The 9 Best Packing Cubes of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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The Gonex Compression Packing Cubes beat out the competition
Traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Preparing to travel, not so much. Packing can be such a hassle — especially if you’re going on anything longer than a weekend getaway. Thankfully, packing cubes help make the process a whole lot easier.
For those that don’t know, packing cubes are thin rectangular fabric bags designed to nestle nicely into a suitcase so that you can make the most of every square inch of your luggage. When shopping for packing cubes, you’ll want to consider the capacity, design, quality, water resistance, and overall value of the set. If that sounds like a lot, though, you can breathe a breath of fresh air.
Our PEOPLE Tested team set out to find the best packing cubes on the market. We researched the top-selling packing cubes, gathering a sample size of 23 cube sets and put them to the test. In doing so, we were able to narrow down the list with only the most impressive options.
Keep reading to discover the best packing cubes we tested.
Gonex Compression Packing Cubes
Very durable fabric with reinforced seams that hold up well
Super compressive and space-saving
Convenient handles add to portability
Designed without a mesh screen, so you can’t see what’s in them
Not fully waterproof (just water-resistant)
The Gonex Compression Packing Cubes have it all. They’re made with ultra-lightweight fabric with reinforced seams, so you never have to worry about them breaking down due to being overstuffed. After being totally packed to the brim, the zippers and seams showed no signs of wear or stress, and the primary material appears resistant to tearing.
Logistically, the set includes four cubes: one small (great for socks and underwear), one medium (ideal for bras and larger undergarments like boxers and Spanx), one large (which works well for jeans and leggings), and one extra-large (which is roomy enough for sweaters and jackets). And while they’re made without mesh screens — which are a lovely feature for their own reason — these cubes work especially well in the compression department, as you can pack them, squeeze out all the air, zip them shut, and marvel at just how much space you’ve saved in your carry-on.
Something to note, though, is that we found that they’re not quite as waterproof as we were hoping. While they shield your clothes from small accidental spills, they likely won't keep clothes dry in the presence of heavy water exposure. If you're not expecting the latter in your travels, though, these are near perfect.
Price at time of publish: $32.99
Colors: 14 | Material: Nylon | Pieces Included: 4
Calpak Packing Cubes 5-piece Set
Comes with a water-resistant envelope pouch, which is great for toiletries or storing damp clothes
14 color and design options
Mesh window allows you to easily see what’s inside
Very lightweight, which some shoppers complain makes it trickier to pack
Sell out quickly, so it can be tough to get the limited edition sets
This set by Calpak — which includes two 12-inch cubes, 15- and 17-inch cubes, and a water-resistant envelope pouch — is a crowd favorite, largely for the trendy colors and designs it’s sold in (14, to be exact). Looks aside, these cubes are designed extremely well. They’re made with very lightweight fabric and the smooth zippers help make packing a breeze. Let it be known, though, that some shoppers complain that the lightweight fabric doesn’t provide enough structure to pack with. The trick, we found, is to pack it to its brim and you’ll be left with a perfectly compact rectangle that fits nicely into any suitcase. Overall, we felt these to be very sturdy and durable in our testing, making them well worth the purchase.
Price at time of publish: $68
Colors: 14 | Material: Polyester | Pieces Included: 5 | Care: Spot clean
Béis The Packing Cubes
Includes six pieces for even more tailored packing
Come with labels so you can further organize your garments
Mesh window and plastic screens allows you to easily see what’s inside
Sell out regularly, which can make them difficult to acquire
Shoe bags are quite small
If you want enough cube variety to conquer any packing job, why not use the ones Shay Mitchell herself travels with? We're talking about the Béis' The Packing Cubes, which includes six pieces: small, medium, and large cubes, two shoe bags, and a zip pouch. The polyester cubes have added mesh windows, and the shoe bags have clear PVC screens, so you can easily see what’s in them. Where the cubes and pouch zip shut, the shoe bags have drawstring closures; we also found the shoe bags to be quite small, which may not be ideal if you have larger sized shoes or boots you're planning to pack.
But due to the number of pieces included, we found that this set could not only be great for an individual, but for a couple or family looking to streamline their bags, as well. (Just keep in mind, you may have to sign up for an email notification list, as these cubes regularly sell out and restock.)
Price at time of publish: $68
Color: Black | Material: Polyester | Pieces Included: 6 | Care: Spot clean
Related:The 6 Best Underseat Luggage of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Paravel Packing Cube Quad
Best for Checked Bags
Six color options with 11 monogram colors
Made from upcycled plastic bottles
Very durable and sturdy
Monogram is only available in one font
Large cubes are better suited for a checked bag versus a carry-on
Whether you personally love your embroidery or you tend to travel with family and friends (where it’s easy to misplace garments), this set of monogrammed packing cubes from Paravel is worth checking out. The set includes one large cube (which is 18 inches long), one medium cube (12.75 inches long), and two 8.2-inch long cubes. Given the spacious size of the cubes, we found that while these cubes are high in quality, they are best for those who tend to check their bags because of the larger sizes. The larger cube comfortably fit three pairs of shoes, and all of the cubes fit in a carry-on, but we had to put extra pressure on it to close. Plus, the length of the larger cube was just about the same length as the carry-on.
Sizing aside, we found that these cubes are very durable and sturdy, which makes keeping luggage organized a breeze. We think these cubes are useful for any type of traveler, especially those looking for water-resistant cubes that could be ideal for checked bags that could be handled outside in different weather conditions.
Price at time of publish: $65
Colors: 6 | Material: Nylon made from upcycled plastic water bottles with recycled zippers | Pieces Included: 4
Related:The 11 Best Away Luggage Products of 2023
REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cube Set
Best for Outdoor Trips
Compression zipper helps double the space of each cube
Mesh window allows you to easily see what’s inside
Fabric is slightly stretchy, comforming to what’s inside
Only comes with two cubes
Size doesn't translate well for luggage
If you’re someone who spends more time backpacking than carting rolling luggage across the country and the world at large, it’s time to check out REI’s expandable packing cube set. The set includes two cubes, which are notably deeper than other cubes on this list. What sets them apart is the compression zipper which runs the midline of each bag. When unzipped, the bag is roughly twice the size it is when zipped. This makes it easier to pack clothing and then once everything’s zipped in the top opening, you can zip the midline closed for a compressing effect. That said, considering the set only includes two cubes and they are a bit bulkier than others on this list (though, not longer), we found that these would be best for backpackers and outdoor trips versus packing in a standard suitcase.
Price at time of publish: $32.95
Colors: Deep Marine, Red Smolder | Material: Nylon and polyester | Pieces Included: 2 | Care: Hand-wash
Related:The 8 Best Hiking Boots for Women of 2023
eBags Classic Medium 3pc Packing Cubes
High-quality fabric that feels sturdy without being highly structured
Double-zippered compression design doubles the cube's depth
Available to buy individually or as a set
Only available in one color
These packing cubes are a bestseller thanks to its expandable compression design. Crafted with two sets of zippers, they are tailorable based on what you need to pack within it. If you don’t have much to organize, you can keep the expansion zipped in; however, if you need more room, unzipping the bottom zipper basically doubles the entire cube’s depth. Since the cube is 14 by 10 inches, it won’t take up your entire suitcase either, which can be more difficult to find among packing cube sets. As convenient as this cube is, it’s not scent- or waterproof, if that's a deal breaker for you. While this is a set of three, you can also purchase these cubes individually.
Price at time of publish: $20.99 (orig. $29.99)
Color: Aquamarine | Material: Nylon | Pieces Included: 1
Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes
Runner Up, Best Compression
Handles on each cube add extra portability
Zippers work well, making compression feature run smoothly
Include 50 labels for easy organizing
No plastic or mesh windows, so you can’t see what’s inside them
Not waterproof or water-resistant
Love the idea of compression cubes but want a larger set? The Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes include a small, medium, and large zippered cube, as well as a drawstring bag that can be used for shoes or laundry. The cubes come with small mesh compartments for labels (plus 50 labels to fill them), along with expandable zippered compartments. While we found they’re not exactly waterproof or water-resistant like they claim to be, we found that a light misting (like one might encounter while camping) would be fine. It’s also worth mentioning that these cubes aren’t as structured as they appear online. Once packed to the brim, the twill fabric becomes more structured. For less than $30, we found these cubes to be a steal for what they offer. If you need even more cubes to cover a family or a long trip, they're also available in a set of eight.
Price at time of publish: $25.99
Colors: Glacier, Black, Blue, White | Material: Twill | Pieces Included: 4
Related:The 7 Best Toiletry Bags of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Shacke Pak 5 Set Packing Cubes
Mesh panels allow you to easily see what’s inside
Includes a drawstring bag that can be used for shoes or laundry
Some shoppers complain that they have a chemical smell when they arrive
Made with breathable, water-resistant fabric, these packing cubes win the prize for durability. The set includes five pieces: one small, two medium, and one large zippered cube, as well as a drawstring shoe bag (which can also be used for dirty laundry or whatever extras you'd like to store). During our testing, we were repeatedly surprised by how well-made these affordable cubes are, not to mention their spaciousness. Just keep in mind that the largest cube is almost the length of one side of a traditional roller carry-on, and the storage bag is labeled with the brand name, which some people may not aesthetically love.
Price at time of publish: $21.99
Colors: 10 | Material: Nylon | Pieces Included: 5 | Care: Hand wash and line dry
Veken Packing Cubes with Laundry and Shoe Bag
Best for Long Trips
Plastic and mesh windows allow you to easily see what’s inside
12 color options to choose from
Includes both a laundry bag and show bag
No compression element
Heavier nylon material is rather thick, adding extra weight to your luggage
If you’re new to packing cubes but need a way to pack neatly for an upcoming long trip, look no further than the Veken Packing Cubes. The set includes one small, one medium, one large, and one extra large cube, all of which feature both clear plastic windows and mesh panels to promote breathability. In addition to the cubes, the sets include a laundry and shoe bag. What sets these nylon cubes apart (beyond the fact that they’re sold in a bunch of colors) is that they’re designed with illustrations that indicate what goes inside each one. So, if you have no idea where to begin your packing cube journey, these take the brainwork out of it. One thing to note is that these packing cubes are made of notably thicker nylon, so they may add a bit of weight to your overall luggage.
Price at time of publish: $18.69
Colors: 12 | Material: Nylon and polyester | Pieces Included: 6 | Care: Hand wash and hang dry
Things to Consider Before Buying Packing Cubes
When shopping for packing cubes, it’s a good idea to consider what you’re hoping to use them for. If you’re planning to take them backpacking, you may want to place emphasis on water-resistant and waterproof fabrics (we recommend the REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cube Set for this). If you plan to use them for long trips where you have a lot to pack, opt for compressive designs (such as the eBags Classic Medium 3-Piece Packing Cubes or Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes) that will squeeze out extra air to get the most out of your luggage space.
During our research, we found that most packing cubes don’t come with care instructions. That said, if you dig into the FAQ sections of the product (if they have them), you can usually find the answer. While packing cubes tend to be used to organize clean clothes, if you’re someone who likes to travel back home as organized as possible, too, you’ll have to store your dirty clothes in them. As such, you’ll probably want to wash them after the fact. In most cases, hand-washing and hanging to dry works best. Some packing cube sets on the list, however, come with laundry bag for you to store dirty clothes (such as the Shacke Pak 5-Set Packing Cubes).
Are you traveling with carry-on or checked baggage? Are you using rolling luggage or a backpack? Depending on your answers, you’ll want more or less cubes. Typically, the more cubes a set has, the better, as you can use them for a variety of packing needs.
When to Buy
Packing cubes go on sale every now and again, most often after Labor Day and around major holidays that gear up to travel periods, like Memorial Day and Fourth of July. That said, not all brands follow the same sale guidelines, so it will take some searching to find out if your set of choice is on sale at any given time.
How We Tested
After researching the best packing cubes on the market, we found 23 highly-rated products and got to work. We first examined their durability without any clothes in them, tugging and pulling the material and zippers to make sure they didn't easily tear or break apart. We then started packing up the cubes from each set, examining how everything fit and how spacious they were. If the packing cubes had a compression feature, we tested that out too.
Once fully packed, we made sure all the features worked effectively, including zippers, labels, and see-through panels, as well as determined how durable the cubes seemed once packed to the brim. We also tested how each packed cube fit inside a standard suitcase, noting how much space they take up or if there's extra room still for other necessities. Finally, we tested to see if each cube was waterproof or water-resistant by splashing water on the exterior.
After testing was complete, we rated each packing cube set on a scale from 1-5 (5 being the best) based on the following categories: capacity, design, quality, and overall value. The products with the highest average scores earned their spot on this PEOPLE Tested list of the best packing cubes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of packing cubes?
Packing cubes are designed for two reasons: They organize your suitcase and compress garments, thereby making the most of the limited space. According to Away Chief Design Officer Cuan Hanly, packing cubes are helpful when packing everything from smaller items like socks and undergarments to larger garments like jeans, dresses, and shirts.
Is it better to pack with or without packing cubes?
While it really comes down to a matter of preference, using packing cubes can seriously help streamline any suitcase. According to Hanley, the best benefit of packing cubes is that they allow people to pack smarter. “You can group your clothes by day or by destination to avoid digging through your suitcase looking for that one specific item you need,” Hanly says. “If you want to take it to another organizational level, you can even use different color cubes for different items to stay on top of what you packed where.”
Are packing cubes better than rolling clothes?
Not all garments roll easily. Most, however, can be folded and stuffed inside of a rectangular packing cube. As such, packing cubes can be notably more efficient than the rolling method. Just be sure to fold your clothes along their natural folds so that they won’t be a wrinkled mess when you unpack them, Hanly advises.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
Up Next: The 5 Best Carry-On Luggage Pieces of 2023
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