How Four Packing Cubes Fared When Compared

comparison of 4 packing cube models

Packing cubes are a must for travelers, as they keep you organized and take advantage of all the space in your backpack or suitcase. While they usually don’t squeeze all the extra air out like in compression sacks, they eliminate dead space and allow you to compartmentalize instead of throwing all your stuff in. It makes re-packing on the road easy, as every piece of clothing or accessories has a specific place to be. You can buy them in multiple packs or mix and match different sizes.

For this packing cube comparison post, we looked at 4 different packing cubes of very similar shape and size, but more options are out there for those that want to make the perfect packing system come alive. Remember, it’s like playing Tetris. Just don’t get too carried away! If you pack less stuff to begin with, you won’t need as many organizing compartments.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Eagle Creek Pack It Half Cube and Pack It Specter Half Cube, $12.50-15

Eagle Creek packing cubes
Eagle Creek Pack It Half Cube vs Eagle Creek Pack It Specter Half Cube

Eagle Creek revolutionized packing cubes with their Pack It system. They come in two different styles, one lightweight ultrasil and their classic variety, which has mesh and a durable zipper.

The classic Pack It Half Cube comes in four colors and multiple sizes. The mesh allows for breathability and visibility, so you can see what’s inside. The zipper doubles as slight compression. These cubes have a lifetime warranty, handle for easy grabbing, and they’re washable.

The Pack It Specter Half Cube is made to be ultra-lightweight (it weighs less than an ounce!) with the ability to fold flat when empty. It also has a handle for easy movement in and out of backpacks, and comes in six translucent colors (so you can still see what’s inside). They’re washable as well as water and stain resistant. The Specter line also has a compression variety and multiple sizes.

The Specs for Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Pack It Half Cube:
CAPACITY: 650 cu in / 10.5 L
WEIGHT: 4 oz / 113 g
FABRIC: 300D Poly Micro-Weave
DIMENSIONS: 14 x 10 x 3 in / 36 x 25.4 x 8 cm
Pack It Specter Half Cube:
CAPACITY: 300 cu in / 5 L
WEIGHT: 0.6 oz / 18 g
FABRIC: Silnylon Ripstop
DIMENSIONS: 10 x 7 x 3 in / 25 x 18 x 8 cm


>> Check out Eagle Creek Pack It Cubes on Amazon.

eBags Medium Packing Cubes Set of 3, $38 ($12 each)

eBags Packing Cube
eBags Packing Cube

The eBags brand of packing cubes are similarly designed to the Eagle Creek Pack It ones, but even more sturdy. The double zippers allow for ease of opening. The material is thick and will wick water. The eBags cubes have some mesh, but not as much as the other brands, meaning it’s easier for you to open it up to see what’s inside. They’re structured on the bottom and sides, so they stand up even when there’s nothing in them, but can be flattened to store when you’re at home.

eBags Medium Packing Cube:
CAPACITY: 402 cu in / 6.6 L
WEIGHT: 12 oz / 340 g
FABRIC: TechLite Diamond Nylon
DIMENSIONS: 9.75 x 13.75 x 3 in / 24.7 x 34.9 x 3.7 cm

>> Check out eBags packing cubes on Amazon.

Sea to Summit Travelling Light Garment Mesh Bag (Medium), $17.95

sea to summit travelling light packing cube
Sea to Summit Travelling Light Packing Cube

We love Sea to Summit’s products, especially their Ultra Sil Daypack and laundry wash, so it’s no surprise that their Travelling Light garment mesh bag would be just as well made. Their Travelling Light line of packing cube style mesh bags come in three sizes and four colors. They’re structured, so they’re easy to fill, but fold flat when empty. The ultra sil material is durable and the full mesh top makes it easy to see what’s inside. It also stretches a bit, so it’s better for bigger items like sweaters or jeans.

Sea to Summit Travelling Light Garment Mesh Bag (Small)
CAPACITY: 244 cu in / 4 L
WEIGHT: 1.9 oz / 54 g
FABRIC: Ultra-SilTM fabric made with Cordura® yarn
DIMENSIONS: 7 x 4 x 10 in / 17.8 x 10.2 x 25.4 cm

>> Check out the Sea to Summit Travelling Light Garment Mesh Bag on Amazon.

How these packing cubes fared when compared. Packing cube comparison post.

Material

In terms of material, I like the ultra sil fabric used in the Eagle Creek Specter and Sea to Summit packing cubes the most. It doesn’t hold on to the smell of your dirty clothes and doesn’t snag like some of the other materials, especially mesh, do. Let’s not forget that the weight difference of the ultra sil fabric compared to traditional packing cubes is another bonus: 0.6 and 1.9 oz versus 4 oz and 12 oz. If you’re an ultra-light traveler, every little bit counts.

Durability

I’ve been traveling with these packing cubes for a few months now and all have held up well. But the eBags and Eagle Creek have shown a bit more wear than the others, albeit very little. As I said before, I think the ultra sil holds up better because it doesn’t snag on your luggage.

Price

The prices of the packing cubes were all reasonable, especially considering how much use you’ll get out of them. Before choosing a brand, you should decide how many you’ll need and which sizes, as this will affect the price. eBags has a bargain of 3 packing cubes for under $40. They’re all the same size, though, so you may prefer to purchase separately.

packing cube size comparison
Packing cubes viewed from the side. Top: Sea to Summit, Eagle Creek. Bottom: Eagle Creek, both versions.

What I Liked Best

Each packing cube brand was good for different things. The Sea to Summit style was best for bulky items since they have a little stretch. The Eagle Creek classic was good for standard shirts and tops. The Eagle Creek Specter was ideal for undergarments and smaller items. And I used the eBags packing cube for my electronics, cords and other rugged items in my carry on since that one has extra sturdiness built-in.

>> Brooke is a huge fan of the Eagle Creek Compression Cubes and used one with her Ultralight Packing List.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jean | Holy Smithereens says

    I am obsessed with packing cubes – they absolutely changed my life! I like Eagle Creek amongst the lot I have – they are sturdier and they retain the rectangular shape despite being full, making the tetris game easier.

  2. Lacey says

    I highly suggest washing (or at least doing a good, long rinse in warm water) your packing cubes before using on a trip. The dye from my green Eagle Creek (I believe Pack-It style) cube left a definite tint on my white shirts during our last long trip. The shirts were not wet or damp when put in the bags, so I can’t blame it on that. I didn’t have any issues with the blue, red, black or animal print ones, but to be safe they will all get washed before their first use from now on.

  3. Kaci says

    I recently got some off-brand packing cubes for extremely cheap (like $8 for a set of five in different sizes) and I’ve found that they’re also pretty useful at home. I don’t have a dresser in my bedroom, just a closet with one of those organization systems in it. I’ve been able to use the cubes as “drawers” so now it’s like I have a dresser, too. The fifth one of the set is too small for that use, but I’ve put it to work as a place to keep my 3-1-1 bag and the chargers I take with me when I travel. When I go on my next trip, I’ll be able to toss it straight into my suitcase, as it’s already “packed”. Packing cubes are great, even when you aren’t traveling!

  4. Brenda says

    Eagle Creek Specter series all the way!. I have Specter cubes, tubes, folders and even two sizes of compression packs and I love all of them. They are lightweight and durable, especially important with all of the weight restrictions on both checked and carry-on luggage. I have even used a quarter cube to temporarily hold/carry water (a few minutes). During one very rainy transfer both the inside of my bag was wet, all of my stuff in the Specter cubes remained dry! I only wish the zippers opened completely on all three sides for easier access and packing. Ultra sil products have replaced all of my old packing accessories (I like the small Sea to Summit hanging toiletry bag).

    • Brooke says

      I agree with the lightweight comment! Super important if traveling carry-on with tight weight restrictions… also why I love the ultra-sil products!

  5. Melanie says

    I recently bought a set of 4 cubes and 1 shoe bag from the Ikea Family range for interrailling Europe this summer! Although I’ve yet to use them try seem to be sturdy and have mesh so you can see inside them! €8 normally or €6.50 with a Family card here in Dublin!

  6. Jennifer says

    We have a few ebags cubes and have been pleased with them. I did get 2 sets at IKEA for the kids. I like some things about them, but I personally don’t like the double-sided large one. Weird of me. I have contemplated the Specter ones but wondered how the shape (not being a rectangle) would fare. I do love that my ebags ones fit perfectly inside my Ebags Weekender Jr!

  7. Dianne says

    I’m a little embarrassed at the number of packing cubes and folders in my collection. I have plenty for both my husband and me for any length trip. I have both eBags and Eagle Creek cubes in several sizes and Eagle Creek small packing folders (just right for my husband’s size XL shirts). My latest acquisition are several small Eagle Creek Specter cubes, they’re perfect for cosmetics and toiletries. I also use eBags padded pouches for jewelry, batteries, and other items that need extra protection.

    I only store clean clothing, socks, and underwear in the cubes. I use plastic bags for dirty clothes so they don’t “contaminate” clean items. I don’t know how I packed (especially for long trips) without these great products.

  8. Stretchingittotravel says

    I have picked up a couple of packing cubes from Ebags, the narrow rectangle ones. I feel like either my clothes are huge or I don’t know what I am doing with these things. I watched a few videos and rolled my clothes but the cubes don’t seem to hold much. The large narrow one held 3 maxi skirts rolled. And the medium held 3 t-shirts rolled. I had to push on them a bit to get the zippers closed so they are stuffed. 12 days in Europe will take me 5+ cubes at this rate in the backpack. I am not so sure they are saving me much space. Any ideas?

    • Brooke says

      That doesn’t seem right. Are you taking really large, heavy shirts? I can usually fit a pair of pants, several shirts and a couple tank tops easily into a medium cube. Also, how much are you trying to pack for 12 days? Are you bringing pants or shorts in addition to the maxi skirts? If yes, then cut back one maxi skirt. Email me a photo if you need further guidance.

  9. Jamie says

    I love my Eagle Creek Spectre compression cubes, but did blow the side of one out when jamming too many dirty clothes in it.

  10. Vicky Morris says

    I love eBags!! For my family of 4 we have 12 sets! We all have our own colour and I have two separate colours for snorkelling equipment and then our medicine kit and chargers etc. when we arrive at our destination unpacking is so much easier. I just hand everyone their bags and all my boys know where their clean pants are! Great when we come home as all the clean unused stuff is already sorted an can be taken straight back to their bedrooms and put away. We live in the UK but my hubby works and commutes to and from Germany every Mon -Fri. He hands me his empties on a Friday night and I hand him two pre-packed full ones and his packing is done for the following week. Very simple but have been a game changer for me.

  11. Courtney says

    I did a 4 month trip in 2013 and thought I was a genius for coming up with the idea of sorting my clothes/undies/laundry into colour-coded pillowcases. Only much later did I discover that packing cubes/stuff sacks are actually a thing. Will certainly be upgrading from pillowcases for my next trip!

    • Brooke says

      That’s genius! Pillowcases are definitely better than a bunch of plastic bags 😉 I’m glad you’ve discovered packing cubes and will find they work even better for staying organized.

  12. Liyang says

    I have an Eagle creek one but found that I liked the ones from Muji better, the material is more lightweight, packs up ridiculously small and the design is minimalistic so very much to my liking. I use the black ones in the size S, comparable to a half cube 🙂

    • Sid says

      I agree with you. I’m a big Muji fan. everything goes into them of different sizes. I’m now able to pack everything in a backpack for a week long trip!

  13. Barb says

    I too am obsessed with packing cubes. I have various sizes of both Eagle Creek and eBags brands and virtually everything I pack goes in some kind of cube, pouch or bag. But I have to say that as an experienced traveler, my favorite packing cubes are the first ones I bought (I think before anyone else was making them), from Rick Steeves. The guru of minimalist European travel. The set of three mesh packing cubes, one large and two half size (under $20), are an inch thicker than virtually all the others, and together fit perfectly in a standard carry-on size suitcase. I added several sizes of slender ones from the other companies to fit in the bottom of a suitcase between the roller handles as well as various other sizes for different needs. Rick Steeves also sells a couple of mesh drawstring bags for which I’ve found a number of uses. I’m tempted by the Eagle Creek Specter cubes, but the fact that they don’t unzip all the way is a turn off. I do like the double sided Eagle Creek one for separating items in a single cube.

  14. Kristy says

    This has been so insightful and interesting to read. We (family of 6) have been living in Europe for the last 8 years and just now stumbled onto the brilliance of packing cubes. I am doing research now for which brands and sizing to buy for the family in hopes of never again paying to check luggage on the discount airlines out here. (Deciding between the Ebags slim and Eagle Creek Spector.) We have a trip to the Netherlands/England/Ireland coming in April that I hope to be able to use these for then, and just keep everyone in small carry on’s! (Game Changer!!!!) Thanks for the insight and helpful tips in the comments too!

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