If you’re not using packing cubes already, then let us introduce you to your new favorite on-the-go organizers and travel accessory.
Both novice and expert travelers swear by their usefulness. With them, you can keep your clothes, accessories and more organized and in their own zippered compartments. When it comes time to pack, arrange them in your suitcase Tetris-style to ensure everything fits. Once you try packing cubes, you won’t be able to travel without them again.
What are packing cubes?
Available in nylon, mesh and many other soft materials, packing cubes are essentially zippered pouches of differing sizes that allow you to organize the contents of your suitcase. They’ve become ubiquitous for all kinds of travelers — from business tycoons to beachgoers to backpackers.
“Packing cubes keep your luggage from becoming a mass of things to root through while you’re traveling,” says Amanda Wiss, founder of New York City-based home organizing firm Urban Clarity. “Whether you are a painstaking packer planning weeks in advance or you whip it all together at the last minute, after a day or two into the trip, keeping things organized and handy becomes a struggle. That’s where packing cubes come in.”
In addition to streamlining the process of packing, the little taskmasters help keep you organized during your stay. “Not only do they sectionalize your things and keep them protected and clean,” says Wiss, but they also “help provide a ‘home’ for every item, which is key for organizing any space.”
How to use packing cubes
The best part about packing cubes is that you can use them how you want. Prefer to keep your socks together? Dedicate a packing cube to them. More interested in keeping clothes of a certain color in one area? Pack a cube dedicated to your favorite green clothes, or put your packing cubes to use beyond clothes — a space for storing all of your cables or beauty favorites in one place.
Customize how you use your packing cubes in order to stay the most organized. When your trip is coming to a close, consider dedicating one (or more) of your cubes to your dirty clothes. That way, you can ensure that your dirties don’t touch your cleans.
While you may be deep into planning your summer trips and beyond, we’ve rounded up our favorite and expert-approved packing cubes.
$21.99 at Amazon
This value of a set includes two large cubes, which are particularly useful for packing bigger items of clothing and for longer trips. It also has one extra-large cube and one medium cube for all of your other belongings. Plus, it’s got its own laundry bag so you can keep your dirty clothes separate from your cleans.
$29.99 at eBags
This three-piece set is made from nylon fabric and has a mesh top panel, which makes it easy to see what’s inside each of your cubes. Each cube also has its own handle for easy carrying while you’re on the go.
$65 at Away
This set of packing cubes from travel experts Away offers a space for every piece of your wardrobe. You’ll get six different cubes made from water-resistant nylon. Each is topped with a mesh panel for easy viewing, and each also has a zipper to keep your stuff completely organized. Our Senior Travel Editor Emily McNutt swears by these Away packing cubes, which are perfect no matter the kind of trip you're looking to take. Looking for fewer cubes? Away also offers a four-piece set of packing cubes.
$25.99 at Amazon
This set of six packing cubes — ranging in size from extra large to small — comes in 10 different colors. Perhaps what makes this set so perfect for travel is that it not only comes with four traditional packing cubes, but it also has its own shoe bag and laundry bag so you can keep your dirty pieces of clothes and shoes separate from your clean clothes. This set is so well-loved that it's Amazon's No. 1 best seller in travel packing organizers.
$79 at Mark & Graham
This six-piece packing cube set from travel pros Mark & Graham is as beautiful as it is practical. Included in the package, you'll get one shoe bag, one laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate from the clean ones and four standard packing cubes in a variety of sizes. You can get the set in three different color options — including a very pretty striped design — and monogramming is available for an additional $12.50.
$25.99 $23.99 at Amazon
Gonex makes super-light cubes — they’re a favorite of Urban Clarity customers, according to Wiss — and these compress to fit even more necessities (and create more efficient storage when you’re not traveling).
$68 at Calpak
Ranging in size from 12 inches to 17 inches, this five-piece set of packing cubes will make organizing your clothes a breeze. Perhaps our favorite part is the variety of colors and designs you can get. The cubes come in 12 different color options, including cheetah print, milk marble and moss.
$29.99 at Amazon
This set of three packing cubes is perfect to take on the go. Each of the cubes has its own handle for easy carrying, and they fold into a compact size when not in use. This durable set is made of polyester and offers a full mesh top for supreme breathability and visibility.
$74.95 at Amazon
This three-piece set is the perfect starter kit for the packing cube convert. It has a folder, which can compress up to 12 dress shirts, as well as a full packing cube and a half packing cube. These are especially useful for backpackers or vacationers, says Wiss, as they’re soft, lightweight and water-resistant.
$22.99 at Amazon
This may just be the ultimate packing cube set of all packing cube sets. With a massive eight pieces of storage space — some waterproof and some mesh — you’ll have space for all of your goods. The set is available in nine colors and even offers dedicated space for makeup, chargers and more.
$49.95 at L.L.Bean
An appealing teal palette from a brand synonymous with quality, durability and functionality. Each of the parts in this three-piece set, which is also available in silver, is made of durable nylon fabric and weighs next to nothing, making them the perfect travel companion.
$11.99 at Walmart
This six-piece set is available in eight different colors, perfect for matching your packing cubes to your favorite carry-on bag. The largest of this set is perfect for bulkier items like sweaters and jeans, while the smallest is perfect for organizing your power cords and other small accessories.
$68 at Lululemon
These packing cubes from athleisure pros Lululemon are perfect whether you're packing your gym bag or your checked luggage for a seven-night beach getaway. Each of the three pieces is made from mesh fabric for visual access to each of the cubes. We love their simplistic design, including the side handles for easy carrying.
$45 at REI
This three-piece set offers optimal storage for your clothes, especially if you’re a folder and stacker. The colorful set is made with repurposed materials, and each piece features a wraparound zipper. There's a mesh side panel for ventilation and for an inside view of each pouch's contents. Perhaps best of all, each of the packing cubes is made by employees who have creative control over the colorways, so no two packing cubes are the same.
$44.95 at REI
Short on space? These packing cubes from Thule are perfect because they eliminate excess air to help you maximize your packing space. They're semitransparent, so you can see what's in each while maintaining enough privacy. The rip-proof material is water-repellent and will last you for many trips to come.
$70 at Nordstrom
Keep your clothes and accessories organized in this set of four compressible packing cubes. They’re designed to perfectly fit in a piece of luggage and feature anti-catch zippers and mesh top panels for easy viewing. They’re made from a tear-resistant and water-resistant twill.
$44.95 at REI
This three-size packing cube set also comes in three different colors: Deep Marine, Red Smolder and Tree Lights Sea Olive. Perhaps our favorite part of this set is the expansion zipper, which allows you to store more in each of the cubes if you’re heading away on a longer trip. This durable set, made of strong nylon, is perfect for the adventurer.
$44.99 at Target
This five-piece set includes two large, one medium and two small packing cubes. Each of the cubes has its own zipper and mesh front for easy viewing into its contents. While this set is ideally sized to fit inside checked luggage, you could also mix and match to fit some of the cubes in your favorite carry-on bag.
$65 at Paravel
We love the design of this packing cube set from travel pros Paravel. The four-piece set comes in six different color options, so you can find one that fits your personality. Plus, our favorite part is the customization option that’s available to put your monogram on the top of each of the cubes.
$21.99 at Amazon
DIMJ offers packing cubes in sets of six, eight and nine pieces. Plus, if it's options you're after, you'll have the choice of more than 20 different colorways for the perfect travel organization set to match your style. Included in the eight-piece set are five packing cubes (two large pieces, one medium piece and two small pieces), one travel shoe bag, one toiletry bag and a cable case to conveniently store all of your electronic cords in one place.
$22.95 at Amazon
This four-piece set from Amazon Basics has more than 9,000 5-star reviews — and for good reason. Each of the cubes has all the features you could want in an organizing set: zipper closures, mesh panel tops and handles. The set comes in six different color options and three different sizes.
$24.99 at Amazon
This eight-piece organizing set will change the way you travel. Not only will you get four traditional zipped packing cubes for your clothes, but you’ll also get a dedicated toiletry bag, shoe bag, sock bag and laundry bag. Best of all, the set comes in 13 fun and bright color options.
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