What’s all the fuss about packing cubes — and are they right for you

 

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy.

I used to think packing cubes — individual bags for your suitcase — were useless, a mess of nylon and zips. Then I tried them and can safely say that thanks to packing cubes, I can fit more in my suitcase and am now a more organized packer.

But before I converted to the other side, I always wondered what all the fuss over Best packing cubes was. They’re just zippered compartments, after all, and aren’t anything wildly innovative. And now that I use them, I often get questions from friends and family, who see my orderly suitcase and pepper me with questions like: Do they help? How do they work? Are they worth it? Should I buy some? If so, what brand?

What do packing cubes actually do?

Packing cubes can help you carefully pack your suitcases and travel better in a number of ways:

  • Different-sized cubes help organize and separate clothing. You can group items together by color or type of clothing (e.g., all your shirts in one, workout clothing in another).
  • Putting small items, like socks or power cords, into a packing cube can help them from rolling or moving around in your bag.
  • A packing cube can double as a pillow, laundry bag, shoe bag or cosmetics bag in a pinch.
  • Cubes help keep your clothing wrinkle-free, regardless of whether you’re a roller or a folder.
  • If any liquids spill elsewhere in your bag, your items have extra protection.
  • Separating items makes it easy to pack, unpack and repack quickly and efficiently. In fact, once you have a system in place with your cubes, packing can become even quicker and easier, especially for frequent travelers or business travelers who often visit the same destinations for work.
  • Compression cubes can help you fit more items into your bag if you have limited space or are traveling with just a carry-on.
  • If you’re packing a backpack, cubes can help you find what you need without having to take everything out of the pack.

How did packing cubes change my life?

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t always into packing cubes. In fact, I didn’t even really want to try them. I thought that, as a travel writer and frequent Ryanair flyer, that my packing game was completely on point — I even use the app PackPoint to ensure I never forget anything.

But when a friend repeatedly raved about them, I thought it would be fun to give them a try, mainly so I could prove to her they were a waste of money.

Now I’m a packing cube convert.

After deciding to try them, I had to find the right ones. Once I had carefully investigated several brands online like eBags, Amazon Basics, Eagle Creek, Away, Lean Travel and Gonex, I selected Eagle Creek, specifically, cubes in its Pack-It Specter line. The brand had great reviews, and I appreciated that the cubes were more malleable and less structured than some of the others so I could easily fit them in a backpack.

Reviewers said the zippers were sturdy and the nylon fabric lightweight and flexible, so I decided to purchase two different three-packs of the Specter, one with small, medium and large cubes and another with a medium dirty/clean cube, a medium structured compression cube and a toiletries cube. I didn’t mind then that they weren’t transparent, but I’d like to eventually get another set that has a mesh or transparent section so I can see what’s in each cube.

Fast-forward a couple of years. I’ve used the cubes for over 100 trips. I don’t always use all of them — it very much depends on the season, length of my trip, whether or not it’s a business trip and if I plan to check a bag or use a backpack — but I find the compression cube, as well as the different-sized cubes, are the ones I consistently use the most. I particularly love using the cubes for items like undergarments, swimsuits and to keep fitness or casual clothes separate from dressier or business items. I also use the smallest cube for cords or miscellaneous items like adapters.

I’m really happy with Eagle Creek, as the cubes are showing no signs of wear and tear just yet, but I could have also been just as happy with another brand. In the future, I plan to order more structured cubes to use in larger trolley suitcases and transparent cubes so I can confirm the contents of the cube without having to unzip it.