The Best Compression Packing Cubes For Travel

Last Updated on September 11, 2023

In Summary: I looked at 14 different brands and choose these Gonex cubes as my pick for the top compression packing cube set.

best compression bags for travel

They were my favorite because:

  • The lightweight material doesn’t add unnecessary weight
  • The high-quality zips and seams should prevent ripping and zip snagging
  • They squashed my clothes down a reasonable amount
  • The large overall volume capacity of the set
  • The sizes of the cubes in the set were just right in that Goldilocks zone
  • They were the best value for money at the time of review

I also liked the LeanTravel cubes and if I only traveled with rolling luggage and never carried my luggage I would choose their set. Visually they looked really professional but since my packing cubes are hidden from view style was not as important to me.

For a more colorful design I’d suggest version 2.0 of the Well Traveled cubes .

Many of the compression bags were of a similar design. There were 2 broad categories: lightweight designs that suit hikers and backpackers, and large capacity sets that work better for business travelers or anyone traveling with rolling luggage.

While glancing at the photos might not reveal much calculating the overall volume capacity gave a better way to figure out how much compression packing cube you were getting for your buck.

So I have included the volume capacity in liters for each of the sets under consideration.

At A Glance: Our Picks For The Best Compression Packing Cubes

  • Eagle Creek 2 Piece Specter – 14 Liter Set
  • Gonex 6 Piece With Windows – 30 Liter Set
  • Gonex 4 Piece Without Windows – 32 Liter Set
  • LeanTravel 4 Piece – 50 Liter Set
  • Hynes Eagle 3 Piece – 27 Liter Set
  • Semary 3 Piece – 18 Liter Set
  • Tripped 6 Piece – 27 Liter Set
  • SuitedNomad 6 Piece -26 Liter Set
  • Coltant 5 Piece – 39 Liter Set
  • Nomadz 3 Piece + Shoe Bag – 30 Liter Set
  • Alameda 3 Piece – 18 Liter Set
  • Taskin Duplex 4 Piece – 33 Liter Set
  • Well Traveled 3 Piece Colorful Cubes – 25 Liter Set

Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter Compression Cube Set

The Eagle Creek Specter Pack-it Cubes are ultra-lightweight compression packing cubes that are well-liked despite their luxury price point.

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I suppose you can technically call 2 a set but it is stretching it a bit. Especially when other manufacturers are providing sets of 5 and a laundry bag for around the same price point.

The goal of the Specter cubes was to make them as lightweight as possible. For that reason there are little weigh-saving ‘features’ like where top zip (the one you open to pack the cube) only opens half the way around. This does reduce the weight but unless you are a serious hiker worried about the tiniest fractions of ounces then it’s actually a pain that the bags can’t open all the way around.

These were the lightest compression packing cubes I came across. But only by a small margin. There are many cubes that are almost as light.

The cube had Eagle Creek branded zippers with zip pull strings. The compression zip snagged on the material regularly but after time I got the hang of using it without snagging.

Material and Build:

The Eagle Creek Pack-it cubes are made using ultra lightweight silnylon material. Silnylon (silicon impregnated nylon) is a fabric that is mostly used to make something waterproof.

These were lightest cubes I tested. But only marginally.

  • The 14 x 10 cube is 2 oz.
  • The smaller 10 x 7 cube is 1.5 oz.

The set included a 14x10x4 cube and a 10x7x4 cube.

Altogether the uncompressed volume was just under 14 liters.

That means the 2 cubes would take up 31% of a large carry on suitcase.

If you squash them down they might take up around 9 liters. That would be 20% of a carry-on.

If you wanted to squash a carry-on full of clothes you’ll need to buy 5 sets. Better make an appointment with your bank manager!

Eagle Creek offer a warranty but require you to ship the defective item to them for repair or replacement. The process has been reported to be lengthy and you need to pay the return shipping yourself.

Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

These popular Gonex cubes come in a wide range of colors. I tested the 6 piece set that includes 5 cubes and a laundry bag.

best compression bags for travel

The laundry bag actually turned out to be very useful. It was great to put my dirty washing in.

They have Gonex branded zippers that work well. Snagging while opening and closing the compression zipper is probably going to happen. And you’ll need to learn how to deal with it and stop it happening. It can take some time to master it but once you get the hang of it you can use the compression zipper with no problems.

The Gonex cubes are made with a honeycomb Rip Stop nylon. I think nylon is a stronger fabric to use for the lightweight cubes. It can take the pressure you’ll put on it from stuffing the cube full.

These cubes are very lightweight. They are a good option for backpackers or anyone carrying their luggage.

There are 5 cubes in this set as well as a laundry/shoe bag:

  • Large – 15.4 x 15 x 3.54 inches
  • Medium – 11.8 x9.1 x 3.54 inches
  • Small – 9.8 x 7.5 x 3.54 inches
  • Even Smaller – 7.9 x 5.9 x 3.54 inches
  • Slim – 13 x 3.9 x 3.54 inches

Altogether that adds up to around 30 liters of packing cube space when uncompressed. That would fill 66% of a large carry on suitcase.

You can probably squash that down to around 22 liters. So once compressed this set will take up about half of a carry-on.

Gonex offer a 1 year warranty.

Gonex Travel Organizers

These Gonex travel organizers are virtually the same as the previous set except they don’t have the mesh window. Don’t be fooled by the product renders which look very different to the real product. Your choice is window or no window, other than that they are the same.

best compression bags for travel

These also had Gonex branded zippers that worked well and were not cheap. It was possible to avoid snagging by putting my finger between the zip and the fabric while zipping. You can also use something like a teaspoon to do this if you have one handy.

These are made of nylon. It’s water resistant which is great if you are using the cubes with a backpack and your luggage might get wet. The fact there is no window means you need to remember what is in each cube but they are more water-resistant to keep your clothes dry.

They are well made and you can really stuff a lot of things into these. However, the more you stuff inside the harder it is to close the compression zip. I find that a moderately stuffed cube works better for my blood pressure and keeps coins out of the swear jar.

The Gonex cubes are very light. Almost as light as the Eagle Creek cubes, and even lighter on your pockets too!

This set includes 4 cubes:

  • 17.3 x 13 x 3.54 inches
  • 14.5 x 10.6 x 3.54 inches
  • 11.8 x 8.9 x 3.54 inches
  • 9.8 x 7.5 x 3.54 inches

Altogether that’s 1972 cubic inches or 32 liters of packing cube .

So uncompressed they’d take up 71% of a full-sized carry-on.

You might be able to squash them down so they only take up half your carry on once they are compressed.

1-year warranty and lifetime customer service.

LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes

The LeanTravel 6 Piece is a large set. So large that you might not even fit them all in a carry-on before they are compressed.

best compression bags for travel

If you’re looking to take packing cubes to the max or for a set to use with checked luggage then these might be your solution.

The LeanTravel cubes are made using SBS zippers. These Chinese zips are not top of the class like Japanese YKK zippers but they are good quality.

These are made with polyester with a mesh window so you can peek inside to remember what you packed.

The large cube weighs 0.4 lbs. The medium cube is 0.3 lbs and the small cube is 0.2 lbs.

Because it’s such a large set the overall combined weight of the cubes is 1.8 lbs. If you were carrying your luggage I’d say this is an unacceptable weight addition just for the sake of organisation. For rolling luggage you will probably not notice the difference, apart from when you need to lift your case into the overhead locker.

There are 6 cubes in the set. 2 large, 2 medium, and 2 small:

  • Large – 15.5 x 11.5 x 4 inches
  • Medium – 11 x 11 x 4 inches
  • Small – 11 x 7.5 x 4 inches

I love that this set is so large but I wish they would tweak the sizes a little. I can’t put the 15.5 inch cube sideways in my carry on (14 width). This means I need to put it longways and then have a 2.5 inch gap at the side. The jigsaw doesn’t quite fit neatly together.

Uncompressed this set is 50 liters in total. A maximum sized carry on at 22x14x9 inches is 45 liters. And many rollaboards are a bit less that the maximum. You won’t be able to fit this entire set in your carry-on before you compress them.

You should be able to compress these cubes down to about 37 liters. So long as you have a larger carry on close to the max you can use them all. If you want to fill your suitcase with cubes then this is a good option.

Of course you don’t need to use all the cubes every time and maybe you have someone you can share them with!

There is no mention of a warranty beyond the standard Amazon 30 day warranty.

Hynes Eagle Travel Compression Packing Cubes

Hynes Eagle make great backpacks so I was excited to review their compression packing cubes .

best compression bags for travel

These use a Hynes Eagle custom molded zip. The compression zipper snagged on the material a few times during testing but not fatally.

They opted for the mesh window approach. This lets your clothes breath and also lets you see what’s inside the bag. The window is great for seeing inside the cube but it also lets in dust and water. It’s a trade off and you need to decide if windows are important enough to you to lose out on the extra protection.

The large bag really doesn’t compress much at all in the middle.

These bags are lightweight. Not as light as eagle creek specter but I wouldn’t describe them as heavy.

This is a set of 3 cubes in different sizes. The large is 18 x 13 x 3.9 inches. So it’s really designed to occupy almost 1 full layer of a rolling suitcase.

The medium case is 14.2 x 10.2 x 3.3 inches. This means that their medium cube is somewhat shallower than many of the other brands who prefer a depth of 4 inches.

The small case is 11.4 x 7.1 x 3.3 inches. Again this is smaller in depth that most other brands.

All together the space in the uncompressed packs would be 27 liters . That’s 60% of a 45 liter maximum sized rollaboard.

Squashed down you’re probably looking at 20 liters volume. That means tons of extra space if you a have a full sized carry on backpack or trolley suitcase.

There is no mention of a warranty.

Semary 3 Set Organizing Cubes

The Semary Organizing Cubes come in a 3 pack with 1 large and 2 small cubes.

best compression bags for travel

The zips of these are just regular zips. Be careful with the compression zips especially if the cube is tightly packed.

These are made with ripstop nylon. In theory any small holes shouldn’t spread.

These are made with a lightweight fabric. The large cube will bulge in the middle more because the distance is greater from the zips.

Be careful with this one. At the time of writing this post, they have the wrong size on their Amazon listing. They are advertising very large sizes in the text description but in the photos they write the real sizes. There is a big difference. In one place they write the sizes as 17.5 x 12.75 inches for the large and 13.75×12.75 inches for the medium.

In the photos and in real life the sizes are 14 x 10 x 4 for the large and 10 x 7 x 4 for the 2 small cases.

This is why the reviewers are saying these are smaller than expected!

This means that the 3 cubes combined are 18 liters uncompressed . That’s 40% of a maximum carry-on.

They do compress down though and I’d guess they will take up around 13 liters once the compression zips are used.

The seller is saying they compression up to 60%. I think this is misleading. Maybe you can compress a fluffy jacket 60% but most clothes won’t compress anywhere near this much.

Beware the marketing hype.

Semary offers a lifetime warranty with immediate refunds or replacements.

Due to the discrepancies in the size description and the hyped marketing I wouldn’t recommend buying these cubes.

Tripped Travel Organizers

The Tripped Travel Organizers (Tim & Fin) are a small company that got into manufacturing their own packing cubes after seeing how expensive the big brands were.

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There are a few reports of snagging with the compression zipper. As always zip slowly and with caution.

Made with lightweight water resistant ripstop polyurethane. These cubes are another design that doesn’t open all the way on 3 sides. You should probably roll your clothes when using these.

The Tripped cubes are lightweight and would suit backpackers or anyone that carries their bag.

The set I looked at comes with 2 small and 2 large cubes. The large cubes are 14×10 inches and the small cubes are 10 x 7 inches.

That mean you have 27 liters of uncompressed packing cube space . The 4 cubes uncompressed would take up about 60% of a maximum legal carryon.

How much you can squeeze them down depends on what’s in them. But you’ll probably get them down to about 20 liters in total. Or less than half a carry on. Given the long list of clothes that you can squeeze into these things maybe you’ll be able to swap out your bag for something smaller.

The set also comes with a slim tube that is great for cables, adapters and other random items. And there is laundry bag that you could also use to stop dirty shoes from messing up the inside of your bag.

Tripped Travel Gear are a small business that cares a lot about how customers perceive their service and their products. If you are not happy in any way they will replace or refund you.

SuitedNomad Compression Packing Cubes Set

This set of SuitedNomad CPC’s come with a luggage tag and transparent TSA friendly toiletries bag.

best compression bags for travel

While not YKK the zippers are of a good quality. You will need to be careful when compressing that the material does not snag, but that’s very common with CPCs.

Materials and Build:

Made with strengthened ripstop nylon. They are made with reinforced seams which is important because of the pressure they will be put under from the compression. Overall it’s a well made compression cube. But I would love to see a version that opens fully on 2 sides. The current design only opens on 2 sides meaning it can be hard to get things in and out without emptying the whole cube.

The weight of the total set is 1.19 lbs. But that includes the luggage tag, the laundry bag, and the TSA friendly toiletry bag. If you consider just the bags alone they are very light and only very slightly heavier than the Eagle Creek Specter bags. The difference would be too small to notice.

Overall these compression bags are lightweight and that makes them a great option for hikers, backpackers or anyone else that will be carrying their luggage.

There are 3 cubes each a different size. The extra-large is 16x12x4 inches. The large is 14x10x4 inches. The medium is 10x7x4 inches.

Altogether you are getting 26 liters of packing cube space . That’s 57% of a standard 45 liter carry on.

But that’s before you compress the bags! You can probably squash your clothes down to about 18 liters using these bags. That would mean the 3 CPCs uses only 40% of a standard 45 liter carry on limit. You will have plenty space for a laptop, shoes, the toiletry bag.

Alternatively they might help you to downsize your bag for an underseater or a even a personal item sized bag.

The set also includes a laundry bag and a handy toiletry bag that were not used in these calculation.

SuitedNomad have identified and fixed many of the common problems that other CPCs suffer from. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better lightweight compression packing cube.

Coltant 5 Set Compression Packing Cubes

The Coltant CPC’s is a set of 4 compression cubes as well as another non-compressible bag for shoes or toiletries.

best compression bags for travel

This is a large set for people who want to have a carry-on pretty much full of cubes. It comes in 4 different color options all are soft muted hues. Black, grey, heather blue and heather red.

Zippers: Got to love those YKK zippers. Zippers are often the weak point on CPCs. Not so with the Coltant.

Materials and Build: They open on 2 sides and that can make it a little harder to pack the cubes. With cubes that don’t open fully I recommend rolling clothes rather than folding. It’s hard to fold clothes and slide them inside with only 2 side of the cube open up.

The fabric is an Oxford polyester. It’s not ripstop like some other CPCs are. So don’t go packing tweasers or any sharp item that might puncture a hole in the fabric.

They also have a mesh window so you can identify the bag by viewing the contents inside. It means the cubes are not waterproof but since these are best suited to trolly-luggage your case should be watertight.

The complete set weighs 1.65 lbs. These work best for users of rolling luggage. As nice as it is to organize clothes I wouldn’t add 1.65 lbs to a backpack. Of course you don’t need to use the full set every time. The wide variety of sizes gives you plenty packing options.

4 compression packing cubes and 1 shoe bag or toiletry bag.

The 4 bags all have different sizes. 17.5×12.75 , 13.75×12.8 , 13.75×9.75 , and 11×6.75 inches. They are all 4 inches uncompressed.

This means that uncompressed the set is a whopping 39 liters of packing cube space . It will take 86% of a carry on when uncompressed.

Of course you can squash these down so they take up perhaps 30 liters. That will leave you 15 liters of space in a 45 liter carry on for that shoe bag, your laptop, your toiletries bag or anything else you want to put in there.

They offer a full refund for any reason.

It’s hard to believe Coltant can offer as much value for money as they do. This is a massive set of compression packing cubes that work really well.

Nomadz Travel Luggage-Organizer Set

This Nomadz Set come in a set of 3 with an additional shoe bag that does not compress.

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The shoe bag is a really great way to stop dirty shoes making a mess. Flip-flops can be washed before you pack them, but if you travel with more than 1 pair of street shoes then a shoe bag is a good idea.

Claim premium zippers and anti-snag system.

Nomadz went for 300D snowflake polyester as well as mesh windows so you can see inside.

A more dense material helps to increase compression and reduce bulging. The result is a more rectangular, less curved compressed cube.

There is also another benefit to using a more heavy-weight material. The fabric uses to extend the size of the bag is less likely to snag on the compression zips. It is still possible to get the zip caught but if you are careful you will be able to avoid this.

At 1.52 lbs for the set Nomadz cubes are not the lightest. For that reason, they perhaps are better suited to people that roll their luggage rather than carry their bag.

There are 3 sizes of cubes. The large is 17×13.4 inches. The medium is 14×10 inches And the small cube is 11×8.5 inches.

All cubes are 4 inches uncompressed.

There is also a 17×5 shoe bag that completes the set. The shoe bag does not compress.

The 3 cubes provide 30 liters of packing space uncompressed . That’s 66% of a full-sized carry on.

How small these will squash down depends what you put in them. But you can probably expect to squash that 30 liters down to maybe 22 liters. This means that compressed the cubes will take up 50% of a 45 liter carry on.

That leaves plenty of room for the shoe bag and whatever else you want to take with you.

Nomadz mention the Amazon 30 day warranty but also say that they’ve got you covered for life and when it comes to any defects contact them and they will make it right.

Alameda Travel Compression Bags

These Alameda cubes come in a set of 1 large and 2 medium cubes.

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Careless zipping might cause problems. Alameda even warn to press the extension fabric down with your finger while zipping to avoid snagging.

The cubes don’t have mesh window. But the white cubes at least are translucent so you can see what you put inside.

The fact that they don’t have a mesh window means that the cubes are water and dust resistant. So if you have a leaky backpack you’ll know your clothes have that little bit extra protection to stay dry.

Together the 3 cubes weigh only around 7 ounces. That’s about the weight of a cell phone.

The 1 large cube is 14×10 inches. It will fit nicely sideways in a 14 inch carry on.

The 2 medium cubes are 10×7 inches.

Be aware that the suitcase in that photo is a clam shell design. You could actually for 2 sets of Alameda cubes in a standard carry on uncompressed.

If you compress them you could potentially even fit 3 sets of Alameda cubes inside a 45 liter maximum carry on.

All 3 cubes together have a volume of around 18 liters uncompressed. That would be 40% of a maxium legal carry on.

Squashed down they will take up less room than that. I expect you can squash the entire set down to take up around 13 or 14 liters. This will leave you lots of room in a carry on for shoes, laptops or other items that don’t compress.

Alameda come with a lifetime warranty.

Taskin Duplex Clean & Dirty Cubes

The Taskin Duplex have a feature that I’ve not seen on any other CPCs.

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Their idea to keep your clean clothes and your dirty clothes separate is an appealing one. But perhaps for most people it won’t be a deal breaker.

I could see the feature could appeal to people who travel and get their clothes really dirty. Perhaps from adventures sports or something similar, especially because the dirty clothes section of the cube is waterproof.

Hurrah! A compression packing cube with my favorite YKK zippers.

Even though YKK zippers are the best you can still snag them on the extension material. The best remedy for this is to zip slowly and carefully.

650D honeycomb ripstop ballistic nylon. These are solid. No complaints about seams bursting.

The large case weighs 219 grams and the small one is 148 grams. In total the set weighs 805 grams or 28 oz.

The 3 large cubes are 14.25 x 10.1 inches. That means that it’s a snug fit to put it sideways into a 14 inch wide carryon. I would have preferred it if they were half an inch smaller in that dimension but it’s no big deal.

Uncompressed the entire set is around 33 liters . So that would take up 73% of a full sized carry on.

Taskin don’t tell you what size they are compressed because it depends what you put in them. But they do claim you can take 40% more stuff. 40% more would mean they are compressed down from 4 inches to 2.85 inches.

Squashed down to 2.85 inches the set would be about 24 liters and take up 53% of a full-sized carry on.

There is a limited lifetime warranty against materials and workmanship defects. I can’t find examples of the warranty being honored because I can’t really find anyone complaining about defects.

Overall these are really well-made compression packing cubes. That is reflected in the price point but they have extra features and a solid reputation that may justify spending that little bit extra for something that is going to last. They are solid but they are a bit heavier than other options.

Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes

These colorful cubes are the only cubes I came across that featured artistic designs.

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The colorful designs means that they all look different and you won’t get confused which one is which. However, in this set they have 3 different sizes so you would be able to tell just from the size of the cube alone.

The zippers themselves seem to be sturdy and high quality. It’s the seams at the zippers that have been suspect in the past.

The latest versions of this product open on all three side allowing you to pack your clothes in easily.

Materials & Workmanship:

They are made with 420d ripstop polyester that will strengthen the fabric and small holes or punctures shouldn’t spread.

To save you time reading them all, any negative reviews are because of instances where the seams burst.

Even some of the positive reviews were initially negative reviews about seams that they turned around with replacements and good customer service.

I should point out. Most people who used these cubes didn’t have any problems.

Striving For Perfection

I reached out to Well Traveled for comment about the seams ripping.

Scott Bright the owner of Well Traveled let me know that after a lot of testing they had identified the problem as inferior fabric and switched to a new manufacturer.

He has dumped all the old stock and replaced it with the new improved design from the new manufacturing company.

Scott also traveled to the factory in China to test the packing cubes himself and ensure better quality control.

If you like the designs of the Well Traveled cubes but were put off by the reports of seams breaking I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Having spoken to Well Traveled I am sure they have improved their product and these historical negative reports no longer apply to the product that is currently for sale.

How To Choose Good Compression Packing Cubes

While you might think that CPCs are all the same as each other there are some big differences between the cube sets.

Here are the things to consider then choosing a CPC set.

Check Those Zippers

Zipper failure is the biggest reason for angry customers. CPCs have that fabric to extend or compress the cube, and it can often snag. Are you a patient, careful zip user? You might need to be. Especially with the lightweight nylon varieties. Pay careful attention to the zippers on any CPC you are thinking of buying.

Top Tip: With any compression packing cube don’t over-pack it and make sure you zip the compression zipper slowly. Put your finger between the zip and the extension material to stop snagging as you close the zip.

10 oz for the set of 3

Large: 15.7 x 11.2 inches, Medium: 13.8 x 9.8 inches, Small: 11.8 x 8.5 inches. 3.75 inches deep uncompressed down to 1.8 inches compressed.

Uncompressed these 3 cubes are together around 25 liters in volume . Theoretically they can compress that 25 liters down to 12 liters, but you can’t squash the unsquashable it does depend what you put inside them.

For comparison a full-sized rolling carry on has a volume of 2772 cubic inches or around 45 liters.

So uncompressed this set takes up about half a maximum sized carry on and compressed perhaps a third of a regular carryon.

In addition to Amazon’s standard 30 days after delivery warranty Well Traveled offer a 6 month warranty on any manufacturing issues.

Customer service is pretty good and you will get a replacement if there are any problems within this time period.

Materials & Workmanship Matter

Another problem that is occasionally reported with some compression packing cubes is the seams tearing. Because you will be compressing and putting force on those seams the quality of the stitching is really important.

It would be a major pain in the ass for a compression cube to break mid-journey. You might not be able to fit everything in your case without a functioning cube.

So I advise you to pay extra attention to build quality to avoid this happening.

We’re going to look at 14 cubes. I’ll do my best to give you the lowdown on the build quality of each product in the individual reviews.

Keep An Eye On Unpacked Cube Weight

If you are a hiker or backpacker you might want to try to get lightweight cubes. There is no sense in adding extra weight to your back.

That said, even regular packing cubes usually don’t weigh a lot. It’s the clothes that you put in the cubes that accounts for most of the weight of your luggage.

Size Them Up

It’s not helpful if your packing cubes are not shaped to fit inside your bag.

For example, carry on luggage is often 22x14x9 inches. So cubes that are longer than 14 inches can’t be packed sideways. An ideal cube size to put into a carry on sideways would be 13.75 inches.

CPCs are also often sold as sets and the size and number of cubes in the set varies. The number of cubes you’ll need depends on how long your trips are and what you pack.

When you are choosing a compression packing cube it’s really time for a bit of mental Tetris. Think about the size of the bag you will be using and how you will arrange the cubes in your bag!

That’s why I calculated the total size in liters for each compression packing cube set.

For some people, a good warranty is highly valued. It shows that a manufacturer had confidence in its product. However, products with excellent warranties can cost more. In a way you are paying for the failure of the product in advance. If a product cube has a good reputation and solid reviews I don’t always think a long warranty is essential. Especially for a lower priced product like a compression packing cube.

If you buy from Amazon you have a lot of leverage because Amazon sellers hate to receive negative reviews. Especially small companies work hard to avoid this because a single bad review can be so damaging to the little guys.

FAQ’s

Do You Really Need Compression Packing Cubes?

CPC’s have 2 main features.

  • They help you organize your things
  • They help you squash down your things so they take up less space

No, they are not essential, they are just nice to have for some people. I might seem obvious to say but you don’t need to compress the cubes . If you use them uncompressed they just help you to segregate and organize your things like regular packing cubes.

They especially help if you are trying to fit many things into a small case. But if you never come close to your case being full you won’t benefit from compressing your clothes.

Also, if you are happy to have your socks mixed in with your underpants then the organization features won’t help you much either.

I think how much you like packing cubes goes right to the core of an individual’s personality. Some people just love being very organized, where others are more comfortable and perhaps even thrive on mess.

You know best what type of person you are!

How much do compression packing cubes weigh?

Even a large compression cube only weights around 2 – 4 oz. So if you had a carry on full of compression cubes they won’t seriously contribute to the overall weight of your bag.

For most travelers the weight of the cubes themselves won’t be an issue but ultralight hikers or anyone carrying their bag for long periods might have different requirements.

What can be a problem for your average Joe is that by compressing all your clothes you end up packing too many clothes!

Some people end up with a suitcase over 50 lbs because they are using packing cubes to squash down so much stuff! This can lead to extra charges for overweight luggage .

Compression packing cubes are a useful tool but if you are an over-packer then be careful how you use them.

Are packing cubes good for backpacking?

There are a few things to consider when backpacking.

  • Is your backpack rectangular? Or more curved? – The cubed shape of regular packing cubes mean they they stack nicely together in a regular suitcase. A backpack with a curved interior can actually work well with compressed cubes because well… they are no longer strictly speaking cube shaped after pulling that zip shut.
  • Do you change hotels or hostels every few days? – Compression packing cubes are great to squeeze things down and get everything into a bag under the limit. But it could see it being annoying to decompress a bag every day, remove socks, and then recompress. If you are in and out of your stuff frequently you might be better rethinking your packing strategy.
  • Do you fly on budget flights often? – Compression packing cubes can help you fit almost 50% more stuff in the same space. This can mean the difference between taking a carry on backpack vs a checking a bag. Or you might be able to downsize your carryon. It can even mean the difference between carrying only a personal item vs a carry-on. And that could be important in the future because some airlines have even started charging extra fees for regular carry-ons.

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best compression bags for travel

10 Best Compression Bags for Travel in 2023 – Buyer’s Guide

Most travelers who enjoy a relaxed trip without bulky luggage may come to learn the benefits of utilizing compression bags. Whether you’re taking a month-long trip with your wife or best friend, you want to make the most of every single space. Backpackers traveling around the globe, in particular, would enjoy a reliable compression bag because they are continually going from location to location in order to move easily and compactly as possible with a bag.

Packing light is ideal for flying. If it’s a quick break or a month-long visit, seasoned travelers know how to hold it all to a bare minimum. Put in exactly what’s needed. Recycle clothes and practice mixing and matching. Most do laundry while traveling, though some will resort to buying as the need appears. The less you carry, the easier you can proceed. Despite the utility of these travel packing ideas, there is still a great number of people that would still overpack. This is where having the best compression bags for travel becomes handy for you.

In a Hurry? The test winners after 9 hrs of research

TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes for Travel

TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes for Travel – Best Value

Why is it better?

  • The ballistic nylon seems very good
  • The compression zip alleviates the back from adverse strain during the zipping process
  • The positioning of where the handle is stitched into, as well as the size of the handle make a big difference down the line
  • Durable and packable

Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack

Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack – Premium Pick

  • The compression straps are tough
  • There is clasp in which you can fold down the top of the bag so it will be watertight
  • There is extra room just in case you want to pack anything else you may want to compress
  • The stitching is strong and seems well constructed

Best Compression Bags for Travel – Overview

There are three common types of compression bags. There are zip-top bags, simple drawstring sacks, and buckled nylon bags. The first type — thick zip-top plastic bags work by either rolling the packed bag in such a way that the remaining air flows through a one-way valve or using a vacuum to remove trapped air. The most common compression bags, the drawstring pack are perfect for sleeping bags but do not have the best clothes compression. And then there are nylon plastic bags with buckles — one of the better carrying choices for clothes. They are square or rectangular form and is ideal for clothes packing, and their buckles essentially allow you to compress your clothes best.

Compression Bags for Travel Reviews

1. osprey packs straightjacket compression sack.

Osprey Packs StraightJacket Compression Sack

Backpacks are just the beginning of the journey. Osprey makes gear-carrying solutions – big and small. Before your gear ends up in a pack, these smartly designed accessories allow you to pack more efficiently, stay better organized, and find and grab the gear you need when you need it.

Keep your gear dry and secure with the Osprey Packs StraightJacket Compression Sack . Compressible design makes this easy to pack away when not in use. There is a water-resistant fabrication with a waterproof coating at seams. It also has a spacious main compartment with zip closure and compression straps. Lastly, webbing grab handle is added for easy carry.

Key Features:

  • Compressible nylon wings and buckles can be utilized for maximum compression to fit extra gear
  • Rectangular shape assists with efficient packing
  • Water-resistant coating helps keep gear and clothing dry and protected

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Dimensions: 2″ H x 9″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 0.2 lbs
  • The buckles are small and made of plastic but they do not feel cheap
  • Has a wide opening so everything fits easily inside
  • It’s a wonderfully simplistic way to compress your clothes to make room for all the other materials
  • It’s also good for backpacking
  • A lift handle on one end for future designs as this would make it easier to remove from top loading backpacks

2. Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Compression Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Compression Sack

When you need to compress volume without significantly adding weight, the Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Compression Sack is an excellent solution. Made from a 30D diamond rip-stop siliconized CORDURA fabric, these bags can be compressed to one-third of the original volume. Ideal for use inside your pack or travel bag when you need to compress clothing or bulky soft items to allow space for other essentials.

The 4 extra long straps allow for max capacity and even compression around the bag. Bar tack reinforced stress points for durability. Pull handle on the bottom for easy loading and unloading. Slippery finish for easy packing inside a backpack or bag. Note: seams are not tape-sealed; therefore this product is not waterproof – only water-resistant.

  • 30d diamond ripstop siliconized Cordura
  • Internal pack organization
  • 4 extra long straps
  • Bottom pull handle on the bottom
  • Brand: Sea to Summit
  • Capacity: 20L
  • Dimensions: 14.4″ H x 11.2″ W x 1.2″ D
  • Weight: 0.22 lbs
  • Its ultralight
  • Very compressible
  • The fabric is very thin and light, but it’s also tough
  • The tightening straps are easy to work with and adjustable
  • Not fully waterproof

3. TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes for Travel – Best Value

The search for the perfect compression packing cubes set ends here. TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes for Travel are the perfect blend of high quality and affordable to make this the ultimate travel accessory- whether you’re looking for a backpacking organizer or a way to organize your carry-on suitcase.

These are not your typical vacuum bags-these expandable cubes use a two zipper system to help eliminate the extra bulk when packing your luggage. The ripstop Polyurethane fabric stands up to nonstop travel. It is ultra-lightweight and durable and as well as being more reliable than even nylon alternatives for packing cubes. Additionally, polyurethane fabric is water-resistant to help keep moisture out of your clothes wherever they’re packed. Zipper on the packing cubes all have reinforced zipper stops. We also made a guide on some great luggage sets for international travel .

  • Water-resistant
  • Ripstop Polyurethane fabric
  • Smooth zippers
  • Brand: TRIPPED Travel Gear
  • Dimensions: 14″ H x 10″ W x 4″ D
  • Smaller than regular packing cubes so cannot hold as much

4. ALPS Mountaineering Compression Stuff Sack

ALPS Mountaineering Compression Stuff Sack

Clothing, sleeping bags, towels, and bedding take up a lot of space when traveling, but they don’t have too! Available in four different sizes, the ALPS Mountaineering Compression Stuff Sack will help you to maximize space in your pack, trunk or backseat!

There is a top lid with a zippered pocket to keep small items easily accessible. Zippered pocket reverses to become a storage pouch. Bottom webbing grab handles with d-rings allow easy carrying and multiple attachment options. Its also made of lightweight polyester ripstop with bartacked stress points.

  • Top lid with zippered pocket
  • Bottom handle with d-ring clips
  • Bartacked stress points
  • Lightweight polyester ripstop fabric
  • Brand: ALPS Mountaineering
  • Dimensions: 9″ H x 9″ W x 20″ D
  • Weight: 0.62 lbs
  • Four cinch straps
  • Very well constructed
  • The set came with the compression sack itself as well as a small black mesh bag for storing the empty compression sack
  • The seams are also double-stitched with bar-tacked stress points
  • End caps could be a little smaller to allow for more compression

5. Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack – Premium Pick

The Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack is made from a sturdy 70D Nylon waterproof fabric in the body and lid, with an eVent® waterproof but air-permeable base that allows air to be pushed out of the sack. No need for a purge valve, making these lighter and simpler. The four compression straps, use hypalon roll-top non-wicking closure. These dry sacks are the epitome of durability, versatility, and compression.

The eVent Compression Dry Sacs are rated to 10,000mm hydrostatic head – more than sufficient water protection for paddle use (avoid full submersion.) There is no need to worry about your contents getting wet, so when you get to camp, you can get into a cozy jacket, blanket, or sleeping bag. Super tough, super pliable, high thread-count 70 Denier fabrics and it’s white visible color make it easy to find in your bag. Feel free to check out our guide on some great lightweight luggage for international travel .

  • Air permeable eVent fabric base allows air to be pushed out but water can’t get in
  • Rugged 70D Nylon body
  • Waterproof seams – double stitched and tape sealed
  • Reinforced stitching on all stress points
  • Pull handle on the bottom
  • Weight: 0.33 lbs
  • It can take some practice to put the straps on correctly in the dark

6. SUITEDNOMAD Compression Packing Cubes Set

SUITEDNOMAD Compression Packing Cubes Set

While other travel packing cubes are way too small, rip after a few trips or their zippers are impossible to close, the SUITEDNOMAD Compression Packing Cubes Set come with 2 large and 1 medium size well-made bags. The reinforced seams are extra durable to ensure that you don’t get stuck with ripped bags in the middle of your travels. Our premium zipper slides smoothly even when the cubes are full.

Made of 100% ripstop and water-resistant nylon which fully protects your clothing during any adventure. The sleek design will fit perfectly any luggage without wasting space and a sturdy handle allows for incredible portability. The unique double zipper compression system removes all the air from the bag and makes it incredibly compact

  • Reinforced seams
  • Ripstop fabric
  • Sturdy handle
  • Brand: SUITEDNOMAD
  • Dimensions: 10.24″ H x 2.36″ W x 0.87″ D
  • Weight: 0.43 lbs
  • The compression zipper is very nice
  • This set is a 6-pack, so it has basically everything that you would need to stay organized
  • The quality of the fabric and zippers is absolutely top-notch
  • Its ripstop fabric
  • The zippers could be larger

7. REDCAMP Nylon Compression Bag for Travel

REDCAMP Nylon Compression Bag for Travel

The REDCAMP Nylon Compression Bag for Travel is made of lightweight nylon material, high quality, water-resistant, durable fabric, and steady for a longer lifespan. Adjustable and sturdy widen strap can compact the bag to minimum condition for you to store it in your car, shoulder, backpack. It saves space. It is convenient for you to take it anywhere you go.

Features include a top lid with a zippered pocket to keep small items easily accessible, 4 adjustable straps that allow you to remove extra air inside your belongings, without unsightly bulging. The bottom handle strap is comfortable to carry

  • Side adjustable buckle
  • Made of lightweight Nylon material
  • Comes with 4 adjustable straps
  • Brand: REDCAMP
  • Capacity: 27L
  • Dimensions: 22.1″ H x 9.8″ W x 9.8″ D
  • Weight: 0.28 lbs
  • The material of the bag is very thin, but it is sewn together very well and feels pretty strong
  • The straps are nice and easy to use too compress your item
  • Half of the straps have a buckle to easily remove your item when you need it
  • Compresses well
  • Smaller than advertised

8. Hibag 12 Travel Compression Bags

Hibag 12 Travel Compression Bags

Hibag 12 Travel Compression Bags are perfect for traveling, saving 80% space for your home and suitcases, providing you the best storage solution. Every bag at Hibag is uniquely designed with extremely thick material, smart zipper, specially designed valve, and stay-one slider, to ensure air-tightness.

Stay-one clips prevent clips from falling off the zipper or missing. The zipper is very smooth to open and close. When you close the zipper, the yellow line will be stuck between the two blue lines, clearly telling you if the zipper is properly closed. No need to use a vacuum cleaner or an electric pump or a hand pump to suck the air out. You only need to roll the bag from the zipper to the bottom and air is all pushed out. It’s perfect on the go.

  • Includes 12 bags (6 M size & 6 L size)
  • Double zip design
  • Stay-on clip
  • Simple to use rolling
  • Brand: Hibag
  • Dimensions: 6.9″ H x 2.3″ W x 10.8″ D
  • Weight: 1.35 lbs
  • Very easy to use and hold a lot of clothes
  • The compression bag has a thicker plastic that holds up well for many packs
  • The zip top was easy to use and easy to see with the two different color zips
  • These bags seal tight
  • You really have to listen to the “don’t fill bag past this line” rule or else the bag doesn’t roll like it should

9. GoBackTrail Compression Stuff Sack

GoBackTrail Compression Stuff Sack

Have you ever gone on a trip without everything you needed? Was this due to a lack of room or storage space? If so GoBackTrail has designed the perfect solution! The GoBackTrail Compression Stuff Sack was designed to shrink the size of your belongings up to 30 Percent!

These premium compression bags are made from high quality water-resistant, polyester. Each sack has 4 vertical one-inch wide compression straps with 2 buckles that cinch and two that unclip. This is the best design as it is less complicated and easier to load and unload the sack.

  • 4 one-inch wide “compression” straps
  • 2 buckles cinches
  • Polyester material
  • Water-resistance
  • Brand: GoBackTrail
  • Capacity: 14L
  • Dimensions: 15″ H x 9″ W x 9″ D
  • Weight: 0.23 lbs
  • The sacks are fairly light
  • Compresses clothes well
  • The 2 clips are also helpful when opening it up
  • Sturdy design
  • The top “flap” isn’t attached to the bag, it’s attached to the bottom if bag with three straps, this makes it difficult to manage

10. AmazonBasics Vacuum Compression Storage Bags

AmazonBasics Vacuum Compression Storage Bags

Save space where you need it most with the AmazonBasics Vacuum Compression Storage Bags . This incredible storage solution allows you to easily vacuum-seal clothing, linens, drapery, and much more. Expertly protect your essentials and heirlooms from insects, mold, bad odors, and moisture while saving space at the same time.

Perfect for safely vacuum-sealing seasonal clothing, special linens, or bulky textiles, the AmazonBasics compression bags not only protect your items but shrink them down approximately 80% for compact, stackable storage. Stay organized and effectively store your personal effects for long-term preservation. The AmazonBasics storage bag set comes with a convenient hand pump that allows you to efficiently seal each bag to your desired compression.

  • Heavy-duty plastic vacuum-seal compression bags
  • Compresses clothing, linens, and more down 80%
  • Defends against damage from insects, mold, odors, and more
  • Hand pump included or connect to vacuum hose for quick compression
  • Air tight valve and double zipper closure
  • Brand: AmazonBasics
  • Dimensions: 11.8″ H x 9″ W x 3.5″ D
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Sizes were good and not hard to use
  • The pump provided works like a charm
  • Feels very sturdy
  • Vacuums down quickly
  • It’s a little difficult to get things settled in without a lot of wrinkles

Buying Guide

Ideally, you want to use a lightweight bag that is around 20% or less of the total weight for packing. Something more than that can leave you concerned about getting it completely packed until it’s checked in under the weight cap. Moreover, because the bag weighs more it places you at a disadvantage for how many things you can carry with you.

Because most compression sacks are made of nylon, they already have some sort of water-resistance. Nevertheless, considering the volatile traveling conditions, it’s better to buy waterproof, particularly if you have a larger compression sack as your main luggage type.

As for everything else, when it comes to compression bags, you get what you pay for. Aside from the reasons listed above, the other aspect you want to remember is when and how much you’ll need a compression pack. If you pay less than $10, you ‘re still going to be able to pack your baggage just as easily as if you were going to invest 10 times that price, but it’s not going to last quite as long. You often run the risk of losing or ripping the bag during your journey and locating a substitute quickly will be challenging depending on your destination.

Another issue that is mentioned occasionally using compression bags for travel is the breaking of the seams. Because you are going to compress and put stress on these stitches, the performance of the stitching is also significant. For a compression block to break mid-journey, it may be a major pain between your travels. Without a functioning compression bag, you may not be able to fit anything in your bag. Ideally, the material must be durable enough to survive the natural conditions, as well as to resist rips and breaks.

Compression Type

The more common are external adjustable straps that allow you to compress the bag manually, with air fleeing through the top closure. Alternate solutions often operate for an air purging system that uses a fabric that is waterproof but air-permeable. For the purging method, the permeable content helps air to escape when you pack and compress the bag, which probably makes compression more lightweight and effective.

Frequently Ask Questions

What is a compression bag used for.

Compression bags are used to cut bigger items, such as clothes or sleeping bags, on size and weight. Compression bags allow you to cram more stuff into your luggage by eliminating excess air and limiting things to the minimum amount of space available. Compression bags are nice to organize and conserve space, but they are difficult to open in a hurry.

Are compression bags good for travel?

They are very good for travel if you intend on bringing a lot of items like clothes for your travel or backpacking trip. But if you don’t anticipate a lot of bulky items, then a packing cube might be more suited for you.

How do you travel with a compression bag?

To use a standard travel compression bag (those that look like a giant zip loc bag), fold, don’t roll, your clothing. Before closing, roll the bag like a giant toothpaste tube to get all the air out of it. Seal off, flatten, and pack up. Wash them with dish soap and a towel to scrub.

Do compression bags reduce weight?

No, they might compress your bulky clothes but they actually add a bit of weight. Although it won’t be much so this shouldn’t be a concern if you’re trying to save on weight since the weight add would be minimal.

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best compression bags for travel as well as our guide on features to look for in a compression bag for travel. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.

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The 7 Best Packing Cubes of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We love space-saving packing cubes for long and short trips, and these are the best out there.

best compression bags for travel

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks
  • Others We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Tips for Buying

Look for sets that include multiple sizes

Frequently asked questions.

  • Why Trust T+L

Travel + Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Packing cubes are hands down one of the best travel hacks out there. Whether you’re a meticulous list-maker or planning procrastinator, investing in a set of packing cubes is a game changer for staying organized and saving space without having to put in too much effort. 

At Travel + Leisure , we take our travel hacks seriously so we put 23 sets of regular and compression packing cubes to the test both in our New York City lab and out during real travels to find the best ones on the market. We understand that everyone has unique preferences so we also found picks for travelers embarking on long trips, outdoor adventurers, and minimalist packers looking for one just a few cubes to do the trick.

Best Overall

Gonex compression packing cubes.

  • Capacity 5 /5
  • Design 5 /5
  • Quality 5 /5

The lightweight cubes easily compress clothing down to save space in a suitcase. 

They repel some water but are not waterproof. 

We love the Gonex Compression Packing Cubes thanks to their impressive space-saving ability. During six months of tests, we found these cubes to be monumentally helpful when it comes to consolidating and organizing clothing items between the different-sized cubes. The compression cubes help you get more items packed than a regular version of a packing cube and the sturdy zippers make compressing the packed cubes easy, leading us to believe that these cubes will last over time with the durable zippers and stitchwork. 

Although the nylon material isn’t waterproof, we splashed a little water on the outside and found that the material repels some water (but the clothing should remain dry with the extra protection of a suitcase, too). Plus, the handles on the top of each cube make it easy to grab the bags for packing and unpacking, and we love that the set includes an extra-large, large, medium, and small bag for variety.

The Details: 3 or 4 bags included | 17.3 x 13 x 3.54 inches (extra large), 14.5 x 10.6 x 3.54 inches (large), 11.8 x 8.9 x 3.54 inches (medium), and 9.8 x 7.5 x 3.54 inches (small) | Ripstop nylon

Travel + Leisure / Vicky Wasik

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

Shacke Pak 5 Set Packing Cubes

  • Design 4 /5
  • Quality 4 /5

The set includes four cubes and a laundry bag. 

The mesh tops aren’t waterproof or resistant.

Whether you’re traveling with family or heading on a solo trip , these Shacke packing cubes are a steal of a deal. The set includes extra-large, large, medium, and small packing cubes, as well as a laundry bag for dirty clothes. Designed for up to 14 days of traveling, we found that the cubes lived up to their promise of providing plenty of space for a variety of types of clothing like pants, toiletries, shirts, and jackets. The cubes easily fit in the carry-on suitcase we used and with the various sizes, you can customize how many cubes you want to pack depending on the type of suitcase you have. 

While the cubes likely won’t prevent water from seeping through due to the mesh tops, you can easily see what you packed inside so you won’t have to unpack everything to find a piece of clothing. During our tests, we felt the durable nylon material and zippers would hold up well with prolonged use, and you can't beat the price for the full set either. 

The Details: 5 bags included | 17.5 x 12.75 x 4 inches (extra large), 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 inches (large), 3.75 x 9.75 x 4 inches (medium), 11 x 6.75 x 4 inches (small), and 20.5 x 15.75 inches (laundry bag) | Nylon

Best for Long Trips

Veken packing cubes with laundry and shoe bag.

The set includes four packing cubes, a shoe bag, and a laundry bag. 

These have to be hand-washed and air-dried. 

If you’re traveling internationally or taking an extended vacation, consider picking up a set of these Veken packing cubes from Amazon. The four packing cubes are thoughtfully designed with a clear strip on the top so travelers can easily see what they packed, and there are small graphics printed onto each cube recommending what type of clothing item could be stored inside. This set also includes a shoe bag and a laundry bag so you can keep your items separated and organized. We like that there are several different sizes so you don't have small items moving around in a cube that's too big or trying to cram a larger sweatshirt into something too small.

We think these nylon and polyester packing cubes are made to last with a thick fabric exterior and sturdy zippers and stitchwork. After six months of use, there is no sign of wear and the zippers are holding up well. Although we found the cubes to be slightly heavier than others we tested so keep that in mind if you’re an overpacker or striving to stay under the standard 50-pound limit for checked luggage. 

The Details: 6 bags included | 17.5 x 12.15 x 4 (extra large), 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 inches (large), 3.75 x 9.75 x 4 inches (medium), 11 x 6.75 x 4 inches (small), 16.96 x 9.06 x 4.72 (shoe bag), and 20 x 14 inches (laundry bag) | Nylon, ethylene vinyl acetate, and polyester 

Best for Camping

Rei co-op expandable packing cube set.

The tent-like material is lightweight and has a rugged look.

The mesh top doesn’t feel as durable as we hoped and these bags lose their shape when fully packed.

Outdoor enthusiasts should consider REI Co-op’s lightweight packing cubes for upcoming camping trips. The set of two comes with large and medium packing cubes that remain at the standard three-inch height or they can be expanded another three inches to double the capacity. After six months of regularly using the packing cubes, we found that all seams and zippers held up extremely well, even after packing heavy winter clothing.

In testing, the tent-like nylon proved to be water-resistant as advertised, however, the top of the cubes are made of a breathable mesh that doesn’t repel water and felt a little less sturdy than the nylon portion. Though the mesh top isn’t ideal for waterproofness, we like how easy it is to see what we packed through the little mesh holes. Plus, the lightweight materials are ideal for campers or backpackers looking to stay organized without sacrificing weight. 

The Details: 2 bags included | 14.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches (large) and 12 x 8 x 3 inches (medium) | Ripstop nylon and polyester

Best Sustainable

Peak design packing cubes.

Peak Design uses 100 percent recycled materials to make the cubes.

The easy access zippers were finicky to use.

San Francisco-based Peak Design is known for its slew of sustainable outdoor gear made with carbon neutral and recycled materials, including expandable packing cubes. We tried the small- and medium-sized cubes and found them to be spacious, well-built, and resistant to water after splashing a bit on the exterior. After regularly using the cubes for six months, we loved the capacity of the medium cube and found the smaller option to be good for packing undergarments or even toiletries. We especially love that the cubes are made from 100 percent recycled nylon that is solution-dyed to prevent excessive water use following the brand’s carbon-neutral footprint and each bag expands to fit even more items.

The cubes can compress down to a height of 3.1 inches, but we discovered they function best as an expandable packing cube that can increase in size, rather than a compression cube that is designed to heavily consolidate clothes. Additionally, the cubes feature an “easy access” zipper so travelers can reach inside the bag without opening the whole thing, but we think this feature is unnecessary to use due to the zipper getting snagged. 

The Details: 1 bag included | Various sizes | Ripstop nylon

Best Personalized

Paravel packing cube quad.

  • Design 4.5 /5

The cubes can be monogrammed with up to three letters for an additional $25. 

The large cube is so big it takes up most of the space of a carry-on bag.

Indulge your love for matching with this set of personalized packing cubes from Paravel. Although it costs an extra $25, you can get up to three letters embroidered onto the set of four packing cubes with 11 color options. If you're shopping for a stylish, functional personalized travel gift , this is a wonderful option. The set comes with one large, one medium, and two small-sized packing cubes that can hold an impressive amount of clothing and still fit in most carry-on bags. These cubes are great for any type of traveler, but especially for those looking for water-resistant cubes for checked bags that will be handled outside in different weather conditions. After six months of use, we found that these cubes provide exceptional organization with room to pack bulkier items in the larger bags and toiletries or undergarments between the two smaller cubes.

As a bonus, these cubes won't take up much space in between trips. They're easy to store and stack right inside one another. The size variety is also convenient for different types of trips and we love having the option to use one, two, three, or all four bags in a checked bag if needed.

The Details: 4 bags included | 18 x 3.75 x 12 inches (large), 12.75 x 3.75 x 10 inches (medium), and 8.2 x. 3.75 x 6.25 inches (small) | Nylon

Calpak Packing Cubes 5-piece Set

There are 14 designs to choose from including groovy blue, retro sunset, and cheetah prints. 

The set might be better suited for frequent fliers.

If you travel often and are looking to invest in a splurge-worthy set of packing cubes, you can’t go wrong with these from Calpak. We love the unique design options with 14 colors and patterns to choose from including classics like solid pink and gold marble, or limited-edition prints like a wavy retro sunset and groovy blue picks. The set includes one large, one medium, and two small cubes, as well as a water-resistant envelope for cosmetics.

After six months of using these packing cubes during international trips, we found that all the bags were spacious enough to fit a variety of clothing options for organized and efficient packing. We love the diversity of sizes to hold things like undergarments as well as shoes if needed. We also love the option to bring a folded large cube to keep dirty clothes separate. The polyester material feels well-made and built to last, and the zippers zipped without any issues which helps justify the higher price point for this set. And, if you’re traveling with your family, we think the set would be great for separating and organizing clothing for several travelers thanks to the removable identification tags where you can write what clothing went into each cube. 

The Details: 5 bags included | 17 x 12 x 3 inches (large), 15 x 11 x 3 inches (medium), 12 x 8.8 x 3 inches (small), and 13 x 10 x 1.5 inches (envelope) | Polyester

Other Packing Cubes We Liked

There were several sets of packing cubes we highlighted below that almost made our list of best packing cubes, but they fell short during testing due some minor flaws we noticed. 

Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes : This set of compression packing cubes is great for budget-friendly travelers but our top pick is also a compression set that had a better overall performance in testing. 

Lean Travel Premium Compression Packing Cubes : The set of three cubes is made with thick polyester that still feels lightweight, but besides that, there weren’t any standout features compared to our other top performers. 

Briggs & Riley Packing Cubes : These cubes were spacious and water-resistant, but for $59, we expected a higher performance to match the price for three standard packing cubes.

We evaluated 23 sets of both compression and regular packing cubes in our New York City lab and based our testing on traits like capacity, design, quality, and value. First, we unpackaged the sets of packing cubes and examined the quality of the bags by twisting and pulling them to check the stitchwork and using the zippers to see if they snagged or glided smoothly. After packing the cubes with a variety of clothing items like pants, jackets, undergarments, and shirts, we placed the cubes in a carry-on suitcase to see how well they fit in a piece of luggage. Our top contenders for capacity and design provided plenty of space for a range of clothing items with useful and thoughtful features that made packing easier and more organized.

For compression-specific packing cubes, we paid close attention to how much space the packing cube saved once we zipped the compression zippers. For all cubes, we splashed a bit of water on the exterior and felt the inside to see if any of the packed contents were damp. After testing each set of cubes in our lab, we sent them home to be tested during real travels around the world for six months. We regularly collected insights on durability, functionality, and overall quality during this period to ensure each cube continued to impress.

Tips for Buying Packing Cubes

Compare compression versus regular packing cubes.

Compression packing cubes are designed to condense clothing by using the compression zipper to pack down the clothes in order to save space in a suitcase. Regular packing cubes are mainly for organizing clothes efficiently rather than consolidating clothing to make more room in a piece of luggage. Compression packing cubes can usually be expanded or compressed which gives travelers the best of both worlds.

One of the best parts about packing cubes is staying organized on the go with little effort. To help you keep like items together, consider buying a set of multiple packing cubes with different sizes. That way, you can know without opening the case what cube holds your pants, your shirts, your undergarments, and more. The various size options also let you mix and match the cubes to fit whatever luggage you're bringing from weekender duffles to large checked bags.

Flexible fabrics like nylon or polyester are best for packing cubes as they'll allow you to pack the most items. These materials also tend to be water-resistant, keeping your items extra safe throughout your travels.

When it comes to saving space, experts say you can fold your clothes or roll them — it ultimately doesn’t matter. The most important thing is maximizing your space, and packing cubes are great for doing just that. Besides saving space, packing cubes can help you stay organized before and during your trip making them a must-have travel organizer .

For travelers who usually use checked luggage, consider purchasing a set with five or six cubes included so you can maximize space in each suitcase. And, if you’re a carry-on-only type of traveler, one or two packing cubes in small or medium sizes could be better suited for your needs, and you won’t have to worry about storing a large set either. Backpackers or campers should consider getting just one or two compression or regular cubes that can fit in a backpack or weekender bag for lighter packing .

Depending on the size of your packing cubes and luggage, the bags can be placed in either compartment of a suitcase or duffel bag. As always, you'll want to do your best to evenly distribute the heavy packing cubes so the bag doesn't become top or bottom-heavy. Ideally, the rectangle shape of your cubes should make it easy to take up every inch of space in a suitcase.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is an associate commerce editor at Travel + Leisure , covering all of the best travel products from luggage to footwear. A recently converted compression packing cube user, Anna didn't know what she was missing out on until investing in multiple sets of packing cubes. She put together this list of the best packing cubes based on the results from the packing cube test we conducted in our New York City lab.

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variety of packing cube sets on a blue set, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

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How do they work? Pack your clothes into the cubes first, then fit the pieces into your bag like a puzzle. You can even get ones with built-in compression, so squeezing in that extra outfit (or two!) is no big deal. Whether you're using a carry-on, underseat suitcase or weekender bag , we think packing cubes are the ultimate travel MVP to keep your luggage totally organized.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab is comprised of fiber scientists and travel product experts who test all types of luggage, travel accessories and more. To find the best packing cubes , we put 13 different styles to the test in our Lab and had consumer testers use them on their vacations all over the world (local road trips, international getaways, camping excursions and more).

Calpak Packing Cubes Set (5 Pieces)

Packing Cubes Set (5 Pieces)

Sold as a convenient set of five, these Calpak packing cubes are designed to hold everything you'll need for a trip away. The set includes one large, one medium and two small cubes as well as a zippered pouch for toiletries. Multiple GH editors swear by these cubes, and one said, "They really hold everything I need, keeping my suitcase organized (for once)."

One GH analyst used these cubes on a two-week trip to Japan and said, "These packing cubes helped me keep all my clothes organized when overpacking my carry-on. I appreciated that the sturdy material maintained its shape when I placed the cubes in my hotel drawers."

Each cube has a tab, so you can label it with what's inside; plus, they're mesh on top, so it's easy to see their contents. Calpak is known for its stylish travel solutions, and these don't disappoint. This set is currently available in 17 colors and patterns, including polka dots, cheetah print, florals and checkerboard. Complete your set with shoe packing cubes and compression cubes that make great companions for checked luggage.

Amazon Basics 4-Piece Packing Travel Organizer Cubes Set

4-Piece Packing Travel Organizer Cubes Set

This four-piece packing cube set from Amazon Basics gets you everything you'll need for your trip at the great price of about $6 per cube. And you can choose the size of the pieces that come in your set: either four small, four medium, four large or four slim or one of each.

In our Lab testing, we appreciated that each cube has a mesh upper to easily see what's inside and top handles for easy carrying . The polyester material is super lightweight and the zippers have longer tabs than some others we tested making them easy to open and close. The cubes held an impressive amount of clothing in our packing test and they stacked nicely into a carry-on suitcase.

We noticed some loose threads when evaluating these cubes, so they may not be as durable as some other options. Note that this set is spot-clean only and not machine-washable.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Set of Isolate Compression Packing Cubes

Pack-It Set of Isolate Compression Packing Cubes

If you really want to maximize your packing space, compression packing cubes are the way to do it. In our Lab analysis, these cubes from Eagle Creek zipped down to compress about 1 inch to save more space in your suitcase. "I love their compression function," said one of our testers. "They fit a decent amount of clothing and then compress to take up much less space. They're also smaller than other cubes I've had, so they slot into a smaller carry-on suitcase with ease."

We found the zippers easier to use than those on other compression packing cubes we tested. One tester agreed, saying, " The compression function is really easy to use — the zipper is pretty seamless and doesn't snag or get caught on the cubes. " The top handle is convenient to pull them out of your luggage or backpack when needed. This set is one of the pricier styles we tested, but many GH analysts have owned Eagle Creek products for years and applaud the brand's commitment to durable and long-lasting travel gear.

an analyst testing eagle creek pack it compression cubes by testing the compression function, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

Compression Packing Cubes

These Gonex packing cubes compress your clothes, so you can fit as much as possible in your suitcase, and th ey are a more affordable alternative to Eagle Creek at just $22 for a three-piece set. A set of six is also available if you plan on checking a bag. The larger set includes a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separate on long trips. The brand recommends rolling your clothes before placing them in the cube to maximize space.

We haven't tested this set in our Lab yet, but we have received promising feedback from our at-home testers. One tester who has used these cubes on multiple vacations said: "I loved the compression aspect and how you can fit so much more because of it. They are also very large cubes. I am very happy with them and will continue to use [them]."

Away The Insider Packing Cubes

The Insider Packing Cubes

Mesh packing cubes allow you to easily see inside and have the added bonus of being lightweight and breathable to keep your clothes fresh. Designed specifically for the mega-popular Away Carry-On , these cubes are the perfect dimensions for most carry-on suitcases. In our Lab analysis, these cubes were a favorite for being simple and easy to use, and of course, fitting nicely into a carry-on.

One tester who used this set on a trip to the Hamptons said, "The mesh made it easy to compact clothes into the packing cubes as the mesh let out any trapped in air. I also liked the configuration of the packing cubes. They fit together really well inside my suitcase." We love Away’s generous 100-day return policy , so there’s no harm in trying them out. Both the 4-piece and 6-piece sets include smaller cubes, but some testers wished they were larger.

RELATED: Away Luggage Review: Are the Popular Carry-Ons Worth the Hype?

an analyst putting navy away insider packing cubes in a carry on suitcase, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

Shacke Packing Cube Set

Packing Cube Set

With over 21,000 reviews and an average 4.8-star rating on Amazon, these packing cubes are popular for their easy-to-use design that's perfect when traveling with the whole family. These packing cubes are available in 10 colors, so each family member can have their own set . This set includes a laundry bag, which is a game-changer to keep dirty clothes separate.

Although we haven't tested this set in our Lab yet, online reviewers are extremely impressed with the quality of this set for the price. One online reviewer said, "The material used for the packing cubes is durable and lightweight, ensuring that they do not add unnecessary weight to my luggage. They are also quite flexible, which allows me to squeeze them into tight spaces within my suitcase without worrying about them getting damaged." Another shared, "They are worth every penny and have become an essential travel accessory for me."

Beis The Packing Cubes in Black

The Packing Cubes in Black

Many testers preferred packing cube sets that included shoe bags or laundry bags, like this set from Beis. With three different-size cubes, a toiletry pouch and two shoe bags, this set is ready for any vacation. Uniquely, they come with pre-printed labels for common items like jeans, swimsuits and underwear as well as the days of the week to keep your cubes organized.

One tester said, "The larger zip bags really helped me separate nice clothes for going out from my beach clothes/comfy clothes, which made getting ready much easier since I could find everything without unpacking my entire suitcase." While testers liked the shoe bags, some wished they were bigger to fit larger sizes and bulkier shoes like booties.

an analyst testing black beis packing cubes with labels of what is inside, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Packing Cube

Hydraulic Packing Cube

Keeping your belongings dry and clean is of the utmost importance when heading on an outdoor adventure. In our tests, these Sea to Summit cubes held up on hikes and beach vacations alike.

Sold individually, these packing cubes feature a water-resistant exterior and tight zippers to help prevent water from seeping in. Because the zippers are designed to prevent leaking, they were a bit difficult to open and close in our tests. Note that these cubes are water-resistant (not waterproof!), so they should not be fully submerged or soaked in water.

A big fan of its water-resistant capabilities, one tester said these cubes are "great for when I have to pack away wet or dirty clothes when I am leaving a vacation." She also appreciated that she was able to easily see inside because of the translucent panel. Another tester said, "The textile is indeed water-resistant, which was a nice feature to have during my outdoor camping adventure," and that the "shell is quite durable." These don't compress, so if you want both weatherproof materials and compression, we recommend Peak Design's packing cubes .

Monos Compressible Packing Cubes

Compressible Packing Cubes

Available in sets of four or six, these cubes from Monos fit very well into our carry-on suitcase during our Lab evaluations. These cubes offer compression capabilities as well, and they reduced in size the most out of all the compression packing cubes we tested . The zippers are quite stiff, so it's challenging to compress them fully, which led some testers not to use the compression function at all. We also found the smooth material easy to clean, which is great if sand, dirt and salt water are a factor.

One tester shared, " I really liked the appearance of the packing cubes; they look simple and sleek. I enjoy the mesh top window because I can easily see my belongings and because it allows my clothes to breathe (especially useful for dirty clothes during travel)." He also said, "I appreciate the lightweight lining inside the packing cubes; it is a feature that elevates the appearance and quality of the packing cubes." These cubes are more expensive than other featured styles, but we think they are worth the investment.

RELATED: Monos Luggage Review: We Tested These Popular Sleek Suitcases

Baggu Packing Cube Set

Packing Cube Set

Most packing cubes are only available in solid colors, but these trendy ones from Baggu come in fun patterns like stripes, florals and fruit prints . This set includes two packing cubes made from durable recycled nylon. We were impressed by just how lightweight these cubes are without sacrificing performance — every ounce counts! When evaluating these cubes in our Lab, we noticed they were a bit noisy (and a few testers noted the same thing).

Loving the stylish colors and patterns, one tester said, "Not only are they super cute but they are lightweight and durable. The amount you can fit in these packing cubes is amazing!" Another tester said, "I will definitely continue to use these cubes as I like them better than a set I bought off of Amazon years ago — Baggu strikes again!"

How we test packing cubes

a good housekeeping analyst testing packing cubes with a standard load of clothes in the textiles lab, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

When evaluating packing cubes, Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab pros place a standard packing load in each cube to see how much they can hold. Then, we place them in a suitcase to see how easy they are to organize. We analyze each cube in our Lab to ensure all the zippers are easy to open and close. For compression-style cubes, we pack them with a standard load and measure how much they reduce in size when compressed.

To get real-use feedback, we have consumer testers use the packing cubes on real-life trips. We had testers bring these cubes all over the world on all types of vacations, including camping trips, international getaways and local excursions.

an analyst putting a bra in a baggu packing cube, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

How to choose the best packing cubes:

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✔️ Compression vs. regular packing cubes: Some packing cubes have compression capabilities and others don't. Cubes that compress take up slightly less space in your suitcase and are great for overpackers. Generally, compression cubes are more expensive because they have two zippers instead of one and are usually sold individually or as a pair vs. in a larger set. Some compression cubes zip all the way around, which is great if you like to place your cubes directly in the drawer at your destination, while others only open at the top.

✔️ Materials: To avoid extra weight in your luggage, most packing cubes are made with lightweight materials like nylon and mesh. While waterproof capabilities may sound like a benefit, it's probably not necessary unless you're camping, and it comes at a cost — fully sealed packing cubes don't allow for ventilation, which means your clothes may have an odor after travel.

✔️ Luggage compatibility: Depending on what type of suitcase you are using (weekender bag, carry-on or checked luggage), a different style of packing cubes might be better suited.

  • For a weekender bag , opt for smaller cubes as only two to three will fit in most weekender bags.
  • Carry-on suitcases can accommodate more cubes, including larger ones for sweaters and jeans.
  • When checking a larger suitcase , you can fit multiple sets of packing cubes. We recommend using a different color set of cubes for each member of your family for easier unpacking.

✔️ Value: Consider the cost per cube when purchasing a set. Some brands offer excellent value for their larger sets.

a good housekeeping analyst evaluating a compression packing cube, good housekeeping's best packing cubes

✔️ How do I use packing cubes?

Most sets come with different-sized cubes that are designed for certain items — small cubes for your underwear and larger cubes for shirts and pants, for example. Everyone has a preference for either rolling or folding clothes , but when packing in a cube, our pros say you should roll to avoid wrinkles. Rolling likely won't save as much space in a traditional packing cube, but many brands recommend it for compression picks. Doing this, and storing like items together, will make it much easier to find exactly what you want without rummaging through your bag. ✔️ Do packing cubes really save space? Yes! Packing cubes ensure that every item has a spot in your suitcase without it bursting at the seams. To further max out every inch, look for styles with compression. These work by having two zippers — one that closes the cube and a second that tightly compresses it to flatten your clothes and save space. ✔️ Do packing cubes wrinkle clothes? One of the main reasons clothes come out of your suitcase looking wrinkly is because they've shifted around during the trip. Packing cubes keep all your clothes still, so items are actually less likely to wrinkle. Some fabrics will wrinkle no matter what (hello, linen!), so we recommend choosing travel dresses and pants in more forgiving fabrics like polyester and Tencel for your next trip.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

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Emma Seymour is a senior textiles product analyst in the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab. She tested all the packing cubes in the Lab and sent samples to testers to get real-use feedback. She’s been at GH for over four years, overseeing Lab and consumer tests for all types of travel product testing including carry-on suitcases, under-seat luggage, travel backpacks and weekender bags. With a degree in fiber science and apparel design from Cornell University, she has extensive research experience and product quality expertise.

Headshot of Emma Seymour

Emma Seymour (she/her) is a senior product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute 's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she has led testing for luggage, pillows, towels, tampons and more since 2018. She graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in fiber science and apparel design and a minor in gerontology, completing research in the Body Scanner Lab on optimizing activewear for athletic performance. 

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The 7 best packing cubes of 2024, chosen by travel experts.

Packing cubes are the ultimate travel accessory.

The Best Packing Cubes for Travel

Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Folder

Courtesy of Eagle Creek

Even the most seasoned travelers can struggle to  pack efficiently , which is why packing cubes – organizational containers for your luggage – are so popular. You don't have to spend a lot of money for a quality set, either; in fact, some of the best packing cube sets are available for less than $20.

Read on to discover our packing cube picks in a variety of categories, based on travel expert recommendations and consumer reviews.

  • Best Overall: Veken Packing Cubes on Amazon
  • Jump to features and traveler insights ↓
  • Best Compression: Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set on Amazon
  • Best for Backpacking: Eagle Creek Pack-It Isolate Compression Cube Set on Amazon
  • Best Formalwear: Eagle Creek Pack-It Starter Set on Amazon
  • Best for Kids: EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes on Amazon
  • Best Size Options: Tripped Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes on Amazon
  • Best for Style: Lug Compression Packing Cubes on QVC

(Note: Prices were accurate at the time of publication; they may fluctuate due to demand and supply chain issues.)

Best Overall: Veken Packing Cubes

Not only do the Veken Packing Cubes have 13,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, but they're also super affordable (and often discounted), making them a traveler favorite. "I never thought I needed packing cubes until I tried out the Veken set and realized how much easier packing (and unpacking!) could be," says Catriona Kendall , associate editor of Travel at U.S. News. "I usually have trouble staying organized, but I've taken these cubes everywhere from weekends away to a campervan vacation in New Zealand, and with all the different pieces in the set I'm finally able to keep my belongings in order."

The eight-piece set includes four mesh packing cubes plus four bags designated for dirty laundry, a pair of shoes, toiletries and miscellaneous small items. The Veken Packing Cubes are available in a dozen different colors.

Price: $23.99 or less

Best Compression: Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set

Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Packing Cubes in blue against white background.

"I swear by the Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set," says Christine Sarkis, editor in chief at FamilyVacationist. "They're lightweight, you can see into them without needing to unzip them, and the fabric texture isn't slippery so as you're wedging carefully rolled items of clothing into them, they don't pop out." Made from recycled materials, these durable, water-resistant packing cubes are also backed by Eagle Creek's lifetime warranty. "I'm going on 20 years with mine!" says travel expert Candice Criscione of Mom in Italy. The Pack-It Reveal Cube Set includes three packing cubes in different sizes.

Price: $40 or less

Best for Backpacking: Eagle Creek Pack-It Isolate Compression Cube Set

Eagle Creek Pack-It Isolate Travel Cubes

The Pack-It Isolate Compression Cube Set from Eagle Creek comes highly recommended by frequent travelers, particularly for backpacking trips. Available in a set of two or three, these packing cubes are lightweight yet durable, with self-repairing zippers (standard on all Eagle Creek packing cubes) designed to withstand overpacking. The Isolate packing cubes are also machine-washable – a rarity for packing cubes.

Caroline Teel, managing editor at SmarterTravel, uses packing cubes specifically for adventure travel and appreciates that these compression bags are pre-treated with an anti-microbial agent that prevents odors. "Having used them on an eight-day hiking trip on Mount Kilimanjaro, I can confirm they work in that department!" she says. She adds that while she's tested a variety of packing cubes, she always comes back to Eagle Creek.

Price: $44.95 or less

Best for Formalwear: Eagle Creek Pack-It Starter Set

Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Packing Cubes

Slightly different from the Pack-It Reveal and Pack-It Isolate, the Pack-It Starter Set includes a large mesh folder with folder board for minimizing wrinkled garments – a good alternative to a traditional garment bag . The folder can hold up to 12 dress shirts, dresses, and the like, making this set an ideal choice for business travel or cruise vacations with formal nights. The other two cubes (small and medium-sized) are ideal for casual clothing, undergarments and accessories. These packing cubes are also treated with an anti-microbial agent to block odor-causing bacteria and – sans the folding board – they are water-resistant and machine washable.

Price: $54.95 or less

Best for Kids: EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes

EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes in blue suitcase against white background.

Courtesy of EzPacking

"My kids prefer these clear packing cubes," says Sarkis. "They're a little deeper and more rigid, and you can see everything in them, which helps kids pack for themselves and stay organized on the road." Even if you travel with little ones , you may find these clear packing cubes useful for organizing baby gear and locating essentials on the go. The EzPacking Clear Packing Cubes come in a set of four and are available in a variety of colors.

Price: $56.99 or less

Best Size Options: Tripped Travel Gear Compression Cubes

Tripped Travel Gear Compression Cubes

Courtesy of Tripped Travel Gear

Many travelers like the compression cubes offered by Tripped Travel Gear, a small business owned by a globetrotting couple (and their adorable dog). Their innovative luggage line includes a two-, six- and seven-piece set of packing cubes; the seven-piece set is especially noteworthy for its variety of cubes, which includes a shoe bag, laundry bag and a tube-shaped cube that's useful for storing electronics such as hair irons.

These packing cubes also feature an external pocket. "You can use this pocket to store clothing as you use it, to keep the clean and dirty clothes separate," says Andrew Uyal of the travel blog Flights and Footsteps. The packing cubes are available in solid colors as well as national park and other travel-themed prints.

Best for Style: Lug Compression Packing Cubes

Lug Compression Packing Cubes in gray and yellow against white background.

Courtesy of Lug

Luggage expert and senior editor of Travel at U.S. News, Rachael Hood , loves the fun colors and patterns – which include tartan plaid, polka dots and florals – on these packing cubes by Lug. The lightweight cubes can store a lot before compressing down to just one inch in thickness, and they each feature a carrying handle. "They make packing so easy," says Hood. "I can fit six to eight tops in the larger one and the smaller cube is ideal for socks and other accessories." She adds that these packing cubes make the perfect travel gift .

Price: $38 or less

How to Use Packing Cubes

  • Pack a color-coded set for each person in your group: " We have different color packing cubes for each member of the family so when we open the suitcase, it's easy for everyone to grab their own color and get organized in the hotel room or wherever," says travel writer Terry Ward, who is frequently on the go with her family. She also notes that her family is able to save on luggage fees by using packing cubes in a single checked suitcase .
  • Consider buying more than one set: Packing cubes are also useful for organizing toiletries, shoes , travel adapters and cords, and other miscellaneous items.
  • Categorize each packing cube: Pack each cube by activity or clothing type, such as activewear, swimwear and underwear.
  • Pack with the mesh side facing up: If you buy mesh packing cubes, this packing tip will help you easily identify the contents of each packing cube (which can be especially useful in the event you need to quickly locate items while at the airport).
  • Roll your clothing: Many travelers swear by rolling their clothing instead of folding it in their luggage, noting this tactic saves space and minimizes wrinkles. Use the same method when placing items into your packing cubes.
  • Use them for dirty laundry: If your packing cubes don't have pockets for dirty laundry like the Tripped Travel Gear bags do, you can still use them to contain dirty laundry; just avoid using mesh cubes if you're concerned about the smell of soiled clothing pervading your bag.
  • Take them with you on errands: Packing cubes are useful for everyday outings, too. "I use a smaller packing cube to keep diapers, wipes and a changing pad handy in my backpack when we're out exploring," says Criscione.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most travelers and travel experts agree packing cubes are worth buying – especially considering there are so many affordable, quality options on the market. Because they're designed to save space, they can help you avoid unnecessary luggage fees. Plus, they can be used universally in everything from your luggage set to your weekender bag and even a backpack .

Yes, packing cubes save space by organizing clothing and accessories into individual compartments that neatly fit inside luggage. To maximize space in your luggage, choose compression packing cubes, which eliminate extra air and zip nearly flat.

Compression packing cubes zip nearly flat once packed, while traditional packing cubes maintain their shape and fit neatly into your luggage like pieces in a puzzle. While the decision between packing cubes and compression bags is ultimately a matter of personal preference, most travel experts agree compression packing cubes are best.

Rolling your clothing will help to maximize space and prevent wrinkles, regardless of whether or not you use packing cubes.

Packing cubes are reusable (and in many cases, washable), making them a more economical and sustainable alternative to Ziploc bags.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Amanda Norcross strangely enjoys decluttering, a hidden "talent" that's especially useful when traveling. She owns the Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set and recommends it to everyone she knows.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Toiletry Bags
  • The Best Neck Pillows for Travel
  • The Most Useful Travel Accessories
  • The Best Compression Socks for Travel

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The 8 Best Packing Cubes, Tested and Reviewed

These items organize your luggage better

best compression bags for travel

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

Packing for a trip is no easy feat, yet packing cubes can offer the organization and space we seek. But with so many packing cubes to choose from, how can we be sure which are the best?

We took on this challenge and had six travelers test 23 packing cube sets. They stuffed clothes and toiletries into the packing cubes, running them through various tests to determine which worked the best in terms of capacity, design, quality, and value. The result? We found the top packing cubes in a wide range of categories, from the best for maximum compression to the best for durability, families, and more.

Final Verdict

How we tested.

  • Others We Tested
  • What to Look For

Why Trust TripSavvy

Best overall, rei co-op expandable packing cube set.

Solid value

Durable, protective exterior

Big time space saving

The REI Co-Op Expandable Packing Cube Set only comes with two cubes. However, our tester loved their clever design, which sees the zipper curve around the perimeter of the cube twice for ultimate compression. In fact, the medium cube can go from 13 liters to 8.5 liters, while the large cube’s capacity changes from 21 liters to 14 liters when using the compression zipper.

Testers noted that the Bluesign-approved ripstop nylon fabric was akin to tent fabric and waterproof to boot. Of course, the mesh section won’t do much against water, but it does allow travelers to see what’s in the cube before opening it. The top handle makes pulling these cubes out of your suitcase easy, while the side handle is a bonus. For the price, you get two incredibly effective packing cubes with the kind of long-lasting material and stitching you’d expect from REI Co-op. The set fits comfortably in a carry-on suitcase and allows room for a toiletry bag.

Dimensions: Large: 14.5 x 10.5 x 6 inches, medium: 12 x 8 x 6 inches | Material: Ripstop nylon (Bluesign-approved), polyester mesh (Bluesign-approved) | Number of Cubes:  2

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Gonex compression packing cubes.

Simple and effective

Could be more protective

Our testers were surprised by the capabilities of this no-frills set of four packing cubes. They stuffed them all to the brim and used the double zippers to compress the cubes down. There was no indication that the threaded seams were stressed. This aspect made the testers overlook that the material is not as water-resistant as advertised. You can always double-wrap liquids, but you can’t always find packing cubes with excellent compression capabilities to fit a lot in a little space. Keep in mind, however, that the zippers do not go all the way around the cube. Our tester didn’t have any problem with that, but it is something we thought best to note.

The four pieces range in size from small to extra-large, giving you plenty of options for organizing all your items. With tons of color options and a phenomenal price point, we had to choose this set as our runner-up.

Dimensions: Extra-large: 17.3 x 13 x 3.54 inches, large: 4.5 x 10.6 x 3.54 inches, medium: 11.8 x 8.9 x 3.54 inches, small: 9.8 x 7.5 x 3.54 inches | Material: Ripstop nylon | Number of Cubes:  4

Veken Packing Cubes With Laundry and Shoe Bag

 Amazon

Large selection of pieces

Hassle-free packing system

Contents are easily visible

Not ideal for over-packers

You get a lot for a low price when it comes to the Veken Packing Cubes set. Buyers receive four cubes of various sizes plus two additional bags—a laundry bag and a shoe bag. The set comes in a wide range of colors but lacks a compression zipper, making them more apt for organization than saving space. See inside the cubes via the transparent strip of fabric and a small mesh section or just pack the cubes according to the clothing label found on the bottom right-hand corner of the cube.

Because the packing cubes don’t have compression zippers, this set works best for travelers with large suitcases who simply want their belongings well organized and easy to find.

Dimensions: Extra-large: 17.5 x 12.15 x 4 inches, large: 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 inches, medium: 13.75 x 9.75 x 4 inches, small: 11 x 6.75 x 4 inches, shoe bag: 16.96 x 9.06 x 4.72 inches, laundry bag: 20 x 14 inches | Material: Nylon, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyester | Number of Cubes: 4 cubes, 2 bags

Best Compression

Well traveled compression packing cubes.

Great for highly organized travelers

Choice of various shades

Easy to maintain

Not water resistant

The Well Traveled Compression Packing Cubes set includes three cubes and one drawstring bag that can be used to store shoes or as a laundry bag. Available in a few colors, this set is reasonably priced and has an excellent compression zipper that maximizes your luggage space. In the larger cube, our tester fit one pair of jeans, two short-sleeve shirts, and two long-sleeve shirts. The medium cube fit two pairs of socks and two pairs of underwear; we packed the small cube with toiletries bottles . When a traveler utilizes the compression zipper, the cubes go from 5 inches in width to 1 inch.

These cubes are not as structured as they appear in marketing photos. And unfortunately, our tester found that they didn't protect against spilled liquids. That said, they are machine washable and have tiny pockets to fit one of the 50 luggage cards included in the package.

Dimensions: Large: 10 x 5 x 14 inches, medium: 8 x 5 x 11.5 inches, small: 5.5 x 5 x 7 inches, laundry bag: 11 x 18 inches | Material: Twill fabric | Number of Cubes:  4

Best for Families

Shacke pak 5 set packing cubes.

Budget-friendly

Ventilation/viewing patches

Also available in set of eight

Could be more functional

Go with the packing cube set from Shacke Pak when packing for a family vacation . This five-piece set comes in a few color options and includes four cubes and one drawstring bag. Although our testers didn’t mention whether the fabric was water resistant or not, Shacke advertises that it is. Of course, that doesn’t include the mesh panels that allow you to look inside the cubes.

The cubes don’t have compression zippers, so they’re primarily intended for those who need a lot of space to keep each family member’s clothes organized and separated. You’ll better fit all these cubes in a larger checked suitcase than a carry-on bag. Investing in multiple sets (one for each family member) is also a realistic option given the set's reasonable price tag.

Dimensions Extra-large: 17.5 x 12.75 x 4 inches, large: 13.75 x 12.75 x 4 inches, medium: 13.75 x 9.75 x 4 inches, small: 11 x 6.75 x 4 inches, Laundry Bag: 20.5 x 15.75 inches | Material: Not listed | Number of Cubes: 4 cubes, 1 bag

Best Durability

Peak design packing cubes.

Peak Design

Super light and tough fabric

Two compartments

Sustainably built

Pricey as a set

Somewhat involved to get into

You can buy Peak Design Packing Cubes as a single small or medium cube or shoe pouch or as a set of three, six, or eight. The way our testers raved about the small packing cube they tested, we suggest going for the three-piece set. But keep in mind the sets are expensive.

These packing cubes come in three color options, are designed with two handles, and have a moveable internal divider that lets you separate clothes however you see fit. Thanks to the double compression zippers, you can fit two packing cubes in the space of one. More specifically, the cubes are about 6.7 inches wide when fully expanded and have the capability of compressing to 3.1 inches. It's important to note that you'll have to use both zippers simultaneously when you want to open the main compartment.

These durable cubes are waterproof, though there is a slight gap near the zipper that, theoretically, water could get into. The likelihood of that happening is low. As we said, the price of this packing cube set is considerable, but with the superb craftsmanship and a lifetime guarantee warranty, you'll likely be satisfied with your purchase.

Dimensions: Medium: 12.6 x 12.6 x 6.7 inches, small: 12.6 x 6.7 x 6.7 inches | Material: Ripstop 70-denier nylon/poly shell | Number of Cubes: 1 to 8

Best Personalized

Paravel packing cube quad.

Water-resistant fabric

Sustainable materials

Not the most affordable

Lacks some nice-to-have features

We can see the Paravel Packing Cube Quad being a phenomenal gift for the traveler in your life, mainly because of the excellent colors and the opportunity to have the cubes embroidered with custom monograms.

Of the four cubes, we used the larger one to pack three pairs of shoes and the medium cube to pack a couple of sweatpants, two long-sleeve shirts, two short-sleeve shirts, two pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks. Basically, you can get a lot of clothes in the larger cubes and use the small cube for extra socks, underwear, or toiletries. Our tester noted that there was still some space left for them to pack more items in the cubes.

Although the cubes have two-way zippers, they aren’t compression zippers. We were also surprised that the cubes didn’t have handles but liked that they do have clear windows to see inside. Environmentally friendly travelers will appreciate that the fabric features 16 upcycled water bottles and meets the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and the Global Recycled Standard . The only downside? The hefty price.

Dimensions: Large: 18 x 3.75 x 12 inches, medium: 12.75 x 3.75 x 10 inches, small: 8.2 x. 3.75 x 6.25 inches | Material: OEKO-TEX Standard 100- and Global Recycled Standard-certified, water-resistant Negative nylon | Number of Cubes: 4

Best Splurge

Calpak packing cubes 5-piece set.

Fun and classic tones

Feature filled

Long lasting

Only the pouch is water resistant

Packing cubes can be so bland in style, but not the Calpak Packing Cubes 5-Piece Set. Styles range from astrologically inspired to groovy wavy designs and even a few that have solid colors like hazel, olive, or black. Our tester found the four cubes and envelope pouch to be very durable. All the cubes (not the pouch) have mesh panels, organizing labels, and handles. While these cubes don’t have compression zippers and the price is a bit high, the durability of the material and the design options might be worth it.

Dimensions: Large:   17 x 12 x 3 inches, medium:   15 x 11 x 3 inches, small: 12 x 8.8 x 3 inches, envelope pouch: 13 x 10 x 1.5 inches | Material: Polyester | Number of Cubes:  5

With excellent compression capabilities, durable ripstop fabric, and a price that won't break the bank, the REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cube Set earns our top pick. Another set that performed well was the Gonex Compression Packing Cubes , thanks to their double-zipper compression and range of available colors, not to mention that they come in a set of four.

After removing the packing cubes from their packaging, we quickly assessed the materials, checking aspects such as the stitching and zippers for durability. Our next step involved packing the cubes with apparel, shoes, and accessories such as toiletries and cosmetics before zipping them up and placing them in a carry-on suitcase to see how much space they took up. We also splashed them with a bit of water to test the water resistance of the packing cube material.

For each packing cube set, we made extensive notes on the capacity, design, material quality, and value. With any carry-on luggage , space is limited, and we wanted to ensure we chose packing cubes that not only allowed us to fit as many items as possible but had the kind of material and design that would be durable for frequent travel use. To round it out, we wanted the price to reflect the features presented.

Other Packing Cubes We Tested

Béis The Packing Cubes : While we loved the label that came with these bags, we didn't think that the price reflected the space or quality of the material.

Herschel Travel Organizers : This set's small and medium cubes were wonderful, but we found the large cube awkwardly huge. It made packing a carry-on difficult and didn't offer the kind of space-saving functionality we desired.

Briggs & Riley Packing Cubes : These cubes fit a decent amount of clothes, seemed durable, and had an excellent expansion feature, but there wasn't anything that particularly wowed us. One drawback was that one full side of the packing cubes is mesh, which won't protect your clothes if a spill occurs.

Away The Insider Packing Cubes : Mesh is great for breathability, but the mesh cover of these packing cubes isn't going to do much against spilled liquids. Not to mention, they're a bit expensive, which seems to be mainly because of the brand name.

Eagle Creek Pack-it Starter Set : If you only need two regular cubes and a folder-style cube, the Eagle Creek Pack-it Starter Set isn't too shabby, mainly because it held up to our water test. If you haven't used a folder-style cube before, it can be confusing to pack.

L.L.Bean Packing Cube Set : The price point seems accurate for L.L.Bean but may be expensive for what you get—cubes with a little stretch and a partly mesh top. Our tester wanted the cube to have a bit more structure.

Bagail Compression Packing Cubes : The price is right, and the design is pretty standard, but we were a little worried about the seam work, mainly when the compression feature was utilized. These may not last as long as others.

YAMIU Packing Cubes 7-Pcs : These packing cubes are standard, but does one need seven packing cubes? And you'll have to be okay with see-through toiletry bags.

Lean Travel Premium Compression Packing Cubes : These no-frills packing cubes may work for the newbie traveler, but fitting all three in a carry-on was a challenge for our tester.

EZPacking Clear Packing Cubes : These may work if you're comfortable with see-through packing cubes. The small cube only fits a few toiletry items.

OEE Luggage Packing Organizers : Who doesn't love a bargain? Unfortunately, the price reflects super thin material that doesn't do well with thick clothing and flimsy zippers that get caught in the mesh.

TRIPPED Compression Packing Cubes for Travel : These cubes were a bit expensive, especially since they didn't feel sturdy and the zipper didn't go all the way around the cubes, making them a little harder to pack.

What to Look For in Packing Cubes

If you check your suitcase, weight is always a consideration. Choosing packing cubes that are light enough to make a negligible difference to the airline scale is therefore important. For the most part, packing cubes are not particularly heavy, though we’ve seen some structured ones that may add a few pounds to your bag. 

Packing cubes are typically made of nylon, though some use better nylon than others. Ripstop nylon, for instance, is less likely to tear than other types. Although we love to see a water-resistant or waterproof packing cube, many of our testers found that the water resistance or waterproofness wasn’t as effective as expected. Many packing cubes have mesh panels that somewhat defeat the purpose of using water-resistant fabric. Of course, mesh panels let you see inside the bag and are more breathable than plastic panels.

Packing cubes come in various sizes that differ from brand to brand. (A size small from one brand will have different measurements than a small packing cube from another brand.) Look at the dimensions for the packing cubes before buying. Most packing cubes will fit in a carry-on suitcase, though we’ve seen some large or extra-large packing cubes that are too big, take up too much space, or are an awkward size. The same thing can happen with small packing cubes—some are just too small to really fit anything inside. While not everyone likes packing cubes with compression features, they remove air and save space, which is a nice feature to consider.

Number of Cubes

Do you need more than five cubes? That all depends on the size of your family if you plan on buying one set to share, or if you're buying for a checked bag and a carry-on. Packing cube sets can range from two cubes to as many as eight. It never hurts to have a backup cube in case you rip one, lose one, or it just wears out, though if you want to limit how much you pack , it might be a good idea to buy a two- or three-cube set.

How you pack your cubes in a carry-on suitcase will depend on the type of luggage you’re using. No matter what type of carry-on bag you have, you’ll most likely have to play Tetris to figure out the best method for fitting the packing cubes in the luggage. Those with carry-on suitcases might find that positioning the cubes vertically rather than horizontally provides more space, but again, this can only happen if the suitcase is deep enough to allow such a packing strategy.

While you can find many tips and tricks for packing clothes in packing cubes, it’s likely that when you remove your clothing, it will have some wrinkles. Rolling your clothes—once you’ve buttoned and zipped all tops and bottoms—may reduce wrinkles. This is because there are fewer folds in the fabric. You could also try limiting the pressure exerted on the outside of the cube to prevent folds from compressing and forming wrinkles. Or, save yourself a headache and pack clothes made of fabrics resistant to wrinkling. As a last resort, consider bringing along a travel steamer.

Most packing cubes can be put in the washing machine on cold, but you should double-check the tag to see if they need to be hand-washed. If you put them in the washing machine, zip them up so the zipper doesn't snag on anything. Most people suggest air drying the packing cubes as the material tends to do poorly against the heat of a dryer. A hand-sanitizing wipe can clean away germs or small spills if you're in a bind. Although some suggest using Febreze or essential oils to refresh packing cubes, be mindful of how oily the product may be, as it could cause the packing cube to get sticky or stain your clothing. Putting a dryer sheet in the cube may be a better option.

Author  Alex Temblador  is an outdoor and travel journalist who lives in Texas. Alex seeks out adventurous travels all around the world, and often uses packing cubes to get to her destination. Throughout her career she has rappelled in Mexico, kayaked in Puerto Rico and Thailand, skied in Telluride and Montana, surfed in Zihuatanejo, scuba dived in Bonaire, and hiked in Peru and Switzerland. Products for this article were chosen according to the results of lab tests carried out by the TripSavvy team.

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