If you’ve read any packing tips, you’ve undoubtedly come across people screaming about the benefits of packing cubes. “Packing cubes help organize your belongings, prevent you from forgetting things, and save a lot of space!”
But is it really so?
Do packing cubes really save space?
Are packing cells actually good for keeping things organized?
Is it worth packing cubes?
Which packing cube is best?
If these are the questions you want answered today, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll get straight to the point…
Are packing cubes worth it?
Yes, I think packing cubes are worth it!
If you’re traveling with bulky items, cubes can save space by organizing them neatly. Perfect if you’re traveling light or can’t fit everything into a suitcase.
Packing cubes also help you organize your belongings so that clean and dirty clothes, toiletries, electronics, shoes, and the billion other miscellaneous items that get caught up in this mess are all jumbled together. You can avoid having your bags all in one place!
Yes, if you want to keep your belongings organized and save space, packing cubes are worth it.
If you travel with small luggage and don’t have bulky clothes, I don’t think packing cubes are a good space saver. It saves some space, but not a lot of space. I recently went on a yoga retreat and packed a bunch of slim leggings and vests, and the packing cubes made no difference. If you have small items like hard drives, chargers, cameras, etc., you can actually save more space by tucking these items between your clothes rather than giving them their own packing cubes.
The same applies to underwear. Tucking pants and socks between other items saves more space than putting them in a dedicated “underwear packing cube.” The same goes for toiletries, you can tuck a travel-sized bottle of shampoo between your clothes and then into your toiletry bag to save even more space.
But personally, I like to keep liquids in a toiletry packing cube in case something spills. This will make packing and unpacking easier. I also like to keep my underwear in a special packing cube in case I need to open my suitcase at the airport.
So, while packing cubes don’t always save space for small items, they always keep my things neatly organized, so for me it’s worth it.
Now let me tell you a little more about the types of packing cubes you can buy and how I use them.
What are packing cubes or packing cells?
A packing cube (also known as a packing cell) is essentially a small bag that you put inside a larger bag, such as a suitcase or backpack.
I usually keep 6-7 packing cubes in my suitcase and I 100% think they are worth it. The smaller one is for underwear, the larger one is for jumpers, one is for tops, one is for bottoms, and one is for night wear.
Packing cubes help you store your clothes tightly together and help save space.
Having everything organized like this will make it easier to find everything.
Are packing cubes just for travelling?
Although typically used for travel, packing cubes can also be used in everyday life. If you carry your backpack to work every day, you can use packing cubes for your gym kit. One that’s waterproof in case it rains on your way home, one for your clothes in case you want to go out for drinks after work, and one for your electronics and cables.
What are compression packing cubes?
Compression packing cubes are similar to other packing cubes, but they usually have an additional zipper that can be closed when squeezing air out of the cube. Pack it as normal, close the zipper and tuck it in, then close the second zipper to hold it in place.
Compression bags are great for saving spacers when squeezing the air out of each bag. For example, if you have a packing cube filled with thick woolen jumpers, you can crush the cube to save a lot of space!
Personally, I think compression cubes are better than regular packing cubes because they save so much space.
Here’s a video showing how I packed for a week-long trip using just a small backpack and The Travel Hack Compression Cube.
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What about travel vacuum bags?
Ah, this takes simple packing cubes to a whole new level!
The travel vacuum bag is an additional kit for those who want to use travel lights in earnest!
You may be familiar with vacuum bags, which are used in homes to store soft items such as winter clothing and bedding. Place the item in a large plastic bag, seal it, and use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air inside the bag. Maybe we do the same thing with food to extend the shelf life of fresh produce?
You can do this while traveling anyway.
I have something called the Vago Vacuum Bag. This is a small, transparent packaging cube that comes with a small device to suck air out of the bag.
This is a great little device that saves a lot of space!
The only drawback is that if you tie your clothes too tightly, they often wrinkle. You are also very likely to end up carrying an overweight bag that is too heavy to fly.
You can read my full Vago vacuum bag review here.
When would you use packing cubes?
I use packing cubes for the following types of trips:
- When you’re traveling with only carry-on luggage and don’t want your clothes spilling onto the plane (you don’t want your underwear to fall out when you reach into your bag to buy a book!)
- When your bag is small and space is limited
- When I’m not unpacking my bag on a 1-2 night trip, I like to keep my case neat and organized (great for backpacking trips!)
- When you are traveling with your family and sharing several large suitcases
- Don’t open the bag while camping, just take out the things you need each day and zip it up
Who should use packing cubes?
Packing cubes are suitable for everyone, but the people who will really love them are:
- People who like tidying up
- person who overpacks
- People who are naturally very disorganized and need help
- The kids
- family sharing suitcase
- Anyone who travels light
What to look for in a packing cube?
The main thing I look for in packing cubes is that they be durable but made from the thinnest material possible. You don’t want bulky packing cubes taking up extra space in your luggage.
Waterproof, or at least water-resistant, packing cubes are a great idea to protect your clothes in case you spill a drink or your bag gets wet.
Many people prefer matching sets of packing cubes or compression bags that come in a variety of sizes. Usually there are:
- 2-3 large bags for larger clothes
- 2-3 small bags for small items
- 1 shoe bag
- 1 Toiletries and cosmetics
- 1 For electronic equipment and cables
- 1 laundry bag for return trip
You don’t necessarily have to have a matching luggage organizer, but you’ll feel good about having a suitcase that’s organized and looks great like this!
If you’re the type of person who likes to pack early and keep everything organized, you’ll love a set of luggage organizers to match!
Should you use a packing cube with zips of drawstrings?
Most packing cubes have zippers or drawstrings. Some come with clips or roll tops, making them more of a dry bag style.
Personally, I prefer zippers. Opening the packing cube completely, arranging everything neatly inside, and then zipping it up will help keep things flat and organized.
Drawstring packing pods are best if you want to pack your clothes inside and squeeze them into a small size.
I have several packable packing pods that I purchased for backpacking trips and they worked well for backpacking. I now use drawstring packing pods for underwear, electronics, or other items that don’t need to be kept wrinkle-free.
Which are the best packing cubes?
As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. The best packing cubes are the ones that cost the most. However, I can also understand that you don’t want to pay too much for something that he will only use once or twice a year. Also, if you’re using compression bags to save space in your luggage to save money on low-cost airlines, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on compression cubes!
Best budget packing cube set
amazon’s 9-pack packing cubes
I have this 9-piece packing cube set from Amazon, and yeah.. it makes my heart happy to see how well organized my suitcase is!
I love this set. I love the fact that they come in a variety of sizes and they all match!
- 3 large clothing packing cubes with visible mesh panels
- One small packing cube without mesh panels, perfect for underwear you want to keep private
- 1 shoe bag
- 1 laundry bag
- 1 toiletries bag
- 1 small pouch for small items
- 1 toothbrush cup
One of the things I really like about having this set, and what makes the packing cubes so valuable to me, is that I leave a lot of items in the packing cubes when I’m not traveling. That’s it. I keep my travel toothbrush, travel electronics, and holiday swimwear pre-packed in their own travel cubes. This makes packing for the holidays quick and easy and ensures you don’t forget any important items.
Best luxury packing cubes
Eagle Creek packing cube
Without a doubt, the packing cube that consistently gets the best reviews online is the Eagle Creek packing cube. They have a wide range of packing organization systems. I really like this. There are two halves, divided into a dirty half and a clean half. These packing cubes are valuable if you’re backpacking every night or every night and things can get messy.
Best compression bags or compression cubes
Gonex is my go-to brand for compression packing cubes, and you can find a wide selection on Amazon.
Best compression cube for hand luggage
Of course, I can’t go any further without mentioning the Travel Hack Compression Cube, which is designed to fit perfectly inside the Travel Hack Backpack (yes, that’s my design!) Using these two items together I love it. Because it fits like a dream. It saves a lot of space.
I use my Travel Hack Backpack as my everyday bag when I travel, so it’s super easy to access the compression cubes when I get to my destination.
Best packing cubes for business travel
Another set of packing cubes I have are the Level 8 Packing Cubes. I have to admit that these cubes make my heart happy.
It’s quite expensive, but the quality is high and it’s very elegant.
This set comes with 1 large packing cube, 2 small packing cubes, and 1 toiletry bag with removable internal separator. I also like that each cube has a removable rubber patcher that attaches with Velcro. Each cube has simple icons to help you identify what’s inside.
Best packing cubes for a family trip
Packing cubes are definitely worth it if you share a suitcase!
If you’re looking for packing cubes to organize a large suitcase shared by a family, we recommend purchasing a set of colorful cubes of the same size.
When we travel as a family, we usually check in one or two large suitcases at a time, and packing cubes are perfect for keeping everyone’s belongings separate and fair in terms of space!
Something like AmazonBasics’ set of 4 medium cubes would be great.
Are packing cubes worth it in backpacks?
yes of course. In fact, I started using Packing His Cube during my two-year backpacking trip because I couldn’t find anything in a top-loading backpack. The item slipped to the bottom of my backpack and I could never find it again!
I still prefer to use traditional rectangular style packing cubes in my backpack, but many people will prefer to use a stuff sack or dry bag style.
This multi-colored dry bag set is a great option to keep your backpack organized.
Travel Hack Tip: If I were to go backpacking again, I would buy a set of colorful packing cubes. You might use blue for the pants and yellow for the top. This makes it easier to reach into your backpack and retrieve the packing cubes you need.
Can you get packing cubes for kids?
Are packing cubes worth it for children? Yes!
Packing cubes for kids help organize your belongings and simplify packing. It also makes things a little more interesting for the kids and makes them look forward to packing their own bags.
I hand the kids one of the packing cubes and say, “Please pack four T-shirts and a jumper into this.” Then I give them another one and say, “Fill this with four pairs of pants and four pairs of socks.” It’s about getting them involved in a fun way and making them responsible for their belongings.
Of course, kids can use the same things as adults, and most products come in nice, bright colors that kids will love.
But you can also get fun designs for kids!
This is a dinosaur piece.
And one has flowers and two “secret pouches
I think my kids will love these colorful dry bags. It’s great for casual camping trips, but I think it makes my clothes very wrinkled.
Can you get sustainable packing cubes?
In my opinion, the most sustainable products available are the ones you already have. In many cases, you don’t need to buy anything new and can use what you already have. That’s true sustainability.
If I have the weight to spare, I often use the waterproof dry bag I already have.
Sustainable packing cubes can be created using a variety of items you already have around your home. An easy option is to use bags such as shopping bags, canvas totes, or even plastic carrier bags. Plastic bags can make an unpleasant rustling sound, but it’s an easy option and many of us still have old plastic bags stashed around our homes.
I keep everything in small bags. Pillowcases and bed sheets are often packed in small cotton drawstring bags.
I also had some fancy pajamas from Hush in a cotton bag, which are perfect for use as sustainable packing cubes.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can easily sew one yourself using old clothes or pillowcases.
Are there any downsides to using packing cubes?
The main downside to using packing cubes is that you can end up with very wrinkled clothes if you don’t pack them correctly. It’s easy to stuff everything into a packing cube, tuck it in tightly, zip it up, and leave it for a few days. When I opened it again, I found a pile of crumpled clothes.
Travel hack tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them to avoid wrinkles.
Can you use ziplock bags instead of packing cubes?
Is it worth using packing cubes when you can just use ziplock bags? There’s a point here!
If you already have large ziplock bags at home, perhaps in your kitchen for food storage, these work perfectly.
You can also buy large plastic ziplock bags for travel like this one.
Ziploc bags work well, but I don’t think they are very durable and break easily. I personally avoid purchasing plastic products like this, preferring higher quality products that are more sustainable and known to last longer.
So is it worth packing cubes? I hope my post answered your question and you agree that packing cubes are definitely worth it!