered opening, and mesh front making it another easy-to-pack option. And our reviewers liked the packing cubes from Gonex for these reasons as well as their ability to be packed with or without compression.
While ultralight cubes like the Osprey UL, Eagle Creek Pack-It Spectre, and the ones by Tripped lack structure, they are actually quite easy to pack with their zip design that only opens the cube halfway. Because of this feature, you can easily stuff each cube full, earning high points for packability. But these bags are not as easy to unpack specific items, and only have one zipper, limiting their versatility.
The budget cubes from Bagail, EasyFun, YAMIU, and Shacke, are all clamshell-style with double zippers. But with their low-cost comes lower-quality material, which typically lacks structure and can make packing and unpacking more difficult as a result.
Most all packing cubes will compress your clothing items to an extent, but some packing cubes are designed to be compression-specific. These will have an extra zipper on their sides to cinch the cubes down and suck out extra air, effectively making the cubes smaller. Most compression-style packing cubes will compress down by more or less 1", making the space-saving benefits undeniable.
The packing cubes from Gonex and Tripped were the only compression-specific styles we tested. When shoved full of bulky clothing, the Tripped cubes outshone the Gonex being able to compress down to a slimmer, more packable profile, compressing down by a whole inch. Because of their mesh front, the Gonex cubes will not compress down as much as the Tripped cubes, only compressing by a little more than half an inch. The point of a compression cube is to act as a vacuum seal, eliminating air from the bag. The mesh on the Gonex cubes will not provide this vacuum seal effect, and will also bulge upward much more when the bag is filled than the tight but flexible polyurethane of the Tripped compression cubes.
While not entirely compression specific, the Shacke packing cubes were reinforced with a nylon "x" that is a clever design intended to stop the cubes from bulging outward too much when stuffed, making them a good, affordable pick for those looking to save a little space. The rest of the cubes we tested were not compression-style packing cubes, and the ones with the largest mesh panels were the worst at compressing, as the softer mesh will bulge outwards.
The packing cube sets we tested came in a wide variety of holding capacity. This was determined by how many pieces came in a set and how big the packing cubes themselves were.
The packing cubes from Bagail and EasyFun had the largest carrying capacity of all the sets we tested. Their large bags were extra-large compared to those of other brands, with those from Bagail measuring 17.5 x 13.7 x 4 inches, and the EasyFun bags coming in at 17.5 x 12.5 x 4 inches. These large bags could easily fit three bulky sweaters, two jackets, and 2 pairs of jeans between them, and that's only two out of six bags. Each of these sets could fit enough warm-weather clothes for a two-week plus vacation, or enough cold-weather clothes comfortably for a week-long or more adventure. The YAMIU cube set only had one extra-large packing cube per set, but with the addition of a shoe bag, two toiletry bags, and three more packing cubes it also stands out as a complete set.
The more expensive packing cube sets like the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter set, and the Osprey UL Packing Set only come with three packing cubes in medium, small, and extra small, making them the lowest capacity packing cube sets we tested.
If you are a frequent flyer and are looking for packing cubes that will last trip after trip, durability is definitely a feature you will want to consider. We assessed the durability of each packing cube set by noting their material, knowing that nylon is more durable than polyester and polyurethane, assessing to see if they had ripstop technology, and examining the quality of their stitching.
The Osprey UL Packing Set and the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter set are made with 40D and 30D ripstop nylon, respectively. The "D" stands for "denier", which is a measure of how thick the individual strands of nylon are. This means that these two sets are made with the most durable and high-quality fabrics out of any of the other sets tested. They are also enforced with ripstop technology — a design that interweaves fabrics and makes them more resistant to ripping and tearing. The smooth, sleek nylon with no mesh on front to snag or rip makes these cube sets durable as well as lightweight. While the denier of the Tripped and AmazonBasics cubes are not mentioned, they also boast ripstop technology, making them good alternate choices for durability.
The EasyFun set is made of thin nylon with a single line of stitching and no reinforcement for the zippers. Though low-cost and high capacity, this set is not our top pick for durability. The set from Bagail has the most exposed mesh out of any of the other sets, which is prone to snags and tears. While our testers love the compression aspect of the Gonex set, the zipper for the compression feature often got caught on the fabric.
Our testers measured the value of each set by assessing their price, quality, and the number of pieces per set to see which ones came out on top. While having a low price point for five or more packing cubes is a great value, we wanted to make sure that the products we rated as high value also were of decent quality.
The Gonex Mesh Compression Organizers and the Tripped Compression Cubes each came with 6 pieces in a set, could be used as compression cubes or normal packing cubes, and were high-quality cubes that had the most units per set with price points that were low for these considerations. The Tripped cubes mimic the look and feel of the more expensive versions from Eagle Creek and Osprey, sets which both have half the number of cubes per set at a higher cost. Tripped also got top marks in our compression category, and our testers loved the variety of sizes in the set. The Gonex cubes have a compression aspect but also have more structure than the Tripped cubes with a clamshell, two-zipper design, making them highly versatile as both compression and non-compression cubes. The set from AmazonBasics is also a great value, with four cubes in a set perfect for carry-on luggage, and the added bonus of ripstop technology.
The budget cube sets from YAMIU and Shacke provide the most items per set for the price, and for that alone are undeniable value considerations. However, they sacrifice some quality for their lower price, which is to be expected. While the sets from Osprey and Eagle Creek offer the highest quality, you only receive three packing cubes per set and are the most expensive.
For those who frequently travel, whether on short business trips or long vacations, or for those who love organization and hate how quickly the contents of a suitcase can get out of hand, packing cubes are an essential travel accessory that will be sure to make your life easier. Coming in all shapes and sizes and with plenty of different features, we're confident you'll find a packing cube set that best fits your needs out of our selections of the best there is in 2020.
— Miya Tsudome