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Packing Cubes 101: The Ultimate Guide to Efficient Packing

Packing Cubes 5-Piece Set

Get ready to revolutionize your packing routine with the amazing addition of packing cubes. Say goodbye to the chaos and inconvenience of traditional bag packing.

In our comprehensive guide, we explore the world of packing cubes, beloved by travelers for their ability to bring order and maximize space. Whether you’re a planner or a spontaneous packer, packing cubes will make your travel experience smoother.

Learn how this tool can transform your trips into seamless journeys.

What exactly are Packing Cubes?

Suitcase and Set of Travel Organizers with Belongings on Floor

Packing cubes can be best described as compact containers crafted from lightweight materials like nylon fabric or lightweight polyester. Their primary function revolves around assisting you in categorizing and compacting your clothing and other belongings within suitcases, carry-on bags, or checked luggage.

Essentially, they serve as indispensable travel essentials that optimize your packing and unpacking efficiency, enabling you to travel with minimal baggage without compromising your organizational requirements.

Types of Packing Cubes

different types of packing cubes

Packing cubes come in different types to suit your needs and preferences. These handy travel accessories make packing easier and more organized. Let’s take a look at the different types of packing cubes available:

1. Sizes and Shapes: Embrace the Variety in Packing

small size packing cubes

Packing cubes, often referred to as travel cubes, are available in a range of sizes and shapes. The most commonly encountered options include small, medium, and large cubes. The size you opt for largely depends on the nature of your belongings and the available storage space within your luggage.

Small cubes prove ideal for accommodating smaller apparel items like t-shirts, underwear, or toiletries. Medium-sized cubes effortlessly house bulkier items, such as sweaters or a couple of pairs of jeans. On the other hand, large cubes excel in accommodating items like jackets or dresses. Certain cubes even boast a mesh panel or top, facilitating effortless identification of the contents enclosed within.

2. Compression Cubes: More Space, Less Hassle

Compression Packing Cubes 2-Piece Set

Beyond standard packing cubes, you’ll find compression packing cubes. These cubes have an extra zipper, the compression zipper, that when zipped, compresses the items inside, giving you more room in your luggage. A popular choice in this category is the Gonex compression packing cubes, known for their space-saving efficiency.

3. Specialty Cubes: Laundry and Shoe Bags

travel size shoe packing cube

You’ll also find specialty packing cubes like laundry and shoe bags. The laundry bag is designed to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones. Shoe bags, meanwhile, protect your shoes and prevent them from dirtying other items in your luggage.

4. Cube Sets: Organizing Made Simple

Packing cubes Organizers and Travel Set

A common packing cube set generally comprises three packing cubes, each differently sized: small, medium, and large. This offers a versatile organization for various items. Some sets even include up to six cubes for additional organization. Certain brands, such as Eagle Creek Pack, offer packing cube sets that include laundry and shoe bags for added convenience.

Finding Your Perfect Fit

Whether you need cubes that snugly fit into a carry-on suitcase or ones that optimize space in your checked luggage, there’s a packing cube set for you. From packing light with thin fabrics to making room in the checked bag for bulkier items, packing cubes serve as a versatile tool for any traveler.

4 Benefits of Using Packing Cubes

"Photo of a woman lying on a bed, talking on her smartphone, feeling tired from packing things for her travel trip vacation. She is organized with the use of packing cubes.

Packing cubes offer numerous benefits that make them a must-have for any traveler, be it a seasoned adventurer or a first-time backpacker.

1. Organization and Efficient Use of Suitcase Space

The most significant advantage of packing cubes is their ability to organize your items and make efficient use of your suitcase space. By design, most packing cubes compartmentalize your luggage, allowing you to sort your clothes and accessories into separate cubes. This way, every cube serves a specific purpose. You could have one cube for tops, another for bottoms, and so on, or even divide them by outfits.

Moreover, compression packing cubes take this a step further. By compressing your clothes, they save space in your luggage, freeing up extra room for other essentials. The compression zipper on these cubes helps reduce the bulkiness of your clothes, ensuring you pack light and still carry everything you need.

2. Ease of Finding Items in Your Luggage

Packing cubes streamline the process of locating items in your luggage. With each item in its designated cube, you no longer have to rummage through your suitcase to find a particular item. For even easier access, opt for cubes with a mesh panel or mesh top that allows you to see the contents without unzipping.

3. Protection for Delicate Items

Packing cubes provide a level of protection for delicate items. By keeping items securely packed inside and preventing them from moving around during transit, your delicate clothing is less likely to get damaged or wrinkled. For fragile items, hard-shell packing cubes offer an additional layer of protection.

4. Separating Clean and Dirty Clothes

One of the best packing cubes’ features is the ability to separate clean and dirty clothes. After a day of adventures, you can place your dirty clothes in a separate cube or a dedicated laundry bag. This not only keeps your clean clothes fresh, but also makes dealing with laundry easier upon your return home.

Fashion Perspective

Packing cubes are a game-changer for the fashion-conscious traveler. They allow you to segment your suitcase or carry-on into neat, organized sections, keeping your stylish wardrobe intact and easy to access. For example:

  • Delicate Fabrics: Soft materials, such as silk or chiffon, can be packed in small or medium cubes to keep them separate from harsher fabrics. This protects them from damage and wrinkles. Compression packing cubes are especially beneficial here, as they can reduce the cube’s size without harming the fabrics inside.

  • Jewelry: Small packing cubes, sometimes known as “mini cubes,” are perfect for storing jewelry. They provide a tangle-free environment for your precious accessories.

  • Hats and Accessories: Larger cubes can accommodate hats and other bulky fashion items. This helps maintain their shape and ensures they aren’t crushed during travel.

How to Choose the Right Packing Cubes

Top view photo of a hand packing products using the right packing cube.

Choosing the right set of packing cubes for your travel needs is crucial to ensure an organized and hassle-free journey. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting the best packing cubes:

1. Size Considerations

When choosing your perfect packing cubes, size matters. Consider the dimensions of your luggage and what you’re packing. Options range from small to extra-large cubes, ensuring a fit for any packing need. Small cubes are ideal for delicate articles like socks or toiletries, while a medium cube or large cubes are better suited for bulkier garments.

Many experienced travelers find it advantageous to have a variety of cube sizes, providing them with unmatched versatility in efficiently organizing a wide range of items.

2. Material

Packing cubes commonly utilize lightweight materials such as nylon fabric or lightweight polyester, carefully selected to enhance portability. Some cubes feature an innovative mesh top or panel, which demonstrates their commitment to visibility and airflow.

If you’re embarking on a journey to a destination known for unpredictable weather, it is prudent to consider acquiring water-resistant nylon cubes to safeguard your valuable clothing from moisture.

Alternatively, for those seeking to minimize the weight of their luggage, opting for packing cubes made from thin fabrics or those that can be compressed proves to be a wise decision.

3. Brand

Brand can be an important factor when considering durability, design, and extra features. Eagle Creek and Gonex, for example, are well-known for their durable and efficient designs. Gonex compression packing cubes are particularly praised for their ability to save space. Some brands also offer six packing cubes with additional features like a laundry and shoe bag or an extra zipper for compression.

4. Travel Scenarios

Your choice of packing cubes may also depend on the nature of your travel. For business travel, consider cubes that can keep your formal attire wrinkle-free. Leisure or family travel might call for more cubes, including laundry bags to separate dirty clothes and shoe bags to keep footwear isolated. Adventure travelers might prefer water-resistant or extra-durable cubes to withstand different environmental conditions.

5. Sustainable or Eco-friendly Options

In today’s eco-conscious world, many travelers seek out sustainable or eco-friendly packing options. Brands like Eagle Creek and Gonex offer packing cubes made from recycled materials. These cubes feature a lightweight yet durable construction, often using water-resistant nylon or polyester. This means that not only are these cubes an ethical choice, but they also stand up to the rigors of travel.

6. Affordability

Packing cubes come in a variety of price ranges, making them a viable option for any budget. The best packing cubes offer a balance of quality and affordability. Some brands even offer sets of packing cubes, which can include anywhere from four cubes to seven cubes of different sizes, making them a great value for your money.

How to Use Packing Cubes Effectively

Front view photo of a woman effectively packing a small bag using packing cubes.

Maximizing the benefits of packing cubes requires understanding how to pack them and arrange them in your luggage effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that:

Packing Clothes into Cubes

  1. Sort Your Items: Begin by sorting your clothes and items according to type or usage. You could have separate piles for tops, bottoms, underwear, and even toiletries.

  2. Roll or Fold: Choose to roll or fold clothes based on your preference and the item’s nature. Rolling is usually great for preventing wrinkles and saving space, while folding might be better for heavier or bulkier items.

  3. Pack: Start packing your clothes into the cubes according to your pre-determined categories. Remember to pack heavier items at the bottom and lighter ones on top. If you’re using compression packing cubes, remember to zip the compression zipper once you’re done packing to save space.

  4. Use Different Sizes for Different Items: Utilize small cubes for smaller items like underwear, socks, or even toiletries. Medium cubes, or medium-sized cubes, are great for regular clothes, while large cubes can accommodate bulkier items.

Arranging Cubes in Your Luggage

Once you have all your items packed into the cubes, the next step is arranging them in your luggage. Here are a few tips:

  1. Pack Largest Cubes First: Start with the largest cubes and place them at the bottom of your suitcase.

  2. Fit Smaller Cubes Around Larger Ones: After the large cubes are in, start fitting the smaller cubes in the remaining space. Consider it similar to solving a Tetris puzzle, fitting cubes in any available spaces.

  3. Keep Frequently Used Items on Top: If you have items that you’ll need to access frequently during your journey, pack them in a cube that will sit on top of your suitcase for easy access.

Using Packing Cubes for Different Types of Clothing and Travel Items

Packing cubes are versatile and can be used for a variety of clothing types and travel items. For example:

  • Delicate Items: Use a hard-shell packing cube to protect delicate items that could be easily damaged.

  • Dirty Clothes: Keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones by using a dedicated cube or a laundry bag.

  • Shoes: Use a shoe bag to isolate your shoes and protect your clothes from dirt.

  • Toiletries: Consider using a small packing cube for toiletries. Make sure it’s easy to access for security checks at the airport.

  • Electronics: Small packing cubes can be great for organizing and protecting your electronics accessories like chargers, cables, and adapters.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Packing Cubes

Photo of clothes and accessories neatly arranged in a suitcase.

While packing cubes are a godsend for organized and efficient travel, it’s important to use them correctly. Here are some common mistakes travelers often make when using packing cubes and how you can avoid them:

1. Overpacking Cubes

While it might be tempting to stuff as many items as you can into your packing cubes to maximize space, overpacking can lead to wrinkled clothes and overstuffed luggage. Additionally, overpacked cubes might not fit properly in your suitcase, defeating the purpose of the cubes.

Packing cubes aren’t for carrying more, they streamline what you need to bring. If you’re using compression packing cubes, be mindful not to overfill them to the point where the compression zipper is strained or the compression cube’s shape is distorted.

2. Choosing the Wrong Size Cubes for Your Luggage or Items

Remember, one cube size doesn’t cover all packing needs, just like one clothing size doesn’t fit all. Small, medium, and large cubes each have their own uses and are best suited for specific items. Small cubes suit underwear, socks, and toiletries, while larger ones fit clothes and bulkier items.

Likewise, your packing cube size should also match your luggage size. Using cubes that are too big for your carry-on suitcase or checked luggage will not maximize your storage space.

3. Neglecting to Plan What Goes in Each Cube

Packing cubes shine when used with a good strategy. Plan beforehand what goes where. One large cube for tops, another for bottoms, and so on. Avoiding confusion and making your trip easier is key. Steering clear of common errors, understanding your tools, and using them correctly is the secret to stress-free packing.

Care and Maintenance

Packing cubes are generally low-maintenance. Most such cubes are made of easily cleanable, water-resistant materials like nylon or polyester. For dirty clothes or more stubborn stains, look for cubes with a laundry bag included. This allows for easy separation and washing of dirty clothes.

Some packing cubes also have a mesh panel or top, which not only allows for visibility but also breathability, keeping your clothes fresh. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care details, as some cubes may be machine washable.

Remember, proper care and maintenance of your packing cubes will not only keep them looking new but also extend their lifespan, making your investment even more worthwhile.


In conclusion, packing cubes are a game-changer for any traveler. They provide a simple solution to many common packing problems, from disorganization to the struggle of fitting everything in your suitcase.

No matter your travel style or destination, there’s a packing cube set that’s perfect for you. They not only streamline your packing, but also simplify unpacking and repacking.

So before your next trip, consider investing in some packing cubes. They might just revolutionize the way you travel. Travel smarter, not harder, with packing cubes.


Are packing cubes actually helpful?

Yes, packing cubes are indeed helpful. They help to categorize and compact clothing and other belongings within your luggage. They bring order to your suitcase, making packing, unpacking, and repacking a seamless experience.

What is the purpose of packing cubes?

The primary purpose of packing cubes is to help you organize your suitcase. By compartmentalizing your luggage, packing cubes let you sort your clothes and accessories into separate cubes, making items easier to find and preventing them from getting damaged or wrinkled during transit. They also separate clean and dirty clothes.

What is the difference between packing cubes and compression packing cubes?

Standard packing cubes help organize your items in the suitcase. Compression packing cubes, on the other hand, have an extra zipper that, when zipped, compresses the items inside, giving you more room in your luggage. They’re particularly useful for reducing the bulkiness of your packed items.

How do I choose the best packing cubes?

Choosing the best packing cubes depends on your travel needs. Consider multiple aspects such as the volume of the cubes, the fabric used in their manufacture, the brand’s reputation, your travel requirements, and your allocated budget. Brands like Eagle Creek and Gonex are well-known for their durable and efficient designs. Size should match your luggage and what you’re packing, and you may also want to consider sustainable or eco-friendly options.

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