The high-quality nylon fabric with interior seams is rugged and durable. Should last a long, long time if treated with care. Comes in three sizes.
They're a bit small, and won't fit large items like shoes.
Rugged construction (including top-notch zippers), ample space, lightweight design. Available in six bright colors. Includes a laundry bag.
Mesh sections aren't big enough to allow a good view of contents, but that's a small concern for these top-selling cubes.
Sturdy corded pulls. Extremely light. Available in five colors. Manufacturer provides lifetime warranty.
The depth is more shallow than that of similar cubes we reviewed.
Soft yet strong polyester. Large mesh top allows user to identify contents. Comes in six colors. Double-zipper pulls for secure opening and closing.
The zippers are not as durable as the other models we tested.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Packing cubes are ingeniously simple in design, yet offer endless possibilities for organization and efficiency when traveling. These useful items are tiny soft suitcases that fit inside your luggage and, when used properly, can keep your apparel and accessories well ordered while conserving space. But the best ones have a few features that set them apart from the lesser sets.
Packing cubes need to be manufactured using durable material. Vinyl might seem like a good choice when considering price, but it won't hold up like polyester or insulated nylon. Be careful when purchasing cubes with external features like mesh, which could snag, and always be sure the zipper is of highest quality.
With packing cubes, you have lots of options. How you configure them is up to you.
Because most packing cubes are not designed to be standalone pieces of luggage, durability is always a concern for shoppers. High-end packing cubes are usually made of strong nylon or polyester, but low-priced packing cubes often consist of thin vinyl or another plastic.
These are usually compressive and transparent, and for many casual travelers, that’s all they need. Vinyl cubes easily separate wet and dirty clothing, and they don’t add much weight to your bag. The tradeoff, however, is durability. Entry-level packing cubes often don’t fare well under rough handling; the sides puncture easily, and plastic zippers, once broken, are often irreparable.
They boast a stronger internal structure than their vinyl counterparts and, as a result, offer more protection against damage. You’re also more likely to find a set that matches the interior dimensions of your suitcase when you shop on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. Those who travel frequently may wish to invest in a set of high-end packing cubes for their added durability and versatility.
Packing cubes can be used to address other storage issues, too. Over time, a quality set of packing cubes can pay for itself in a number of ways.
If you’re looking for a better way to organize your suitcase, keep the following considerations in mind as you shop. They'll help you determine which packing cubes would best fit your needs and your budget.
Although some packing cubes are compressible, cramming a cube with a depth of eight inches into a carry on with a depth of six inches will always pose a challenge. The dimensions of your luggage affect what it can accommodate.
Some people have compared the use of packing cubes to the classic video game Tetris. The trick is to find the most efficient way to pack each cube within a limited amount of space.
Some people wonder if they should buy a single packing cube or a set of several cubes. Buying a full set usually makes good economic sense, but there are some things to consider first.
That said, some casual travelers may prefer to buy individual packing cubes.
Travelers who plan to share luggage with others should consider color-coding their packing cubes to improve organization and efficiency. Instead of spending time searching for a specific child’s swimsuit, for instance, a parent will know that all of that child’s belongings are stored in blue storage cubes.
Assigning one packing cube color to each family member can make unpacking and finding specific items a snap.
As an added convenience, many packing cube sets include a mesh laundry bag where you can stash wet or dirty clothing. Because ventilation and breathability are known issues with packing cubes, the inclusion of this mesh bag is a definite plus.
Under $20: You can find single cubes and some smaller sets of packing cubes in this price range. The fabric, zippers, and seams may not be of the highest quality, but if you only need to use packing cubes once a year or so, it could be sufficient.
$20 to $50: Most quality packing cube sets range in price from $20 to $50. For this amount of money, you will find sets of three to six packing cubes in varying sizes. You'll find neutral hues as well as fun colors and patterns here.
Over $50: In this higher price range, you'll find larger sets of packing cubes (we've seen them with up to 10 pieces) and some deluxe cubes made of hearty materials that also compress. A travel organizer package in this price range may include other elements as well, such as a shaving kit or shoe bag.
Q. Is a packing cube the same thing as a travel compression bag?
A. No. Although a packing cube is designed to conserve suitcase space by helping you pack more efficiently, it does not compress your items so they are airtight. A travel compression bag is designed primarily for clothes. It's a terrific space saver, but when sealed, the bag might take an odd shape that doesn't mesh precisely with your other items. Furthermore, the clothing inside a compression bag is more likely to become wrinkled in transit.
Q. I'm interested in long-term durabillity. What are the most important qualities to look for in packing cubes?
A. Look for packing cubes made of sturdy materials like tough polyester and nylon. Some of the best packing cubes are insulated for extra protection and rigidity, although this also adds to their weight. Avoid cubes with exposed materials that could snag, like mesh, and pay close attention to zipper quality: you want cubes with zippers that maneuver easily around corners and aren't prone to breakage.