Looking for the best packing cubes to make travelling a breeze in 2022? You’ve come to the right place.
With travel now a very real possibility for the majority of the world following the dreaded years of The Spicy Cough, there has never been a better time to invest in a set of packing cubes to make travelling just that little bit more efficient.
But what are packing cubes we hear you cry? And which ones should you buy to seriously ramp up your travel game? Read on to find out.
In this packing cubes guide…
What are packing cubes?
In their most basic form, packing cubes are fabric pouches with zips that are used to better organise the contents of your suitcase, duffel bag, backpack or any other bag you wish to take away on your travels. They are most commonly made of a fabric such as nylon or polyester, but more expensive packing cubes can be made of a compression material (more on that in a bit).
Packing cubes serve to make it easier to fit everything you want into your bag and make organisation a complete breeze. There are several styles of packing cubes to consider, however, and packing cubes are also available in a range of sizes to suit various purposes. So, choosing the best packing cubes for your travels isn’t always going to be the easiest of decisions.
Different styles of packing cubes
Packing cubes can be broken down into four distinct categories: budget, ultra-light, compression and specialist and figuring out each style’s USP shouldn’t be rocket science.
Budget Packing Cubes
Budget packing cubes are for those on a budget. They’re incredibly affordable and offer the most basic way to improve the way you pack your luggage. Budget packing cubes are highly unlikely to offer any form of compression and, in general, are going to be less durable than their more expensive cousins.
But, if you only plan to travel a few times each year, budget packing cubes could be just the thing you’re looking for. They’re most commonly made from polyester which, while it may be abrasion-resistant, won’t be as durable as something such as a ripstop nylon material.
But as we said, if you only plan to use your packing cubes a few times per year and don’t intend to go trekking off into the wilderness, budget packing cubes are the way to go.
Ultra-Light Packing Cubes
Ultra-light packing cubes are going to be the lightest packing cubes you’ll find in terms of weight. This makes them ideal for using with your carry-on luggage, as they’ll do little to make a dent in your carry-on baggage allowance. Ultra-light packing cubes will usually be made from nylon, with a low denier.
A low denier means the material is relatively thin and to some extent, a little bit see-through. This doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be durable, however, and for the most part, you can place your trust in ultra-light packing cubes that will be able to withstand several uses.
Compression Packing Cubes
Compression packing cubes are for those who want to be able to pack as much stuff into their bag as they possibly can. If your suitcase or duffel bag is on the smaller side, however, yet you need to travel with a fair amount of clothing, compression packing cubes can come to the rescue to ensure you’re able to fit it all in.
Essentially, compression packing cubes tend to feature an extra zip, in addition to the main zip, that compresses the packing cube even further, bringing its overall size down a notch. Compression packing cubes tend to be made from a material blend of nylon and polyester, but some may be one or the other. Ideally, you’d want to avoid compression packing cubes that are made from just polyester, as the extra stress placed upon the packing cube when it’s in compression mode could eventually cause the material to tear.
Specialist Packing Cubes
Specialist packing cubes probably won’t be essential for everyone, but if you’re planning to travel with some equipment, then using a specialist packing cube to keep it better protected could be a godsend. You can still use specialist, padded packing cubes for your clothes of course, and if you do, your clothes will likely suffer from fewer wrinkles during transit.
You can also find water-resistant packing cubes on the market, which are great if your trip is going to see you spending a lot of time outside.
How to use packing cubes
Using packing cubes couldn’t be simpler. Instead of packing your clothes straight into your bag, you instead put them into the packing cubes, and then pack the cubes into your bag.
You’ll find packing cubes come in a range of sizes, and so figuring out which clothes to place in which packing cube, should be relatively simple. You would likely put your underwear and socks into small packing cubes, t-shirts and shorts into medium-sized packing cubes, and sweaters, pants and shirts into large packing cubes.
You’ll be surprised by how much clothing you can fit into each packing cube and this is where they truly shine and make for an essential buy when travelling.
Best Packing Cubes
So, which are the best packing cubes to buy right now? We’ve scoured the internet to find some of the best packing cubes around, catering to the various types just mentioned, which also means all budgets.
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cubes
Price: From $16
Origin: Santa Cruz, California
Osprey is another bag company that finds itself perfectly at home in the great outdoors. With durability and ease of use top of the list of criteria for everything that comes out the Osprey factory, you can be sure their packing cubes are going to be some of the best around.
If it’s ultralight packing cubes you’re looking for, you can’t get much better than Osprey. Available individually or as a set of three, and all incredibly well-priced, the Osprey packing cubes are an absolute essential, especially if you’re going on a months-long solo trip with just a backpack in tow.
Away Packing Cubes
Price: From $30
Origin: New York City
Away is another luggage brand that should be on your radar. With some impeccably designed bags on offer, it stands to reason their packing cubes are just as intuitive. Available as either a four-pack or a six-pack and coming in seven different colours, there is something for everyone. If the inside of your bag is a dark colour, for example, a lighter coloured set of packing cubes is recommended to make everything easier to see.
On the contrary, if your bag’s interior is light, then go for a darker set. Fortunately, Away packing cubes are available in a huge range of colours ranging from light to dark. They’re also available in sizes small to large, with different widths featuring within each. If you happen to own an Away suitcase, then the Away packing cubes are an absolute must, as they have been meticulously designed to fit inside perfectly, tetris-style.
July Packing Cubes
Price: From $45
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
July is one of the best luggage brands around and so it makes sense that the company also has a range of packing cubes to pack neatly into their well-designed luggage. Available in either a four-pack or an eight-pack and a trio of colours, July packing cubes are made from 100 percent nylon, meaning they will last you an incredibly long time.
Each packing cube has its own carry handle too, so pulling them out of your bag at your destination is a piece of cake, and with sizes ranging from small to extra-large, you can guarantee you’ll be able to fit everything you need inside.
Peak Design Packing Cubes
Price: From $30
Origin: San Francisco, California
Widely regarded as one of the best compression packing cubes on the market, this packing cube from Peak Design may be more on the expensive side, but makes up for it by being an incredible travel accessory. Peak Design packing cubes are available on their own in small or medium sizes (the medium claims to fit 20 t-shirts) or a shoe pouch, or in a set of 3, 6 or 8.
The 100 percent weatherproof ripstop nylon material used for the Peak Design packing cubes is made from recycled materials and is built to last a lifetime. Plus, the compression capabilities are next level, as when fully zipped up, they can more than half their internal volume to ensure you really can pack as much stuff into your bag as possible. Yes, they’re expensive, but they really are the best around.
Monos Packing Cubes
Price: From $90
Origin: Vancouver, Canada
Monos is an American company dedicated to making travel as simple as possible. Reflected in their range of luggage, as well as their packing cubes, they are committed to making products that will last you a lifetime and look damn good while doing so.
Monos compression packing cubes are available as a set of either four or six and are made from a 450D nylon material that is both tear-resistant and water-resistant. Once you’ve packed all your clothes inside and close up the compression zips, the Monos packing cubes will shrink down by up to 60%, ensuring your backpack, duffel or suitcase can be packed as full as possible.
Kathmandu Packing Cubes
Price: From $20
Origin: Christchurch, New Zealand
Kathmandu is a company devoted to developing some of the very best gear for outdoor use. Not only does it have a huge range of luggage in all styles, but Kathmandu also has an incredible selection of packing cubes. Available in a wide range of sizes and styles, Kathmandu packing cubes can either be purchased individually or as a set.
The packing cubes included as a set have a little less internal volume compared to individual packing cubes, so you have a choice with regard to how much space you need and how much you wish to spend. Kathmandu also offers an expanding packing cube, which can be adjusted to be either medium or large in size, depending on how much you need to pack, or a Double Cell, which is essentially a mini suitcase with space available on two sides.
Antler Packing Cubes
Price: From $65
Origin: Lancashire, England
Antler has been in the luggage game for over 100 years and so can confidently claim to have the experience required to know what travellers need and how best to serve them. Not only does Antler has a quite simply huge range of luggage options, but their collection of packing cubes certainly demands your attention.
While a little limited in terms of choice, with just one set of four packing cubes available in three different colours, they offer everything you need and nothing you don’t for more efficient travel. The Chelsea packing cubes have compression zips, so will pack down even further once you have all your clothes inside. They’ve also been made to fit perfectly inside the Antler Clifton suitcase, should you happen to have one.
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
Price: From $11
Origin: San Jacinto Mountains, California
Eagle Creek is a luggage brand you should know about, as they make some of the most versatile travel gear on the planet. With luggage, duffels and backpacks all designed to tackle practically any environment, they know how to make products that will last. That is especially true of Eagle Creek packing cubes, which are available in a range of styles to suit all budgets.
The Reveal packing cubes are Eagle Creek’s most basic, but that’s not to say they’re not impressive. They offer compression and are made from a durably 300D polyester fabric and can be had in a range of sizes, with some made specifically to handle your underwear or dirty clothes. If you need your packing cubes to be water-resistant, then you’ll want to seek out the Gear Cube, which is built for much tougher environments.
Lands' End Packing Cubes
Price: From $18
Origin: Dodgeville, Wisconsin
You may not have heard of Lands’ End before, but this American company is all about comfort and durability. While the majority of their product collection focuses on clothing, Lands’ End also understands we love to travel and so has a range of packing cubes to make it that much easier.
Available in a couple of designs, Lands’ End packing cubes are made from a water-repelling fabric and come with monogram details to indicate what you should pack inside: socks in the small, shirts in the medium and pants in the large. Of course, you can choose to pack whatever you want inside, but the suggestion is always welcome.
Nomatic Packing Cubes
Price: From $20
Origin: Salt Lake City, Utah
Nomatic is one of the leaders in backpacks and bags, especially for those who need to carry camera gear around with them. The company has taken their experience of brilliant bag making and channelled it into an incredible selection of packing cubes, too. Nomatic packing cubes are available in just one colour option, grey, but in sizes from small to large.
They’re incredibly lightweight and each packing cubes can compress down to half its size, to an overall height of just 2.5-inches. This will make them easy to either stack on top of each other in something like a duffel bag, or to be packed in neatly next to each other in a backpack.
Paravel Packing Cubes
Price: From $45
Origin: Florence, Italy
If you’re looking for personalised packing cubes, look no further than Paravel. With a huge range of packing cubes on offer, comprising both basic packing cubes and compression packing cubes, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice. Add personalised monogramming into the mix to ensure you never have to worry about losing your packing cubes, and you have yourself the quintessential travel companion.
Available on their own or as a set and coming in a wide range of colour options, travelling has never been more fun.
Béis Packing Cubes
Price: From $68
Origin: Los Angeles, California
Béis is a travel bag company that carefully designs its products to ensure they’re as practical and efficient as possible, giving you all the features you could actually need when travelling, with good-looking designs to match.
The Béis packing cubes are available in a set of six: three cubes, a zip pouch and two shoe bags, giving you all the organisation options you could need when making a trip. Extra little details such as ID windows for labelling what’s inside or who they belong to, plus a water-resistant interior lining for easy cleaning, make the Béis packing cubes ones to seriously consider.
Rimowa Packing Cubes
Price: From $105
Origin: Cologne, Germany
Make no mistake, Rimowa makes some of the very best suitcases on the planet, so we certainly trust them when it comes to all things travel. The very fact Rimowa offers a range of packing cubes to fit perfectly inside those suitcases makes them all the more appealing.
We’ll start by saying, we know they’re not exactly what you would call affordable, but when they’re made from recycled materials and to the same high standard you’d expect of Rimowa suitcases, you should immediately understand where your money is going. Available in a trio of sizes and colour options, Rimowa packing cubes are for those like to show off.
Gucci Packing Cubes
Price: From $560
Origin: Florence, Italy
If money really is no object, then you can’t pass up the incredibly expensive Gucci packing cubes. Sure, just one packing cube could cost more than an entire week in Bali, but come on, it’s Gucci!
Available in sizes small to large and made from recycled materials – so you can at least try and justify their price tag – the Gucci packing cubes are for those who value designer labels above all else. That’s not to say they’re not impractical, of course, as you will still be able to squeeze in a fair amount of clothing and when you whip them out your bag (also likely to be Gucci) and show off your boujee packing cubes, you’ll be the talk of the town.