Advice

The Best Packing Cubes For Backpacking

I guess you are looking for the best packing cubes for backpacking? There are so many on the market but not all of them are suitable for backpack or rucksacks. We got a set of 3 free from a conference a couple of years ago and we never went back. They revolutionised our packing and we have just got better and better since. We travel with backpacks only so we can travel cheap with hand luggage and so we need packing cubes to get the essentials in for our trip. Here are our best packing cubes for backpacking along with some helpful tips to make the most of your space.

The Best Packing Cubes For Backpacking

Firstly, I chose packing cubes that would be a suitable size for fitting into a backpack or rucksack. To test the packing cubes and compare I decided to pick out a certain amount of clothing. Including bulky items such as trousers and thinner items such as underwear to see how each set of packing cubes work out. Some of the sets that I have listed below have much larger packing cubes in them, if I haven’t tested that size I will say so. I mainly used the smaller and medium sizes as these are the most practical for backpacking.

I will point out that I pack light so this is just an example of clothes I would take. It is also just to give you an idea of what you would be able to fit in your packing cubes. 

a table with a layout of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Ebags Small Packing Cubes Set Of 3

The eBags small packing cubes are a great size and I would say these are one of the best packing cubes for backpacking. They are light, easy to use and made of good quality materials. The pack of 3 are all the same size but are just the right size. Though I didn’t manage to pack everything into the 3 I was very close and with a fourth, I would have done it.

eBags small black packing cubes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

I did like that they were small enough to be able to pack light and small. I imagine many people who are backpacking want to be able to get to that desired packing cube fairly easy and the smaller ones are great for that.

eBags small black packing cubes full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking

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Ebags Small/Medium 4 Piece Set

I was really impressed with the eBags 4 piece set straight away due to the variety of sizes. I think after trying to pack a backpack with any packing cubes is working out space. The best way to make most of your space and stay organised is to have a variety of packing cube sizes. These were great as I could keep everything separate. I wouldn’t have to take out the largest one just to get clean underwear which makes life so much easier.

eBags Variety set of packing cubes empty to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking

I think the quality is just as good as the other brands and design is very similar. I managed to fit quite a lot in each packing cube which is great for people looking to pack plenty or are packing for a long trip.

eBags variety set full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Gonex Small 3 Piece Set

At first impression of Gonex was good, the materials used were good and felt like good quality. I would have liked to have a rubber on the zip handles as they are easier to grip. Though these are stated as small they were still quite large for what I was expecting. The packing cubes measured 35cm x 25cm x 8cm, which would fit in a larger backpack/rucksack. If you were looking for a 50l and smaller would use one or two of these and maybe a smaller one if you can find one.

Gonex small 3 piece set empty to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

I managed to pack all my stuff into these 3 packing cubes with extra underwear in and still plenty of room. The Gonex packing cubes are definitely some of the best packing cubes for backpacking due to the size, they are large enough to store plenty of clothes without being too big for a backpack.

Gonex small 3 piece set full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Gonex Variety Set

While I discarded the largest packing cube and drawstring bag as they didn’t seem the right size or fit for backpacking. I would still use the larger if I were going on holiday and using a suitcase or just to store clothes at home. The 2 medium and the smaller packing cubes were more suitable for backpacking. I like the variety of sizes as you can often fit them together better like a jigsaw in your backpack. The Gonex brand is great quality and definitely one of the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Gonex variety set empty laid out to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

I managed to fit everything into the 3 packing cubes with extra underwear. The cubes weren’t quite busting so I could have fit in another couple of items if I chose to. Also if you plan to pack light and small you can fit more in your cubes. I liked these packing cubes as you can arrange them in a couple of ways to fit your backpack best, just a bit like playing Tetris. The Gonex is a high-quality brand for a great price so I would definitely say these are on the best packing cubes for backpacking. I really feel like they will last the rough packing of staying in a hostel along with the stuffing of clothes.

If you are wondering the best ways to pack into your cubes there is more on that later!

Gonex variety set full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Amazon Basics

I actually really like the Amazon basics packing cubes. They were fun colours so you can get a variety of colours for each person or just stand out if you like. I chose to sample a pack of 4 which were all the same size, I liked this idea and you can create a stack in your backpack and use the other free space for shoes, toiletries and any other loose items you might have. Depending on the size of your backpack I would say these are suitable for anything from a 30l backpack up to a 75l backpack. The stackable sizes and quality really meant that these are one of the best packing cubes for backpacking.

AmazonBasics small trio empty laid on a table to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

I managed to fit all the items of clothing in the 4 packing cubes with plenty of space for more. If I were to be using a 30l – 50l backpack I would probably only use 2 or 3. If you are planning on using a 50l + backpack I would advise using the full 4 packing cubes. This will also depend on what you plan to pack, where are you going and how long for.

AmazonBasics pack of 4 packing cubes full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

ProPacking Cubes Ultralight

Though one of the most expensive packing cube sets I bought, it was one of the least impressive. I didn’t like the overall design of the packing cubes. They aren’t too different from the other brands in terms of materials and size. I did like the variety of sizes so you can use all of them or just the smaller ones.

PROpacking cubes empty laid on a table to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Though I chose to pack my clothes into the 2 long and thin packing cubes along with a medium size, I would look at using the 3 medium sizes if you plan to take plenty. The three medium sizes would be the best packing cubes for backpacking as they create a solid form while in the backpack. This would make it easier to pack and unpack your backpack.
PROpacking cubes full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes

LeanTravel compression packing cubes came highly recommended and have seen that many travellers use these if not very similar. Compression packing cubes are great for people wanting to travel light, hand luggage only or just a small backpack. We often travel with just a 30l backpack so these are perfect for us so we can make the most out of the space we have available.

LeanTravel compression packing cubes empty laid on a table to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Overall I was impressed, though as they are compression bags be careful of your overall weight. I would practice with these a little before doing your final packing. The quality of the packing cubes are great and I would definitely say these are one of the best packing cubes for backpacking. I would suggest these are more beneficial to people looking to travel for long periods at a time. They are also great for those travelling between different climates so the colder layers can be compressed away until they are needed. They are really easy to use and simple to get back to a flat shape once they have been opened.

LeanTravel compression packing cubes full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

LeanTravel compression cubes full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

WOWTOY 6PCS Packing Cubes Value Set

These are the cheapest set I could find on Amazon and unfortunately, you can tell. Honestly, if you are looking to save as much money for your travels but still want to keep your stuff organised buy these. If you are only planning on backpacking for 2 months then these are perfect. Also feel as though these are really aimed towards females going travelling or on holiday as they are designed to hold makeup, toiletries and spare shoes. The set comes with 4 packing cubes and 4 bags, great to use for accessories, toiletries, shoes etc.

WowToys Packing Cubes laid on a table to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

I managed to pack all my clothes into the 3 smaller packing cubes but the bags themselves didn’t feel that stable. It felt a little pointless as I think as soon as I try to pack them into a backpack they would collapse and be a mess. Whether they would work better if they were packed fuller I think they would.

WowToys variety set full of clothes to demonstrate the best packing cubes for backpacking.

Best Ways To Pack Into Your Packing Cubes

You are already using packing cubes to make the most of the space you are backpacking with. I have a couple of ways to help you make the most of the space in your packing cubes. This will also be a good way to look after your clothes, make them longer lasting and save you from doing too much washing.

Fragrance Sheets

This is completely out there I have to admit and it might not be viable for everyone but dryer sheets are a life saver. If like us you plan to take as little as possible for a trip and don’t want to have to think about washing these are a great alternative. If you are going for a shorter trip you can include dryer sheets into your backpack to keep your clothes fresh and long lasting. Be careful these do not directly stain your clothes and I would suggest not putting them directly in with your clothes. There are plenty of other alternatives you could add in such as fragrance bags.

Use the Marie Kondo Fold

If you haven’t heard of the Japanese sensation who is helping millions around the globe tidy their homes then you are missing out! Marie Kondo shows people how to organise and tidy their possessions, though I know you won’t be travelling the world with a kitchen cupboard of Tupperware you will still want to keep organised.

She is big on respecting the items you use, especially clothes. She even thanks them as she throws them away. But back to my point, taking care of your clothes, whether they are dirty of not will, in the end, keep them in good condition and will make them last longer. By using Marie Kondo’s folding technique will help keep your clothes tidy and good condition but will also mean your saving space in your packing cubes.

Colour Code

This is mainly focussed on people or families who need to keep their clothes separate and organised. If there are more than the 2 of you travelling look at getting packing cubes in different colours. Each person can have a colour and when you are travelling around you know who’s clothes are who’s.

Roll Don’t Stuff

If you aren’t much of a folder check out this technique of rolling your clothes. We have all done it to fit socks into shoes etc. Well, it is the same style but your rolled clothes will go into your packing cubes. Start by going a basic fold to make the item the same width of your packing cube, then simply roll tight and put in. This will, of course, be harder with bulkier items but if you are serious about packing as much into your backpack look at trading those out for something smaller.

Folding To The Width Of The Packing Cube

One thing I think people forget when they start folding is, it is the right size fold? I like to think of clothes being folded into shapes. So say I have a rectangle packing cube, I can make flat rectangle folds of chunkier square folds to fit in. It sounds extremely nerdy but it helps. I usually lay the packing cube width next to the item I am folding. This way I can check that once the item is folded it will fit in the packing cube and not get stuffed or crinkled.

Top Tips For Using Your Packing Cubes

We have travelled around Europe for 6 months with just a 20L backpack. We pretty much travel hand luggage only if we go anywhere. No matter how long we are travelling for or how the temperature was going to be. To make the most out of your packing cubes you need to understand the best way to fold your clothes to fit in the cubes.

Pack Wisely

Use your smaller cubes for your smaller items. These will be things like your underwear, socks, bras and thinner layers. Girls if you are packing thin vest tops or anything light and thin that fold small, this is a perfect place to pack them.

Section Your Clothes

A good way to keep tracking of your clothes and utilise your best packing cubes for backpacking is sectioning. If you like to be organised and tidy this is a great way to keep your stuff in order.  Think about packing your trousers in one packing cube and t-shirts in another.

Pack Outfits In Packing Cubes

This is a great way of keeping your clothes organised. Especially if you know you are packing items that only go with that pair of shorts. I love the idea of packing clothes into outfits as once you have had your wear out of it, you know it can be washed. This is a great tip for family backpacking as you can use these to keep children’s outfits together.

I have also seen that some families do this with children’s clothes into food bags for holidays, though I don’t like the thought of all the waste of bags. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Them For Other Things

When we aren’t filling our packing cubes with clothes we often use them to hold other items. As we travel with 2 cameras, 2 phones and 2 laptops we often have quite the hoard of chargers. We never found a storage system that worked for us so we often use small packing cubes to hold our wires together. You can pack so many alternatives into packing cubes if you want to keep it separate this is a great way to utilise a packing cube.

There you have our best packing cubes for backpacking. These are just a selection from the market and in a variety of styles, price ranges and sizes. If you use packing cubes and love them, let us know which you use in the comments.

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