If you’ve ever struggled to squeeze all your luggage into one carry-on bag or always have the fear that your clothes and underwear may explode out your suitcase when taking out your toiletries at security, then you need to hear about packing cubes.
These simple little cubes will revolutionize the way you pack.
Here I’ll explain what packing cubes are, how to choose the right cubes for you and I’ll run through the best packing cubes for carry-on on the market so you can invest for your next trip.
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- What are Packing Cubes?
- What are Compression Cubes?
- How To Choose Packing Cubes for Your Carry-On Bag
- TOP 9 Packing Cubes for Carry-On Luggage 2021
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes are essentially zip-able, fabric pouches that can be used to separate your luggage into smaller, more manageable sections.
These are great for both short and long-haul trips and can be used to organize your cabin baggage or a larger suitcase.
Most packing cubes are rectangular in shape and come in a set with a variety of sizes.
Some ranges of packing cubes may have different bags designed for toiletries, underwear, clothes and electricals, while others simply let you take your pick depending on the amount of luggage you are packing.
Not only do these little pouches slot neatly together – like a classic game of Tetris – to maximize space in your luggage, but the color-coding or symbols can help you find the exact thing you’re looking for in a flash!
You may never have thought you needed something to separate your luggage but honestly, once you go packing cube, you never go back!
Read on to find out more about the best packing cubes for carry-on.
What are Compression Cubes?
There are two main types of packing cubes: normal and compression.
Regular/normal packing cubes, as mentioned above, are simple fabric cubes that may or may not feature foldable walls while compression packing cubes use different techniques in order to save even more space while packing.
Compression cubes may use a vacuum, valve or zipper design to help you save space while packing.
Traditional vacuum cubes usually have an additional suction feature which removes all air from each cube.
While these are a great idea if you are going away for one big trip (e.g moving across the country) and need to pack as much in as possible, they are not the quickest option for shorter journeys or those when you’ll be packing and unpacking a bunch of times.
They also tend to crease clothes as they are squashed together as tight as possible to save space.
One-way valve systems and zipper designs are better for regular use as they don’t require a suction system and are less likely to crease the packed items. These are the types we have included as the best compression packing cubes for carry-on luggage in this list.
I’ve included both regular and compression packing cubes in my best packing cubes for carry-on luggage list so you can choose the right option for you.
How To Choose Packing Cubes for Your Carry-On Bag
There are a number of things to think about when using packing cubes for the first time.
Do you want to buy some cheap packing cubes to see if you like them before investing in a quality set? Is durability essential for your purchase or is the style more important? Is breathability of your clothes more important than water resistance?
While this may seem overwhelming at first, once you’ve thought a little about your priorities, choosing the best packing cubes for your carry-on bag for you will become a whole lot easier!
As with anything, reading reviews from customers with a similar outlook to yours will help you get a better idea of which packing cubes will suit your style of travel.
Whether you’re an on-the-go traveler who wants to find the best packing cubes for a carry-on backpack, or are a wheelie-bag city-break extraordinaire, there is a packing cube set for you!
TOP 9 Packing Cubes for Carry-On Luggage 2021
Here I’ll choose my top 9 packing cubes for carry-on baggage to help you in your search for the perfect packing cube.
I’ve sorted them into budget ranges so you can choose a set that suits your budget as well as travel style and preferences.
Top Budget-Friendly Packing Cubes for Carry-On Luggage.
Pro Packing Cubes
Pro Packing Cubes are a great lightweight option that come in a range of sizes and colors.
You can pick from one of the 11 color choices or opt for a multi-colored pack making it easier to identify which cube you are looking for at first glance.
Pro Packing Cubes are perfect for packing carry-on luggage, allowing you extra space for souvenirs on the way home!
The Pro Packing Cubes have yet another benefit too: when not using the cubes, they can all be stacked inside each other so as to save space – winning!
- Great choice of colors.
- Reduce space by 30%.
- Stack inside each other when not in use for space saving.
- Variety of sizes.
- Choice of four or six packs of cubes.
- Great budget-friendly option.
- The mesh/nylon fabric doesn’t look the most classy or stylish.
Gonex Packing Cubes
For suitcase living, you can’t beat Gonex packing cubes. These durable packing cubes are much-loved by reviewers thanks to their double zips, RipStop fabric and carry handles which make them easy to use both in and out of luggage.
The range features large, medium and small cubes and shoe cubes and toiletry bags can be added to complete the set.
Gonex sets also include a laundry bag which helps keep clean and dirty clothes separate during your travels.
The laundry bags can also double up as an extra shoe bag, perfect for an additional pair or trainers or pumps that you pack last minute!
- Double zips.
- Water repellent fabric.
- Decent variety of sizes.
- Laundry bag included.
- The zips may snag clothing if you’re not careful.
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes
Of course, once Amazon realised that everyone was catching on to the idea of packing cubes, they decided it might be a good idea to make their own. Introducing: AmazonBasics Packing Cubes.
The AmazonBasics packing cubes use a similar design to most other brands, with durable honeycomb nylon fabric, mesh openings and double zips for ease of use. Each packing cube has a handle which assists with packing and unpacking and they claim to feature wrinkle-free technology.
The AmazonBasics packing cubes sets come in a range of color and usually comprise of two medium and two large cubes.
Of course, you’ll need to figure out exactly how many cubes you’ll need for your own carry-on luggage, but having a combination of medium and large cubes allows for adaptability.
- Budget-friendly option.
- Colorful packing cubes.
- Double zips.
- Carry handles.
- All the packing cubes in each pack are the same color which makes identifying them quickly more difficult.
Top Mid-Range Packing Cubes for Carry-On Luggage.
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
When reading any reviews of packing cubes, the Eagle Creek brand is sure to pop up, and for good reason too.
These quality packing cubes have been one of the original and best packing cubes on the market for a long time and it’s clear to see why.
Eagle Creek has an amazing range of packing cubes for any traveler and you can choose to buy single cubes or larger sets to suit your trip.
While a whole set of Eagle Creek packing cubes may set you back a little more than more basic cubes (I class them as mid-to-high budget), the quality fabric and solid design are more than worth it.
- Quality brand.
- Sturdy design.
- A one-way valve system is perfect for compression space-saving.
- Decent zips.
- Garment folders are great for keeping clothes crease-free.
- Slightly more expensive option (but I think they’re worth it).
LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
LeanTravel compression packing cubes use zipper technology to help travelers save space.
Rather than a valve or vacuum system, the LeanTravel packing cubes allow you to pack your items into the cube before compressing the luggage with a tight zipper – taking the bag thickness from 4 inches to 1 inch in seconds.
Obviously, this depends on how much is packed into each cube but generally, this system does help you save space.
Thanks to the zipper space-saving design and reinforced walls, the LeanTravel packing cubes minimize wrinkling of clothes which is perfect if you’ll be packing any business clothes or eveningwear.
The LeanTravel packing cubes have been designed with polyester and SBS anti-catch zips so that your clothes are safely packed, and they have mesh peep-holes so you can remember what you’ve packed inside and to allow breathability.
They do, however, only come in a grey fabric which, while looking classy, may be a bit too boring for some!
- Zip compression system saves space and minimizes creasing.
- Anti-catch zips – great for delicate clothing.
- Breathable mesh peepholes.
- Reinforced walls for extra stability when packing.
- Only come in grey polyester.
- The large cube may take up most of the space in your carry-on bag.
Shacke Pak Packing Cubes
The Shacke Pak packing cubes are bright and stylish and come with their brand-defining X on the front of the mesh lid.
This X lid has been designed with double-stitching to reinforce the lid ensuring clothes are safe from squashing and creasing during transportation.
The set also comes with a separate laundry bag for use during your trip, which can be squeezed in your carry-on bag next to your packing cubes.
Shacke Pak cubes use quality YKK zips and lightweight yet durable fabric which makes them worth the slightly higher price tag than the rock-bottom budget options.
- Fun, colourful packing cubes.
- Laundry bag included.
- Solid X design for rigidity.
- Quality fabric.
- Zipper tops may come off but the zips still work (perhaps a style fault).
Top High-End Packing Cubes for Carry-On Luggage.
eBags Packing Cubes
If you’re looking for lightweight packing cubes, eBags are The One.
The Ultralight set of five packing cubes weighs just eight ounces (before packing, obviously) so won’t add any unnecessary weight to your already-tight carry-on allowance.
The design of the eBags packing cubes is pretty similar to the Pro Packing Cubes sets, with a range of color options and mesh openings for added breathability.
Although the cubes may appear flimsy or basic on the first inspection, the fabric is actually surprisingly durable (considering its lightweight qualities) and has double stitching throughout to prevent breakages.
The fabric also securely stretches quite sufficiently for even the most stuff-as-much-in-as-possible packers!
- Super lightweight.
- Good choice of colors.
- Durable fabric and stitching.
- Spring-back walls on the packing cubes.
- One of the more expensive options.
Flight 001 SpacePak Travel Bag Set
The award-winning Flight 001 Spacepak packing cubes are designed as a catch-all set of three, with one cube for clothes, one for shoes and a third for toiletries.
The clothing cube is split into two with sections for clean and dirty laundry allowing it to be kept separate throughout your trip.
Each packing cube has symbols to help you identify which cube is most useful for which items and the Flight 001 Spacepak comes with folding and packing tips to help optimize space.
- Bright, colourful cubes that are easily identifiable in one glance.
- Two sides for dirty and clean clothing.
- Inside zips and pockets.
- Carry handles.
- No mesh sides for breathability.
- These packing cubes are quite large so take up quite a chunk of space in your carry-on bag.
- Quite expensive.
Jenni Chan Packing Cubes
If you’re going to be Instagramming your carry-on luggage (think: #stylishtraveler #lifehacks #traveling) then the gorgeous Jenni Chan packing cubes are the cubes for you!
Glamourous globetrotters will love the printed fabrics of the Jenni Chan packing cubes, from Aztec and floral to a swirling Greek key, you’ll be able to find a style to suit you.
- Amazingly stylish designs.
- Carry handles.
- Extra outside pocket.
- The packing cubes don’t have a rigid side structure which makes them a bit floppy while packing.
- Zips can sometimes catch clothing.
The variety of packing cubes on the market is seemingly endless but hopefully, this overview gives a bit more of an insight into my favorite packing cubes for carry-on luggage.
I’d suggest looking through each product on Amazon.com, reading the useful Q&As and reviews for each set so you can find the best packing cubes for your carry-on baggage.
Whether you want to spend $20 or $100 there is most definitely a packing cube set to suit you.
I’d love to hear back from you in the comments once you’ve purchased and used your packing cubes to see if you have any more tips to help out fellow travelers when choosing their next luggage buddy!
I know I used to struggle fitting everything into my carry-on luggage but with packing cubes I can squeeze so much more in and even have space for some holiday purchases too – ideal!
Once you’ve started using these cubes to organize your luggage you’ll be wondering why you’ve never done this before.
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