Packing cubes are the open secret of every serious traveler. Packing cubes are soft-shelled packing containers that help keep the inside of a suitcase neat, organized, and segmented. Packing cubes come in a variety of sizes, from tiny cubes that can fit your laptop and phone charger, to giant clothing cubes designed to handle bulky sweaters. The first time you look into your suitcase and see a well-organized array of tightly packed cubes instead of the wrinkly mess of clothes, shoes, and toiletries; you will understand why so many people swear by this system.
The beauty of packing cubes is really their versatility. You can use them however you choose. Below we have highlighted a few different strategies that you may want to consider:
Packing your Cubes by Category:
In this strategy, you fill your cubes based on luggage category. For example, putting all of your shirts in one cube, pants in another, underwear in a third, pajamas in a fourth, etc. This way, if you are looking for fresh socks you won’t have to disturb every item of clothing in your suitcase to find them.
When I pack using this strategy I generally allocate one cube for the following categories:
- Workout gear
- Shoes (depending on the size of the shoes, they may each need their own cube)
- Charging cords
Packing your Cubes by Outfit:
Using this strategy, each cube contains an entire outfit. This is a great way to pack for shorter trips, or for trips with specific agendas (i.e. business trips or wedding weekends). Let’s use a wedding weekend as an example. In this scenario, I would pack my cubes as follows:
- Rehearsal dinner
- Comfortable clothes for the morning of the wedding
- Wedding get-up
- Travel home clothing
- Pajamas/Workout gear
- Charging cords
Over the past few years, hundreds of cubes have hit the market, ranging drastically in price and quality.
Packing your Cubes by Soil:
This is a great strategy for short trips, adventure travel, or traveling with kids. Using this system, you pack all of your clothing in one cube, and then as you soil it, move items to a second, “soil cube”. With this method, you travel to your destination with one full cube and one empty cube. Throughout the trip, the cubes even out, and by the end, the soil cube is full and the clean one is near empty. For this scenario, let’s pretend that we are travelling with a young child. The cubes would be organized as follows:
- Child’s clothes clean
- Child’s clothes soiled
- Child’s blanket/burp cloths clean
- Child’s blanket/burp clothes soiled
- Child’s pajamas clean
- Child’s pajamas soiled
- Child’s utensils (i.e. sippy cups, spill-proof bowls, etc)
- Child’s toys
Now that you have got a good understanding of the variety of ways packing cubes can be used, let’s take a look at the best cubes on the market.
Best Packing Cubes Available:
TravelWise Packing Cube
These are labeled as “Amazon’s Choice”, and it is easy to see why. The 5-piece set comes with one small cube, two mediums, and two larges. The whole thing is only $22.95 on Prime. There are two zipper pulls on each packing cube, for easy open and close, and the mesh screen on each cube makes it easy to see what you have packed inside. On top of all that, the cubes are available in eight different colors. If you are travelling as a family, color-coded cubes is a great way to keep everyone’s belongings organized. With 4.6 stars and more than 1,500 reviews, these cubes are a great economical way to try out a new packing system to see if it’s for you. Buy them here.
eBags Packing Cubes
The eBags 6 piece value set was the best rated packing cube set on Best Reviews. They are more expensive than the TravelWise packs at $49.98 on Amazon Prime, but there are a few key advantages that justify that price tag. These cubes are made of lightweight but extremely strong nylon, and they are clearly built to last. The manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee. These cubes also feature two zipper pulls on each cube along with mesh tops. The 6 piece set includes one small, one medium, one large, and three slims. These cubes are available in nine colors and have a 4.8 rating with more than 500 reviews. Buy them here.
Genius Pack Packing Cubes
These babies were named one of the best packs on the market by Travel & Leisure for their compression ability. With luggage restrictions tightening by the day, it is important to many travelers to fit everything into a carry-on, and in some cases, a personal item. These cubes will help you do it. Available at Brookstone for $39.95, these cubes feature stretch-top mesh that helps you both see your contents, and compress them down into impossible dimensions. The set comes with one large, one medium, and one small cube. Buy them here.
LeanTravel Compression Cubes:
If you are looking for cubes for business travel, then LeanTravel Compression Cubes are the ones for you. Highly lauded for their ability to keep clothes wrinkle free, they come in packs of three (small, medium, and large), and are available on Amazon Prime for $29.99. The unique, polyester fabric keeps your business attire looking sharp, and the mesh tops allow you to see what is in each cube. They currently have a 4.6 rating with more than 100 reviews. Buy them here.
Before you buy, make sure to consider the following:
- How often you travel
- How many cubes you need (i.e. do you mostly take short, weekend trips, or lengthier journeys)
- How much you are willing to spend
- Whether or not the cubes will need to be washed often (i.e. if you are an adventure traveller you will need durable cubes that can hold up to frequent washing)
- How soon you need them!
So whether you are looking to get away for a weekend, take a lengthy vacation with the family, or simply want to stay organized during business travel, packing cubes are a great way to stay neat and stay organized.