Indispensable Item: Packing Cubes

The holy grail of travel organization!


If there was a packing equivalent to the best thing since sliced bread, it would be packing cubes. They probably deserve a holy travel choir song of their own.

If you’re not familiar with them, this post will show you how packing cubes will take your packing game to the next level. If you’ve ever been traveling and reached into your bag, trying to find that one item to get dressed and, by golly, how did it end up at the bottom of my bag?? Gah! Now I have to take everything out!, packing cubes will be your new best friend.

A packing cube is essentially a mini fabric drawer with a handle that you put in your travel bag. Like a drawer, you might fill one with shirts, one with pants, and one with socks and underwear. When you arrive at your destination, getting dressed is as easy as it is at home – take your cubes out of your bag and select the appropriate items for your day. They also: The holy grail of travel organization!

  • reduce wrinkles in your clothes (er, don’t just shove clothes into them – fold or roll them)
  • can be used to sort other things like charging cables, meal kits, cosmetics, you name it
  • can be used to sort out laundry. There are even ones that come with a clean/dirty side!
  • can be used as a pillow in a pinch
  • if you get the water resistant ones, they will keep water off your clothes
  • can be used to compress your clothing to some degree. There are even some specifically made to compress!
  • can organize your stuff even when you aren’t traveling!

They come in three main sizes – the cube, the half cube, and the quarter cube.

The sizes are about:

  • Cube: 14 x 10 x 3 in. I use this mostly for pants and jackets. I wouldn’t bring more than one of these.
  • Half Cube: 10 x 7 x 3 in. I use this mostly for shirts.
  • Quarter Cube: 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in. I use this one for underwear and socks.

I love my Silnylon cubes from Eagle Creek. While they are a bit more expensive than some other cubes, they are super light, super tough, and water resistant. And they are pretty, which is important when I’ll be spending months starting at them. There are, of course, about a bazillion others to choose from on Amazon if these aren’t your jam.


Some words of advice

  1. While packing cubes can help you organize your clothes, resist the temptation to stuff them full of more stuff than you need – this can lead to a heavy bag, fast. Use them for organization, not stuffing!
  2. Bring less cubes than you think you’ll need. Start with three – one of each size. Just like a bag, the more you bring, the more you’ll fill, so keep it minimal!


What’s your favorite use of packing cubes?

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The holy grail of travel organization!


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