Table of Contents
- Here are the best packing cubes you can buy:
- The best packing cubes overall
- These no-fuss packing cubes from eBags fit everything you need for a vacation without taking up too much space in your suitcase.
- Buy the eBags Packing Cubes 6pc Value Set for $44.99
- Save money on an effective packing cube set with the AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cubes.
- Buy the AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set for $22.99
- The Insider Packing Cubes from luggage brand Away help you store items efficiently in your suitcase without ruining the aesthetic.
- Buy the Away Insider Packing Cubes for $45 (set of four)
- If normal packing cubes are too heavy for you, try the lightweight Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cubes made of breathable, translucent fabric.
- Buy the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cube Set for $39.95
- The Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Cubes pack down to help you fit the most items possible in your luggage.
- Buy the Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Cubes for $36.95
- The best carry-on luggage
- The best checked luggage
- The best travel backpacks
- The best luggage tags
- The best travel pillow
- Things To Consider Before You Buy
- Packing Cubes: This Video Will Change the Way You Travel
- Why I Love Using Packing Cubes
- Which Packing Cube Should I Buy?
- Why Packing Cubes are Worth It
- How to Use Packing Cubes: Organization
- How to Choose the Best Travel Packing Cube
- Additional Uses for Travel Packing Cubes
- Where To Buy Packing Cubes
- Examples of Packing with Packing Cubes
- How to choose the best packing cube
- These are the 12 best packing cubes
- 1. LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
- 2. Eagle Creek Pack It Starter Set
- 3. Damero 4 Piece Organiser Set
- 4. Zero Grid Packing Cubes
- 5. 90 Points Cactus 6 Piece Packing Cube set
- 6. Eagle Creek Clean Dirty Cube
- 7. PRO Packing Cubes Travel Set
- 8. Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube
- 9. AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
- 10. eBags Packing Cubes
- 11. VASCO Travel Packing Cubes Set
- 12. PRO Packing Cubes
- Packing cubes reviews: How the $9 Kmart knock-offs compare
source Away/Business Insider
- Packing is, frankly, a pretty awful experience that’s second only to unpacking.
- The eBags Packing Cubes make the entire ordeal more pleasurable by allowing you to fit more stuff into your luggage.
- See also: The best carry-on luggage you can buy
I often think that I would enjoy packing for vacation a lot more if I had a better system for doing the job. As it stands now, I just toss everything I can possibly imagine needing or wanting on my trip into a suitcase with no real rhyme or reason and hope for the best. This method ensures none of my things are organized very well.
Packing cubes are a great solution for messy packers like myself. Not only do they help you store your things in an orderly manner, they also help you fit more things, which is always of interest to me. Most packing cubes are also made of durable materials meant to withstand wear and tear from rough travel – I wouldn’t want to take a trip through an airport baggage claim carousel, would you? – and some even compress down to save space.
If you haven’t been traveling with packing cubes but are ready to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I’ve rounded up the top expert-approved packing cubes that will make your life so much easier on your next out of town journey.
Here are the best packing cubes you can buy:
- Best packing cubes overall: eBags Packing Cubes 6pc Value Set
- Best affordable packing cubes: AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
- Best stylish packing cubes: Away Packing Cubes
- Best light packing cubes: Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cube Set
- Best compression packing cubes: Eagle Creek Compression Cube Set
Updated on 10/28/2019 by Mara Leighton: Updated prices and formatting. Added a few related links. We are currently testing new products, so we’ll update this guide soon.
The best packing cubes overall
These no-fuss packing cubes from eBags fit everything you need for a vacation without taking up too much space in your suitcase.
The eBags Packing Cubes come recommended by just about every travel expert on the internet, and tons of shoppers, too. Their popularity comes down to two factors: versatility and durability. One of the best-rated sets is the 6-piece Value Set, which includes large, medium, and small packing cubes as well as three “slim” packing cubes for just under $50.
These packing cubes will certainly fit in your suitcase for travel, but they’d also be great at-home storage options for off-season clothing or even corralling unruly socks and underwear in a drawer.
The cubes are made of colorful nylon with mesh panels on top so you can easily tell what’s inside, and they stack for compact storage. The variety of sizes coupled with a lifetime warranty makes them the perfect choice for frequent travelers.
Insider Picks reporter David Slotnick is a big fan of these cubes, as are writers at The Wirecutter, Trip Savy, BestReviews, and Travel + Leisure. The Value Set has 10,000+ reviews and a 4.8 rating (out of 5 stars).
“The cubes are deceptively spacious,” reads the most helpful review on the eBags site. Another fan says, “These are especially handy if you are staying at multiple locations on a trip.”
Pros: Multiple sizes, mesh panels help you see the contents while cube is closed, durable nylon material, lifetime warranty
Cons: Pricier than some brands (but you get variety)
Buy the eBags Packing Cubes 6pc Value Set for $44.99
Save money on an effective packing cube set with the AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cubes.
With more than 1,000 Amazon reviews and a 4.6 star rating, the AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set is one of the most popular on the market. It’s great news if you want to save some cash, because the entire package is available for only $23. But as the rave reviews suggest, the low price doesn’t mean you’re missing out on quality.
If you don’t travel very frequently you may not want to invest in more luxe packing cubes, in which case, these would be perfect.
As The Wirecutter writer Jack Chance points out, the AmazonBasics cubes are reminiscent of eBags in “size, shape, and design.” The quality is not identical, of course, but you get comparable benefits and if you treat the AmazonBasics version well the cubes will likely still last you for a long time. Plus they aren’t that expensive to replace.
The AmazonBasics set is also recommended by BestReviews.com, who liked the quality of the polyester material and the color selection but did note the zipper quality left something to be desired.
Pros: Four cubes for under-$20, durable, mesh panels on top, multiple color options
Cons: Experts say quality of materials is lesser than pricier options
Buy the AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set for $22.99
The Insider Packing Cubes from luggage brand Away help you store items efficiently in your suitcase without ruining the aesthetic.
Functional packing cubes are all well and good, but they usually leave something to be desired for the fashion-forward. Frankly, they aren’t all that cute. Then there are the Away Insider Packing Cubes, those chicly minimalist black boxes that pair beautifully with your nice luggage and don’t skimp on practicality.
If you went through the trouble to invest in an endlessly Instagrammable Away suitcase, you don’t want to ruin the whole vibe with unattractive packing cubes. Luckily, Away’s in-house cubes are really good.
You can opt for a set of four cubes or a set of six, which includes every available size the brand currently carries, or buy them individually. Made of waterproof black nylon, each cube is topped with a panel of mesh that helps you find what you’re looking for quickly when on-the-go.
We’ve featured them here at Insider Picks, and they also come recommended by Men’s Journal.
Pros: Stylish, come in three sizes and two widths, waterproof, mesh panel
Cons: Not cheap, smaller than some options
Buy the Away Insider Packing Cubes for $45 (set of four)
source Eagle Creek
If normal packing cubes are too heavy for you, try the lightweight Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cubes made of breathable, translucent fabric.
For travelers who need to keep their luggage lightweight, there’s the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cube Set. The cubes are made of a slim, translucent and water resistant nylon material that weighs less than most of the competition.
You can still fit a lot of stuff inside the cubes, too. A 3-piece set includes extra small, small, and medium sized cubes. The featherweight fabric of the bags themselves makes this a great option for trips that involve a lot of lugging.
As our own David Slotnick puts it, “the bags are perfect for anything from backpacking to hoping that your checked bag isn’t left outside during a storm.”
These are also great for throwing in your hand-held luggage or duffle bag for a long weekend away, and we love the fact that you can see through them. The Specter Tech Cube Set also comes recommended by Travel + Leisure and The Wirecutter.
Pros: Lightweight, translucent fabric, water-resistant, stain-resistant
Cons: Only come in three sizes
Buy the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Cube Set for $39.95
source Eagle Creek
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Cubes pack down to help you fit the most items possible in your luggage.
I probably first saw compression cubes in an infomercial when I was like 12, and I’ve always thought they were genius. What a way to save space! The Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Cube Set comes with full-size and half-size cubes that compress down and help you fit the mostin your travel bag.
The compression happens courtesy of the two-way zipper, so you don’t need any fancy gadgets to shrink the bags down. According to TripSavy, “he cubes can save up to 80 percent packing volume.” That’s a lot of extra room that you can either fill with more stuff or leave empty for lighter weight luggage.
With 86 Amazon reviews and a 4.5 rating, this is a popular choice with consumers. One reviewer said the cubes helped them pack only carry-on luggage for a three-week trip abroad, and another said “I travel a lot and this is, by far, in the top ten of my best travel purchases.”
TravelSavy pointed out that the compression aspect may cause wrinkles in clothing, but I personally think this would cut down on the wrinkling from my preferred method of tossing everything willy nilly into the bottom of your bag.
Pros: Compress down with a zipper to save room
Cons: Only come in two sizes, don’t completely flatten, might wrinkle clothing
Buy the Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Cubes for $36.95
The best carry-on luggage
Sometimes you just don’t want to check your luggage, so you need a reliable carry-on bag that you can bring onboard the plane. Of all the carry-on bags we’ve researched and tested, the Briggs & Riley Baseline Commuter Expandable Upright is the best with its sturdy wheels, smart compression technology, and lifetime warranty. Here are our top picks for the best carry-on luggage bags:
- Best overall: Briggs & Riley Baseline Commuter Expandable Upright
- Best for those in a rush: Travelpro Platinum Magna Express Spinner Suiter
- Best for versatility: Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel
- Best for traveling with a laptop: Incase EO Travel Hardshell Roller
- Best for charging your phone: Away Carry-On
- Best for organizer packers: Timbuk2 Co-Pilot Luggage Roller
- Best affordable bag: American Tourister IIite Max Softside Spinner 21
- Best stylish bag: Delsey Chalet Wheel Spinner Carry On
The best checked luggage
Traveling doesn’t have to be a hassle. Having a great suitcase can be the difference between an amazing trip and a bad one.
Here are our picks for the best luggage you can buy:
- Best luggage overall: Travelpro Maxlite 4 Expandable Rollaboard 26-inch Luggage
- Best hard case luggage: Delsey Helium Aero 25-inch Hard Case Luggage
- Best high-end luggage: Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable Spinner Luggage
- Best duffel with wheels: Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 110L/34″ Wheeled Duffel
- Best versatile luggage: Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel
The best travel backpacks
Backpacks are perfect for when you don’t need a full suitcase, but you want more than a regular daypack or messenger bag. Based on our research and real-world testing, the best overall travel backpack is the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible. Here are our top picks:
- Best travel backpack overall: eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible
- Best travel backpack for style: InCase EO Travel Backpack
- Best travel backpack for space: Tortuga Setout Backpack
- Best travel backpack for work trips: eBags Professional Weekender
- Best travel backpack for long treks: Deuter Transit 50
If you usually rely on the flimsy cardboard luggage tag the airline provides, it’s time to get a tougher tag that also makes it easier to spot your bag in the endless sea of bags at the airport. The Tile x Away luggage tag is our top pick because it not only looks smart, but it can also tell you where your bag is, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. Here are our picks:
- The best luggage tag overall: Tile x Away luggage tag
- The best leather luggage tag set: Travel Smart by Conair Leather Luggage Tags
- The best stainless steel luggage tag: Talonport Privacy Stainless Steel Luggage Tag
- The best fun luggage tag: Finex Character Luggage ID Tags
- The best clearly visible luggage tag: Shacke Initial Luggage Tag
The best travel pillow
Trying to fall asleep on a plane is incredibly difficult, but having the right travel pillow can help you get some shut-eye during your epic flight across oceans and continents. The Trtl pillow is our top pick – even though it’s not a pillow per se – because it is comfortable, very portable, and affordable. Here are our top picks for travel pillows:
- Best travel pillow overall: Trtl pillow
- Best microbead pillow: Clöudz microbead U-shaped pillow
- Best memory foam travel pillow: Cabeau memory foam U-shaped pillow
- Best inflatable travel pillow: Lewis N. Clark inflatable U-shaped pillow
- Best body-sized travel pillow: Travelrest inflatable body pillow
- Best compressible travel pillow: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow
- Best travel pillow for head bobbers: Bcozzy Travel Pillow
- Best no-slip travel pillow: Travelrest Ultimate Pillow
Things To Consider Before You Buy
We’ve taken you through all the different types of packing cubes, but there’s still a fair amount to consider. Let’s dive right in.
Broken zippers will render your packing cube useless, so it’s essential to have one you can rely on. And though they may look alike, zippers can range in quality and durability dramatically. You may not think you need anything special, but zippers on packing cubes can take quite a beating when you’re yanking them shut after filling your cube to the brim.
Patagonia Black Hole Cube YKK Zips
The first thing to consider is the brand—YKK, SBS, Zoom, and Riri are some of the biggest and most reputable. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with Japanese manufacturer YKK. They are well-regarded in the industry for making quality gear and have performed remarkably well in testing, even after years of use. Popular brands such as Patagonia, Eagle Creek, and Osprey use them on just about all of their gear, which should say something.
While we believe YKK to be the best, the Chinese manufacturer SBS has become quite the juggernaut as of late. Overall, SBS zips have performed well for us in testing and we’ve never had one break, but they’re not as solid as we’d like them to be. You’ll typically find them on more budget-friendly cubes. The bottom line is, as long as your zippers are from a reputable brand, they should have you covered. But, we’d recommend opting for YKK when you can.
JUST A NOTE: Try to stay away from unbranded zips. If it’s not good enough to put their name on, it’s not good enough for your packing cube.
It’s also important to take the size of the zipper into account, which will range on a scale from one (small) to ten (large). Typically, zipper sizes on packing cubes will range from three to five. A number three will be perfectly fine, but we’d opt for a number five when possible for the added durability. Anything larger than a five may be a tad too cumbersome and simply isn’t necessary for most use-cases. That said, we’d strongly recommend staying clear from anything less than a number three for durability reasons.
Half Zippered Opening (Left) & Clamshell Opening (Right)
Something else to consider is where the zipper is located on the packing cube and how it opens. Generally, there are two options—a full clamshell-style that opens all the way, and a half opening. A clamshell-style packing cube will give you direct access to the entire cube and enables you to place and position everything neatly—but we have found it can be tricky to zip up if you’re filling it to the brim. In contrast, a half opening style cube is a lot easier to cram a load of stuff into and zip up—but if you want to pull something out, you will likely have to take everything else out too.
Both styles have their merits, but we tend to think that since you can simply close the clamshell zipper halfway—to act as a half-opening, making it easier to stuff clothes inside—it takes the cake.
eBags Ultralight Packing Cubes Zipper Pull Detail
Finally, keep an eye out for zipper pulls and how many zippers a packing cube has. If you fill your cube to the brim, a zipper pull can be helpful to grab hold of and pull shut, but it’s by no means necessary. You could also just attach your own if you wanted to. And if possible, we recommend opting for a packing cube with two zippers as opposed to one. This is because if one does break, your packing cube is still functional. We’ve also found that two zippers make opening and closing the cube a little bit easier, and you can open it from whichever side you’d like, which is great.
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes Handle
A handle is by no means a vital component on a packing cube—considering they’re designed to be placed inside a bag—but most manufacturers do include them. If done right, it’s a nice feature that can provide some useful benefits. However, they can also get in the way if they’re not implemented well.
Pointing out the obvious, a handle is helpful when grabbing hold of a packing cube. However, we’ve found that most of the time it’s easier to grab the whole cube with your hands. That being said, we have found a handle can be useful when lifting a cube out of a top-loading backpack, specifically. So if you’re rocking one of those, you may want to make sure your cube has one.
PRO TIP: If you plan on using the handle to grab the cube from within your bag, be mindful of where it’s located, and make sure it’s accessible.
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Handle
Other than being used to take your cube in and out of your pack, a handle can be utilized to carry your cube around, hang it up, or attach it to the outside of your bag with a carabiner clip. These aren’t things we find ourselves doing often, but it’s worth bringing up. It could help you out in a pinch.
In testing, we’ve found handles that sit close to the packing cube to be best, as they don’t get in the way when not in use. But remember that a handle isn’t essential, and certainly don’t discount the cubes that have opted not to include one.
Millican The Mavericks Packing Cubes
We’re digging the sleek incorporated handle on the Millican Packing Cubes, and it doesn’t get in the way like some stitched-on handles that have been added as an afterthought to some cubes.
Pockets & Compartments
The majority of packing cubes are just an empty cube, which is perfectly fine. However, some brands like to think outside the box, and they’ve brought some nifty ideas to the party.
Internal Organization: Some manufacturers will include a “clean and dirty” cube in their range. This is a packing cube that’s split into two compartments designed to keep your clean and dirty clothes separate, which is beneficial for obvious reasons—that is, unless you don’t see a problem with your stinky socks touching your clean t-shirt.
Peak Design Packing Cubes Pocket
You don’t have to use these cubes specifically for this reason, though, and they can come in handy for additional organization. For instance, you can separate your t-shirts and shorts in one cube.
You probably won’t need every cube you own to split into two compartments, but picking up one to complement the rest of your set could be a nice touch.
External Pockets: A quick-grab pocket on a one bag travel pack is a vital addition, and it’s the perfect place to store your passport, phone, and other essentials you need fast access to. So why not have one on a packing cube? Well, you don’t really need one, and you do lose the whole “quick-grab” factor since they’re packed away in your bag.
However, if you do come across a cube with one, don’t discount it straight away, as they can come in handy. You could use an external pocket on a packing cube to hold some cords or small tech accessories. Maybe you just want to be able to find your lucky underwear at a moment’s notice. Who knows. We don’t find these pockets terribly useful, but some might.
Trakke Storr In Wiltshire, England
The world is a big place, and choosing the right packing cubes will depend on where you’re going and what you’re doing. Most packing cubes will be fine for most destinations, but there are some locations where certain styles of packing cubes will be a better choice.
If you plan on spending most of your time wandering along sandy beaches, then mesh packing cubes could be an issue. Sand really does get in everything, and the last thing you want is it mixed up among all your clothes.
If you’re traveling to a humid location, like SE Asia, breathable packing cubes are highly recommended. There are some high-tech materials available now, but simple mesh cubes will work too. These will help keep your clothes fresher for longer.
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Slim Cube
Finally, if you’re headed on a business trip, you’re not going to want any wrinkles. Cubes with a bit of structure are your best bet here, just make sure to neatly fold your clothes before placing them inside.
We prefer packing cubes that contrast in color to the inside of your backpack. For instance, if your main compartment is black, try to source colorful cubes. And if your main compartment is a bright color, try to find black, gray, or darker colored packing cubes. This is by no means a necessity, but it can make finding and grabbing specific cubes from inside your pack a lot easier.
REI Ruckpack 40 Main Compartment With Packing Cubes
We’ve also found that having a selection of different colored cubes can help further organize your pack. For instance, you could put all of your warm weather gear inside a blue cube and your cold weather gear inside a red cube. However, most companies tend to sell sets of cubes that are all the same color, and it can be more expensive to purchase them individually in a range of colors.
Packing cubes are available in a vast range of sizes, and you’ll want to consider how much gear you’re taking and what shape your pack is to find the right cubes for you. Most manufacturers will sell a set of their packing cubes that contains a small, medium, and large cube. Using the small for underwear, the medium for t-shirts and shorts, and large for sweaters and pants is a tried and tested method that has worked well for us. But we’d recommend laying all your gear out in front of you in different piles before choosing what size packing cubes to order.
PRO TIP: Packing cube sizes aren’t universal, so one brands small, may be another brands medium. Make sure to check the sizes of each cube before you buy them. If you’re really stuck on what size to get, drop us a line! We’re happy to help. Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set In An Osprey Transporter 40
It’s also important to consider how much room you have to fill in your pack. The last thing you want is a large packing cube that’s wider than the pack itself. We’ve found multiple smaller cubes—as opposed to one large cube—can help maximize the space inside of just about any pack.
Finally, take note of what shape your backpack is. If it’s rectangular, try to find cubes with straight edges. If it’s rounded, try to find cubes with curved edges. This will help utilize all the space inside your pack.
We think the cost of packing cubes are reasonable considering the benefits they bring. Price is always a factor though, and luckily, there are cubes for every budget. It’s also important to note that the most expensive cubes aren’t necessarily the best ones for you.
First, you’ll want to consider how much and for how long you’re going to need packing cubes. If you’re going on a one month trip to Europe, and don’t plan on traveling much after, you may not want to splurge on expensive cubes, and that’s fine. Whereas if you’re planning on perpetually traveling the world, you’ll want to consider spending a bit more on top-notch cubes that are built to last.
Make sure to check the warranty on your packing cubes, especially if they’ve set you back a fair amount. Take a look at what it covers—such as craftsmanship defects or general wear and tear—and how long it will cover you for. Even if a brand says they have a “lifetime guarantee,” it’s worth reading the fine print to see if that is relegated to just manufacturing defects or wear and tear. With brands like Patagonia or GORUCK, we’ve found their “lifetime guarantee” is actually just that.
A good warranty usually means that a brand stands behind its gear, and you can be assured of its quality and durability. We recommend skimming reviews on product pages to assess a brands warranty, as people who have had a really good or really bad warranty experience are likely to write a review about it.
Finally, be aware of where they will deliver your cube if you do have a successful claim. It’s no good getting a replacement delivered to your home address if your cube breaks halfway around the world.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’re likely into packing cubes as much as we are, and can see just how brilliant they are at organizing and compartmentalizing your pack.
At the end of the day, there is no “best packing cube,” but hopefully this guide will help steer you in the right direction to pick up the best packing cube for you. It all comes down to personal preference, travel style, and personal use-case. You may not get it right the first time, and that’s okay! Sometimes you need to iterate.
And as always, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.
Packing Cubes: This Video Will Change the Way You Travel
In the below packing video video, I show you exactly how you can compress a generous amount of clothing into a carry-on bag by rolling and adjusting your items into a packing cube.
I used this 15-piece packing list as a guideline for the clothing, the maximum wardrobe size I recommend you pack for any trip. Versatility is key to a capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
The clothing used in the video is an example of what someone would pack for a long trip consisting of various climates, activities, and the need to be ready for anything. Watch the video here:
Watch the packing tutorial here or on our YouTube Channel!
As shown in the video, I use a 4-piece set of slim sized packing cubes. When I first started using packing cubes in 2013, I was finally able to downsize my luggage from a 65L backpack to a 40 liter bag.
I went from overpacking a large bag to traveling with only what I needed – carryon only!
You may not always need to use this handy packing hack, but it works wonders when needed! You can also use a combination of folding and rolling within the same packing cube, too.
If you use the rolling method shown in the video, you’ll be able to travel carry-on only saving you money in the long run. More importantly, packing light makes your overall travel experience much more comfortable and stress-free.
I also put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!
Why I Love Using Packing Cubes
I was a full-time traveler for living out of a suitcase for almost nine years. These travel cubes helped me achieve my goal of traveling carry-on only in my never-ending journey around the world.
Packing cubes are organizational containers that are meant to help you have a neat and efficient suitcase. However, I’ve found a unique way to transform them into something even better!
I had to make a video to show you just how awesome they really are. In fact, my method has helped millions of women travel carry-on only!
It’s important to note that these organizers do much more than just separate your tops from your bottoms. By using the rolling method shown in the video below, you can compress the space in your luggage, making it easier to travel carry-on only!
Which Packing Cube Should I Buy?
To help answer this question, these are my tried and tested packing cube reviews:
Compass Rose Carryon Size Packing Cubes
Compass Rose Packing Cubes – Top Pick!
Because I live, breathe, and dream about packing 24/7, I’ve now designed my own packing cubes!
In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a 4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes. These are the only packing cubes sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase and they also have a unique color-coded and numbered organization system – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.
Separate your belongings by color or by number, you’ll always know exactly where to find what you need.
Plus, they’re the only packing cubes that fit perfectly into a carryon suitcase. You can stack them on top of each other like shelves or lay them flat on top of each other. They have a strong fabric that keeps their rectangular structure.
The fabric and quality zippers also help you compress your clothing to maximize space.
They’re truly the best packing cubes. Our readers rave about them! Buy it here!
eBags Packing Cubes 6-Piece Set
eBags Packing Cubes
eBags has two types of packing cubes: their original type and the ones with their new ultralight fabric. Their original packing cubes are still my preferred option as they have a durable fabric, strong mesh, and solid zippers.
While the “ultralight” cubes have the advantage of weighing less than the original, they’re not as structured and only offers the benefit of organization. I also found that the mesh ripped only after using them a couple of times (not on extended travel.)
Even though eBags didn’t create their packing cubes with the intention of offering compression, I discovered this to be an additional benefit and utilize this feature in the packing strategy I developed as can be seen in the packing video below. Buy it here!
My preferred brand used to be eBags as you can read about in detail below. Throughout the past nine years of full time traveling, I’ve also used various other brands including AmazonBasics, Travel Wise, and Dot & Dot, too.
While these packing cubes all have their benefits, I’ve now created my own version that will take your organization to the next level: the Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes shown above!
AmazonBasics 4 Piece Packing Cube Set
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes offers an inexpensive organizational solution for budget-conscious travelers or those that are uncertain about making an investment to the banded products.
When Amazon first launched the Basics line it offered a product that was closer to eBags’s original design. I immediately bought it and was happy with my purchase however Amazon stopped selling it and moved on to the next packing cube trend: the ultralight weight fabric styles.
The ultralight soft mesh design rivals the eBags version mentioned above; they’re both featherlight and serve the purpose of the organization. Buy it here!
Pro Ultralight Packing Cubes
Pro Packing Cubes
I was given a set of these Pro packing cubes to test in 2015. The fabric was ultra-lightweight and seemed incredibly promising. Unfortunately, the quality didn’t hold up and the mesh ripped within a couple of months of usage.
In all fairness, I was traveling full time for four months but this type of problem is exactly why it’s good to invest a little more in quality products. The company has since stated they have improved the quality but I haven’t tested their new version. Buy it here!
Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes
Shacke Pak Packing Cubes
While I haven’t tried the Shacke Pak cubes, they are popular with budget-conscious readers that are looking for a larger set with mixed sizes. Because of their square shape and spacious design, these would work well in large suitcases for travelers looking to check their bags vs travel carry-on only.
Our readers prefer the Gentlemen’s Blue color but this set is also available in eight other colors and includes a laundry bag. Buy it here!
Eagle Creek Pack It Specter Compression Cube Set
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes
Our readers are big fans of Eagle Creek’s packing system. While I haven’t used their cubes myself, my husband and I have used their packing folder in a size medium and we did like it.
They offer organizers in various shapes, sizes, and designs so they’re worth a look if you’re on the hunt for options to fit into uniquely designed luggage spaces. Buy it here!
Why Packing Cubes are Worth It
I’d say they’re definitely worth a try. I can’t travel without mine and most travelers feel the same way.
While it’s possible to use Ziploc bags to store your clothing, true packing organizers have several benefits and don’t cost that much more money. They’re a game changer!
How to Use Packing Cubes: Organization
While there are many benefits to traveling with travel cubes, one of my favorite reasons is that they help you organize. When you’re on the go, the last thing you want to do is waste valuable time searching for clothing.
Packing clothes for travel doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are three ways to organize like a pro:
Organize Clothing Categories
The easiest way to pack your clothes for travel is to use a different packing cube for tops, bottoms, and other.
Organize Travel Outfits
Packing clothes for travel with organizers can separate travel outfits. Coordinate the first few days in advance then mix and match as you go.
Organize by the Weather
Packing clothes for travel to destinations with different weather can be done efficiently by separating clothes based on hot versus cold climates.
Use one packing cube to store the clothing for your hot weather destination and use the other for your cold weather destination. The third can be used for layering pieces. Create mini capsule wardrobes for each weather system.
As you can see in the above tutorial, you can organize your belongings while making more use of limited space. Now, I’m sure you know this doesn’t mean you should pack a bunch of stuff you don’t need and weigh down your luggage. There are weight restrictions for carry-on baggage you have to consider.
However, using this technique will help you downsize your belongings with ease. You’ll be surprised to know how much you can actually fit into these products. You won’t need to check that bag after all.
Make sure to watch the video above for the complete explanation!
How to Choose the Best Travel Packing Cube
Travelers always want to know: what’s the best packing cube? Well, every packing organizer serves a different purpose. It’s best to have a combination of options to meet the needs of varying trips.
Travelers use them to organize clothing, toiletries, and many other items. They usually have a square or rectangular shape with a mesh top and a zipper around the sides.
There are various types of cubes available in different shapes, sizes, and fabrics. They also have different names, such as travel cubes, packing bags, and luggage cubes. While there are various types of luggage organizers, packing cubes are by far the traveler favorite!
When deciding the best luggage organizer, first you need to determine your needs:
- Do you want to downsize your suitcase to a carry-on?
- Do you want to have a more organized suitcase?
- Do you wish to compartmentalize your belongings more efficiently?
- Are you traveling for business or leisure?
- Are you traveling for a weekend or a month?
- Are you traveling in summer or winter weather?
Whether you’re a backpacker, leisure, or business traveler, everyone can benefit from using travel cubes. I’ve been told that families find these extremely helpful and have been able to pack just two carry-on suitcases for a family of four!
Ultimately, travelers should use different types of travel organizers because needs will change from trip to trip. To understand the difference between cubes, folders, sacks, pouches, and other types of packing tools, please read this post on how to choose the best luggage organizer.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a packing organizer:
Regular set in assorted sizes | Slim set in one size
What’s the Difference Between Regular and Slim Packing Cubes?
Travel packing cubes are available in various sizes but generally two different shapes: regular and slim. The regular cubes are square shaped and great for stacking in a regular suitcase while the slim ones are slender and can be placed alongside each other.
I originally ordered both the set in assorted sizes and also the slim set because it was difficult to gauge how big they were from the images.
When I received both sets, I was surprised at how large and wide the regular size cubes were and how small the slim set was in comparison.
What Packing Cube Size Should You Use?
A bit skeptical at first, I tested both and it turned out that the regular cubes are quite big and very generous. Too large, in fact, for my needs. They’re more appropriate for a large size suitcase due to their size and shape.
Because I travel carry-on only and due to the measurements of my bag, the slim size works for me. I can fit anywhere from four thick, fabric pieces like denim or leather to 10+ summer-weight items in each one.
While I think the majority of travelers can make the most of their space with the slim sizes, I wouldn’t recommend you use anything larger than a medium, particularly if your goal is to travel in a smaller suitcase.
I stuff so much clothing into these cubes, you’d think they’d rip easily–but they’re made of extremely durable material with sturdy zippers, which is essential for a long-lasting product. I’ve even thrown them in the washing machine on several occasions and they’re still going strong, three years later.
Additional Uses for Travel Packing Cubes
- In addition to using them for everyday travels, I use them when I go trekking to places like Machu Picchu and can only carry a daypack. Using one cube with the clothing I need acts as an ideal travel organizer and fits neatly in a small bag.
- I use them to hold useful items like sleeping liners, scarves, socks, a travel pillow, and clothing layers, when I have long transportation journeys or long flights and want to have easy access to my comfort items.
- When I’m stationary for a few months, I sometimes don’t have a lot of drawer space in my lodging. I continue using packing cubes to store clothes to make up for the lack of storage space.
- In addition to clothing, you can also use them to store other things in your luggage, like electronics, documents, toiletries, and makeup.
They have endless uses at home, too. Read about them here!
Where To Buy Packing Cubes
You can buy packing organizers in a variety of places but I prefer Amazon. You have the most choices, the best prices, plus you get free 2-day shipping with Prime. Shop now!
Here’s a quick overview for each of products on our best packing cubes list:
|BRAND / MODEL||DIMENSION||FEATURES||RATING / PRICE|
|Compass Rose Compression Packing Cubes||13 x 5 x 2.8 in||Set includes: 4 slim: they’re the only packing cubes that fit perfectly into a carryon suitcase. You can stack them on top of each other like shelves or lay them flat on top of each other||Check Price|
|eBags Packing Cubes 6-Piece Set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, small 11 x 6.75 x 3 and slim 2.8 x 14 x 5 in||Set includes: 1 large, 1 Medium, 1 Small and 3 Slim, Techlite Diamond Nylon, includes premium YKK zippers, soft mesh tops||Check Price|
|AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, small 11 x 6.75 x 3, slim 14 x 5 x 2.8 in||100% Polyester, double zipper pull closure, mesh top panel, webbing handle||Check Price|
|Pro Packing Cubes- 6pc set||Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25, medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 3, slim 14 x 5 x 3.5 in||Ultralight & durable rip-stop Nylon, YKK zippers, 100% LIFETIME GUARANTEE||Check Price|
|Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes||X-Large 17.5 x 12.75 x 4 Large 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 Medium 13.75 x 9.75 x 4 Small 11 x 6.75 x 4||Made from high quality water resistant nylon material, X design with double stitching, laundry bag Included||Check Price|
|Eagle Creek Pack It Specter Compression Cube Set||Large 14 x 10 x 3, small 10 x 7 x 3 (before compression)||Compression zipper, ultra lightweight silnylon ripstop, quick grab handle||Check Price|
Examples of Packing with Packing Cubes
Traveling luggage-free with one slim cube and all my belongings in the purse (shown above) for a one-week vacation to Puerto Vallarta.
Everything for a 1-week luggage-free vacation using one slim cube!
I used two slims on a 4-week trip from Colombia to Portugal including a 2-week cruise. I packed everything in the above backpack. Read more!
I also used only two slim cubes for a 4-month+ trip to Southeast Asia including ultra-light scuba gear in the 45L Patagonia wheeled duffle shown above. Read the post here!
What do you think about travel packing cubes? Do you use them? Tell us in the comments!
For more tips on travel gear, please read:
- How to Choose a Suitcase
- How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack
- Top Packing Organizers
- Top 10 Toiletry Bags
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The best packing cubes can make cramming your suitcase and unpacking it on the other side a breeze, and we’ve got a list of them right here for your consideration.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves: why do you need packing cubes, anyway? Well, it’s one of those rare items that actually does make life that much easier.
You don’t have to unpack a squashed-flat pile of clothes only to have to re-roll or re-fold them ready to fit into the hotel chest of drawers – simply pack once and lift the whole thing out.
- Before you go on holiday make sure you read T3’s ultimate guide to travelling
- Use your packing cubes in the best suitcases
- Or maybe a backpack or laptop bag
They’re also immensely handy for separating clean clothes from dirty ones halfway through your holiday, and as anyone who’s ever gone the “eh, chuck it in the side pocket” route will tell you, that’s a big bonus.
Finally, by keeping clothes packed snugly and zipped shut, they won’t go flying all over the place as soon as your case is chucked in the hold, meaning fewer creases to contend with on the other side, and being able to put your hand straight to what you’re after.
How to choose the best packing cube
When it comes to our list of the best packing cubes right now, it only takes a casual glance to see that Eagle Creek are the crown princes of packing, with three out of our twelve picks coming from them.
From its starter sets to the slightly pricier Specter collection, the wannabe organised traveller is assured of superior quality. After all, if you want to get decent usage out of your packing cubes, it makes sense to spend a little bit extra.
On the flip side, if you’re just after a packing system for the odd annual business trip where you need to keep your shirts looking slightly sharper than usual, you might be happy to plump for a budget option like that from AmazonBasics, which aren’t as tough or detailed-oriented, but do the job just fine.
Either way, it’s time to get organised with our selection of the best packing cubes for travel.
These are the 12 best packing cubes
1. LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
These packing cubes compress your clothes without creasing them
Best for: Minimising Wrinkles Quantity: 3 Colour: Grey Weight: 590g
Reasons to buy
+Compresses and minimises wrinkles+Breathable fabric minimises odours+Anti-catch zips
Reasons to avoid
-Not the lightest
We love these sophisticated packing cubes from LeanTravel. Made from premium quality polyester fabric, your clothes are locked inside crease free and odour free thanks to increased breathability.
With the extra zipper for added compression you’ll be able to squeeze even more clothes into your suitcase, with the option to reduce the thickness from 4 inches to 1 inch.
This set of 6 pieces includes 2 large cubes for coats or trousers, 2 medium cubes for shirts, and 2 small cubes for underwear and socks.
2. Eagle Creek Pack It Starter Set
Stay looking sharp with our top-pick packing cubes
Best for: Minimising Wrinkles Quantity: 3 Colour: Black, Blue or Red Weight: 426g +Sturdy construction +Handy shirt folder -Heaviest on our list
Comprising two sizes of cube and a medium-sized garment folder, this Eagle Creek packing cube set is, as the name suggests, a great place to start when it comes to upping your organisational ante.
The inclusion of the folder puts this set heads and shoulders above the other offerings on the market: it’s designed to compress eight to twelve shirts or trousers without creasing, making it perfect for business trips or functions where you have to be smartly turned out but can’t guarantee the presence of an iron. Add to that a high quality construction – sturdy materials, fine woven mesh windows – and you have our best packing cubes.
3. Damero 4 Piece Organiser Set
These clear packing cubes are great if you’re a forgetful packer
Best for: Seeing inside Quantity: 4 Colour: Clear Weight: 358g +Clear, so you can see what’s inside+Semi-waterproof+Wide opening -Doesn’t let clothes breathe
Want to see what you actually have packed inside your packing cubes? These clear PVC packs allow you to easily find what you’re looking for.
The four piece set comes with large, medium, small, and mini sized cubes, which can be packed away into each other when not in use. The zip opens on three sides, giving plenty of access to your belongings, and, although not fully-waterproof, the PVC will do a great job at protecting your clothes in the event of a leak from your cosmetics bag.
4. Zero Grid Packing Cubes
Endlessly handy packing cubes for the frequent traveller
Best for: Frequent use Quantity: 4 Colour: Black Weight: 354g +Light and durable+Good zips -Some are a bit small
If the marketing spiel is to be believed, Zero Grid packing cubes are designed by frequent travellers, for frequent travellers, and on examination they certainly seem to know what they’re doing.
The ripstop nylon cubes are designed to be lightweight but durable to stand up to repeated use, the up-top elastic straps intend to make in-bag or in-drawer reorganisation a breeze, and the zips are sturdily built with extra-grippy ties. It all sounds like small stuff, but it really adds up when you’re jet-lagged and faced with a pile of clothes to sort.
5. 90 Points Cactus 6 Piece Packing Cube set
Add a cute pattern to your luggage
Best for: Design Quantity: 6 Colour: Cactus pattern Weight: 222g +Cute pattern+Mix of bags and cubes+Well made and water resistant
If you want something a little more playful than the typical black packing cubes, try these packing set from 90 Points. They allow you to easily pack and unpack your holiday items.
The six piece set includes an underwear bag, cosmetic bag, laundry bag and small, medium and large clothing bags. All are made from high quality durable water resistant 280T fabric, and built to withstand the wear and tears of travel.
6. Eagle Creek Clean Dirty Cube
A simple but clever sorter
Best for: Separating washing Quantity: 1 Colour: Black, blue, red Weight: 172g +Separate clean and dirty clothes+Breathable mesh panels -Only a set of one
Back to Eagle Creek, who’ve done it again with the Clean Dirty Cube. Far from the exercise in contradiction that the name suggests, it’s quite simple: a very handy two-sided cube with one compartment for clean clothes and one for dirty, ideal if you’re heading off on a short haul trip where washing facilities aren’t a given.
The mesh top not only lets you keep sight of what you’ve packed to satisfy last-minute checks, it improves breathability, rather than holding in the whiff of whatever you’ve stowed in the dirty side and leaving you with a horrifying Raiders of the Lost Ark scenario when the time comes to unpack.
7. PRO Packing Cubes Travel Set
Clever colour-coded cubes in a variety of sizes
Best for: Versatility Quantity: 6 Colour: Blue, grey, pink, multi, silver Weight: 340g +Colour code by item of traveller+Strong and lightweight – Largest size a bit big for some bags
The colour-coded nature of this bumper six-piece packing cube set makes it a good bet for families heading off on holiday, as you can assign everyone a colour and put them in charge of their own packing – see, you’re having fun already!
For their weight, which is impressively little, they’re engineered to be fantastically strong with double seams, ripstop nylon and those old favourite YKK zippers, also good news when dealing with excitable kids. Even better, they come with a lifetime guarantee, so go nuts!
8. Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube
A barely there presence in the smallest bags
Best for: Water resistance Quantity: 1 Colour: White, green Weight: 27g +Very light+Pack down extra small -Premium per cube
If you’re teetering dangerously close to the edge of your maximum baggage allowance or stubbornly stuffing everything into a smaller carry-on, you might want to give this Eagle Creek Specter set a try.
While they come at a premium per cube compared with the company’s lower-end offerings, they pack down to the size of a lone sock and weigh as much as half the amount of their competitors.
9. AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
Basic packing cubes for the tightest budgets
Best for: Budget Quantity: 4 Colour: Black, blue, grey, green, red, light blue Weight: 386g +Budget-friendly+Range of sizes in one package -Build isn’t the best
Amazon have already taken over most of our lives, commercially speaking, so it was only a matter of time before their own-brand products started making an appearance in our suitcases. These packing cubes are our best budget buy for their excellent value package that sees you get a small, medium, large, and slim cube for under £20, and the choice of colours isn’t too shabby either.
Reviewers said they didn’t feel as considerable as higher-end options, but sturdier than most other cheap offerings, worth a look if you’re not fussed about things like the slightly bulky rubber branding and crinkly fabric.
10. eBags Packing Cubes
Colourful corralling cubes for weeks away
Best for: Durability Quantity: 3 Colour: Purple, yellow, pink, red, orange Weight: 340.2g +Sturdy and durable+Bright colours – Might have trouble fitting the largest size in
On first glance, it’s the cheerful colours of these cubes that make them so appealing. It certainly means they stand out in the often dull, dark interiors of suitcases, which in turn means less sleepy rummaging through endless indeterminate black objects when you’ve landed in the dead of night and just want your pyjamas.
They’re not all style though: the finished interior seams add durability and the premium YKK zippers promise “a lifetime of opening and closing”, which to us says serious substance.
(Image credit: Amazon)
11. VASCO Travel Packing Cubes Set
Best for: Multiple travellers Quantity: 7 Colour: Black Weight: 1.4kg +Covers all the bases+Includes a toiletry bag -High price
Are you taking everything but the bathroom sink? One of the few packing cube sets to include a toiletry bag (which has a hook to hang on the back of a hotel room door, no less, it also adds a dedicated travel document holder and an electronics organiser pouch complete with pouches for cables. Add that to the core packing cubes that can first be packed with clothes before being flattened using compression zips, and the VASCO Travel Packing Cubes Set is nothing if not comprehensive.
(Image credit: Amazon)
12. PRO Packing Cubes
Ultralight packing cubes with six-piece compression
Best for: Ultralight travel Quantity: 6 Colour: Graphite, pink, blue, orange, silver, mixed Weight: 340g +Lightweight+Durability -Small sizes are narrow
Best suited to those trying to travel light, this streamlined six-piece will really help anyone trying to make the best of budget airlines’ restrictive luggage allowance. Comprising one large, three medium and two small-sized packing cubes, the latter of which can also double-up as shoe bags. Ideal for fitting into suitcases, backpacks, totes and duffel bags for trips away, each packing cubes has a grab handle and a zip.
- Best travel adapter
- Best portable chargers
- Best travel bags
Packing cubes reviews: How the $9 Kmart knock-offs compare
Catherine Best November 8,2018
Packing cells: the greatest travel innovation in 50 years. Picture: Catherine Best
Packing cells are the greatest travel innovation to hit the tarmac since wheelable suitcases were invented almost 50 years ago.
But which brands are best, and do you need to spend big bucks to separate your knickers from your knick-knacks?
On a recent two-week family trip to Fiji, I road-tested five popular brands — from the bargain basement to the Rolls Royce of clothing compartments.
Five people, two suitcases, three planes, four boats, two mini-vans, three resorts and a freight-load of cells later, I’m a convert.
Here’s the lowdown on each brand.
BEST THING EVER: $9 KMART ITEM TRAVELLERS LOVE
THIS $2 SUITCASE HACK HAS TRAVELLERS HOOKED
SUITCASE SECRETS: THIS TIP CHANGED MY LIFE
Zoomlite Classic 4-piece set. Picture: Catherine Best
These guys scream durability. In fact, you could safely sequester your smalls in them, bung them straight on the luggage conveyor, and be reasonably confident your clothes would arrive intact at the other end, albeit a little dusty. Zoomlite is an all-Australian brand that’s all about strength and simplicity. The classic four-piece set comes in X-small, small, medium and large cells. Each has a strong mesh lid (so you can see what’s inside and squeeze out all that extra air) and double zips. We road tested the classic set, but you can also get toiletry and shoe bags, garment folders and travel pouches. The husband mostly used these and, despite defying prevailing wisdom to ‘roll not fold’, his shorts and T-shirts travelled mostly wrinkle free. The compartments are a little deeper than some, as the cells are not double-sided, so rolling really is the way to go if you don’t want to go rummaging through layers of clothes, which kind of defeats the purpose of using cells. I love that these retain their shape when packed in a suitcase or unpacked in a hotel cupboard.
4-piece set — $49.95
Lapoche cells including the his and hers lingerie and two-way cell. Picture: Catherine Best
The Imelda Marcos of packing cells, Lapoche has a solution for every sojourn. The homegrown range, created by Melbourne designer Beth Richards, covers everything from traditional packing cubes and shirt flat packs, to jewellery organisers, tech packs and spillage-proof toiletry pouches. These cubes look smart and have some lovely girlie touches (disclaimer: they had me with the his and hers jocks and lingerie cells; the latter has a cute bra and undies-shaped mesh window). Looks aside, they’re super functional with a structured but compact shape (to keep items snugly in place), breathable peek-a-boo mesh and two-way zips. My daughter used the double-sided cell for rolled-up dresses on one side and shorts and T-shirts on the other. I used the single cells in similar fashion. I found the two-sided lingerie cube a little squeeze for bras, yet bulkier than some of the other brands. We sprung a small hole in the mesh on one cell as the fabric isn’t as tough as Zoomlite or Kathmandu. But overall, I loved these, not least because $1 from every online sale is donated to the world Hunger Project.
Single cubes from $22.95
Kathmandu medium cube. Picture: Catherine Best
The New Zealand transplant we love to call our own, Kathmandu is no lightweight (excuse the pun) when it comes to packing solutions. They have a range of soft cells and hard (for protecting your fragile bits on the fly). Similar in design to Zoomlite and Lapoche, the classic cells have breathable mesh and double zips but are slightly softer in structure, with funky patterned designs. I used a medium cube for swimwear and beach gear (they also have double-sided cells). The standout is the Packing Cell Ultra Double, which functions like a miniature hard-shell suitcase; there’s a rigid garment folder compartment on one side and a regular cell on the other, with compression straps smooshing it all together. (Note: you may need a degree in geometry to perfect the shirt fold.) We didn’t need crisp corporate gear in Fiji, but it’s a clever design nonetheless. What we did appreciate was the “odour destroying” packing cell, which kept any footwear funk out of our clothes. Kathmandu gets bonus points for sustainability; the classic cells are made from 100 per cent recycled polyester, the equivalent of one plastic bottle.
Classic cells from $19.98
Osprey cells packed and ready to go with the kids’ clothes. Picture: Catherine Best
I was dubious about these at first. They can be scrunched into the ball of your fist and have little more structure than a plastic bag. However, this makes them supremely lightweight, versatile and excellent for compression. That means squeezing that extra pair of dacks into your luggage even though you don’t really need them. My eldest daughter and son used the small, medium and large sizes (including the double-sided range) — colour-coded by kid — and we fitted a surprising amount of clothes into a relatively small space. I wasn’t a fan of double-sided cells to begin with but I’m a convert because they enable you to multi-task compartments without bulking up on multiple cells. This is especially handy for little people’s fiddly bits of clothing (you can also use them to separate clean clothes from dirty laundry). As far as compression goes, they’re a winner, but that silk blouse may pay the price because they’re not the best for keeping clothes wrinkle free. That said, Osprey is a US outdoor adventure brand, and these are spot-on for their market — think hiking backpack or duffel bag more so than suitcase. They are made of tough nylon, with a single, halfway-opening zip, and would outlive a city slicker lost in the wilderness. We also found these useful in our carry-on luggage for keeping jackets and changes of clothes separate from drinks, snacks and other on-board anti-boredom paraphernalia.
3-piece Ultralight Set — $39.95
Kmart cells neatly stow the kids’ shoes. Picture: Catherine Best
If you’re wheeling Louis Vuitton on your travels, these bargain-basement cubes might be out of place among your designer duds. But don’t write them off too quickly. They are super lightweight, with two-way zippers and breathable mesh, and the three pack (small, medium and large) folds away neatly into a teensy tote. We used these for stowing the kids’ shoes and packed the largest bag for our dirty laundry. They’re not as robust as the other brands, and I can’t vouch for their longevity on a round-the-world trip, but for $9, they’ll separate your jocks from your jumpers and give cell cynics a trial run without breaking the bank.
3-piece set — $9
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