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9 best packing cubes for keeping your suitcase organised

From rain-proof storage to shrinking space-savers, these are the luggage lifesavers you need

Lottie Gross
Friday 11 February 2022 19:36
<p>Some even helped us fit five days’ worth of clothes into one small backpack </p>

Some even helped us fit five days’ worth of clothes into one small backpack

Packing is the worst part of any trip. The anxiety around forgetting something, the worry that your suitcase will be too heavy and the concern that that flimsy zip might just not make it all the way round once you’ve piled your possessions inside a bag.

Needless to say, packing to come home from a holiday is even worse. But packing cubes make the process so much simpler, allowing you to separate your socks from your sarongs in an efficient fashion while saving a bit of space, too.

Packing cubes are about so much more than organisation, though. While it’s handy to keep your underwear in one place and your t-shirts in another, many packing cubes offer other functionalities, from compression to drastically reduce the amount of space taken up by a pile of jeans or your floaty summer dresses, to those made for specific items such as cameras and shoes.

Packing cubes also solve one of travel’s biggest conundrums: the roll versus fold debate. While many swear by rolling their clothing to save space, others dispute the benefits and simply fold their clothes into the suitcase. This hotly debated topic is put to bed with packing cubes, as it doesn’t really make a difference either way – especially if you’re using the compression type.

How we tested

Our travel writer, Lottie Gross, has spent the last month traipsing around hotels researching her brand new guidebook for dog owners, and she has used these packing cubes to help separate her clobber from the dog’s bedding in her suitcase. In some cases, she’s packed five days’ worth of clothes into one small backpack, defying the stringent easyJet luggage rules, and has thoroughly tested each zip to ensure its functionality and reliability.

Read more:

Packing cubes that claim to be water-resistant have been drizzled on by a rainfall shower head, and those with compression capabilities have been filled to bursting before we tested out their shrinkage.

The best packing cubes for 2022 are:

  • Best for versatility – Antler Chelsea packing cubes: £30, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best compression packing cubes – Packmate travel roll storage bags: £15.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for photographers – Tropicfeel camera cube: £43, Tropicfeel.com
  • Best for organising your wires – Tropicfeel tech pouch: £39, Tropicfeel.com
  • Best for backpacking and outdoor adventures – Ordnance Survey packing cubes: £32.99, Ordnancesurvey.co.uk
  • Best lightweight compression cubes – Suited Nomad packing cubes: £38, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for mixing and matching – Snugpak: From £5.45, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for business or events travel – La Pochette shoe box: £45, Lapochette.co
  • Best for rainy days and watery adventures – Millican Mavericks packing cubes: £55, Homeofmillican.com

Antler Chelsea packing cubes

Best: For versatility

Rating: 9/10

  • Features: Compression packing cubes, breathable mesh top, robust zips 

These Antler packing cubes were a real surprise. What looks like a relatively simple travel accessory actually becomes a genius travel hack thanks to its double zipping system. There’s one zip on the top to open the packing cube, then another around the edge to help expand and collapse the cube. Once the packing cube is full, the zip around the outside helps to compress the contents of the packing cube, meaning you’ll save tons of space in your case by using these. Of course, you don’t have to use the compression function if you don’t need to save space, so these are by far the most versatile packing cubes on this list.

The cubes are fabric, made with mesh and polyester and the whole set of six weighs less than 1kg. The set comes with four different sizes: one extra large, one large, two medium and two small, and they were the perfect way to pack a week’s worth of clothes into our backpack for a trip to Tenerife.

Packmate travel roll storage bags

Best: Compression packing cubes

Rating: 7/10

  • Features: Compression packing cubes, reasonably priced, set of six 

These compression packing cubes are incredibly clever, as you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to remove the air and save that all-important space. Packmate’s set comes with eight transparent bags – two small, two four medium and two large – offering excellent value for money. You simply have to fill the bag, roll it to compress and remove the air, and then close with the double seal zip.

Being transparent, it’s easy to see what’s inside so you know which bag to open, and their capacity is rather impressive. Packmate’s largest bag is said to fit enough jackets for a family of four, so these are a great option if you’re packing for the kids, too.

Tropicfeel camera cube

Best: For photographers

Rating: 9/10

  • Features: Padded, structured cube for camera protection, Velcro dividers for organising lenses and camera body, body strap 

Packing your precious camera into a suitcase can be a nerve-wracking affair, especially as it might get damaged in transit. The Tropicfeel camera cube is a brilliant solution with its rigid, padded body for maximum protection and a number of Velcro dividers that can be used to create a customised layout within the cube for optimum organisation.

The cube easily fits a DSLR body plus three reasonably sized lenses and there was room for even more in with our Sony A7300i compact camera. There’s a zip pocket on the front for SD cards and wires, and it comes with a body strap that turns it into a camera bag for when you’re out and about. The cube can be completely collapsed for easy storage, too.

Tropicfeel tech pouch

Best: For organising your wires

Rating: 7/10

  • Features: Small and lightweight, padded for protection, elastic bands for easy organisation, made from recycled polyester  

Our digital lives are becoming ever-more tethered to the plug socket in the wall, with different chargers for all our different devices. On holiday, it can be a pain to keep up with all the different wires you’ve got to pack, from an electric toothbrush charger to your phone’s cable and more. Tropicfeel’s tech pouch promises to make life less cluttered, and it’s a great addition to your packing cube collection.

The pouch is a skinny 2.2cm and a lean 14.5cm high and 21cm wide, but it still fits plenty inside. There are elasticated bands for slotting in cables, plugs and wireless earphone docks, and you can easily fit an e-reader inside it, too. What’s more, the pouch pairs nicely with the brand’s Shell backpack (£172, Tropicfeel.com), as it cleverly clips onto the front with a unique clicking system. The pouch loses points for lack of security – there’s no padlock or other way to secure the zip to ensure no one but you can get into it – and we’d have loved to see more elasticated organising space for extra wires.

Ordnance Survey packing cubes

Best: For backpacking and outdoors adventures

Rating: 7/10

  • Features: Mesh top for ventilation, grab handle for ease of access, cool OS Map design 

Packing cubes aren’t just for suitcases and these Ordnance Survey packing cubes are a brilliant option if you’re travelling with a backpack. The loose polyester fabric means they’ll squeeze into any space, and the mesh top offers ventilation for any dirty or damp clothes at the end of a long hike. Most importantly, though, the grab handle on the side of each cube means you can easily pull it out from the top of your pack without having to fumble around.

The pack of three cubes comes in a really fun design, with the cartographical markings for a British mountain on each. The smallest is, appropriately, Scafell Pike at 28cm x 18cm x 8cm; the medium is Mount Snowdon at 35cm x 26cm x 8cm; and the largest is Ben Nevis, at a size of 44cm x 33cm x 8cm. The whole set is no more than 200g, too, so you won’t need to worry about adding weight to your backpack.

Suited Nomad packing cubes

Best: Lightweight compression cubes

Rating: 9/10

  • Features: Double zip function for compression, ultra-lightweight material, grab handle for easy access 

Similar to the Antler packing cubes, the Suited Nomad cubes have a double zip system that allows you to fill the cube easily before compressing it with the second zip. This functionality is hugely helpful for space-saving, and these cubes are significantly lighter than the Antler ones, making them ideal for packing light. However, due to their lightweight fabric, they don’t feel quite as sturdy as the Antler packing cubes, though they do have reinforced seams to stop any ripping when compressing.

The Suited Nomad bags come as a set of three, each 10cm deep and the largest measuring 31cm x 28cm and the smallest 28cm x 20cm. These packing cubes are great for clothing, but are less useful for accessories like tech or shoes,

Snugpak pakbox: From £5.45

Best: For mixing and matching

Rating: 7/10

  • Features: Structured for some protection, grab handles for easy access, breathable mesh top 

Snugpak’s packing cubes come in a variety of sizes, from small 1l and 2l cubes, handy for tech or underwear, to 4l and 6l containers that will fit trousers, jackets or shoes inside. Each one has a grab handle on the top so it can be easily accessed when packed inside a backpack, and the largest packing cube weighs no more than 200g, so these are a great lightweight option.

What’s great about the Snugpak cubes is that they’re sold individually, rather than as a set, so you can choose which packing cubes you do and don’t need (for example, you might only want to separate your underwear so only require the smallest, cheapest packing cube). Made from an incredibly robust, non-ripping material, these are a sturdy option for all kinds of travel.

La Pochette shoe box

Best: For business or events travel

Rating: 8/10

  • Features: Shoe-specific packing cube, padded for protection, sturdy grab handle 

Shoes are often a last thought when it comes to packing, and slotting them into a suitcase without getting your clothes dirty can be a bit tricky. The La Pochette shoe box is a really handy way to pack in your shoes and keep them and your clothes protected. It’s padded, offering support around flimsy or formal shoes that need protection during transit, and the grab handle makes the box easy to access.

It’s large enough to fit a size 14 men’s shoe, and we managed to fit two pairs of size five women’s trainers inside. It can be filled with numerous pairs of flip flops and sandals, too, meaning you can bring all the shoes you need for a summer holiday in one shoe box. There’s no need to worry about dirt, either, as it’s machine washable and the fabric has odour control technology to stop any stinky shoes contaminating your clothing.

Millican Mavericks packing cubes

Best: For rainy days and watery adventures

Rating: 8/10

  • Features: Waterproof for maximum protection, packing tips provided on each cube, made from recycled materials

Sustainably minded Millican has created a set of three packing cubes perfect for anyone messing about on the water or backpacking where it’s likely to rain. Their triple set offers an 18l, 5l and 2.5l cube, each made from recycled polyester that promises to keep your possessions dry. The main material is indeed waterproof and our belongings stayed mostly dry, although the zip area isn’t completely sealed and did let some moisture in, so this is by no means a drybag-style option.

Each cube has charming little illustrations on the back with tips on what to pack inside, but the set loses points for lack of grab handles and their unusual shape, which isn’t hugely useful for packing in a square suitcase.

This set is currently out of stock, but you can sign up to get notifications when it returns.

The verdict: Packing cubes

The best packing cubes we tested were the Antler compression packing cubes, which use a double-zip system to allow for space-saving. At just below £50, these were our best buy as they come in varying sizes as a pack of six. If you’re on a budget, the Packmate travel roll storage bags are an excellent affordable option. The Tropicfeel camera cube also deserves a special mention for its versatility for various camera equipment and its sturdy casing for protection.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on luggage and other travel essentials, try the links below:

Whether for business trips or outdoor adventures, get kitted out with the best travel backpacks

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