Best Packing Cubes of 2021
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set is a simple, high-quality set. Having tested many products from Eagle Creek over the years, we've come to respect them as a company that makes high-quality products. This set comes with three cubes in medium, small, and extra-small, which our testers filled with enough clothes for a five-day trip. Featuring nylon fabric and a mesh panel on the front for visibility and ventilation, the design is similar to many other competitor models we tested, but Eagle Creek's material is noticeably higher quality. The fabric is stiff enough for the cubes to stand up on their own, making packing a breeze. Folded items won't get wrinkled during travel, either, thanks to their rigid structure and lack of compressibility. These cubes also fit easily into a dresser drawer- ideal for staying organized while on the move.
This set is admittedly more expensive than some of the other products we tested, especially since it only comes with three cubes. However, we think these are worth their higher price point for the quality of the material. Eagle Creek makes many other sizes, shapes, and styles of cubes, and someone who needs more than three cubes can mix and match with their other exceptional products.
The YAMIU 7-Piece Travel Organizer is an incredible value, with seven total pieces for a complete, travel-ready set. With four packing cubes, two clear plastic toiletry bags, and a shoe bag, the YAMIU set can easily cover all your bases for over a week-long trip. During testing, this set accommodated a jacket, two sweaters, five pairs of pants, six shirts, and plenty of socks and underwear. The clear plastic toiletry bags were especially helpful for ensuring carry-on items were TSA-approved.
Constructed from thin, shiny, nylon fabric, the YAMIU cubes may not be the most durable products we reviewed. They aren't compressible, either, but for seven pieces, this set is an excellent value.
The AmazonBasics 4-Piece Organizer is one of our top choices for several reasons. These cubes come in four different shapes that fit perfectly into a standard carry-on suitcase, with a large, medium, small, and slim cube that fit snugly together. We think the biggest advantage of this low-cost option is their durable material, which features ripstop technology — a method of fabric weaving used in hot air balloons, yacht sails, and mountaineering tents.
Our testers were worried about the loose mesh weaving of these cubes. Although great for visibility and ventilation, it easily snags and tears. These cubes are an excellent option for someone who wants a simple, low-cost set for occasional travel. These were the highest quality of all the budget cubes we tested.
The Osprey UL Packing Set is made with weight savings in mind, making them a great choice for weight-conscious travelers and backpackers. Made of highly durable, 40D ripstop nylon, these were very light (2.1 ounces for three cubes) and very high quality. Their tight stitching and soft, silky feel convinced us that they are worth their higher price tag.
The set only comes with three bags, but in them, our testers could fit four pairs of pants, six shirts, five pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks. For backpackers or travelers who don't need an abundance of wardrobe options, we found these cubes to be plenty spacious. The three-quarter zipper closure and lack of rigidity of these cubes are best for rolling and stuffing clothing inside, rather than neatly folding. For those who seek a lightweight and straightforward set of packing cubes made by a company with an exceptional reputation, the Osprey cubes are topnotch.
Though not a well-known brand name, the Tripped model 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 comes with two medium-sized cubes, which we preferred to a large cube since we could easily pack them into different-sized suitcases, backpacks, and duffel bags. Our testers were able to fit more than a week's worth of clothes inside with ease, 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. They instead feature a slick, translucent polyurethane. This fabric 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 great testament to the cube's overall longevity. Our testers were able to overlook this detail thanks to the excellent slimming action of the compression zippers, which made this set more favorable than other, more durable cubes.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter cube set comes with three ultralight cubes, very similar in size and style to the Osprey UL set. The advantage of Eagle Creek is that they are a sustainability-focused company that specializes in travel accessories rather than backpacks. While these excellent bags save substantial weight in your luggage on their own (they weigh a total of 2.1 ounces), it's also possible to mix and match them with other Eagle Creek accessories to create a complete set that is customized to your travel and packing needs.
Our reviewers purchased the white/strobe color of these cubes for the added advantage of slight translucency, allowing you to vaguely see what is inside each cube. Each cube has one zipper that only opens up three-quarters of the way, similar to the Osprey UL set. This set of three cubes has a high-end feel and features a high-end price tag. If you don't mind shelling out the cash, though, these lightweight and durable cubes are an excellent choice for those looking to go light on their next trip.
The Shacke Pak 5-Set packing cubes are an incredible value option for those on a budget. Made of nylon and mesh, their quality feels quite durable for their low price-point. With large 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 cube could fit two 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. It can fit enough socks and underwear for a week or serve as a great toiletry 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 the mesh on other more expensive models and could be prone to snagging and ripping. However, this set is a great option for those who don't want to break the bank for simple luggage organizers.
The Gonex Mesh Compression Organizers are a six-piece set of compression-style packing cubes. The set is both light and breathable, constructed of ripstop nylon fabric and mesh. With specialized compression zippers, each bag can reduce in height by nearly an inch, making it easy to fit a week's worth of clothes into one 19" suitcase. This set features a variety of shapes and sizes of cubes, with a large square cube, two medium-sized cubes, a small cube, and a slim size. Also included is a laundry bag that could 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. The Gonex cubes' 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, we found that we needed to 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. It will certainly do the job for those who are excited to save a little space in their bag.
The EasyFun Organizer comes in two sets of three cubes. Our favorite thing about these cubes is that each set of three is a different color, allowing you to organize your clothes in different color bags, sort your clean clothes from your dirty ones, or even share your packing cubes with your travel buddies without the worry of mixing them up. These cubes are also some of the largest we tested, with three of them easily packing enough clothes for two weeks. Used alone, the entire set of six cubes is a great option for long-term travel.
Clamshell-style 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 very thin, nylon material. They lay completely flat while being packed, making it harder to pack them tightly and efficiently. The zipper is reinforced with only a single line of stitching, which, if compromised, could render the bag unusable. While not the highest-quality bags we tested, these cubes are a versatile, large-capacity option.
The Bagail 6-Set is another large capacity, low-cost option. A step up in quality from the EasyFun Organizer set, these cubes are similarly sized and can easily fit a two-week trip's worth of clothes. Our reviewers tended to prefer the slim shape of the small cubes, which fit nicely into the empty spaces in our bags. One small cube could accommodate 14 pairs of underwear, and the other we used as an accessory bag, holding all our odds and ends for travel in a convenient place.
The zippers are reinforced with double stitching, which we appreciate. Unfortunately, the large mesh panels that cover the front bring the durability of these cubes into question. The large bags especially tend to lose their form when unzipped all the way, causing your neatly rolled items to loosen. This was less of an issue with the smaller bags. This set is a good option for those who don't travel very often and seek an affordable option, or anyone who needs 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 went 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.
We spent days testing each product, 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 models 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 cubes can compress, allowing you to pack more for longer trips. In contrast, others have a sturdier, boxy shape that can easily be moved from a suitcase to a hotel's dresser drawer, allowing you to stay organized. Some are even constructed with ultralight, durable materials, a boon for the weight-conscious, or those aiming to use their cubes on 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 this metric was the ease of unpacking. Cubes that had mesh for visibility or translucent materials to see what was inside were 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. Our reviewers also liked the models from Gonex for all of these reasons and 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 with 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 packing cubes will compress your clothing items to an extent, but some models 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 cubes will compress down by more or less 1", providing undeniable space-saving benefits.
The products from Gonex and Tripped were the only compression-specific styles we tested. When shoved full of bulky clothing, the Tripped cubes outshone the Gonex by 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 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 cubes were reinforced with a nylon "x" — 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, and the ones with the largest mesh panels were the worst at compressing, as the softer mesh will bulge outwards.
Each product we tested came in a wide variety of holding capacities. This was determined by how many pieces came in a set and how big the 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 two 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 adventure. The YAMIU cube set only had one extra-large bag 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 sets like the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter, and the Osprey UL Packing Set only come with three packing cubes in medium, small, and extra small, making them the lowest capacity sets we tested.
If you are a frequent flyer and are looking to invest in a product that will last trip after trip, durability is definitely a feature you will want to consider. We assessed each model's durability 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 constructed from 40D and 30D ripstop nylon, respectively. The "D" stands for "denier", which is a measure of how thick the individual strands of nylon are. 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 the 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 zipper reinforcement. This set boasts a high capacity and is affordable, but is not a top choice for durability. The set from Bagail has the most exposed mesh out of any sets we tested, 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.
Whether you frequently travel on short business trips or long vacations, or just 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 surely 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 out of our selections that best fits your needs.
— Miya Tsudome