Traveling is mostly great — except for most of the people on airplanes and the mess that is trying to keep your schedule and your stuff in order. A bit of chaos is part of the experience, for sure, but a little organization (like a little bit of planning) can save you from disarray throughout your trip. Packing cubes are the easiest place to start.
It is not an exaggeration to say that packing cubes have changed my life. Not only do I use them to travel for trips, but I also use them to pack my gym clothes for the day and even to keep out-of-season stuff organized in the back of my closet. They’re just little bags; that’s all there is to them. But they keep your stuff contained, which makes it logistically easier to pack the suitcase they are made to fit in and they make it infinitely easier to actually locate your stuff while you’re traveling.
Packing cubes are an easy purchase because they are simple, straightforward, and generally inexpensive. The choice you have comes mostly in finding the right material and sizes for your stuff. There are lots of little ones for socks and underwear, bigger ones for pants and sweaters, and flat, protective ones to keep stuff like suits and delicate fabrics protected. Most come in a pack. Start with one of those and test it out. See whether you like organizing by item type or by outfit, how distinct you like those cubes to be, and then you can build out your set from there. Here are a few great ones to start with.
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Pretty much any suitcase brand is going to make its own version of packing cube sets and these are especially convenient because they are made to fit inside of those suitcases. I love my Away cubes and use them constantly. I have a set that is just for travel and then a set that houses my cold-weather accessories in the summer, so I never have to remember where I put them come fall.
Travel Packing Cubes 3-Pack
Do not impose any limits on packing cubes. They are as good for everyday use as they are for special travel. These Lululemon ones are made of mesh and highly breathable, which is great for stashing gym clothes in your work bag.
Calpak’s five-piece set includes a couple that are on the medium end of the size scale and come in a flat shape, which is great for keeping shirts and pants folded neatly as you pack them. Once you get to where you’re going, unpacking takes all of 30 seconds.
If you tend to throw a whole bunch of stuff into a bottomless duffle bag, a medium-sized packing cube makes that feel a little less chaotic. This one compresses, allowing for more or less room depending on what you put in it.
Paravel’s packing cubes make a great gift for anyone who travels. They come in a few sizes — large, medium, small — and a whole bunch of fun colors. You can get initials embroidered, too.
Compressible Packing Cubes
Monos’s compressible packing cubes are space-savers — and lifesavers. They take up as little space as possible and are both tear- and water-resistant.
If you’re packing a lot of pants or larger items in general, bigger packing cubes will be your friend. These are very roomy and you can see through the mesh top, so you will not forget what you put inside.
8-Piece Compression Packing Cubes
For big trips and smart packing, this set of eight packing cubes is as smart of a purchase as you could ever make. The twill fabric is super durable, making them great for heavy use.
Packing cubes are also great for protecting your clothes from other stuff in your suitcase, like shoes and toiletries. This extra-large packing cube is ideal for those more precious items.
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