There are so many different rules and sizes now for carry on luggage and the fees involved. Cora and I have never travelled with anything larger than a backpack. No matter how long we have travelled for we never packed heavier. On our most recent trip, we were flying Ryanair with the small personal bag allowance, not even hand luggage size.
How can we do this? With packing cubes, of course, we use them for everything and they really work. Now I am guessing you are going on a trip and are only taking hand luggage, but there is so much you want to take right? Check out the best packing cubes for carry on luggage to get you started.
The Best Packing Cubes For Carry On Luggage
Firstly, I chose packing cubes that would be a suitable size for fitting into a small bag or suitcase. 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.
For the purpose of this post, I picked out a regular size hand luggage case which is accepted by majority airlines and a small bag which fits the new Ryanair size requirements.
Small Carry On Luggage
I decided to start with the smaller bag first, this may appeal to you if you are having a long weekend away and don’t want to pay extra for the suitcase. Or you just don’t want to pay for it, like us. This is the bag I used for a week to Hamburg with shoes and toiletries in.
If you are packing this tight and small you need to work out what your purpose is. You need to ask yourself what you will need, also check the local weather and what kind of activities you will be doing.
I managed to pack the following items in this bag with space for a laptop and toiletries.
Ebags Small Packing Cubes Set Of 3
These were a much better size to fit in the luggage bag for light travel. The bags were short enough I could stack them in side by side and then another to one side leaving room for toiletries.
These were much easier to use within the luggage bag as they were all the same size and I found it easier to pack. I was really impressed with how much space these left me with and would say these are definitely one of the best packing cubes for carry on luggage.
Ebags Small/Medium 4 Piece Set
I decided to only use the smallest 3 of the packing cubes. I liked having a small square packing cube to use for socks and underwear as they are a better fit to a smaller cube.
Overall I liked the sizes but they didn’t work as well with the luggage bag. The carry on packing cubes were too large and square to fit in smaller bag but worked well in the larger case.
I couldn’t fit the dress and 2 pairs of socks into the packing cubes which were disappointing. I did, however, have space in the bag for a laptop, shoes and toiletries.
The way the packing cubes sat in the bag made it bulky and hard to arrange. Though these worked great for the backpacks and rucksacks I would say they aren’t the best packing cubes for carry on luggage.
Gonex Variety Set
The Gonex packing cubes are made of great quality and are good sizes. I decided to use the medium 2 from the pack. I managed to fit everything in that I wanted to take.
They were unfortunately just a little tall for the bag itself so they didn’t leave much room for a pair of shoes or anything else.
They fit perfectly side by side in the bag which was great as you could easily get them in and out if needed. These made for perfect size carry on packing cubes and were such good quality.
I only used 3 out of 4 for this bag as otherwise, it would have been too much to carry. I can also add if you were wanting to take a small pair of shoes or straighteners they would fit in as well as the packing cubes.
I like the quality and design of the Amazon Basics and would like to see if there is a smaller one for underwear alone. They do a variety pack with large, medium and small or you can get slim which are long and thin which may be better for this size bag.
Carry On Luggage Case
I decided to use a standard size wheelie hand luggage suitcase that is widely accepted on many different airlines. My case measured 54 x 37 x 19, that includes the length with the wheels too.
Remember to check your measurements of your case with your chosen airline before flying to avoid any nasty fees.
With this, I attempted to take much more in this carry on as there was much more space and scope with the packing cubes. Below is an image of all the things I packed into each packing cube set and fit into the case. Here are the best packing cubes for carry on luggage.
Ebags Small/Medium 4 Piece Set
The eBags is a great brand and high-quality packing cubes. They are a little expensive compared to the Gonex. These are a little different as the variety of sizes are much more varied.
I really like the smaller packing cubes as they are really useful for underwear, socks and small/thin clothes. It also made packing the case much easier.
I was able to separate off t-shirts from shorts and keep underwear on its own. The packing cubes fit really well into the case as the small ones fit into the bottom grooves of the case and the larger then sat on top.
There were small pockets of space left for toiletries and other holiday items. Though personally, I wouldn’t pay the higher price for these packing cubes I would definitely buy them if they were to come down in price.
I am a little tight with money. I still feel these are great quality carry on packing cubes and would look at getting these if you need the full set for your travels.
Gonex Small 3 Piece Set
These are classed as small on the listing but I would have described them as a medium. They are a great size to fit plenty into one cube.
I managed to fit everything and my shoes into the cubes and case. I did struggle with the 2nd packing cube and had to really push it into place. This is fine as long as you have got in everything else you need to and the weight doesn’t go over the limit.
This caused the rest of the suitcase to puff up a little and so made it harder to pack anything else in. I would advise using 2 cubes and then there would be ample space for any other items.
There is no denying that the quality of the Gonex packing cubes is great. The zips have a soft touch handle making it quieter and easier to handle along with great sturdy fabric. The mesh parts give you an idea of what you have packed in each cube.
I could fit more into the case on the top but would call this size medium. These are a great choice for carry on packing cubes and are highly recommended by my mum, who used these for her cruise.
Gonex Variety Set
After doing this review my mum got very interested in packing cubes, mostly for our upcoming trip to America as a family. After going through each brand and looking at what was the best packing cubes for carry on luggage I chose Gonex for her. The Gonex packing cubes are made of great sturdy fabric and have lovely soft handled zips.
The Gonex has one large packing cube, I used this for t-shirts and shorts and then 2 medium, 1 thin and a laundry bag. In this case, I only used the largest, 1 medium and the thin along with the laundry bag.
I liked the added touch of a laundry bag as you can use it for shoes, dirty clothes or even transporting any electricals.
The Gonex like the eBags variety meant that the different sizes slotted together in the case much better. All space was used which I really liked. The Gonex carry on packing cubes definitely have great quality and features that make them stand out and reliable.
Amazon basics came as a four pack and all a great size and quality. These are one of the cheaper sets of packing cubes and honestly would use these in a variety of sizes for all my trips.
I managed to fit all my clothes in with no problems at all, along with the shoes at the bottom of the case. There were still pockets of room for larger items such as hoodies or small things such as a loose scarf or cardigan.
The 3 main ones were a great fit into the case, you could also fit thin layers of extras underneath or on top of the packing cubes. It left plenty of space for other items such as toiletries and extra layers.
With the fourth cube I did only use it for underwear and folded it in half, I could have fit the underwear into one of the other cubes and used that space for other things.
For a suitcase this size, I would recommend using only 3 of the Amazon Basics Packing Cubes. I really liked using the Amazon brand for the carry on packing cubes as the sizes were just right for the case and bag.
ProPacking Cubes Ultralight
I wasn’t an immediate fan of the ProPacking Cubes as I thought they were quite expensive for the quality. Though the quality is good and they are definitely built to last I wasn’t sure on the price.
I decided to try a couple of ways with the ProPacking Cubes for the carry on luggage as they have a variety of sizes. I decided to try out the largest one and a thinner packing cube to start off with. Everything fit into those cubes and still space for extras such as toiletries.
I then used the 2 medium packing cubes and managed to fit everything in. Along with space for toiletries and more. These were a much better fit for my size case and think having the variety pack really helps with different packing solutions.
They are probably great value for money as you can pack 2 cases from one variety pack. I would definitely say these are one of the better packing cubes for carry on luggage. The variety of sizes really helps set them apart and creates a nice coverage of space in your case.
LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
I honestly wish these would have worked better in this case. I was hoping they would and to some, they might work perfectly. The problem I found with these packing cubes that once you compressed them they were very stiff and hard to fit into space.
Compared to the other packing cubes these remained stiff and hard to fit into the case whereas the other packing cubes remained quite soft and easier to manipulate into space.
I stand by these being some of the best packing cubes for carry on luggage and I think if they come in a smaller size they would be much easier to pack into a carry on luggage.
I think the compression part of the carry on packing cubes would have worked better if they were smaller and worked better to fit in the space. Having to lay them on top of one another wasn’t as space-efficient even if they both fit in. These would work well if you are only wanting to use one per case.
WOWTOY 6PCS Packing Cubes Value Set
These are advertised as compression cubes but they aren’t unfortunately. They are packing cubes to some level but a low level, these to me are more of a fashion statement.
Though these would be useful for someone who is just wanted to keep their clothes organised, not actually compressed. These work well for families who need a cheap alternative to organise clothes.
I think the target audience for these is a family going on a holiday and the parents wanting to keep clothes separated and organised. They are cheap and cheerful. I fit all my clothes in and used a laundry bag for my black shoes but that made it harder to pack them.
That is our best packing cubes for carry on luggage. If you use a certain brand of packing cubes that you want to share let us know in the comments. If you use packing cubes and have any handy tips and tricks to share leave us a comment below.