You Can Finally Organize Your Suitcase Like a Pro With These Packing Cubes
An editor on the Travel + Leisure team once returned from family vacation with a hilariously horrific story. As she waited with her parents at the baggage claim carousel for their checked luggage, a lone pair of underwear rolled out on the belt — as all color immediately drained from her mother’s face.
Dignity, fellow travelers, is just one of the many reasons that using packing cubes is a good idea.
Like any life-enriching travel accessory, once you start using packing cubes, there is no turning back. It’s incredibly satisfying to open your suitcase and know exactly where everything is.
Even unpacking becomes easier: Packing cubes will keep your clothes compressed and folded flat or neatly rolled (however you prefer to do it), meaning no wrinkles. Once you’re settled in, you don’t have to rifle through your suitcase looking for that dinner outfit you swore you packed right on the top. You can just move the cubes directly into the drawers of your hotel’s dresser, unzip, and you’re set.
When shopping for a set of packing cubes, there are a few things to consider. Most are constructed of canvas or nylon, making them durable, lightweight, and easy to wash alongside your other dirty laundry post-trip. Some are made of plastic, which doesn’t allow your clothes to breathe as well, but will protect them from any spills or other scenarios in which your bags get wet. Some have mesh components, too, which is helpful when it comes to visibility and breathability but can make them more likely to snag or rip over time.
Below, the best packing cubes and sets to keep you organized, compressed, and, most importantly, safe from public humiliation.
Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter System
Eagle Creek is proud to be called the “organization nerds” of the packing world. Their original Pack-it system (ebags.com, $28) has been saving suitcases from disarray for more than 20 years. The brand's next generation Specter line is ultralight, weighing about two ounces in total. This set includes one large and one medium cube that are perfect for clothing, and a small one that works well for things like socks, sleepwear, and gym clothes.
To buy: ebags.com, $40
eBags Hyper-Lite Packing Cubes
This rave-reviewed set includes five super-lightweight (the entire set weighs only 8 ounces) cubes of varying size that are each a perfect fraction of the others to ensure a painless fit in most typical carry-on suitcases. The nylon boxes have a spring-loaded frame design that holds the shape while you’re filling them but compresses down easily for storage.
To buy: ebags.com, $60
Flight 001 Spacepak
This award-winning packing system has three cubes — one for clothes, one for shoes, and one for toiletries — allowing you to easily organize each category. Inside the Spacepaks, there are folding tips to help you use the space most efficiently. And perhaps the coolest feature of these packing pods is the dual compartment, which unzips on both sides to keep the dirty separate from the clean.
To buy: amazon.com, $98
Paravel Packing Cubes
If you’d prefer something a little more stylish (hey, we’ll take anything to make packing more enjoyable), this sporty red packing cube set has and a subtle transparent "window" so you can easily see what's inside. They're ideally sized for your weekender bag and you can even add an embroidered three-letter monogram for $25
To buy: tourparavel.com, $55
Bagail Packing Cube Set
This No. 1 Amazon best-seller set definitely won't disappoint (just take a glance at the 2,800 satisfied customer reviews for proof). The mesh paneling allows you to quickly see what's inside so that organization doesn't come at the cost of having to unzip every cube to find the shirt you're looking for.
To buy: amazon.com, $25
EZ Packing Starter Set
This family-owned travel accessories company was born of a mother’s need to keep her daughter organized as she moved cross-country for college. They’re super structured, totally transparent, and come in fun colors, which can be helpful for color coding if you’re packing several family members’ items into one checked bag.
To buy: amazon.com, $50
Shacke Pak Packing Cube Set
These beloved packing cubes have more than 6,900 five-star reviews on Amazon, most of which rave about what an excellent value buy they are. For just $25, the set comes with four different cube sizes and a laundry bag that can also be used as a shoe bag. Plus, they use YKK zippers, which is pretty much the industry gold standard, so you know they're made to last.
To buy: amazon.com, $25
AmazonBasics Packing Cube Set
This affordable set covers all the basics for a new packing cube convert. The polyester cubes are made of a lightweight, but durable nylon that’s machine-washable and each comes with a handle attached.
To buy: amazon.com, $23
eBags Compression Cubes Set
The zipper on this set allows for 1.5 extra inches of expansion. Or, if you're packing clothes that are squishable, say, a ton of athleisure wear for a yoga retreat, you can pack the cube full and use the zipper to compress everything down to almost half its size.
To buy: ebags.com, $31
Away The Insider Packing Cubes
If you have Away luggage, their packing cubes are not only sized to fit perfectly, they're also color-coordinated. You can opt for a set of four or a set of six depending on how your clothes are usually distributed in size.
To buy: awaytravel.com, $65 for a set of six
Calpak 5-piece Packing Cube Set
One can always count on Calpak for making the most boring of travel accessories stylish. The brand's packing cube sets, for example, come in metallics and pretty prints like marble or this trendy terrazzo. They're as functional as they are fun, too. We love the waterproof pouch that this set includes for getting in that last-day swim at the hotel before you head to the airport.
To buy: nordstrom.com, from $48
Yamiu Packing Cubes
This super popular set comes from the maker of Amazon's favorite shoe bags, Yamiu — and it's a bargain at just $25. More than 1,600 rave reviews back the quality for the price, too. And alongside the packing cubes, you'll also get two PVC toiletry bags.
To buy: amazon.com, $25
Leatherology Nested Travel Organizer Trio
While they're not your typical packing cube, this Leatherology set is perfect for traveling with tech accessories. They maintain structure even when empty and will protect anything you've zipped inside. The price point may be high, but these are built to last you a long time. Packing experience: upgraded.
To buy: leatherology.com, $260