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