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You might have assumed that packing cubes are like airport lounges: only for serious frequent flyers who keep their stuff in one of those thousand-dollar Rimowa suitcases. But even if you only take weekend trips on budget airlines, packing cubes can be tremendously handy. For one thing, many of the best ones are not very expensive. And while they’re typically associated with traditional luggage, they’re still useful if you’re the type of traveler who gets around with just a backpack and a duffel bag.
In fact, packing cubes are great for weekender bags. That’s because duffels, unlike many suitcases, typically don’t have a structured shape or interior organizing straps. That can make it more difficult to adequately organize your stuff. Packing cubes add structure and compartments to your bag; not only does that make it easy to find what you’re looking for, but it can actually help you pack more stuff. You can even use them in backpacks. They’re almost always sold in sets of varying sizes, so you can use the big ones in large luggage or just toss a couple small ones in a weekender to keep underwear and socks separate.
There’s advice out there on the best way to use a packing cube, but every traveler is different, just as every trip is different. The best way to use packing cubes is to make them work for you. The first place to start, of course, is with the packing cubes themselves. Our options all have mesh windows, which provides breathability and lets you see what’s in the bags. While they’re not compression cubes, they’ll help you save space by optimally organizing. The sets vary between 4, 5, and 6 cubes, so you don’t need to buy more than you need.
1. PRO Packing Cubes for Travel
These packing cubes are made with durable YKK zippers and tough nylon, so they’ll hold up when you’re jet-setting across the globe. The set of 5 includes four medium cubes and a small one. They have convenient mesh paneling to see the contents, and they’re available in various colors including “marine blue” and “sunset orange.”
Pros: Set of 5, they’re made with durable nylon and use smooth and sturdy YKK zippers.
Cons: Set of 5 consists of only two different sizes: four medium and one small.
2. Bagail 6 Set Packing Cubes
This set of 6 packing cubes includes three different sizes, including two small rectangular ones, two medium cubes, and two large cubes. Like the other options, these packing cubes have mesh paneling on the front to see the contents.
Pros: Set of 6 consists of 3 different sizes, making it easy to customize based on your needs.
Cons: Zippers are not YKK, and some found that the zippers can get stuck.
3. Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes
This set of 4 packing cubes are all different sizes, and there’s an included drawstring bag for separating dirty laundry. The cubes use durable and smooth YKK zippers. Having four different sizes makes it easy to choose the ones you need for your trip.
Pros: Includes a drawstring bag for dirty laundry. 4 cubes of different sizes.
Cons: The smallest cube is larger than the other options on this list, so it may not be a suitable option for small luggage.