Packing Cubes Vs. Compression Bags (All You Need to Know)

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You have probably heard the debate about packing cubes vs. compression bags.

Fellow travelers on every social media site share their experiences and preferences. While we all have reasons for choosing either, they are among the best travel hacks. 

If you want to know which works best, read on as we compare packing cubes vs. compression bags.

What Are Packing Cubes?

Packing cubes are rectangular miniature bags you use to arrange items in your travel bag. They are usually made of tough material with a zipper for closure. Some people say they look like tiny suitcases you can pack in your large suitcase.

Travel packing cubes

When you purchase packing cubes, they will come in sets of 2-8 pieces, depending on the manufacturer.

These pieces are of different sizes to accommodate different things. For ease of use, go for those with a transparent fabric to check the contents without opening them up. 

Once you return home from your trip, you only need to empty and clean them.

Depending on the brand, you can wipe with a damp cloth and air dry or machine wash as instructed. Put them away by placing them inside the largest piece until needed.

Are Packing Cubes The Best Way To Pack?

Yes, they are. Packing cubes have revolutionized how we organize our luggage during travel. Here are the benefits of using them:

Luggage organization

With packing cubes, you can arrange your clothes by separating them. One bag for dresses or pants, another for shirts or blouses. Separating your clothes helps you assemble an outfit quickly when in a rush.

Neat/Wrinkle-Free Clothes

Rolling works best when using packing cubes, and apart from letting you stuff more, it helps keep your clothing wrinkle-free. 

Separate Clean and Dirty Laundry

Sometimes, doing laundry on holiday may be difficult. Use packing cubes to separate your clean items from the dirty ones, especially shoes.

Simplify Packing and Unpacking 

Imagine coming home from holiday with clean clothes; you only need to place them back in your closet. Similarly, when you reach your travel destination, you will simply unpack what you require.

How To Prepare For Travel Using Packing Cubes

Using packing cubes is simple, and the first step is purchasing them online or from your local store.

Although you can use packing cubes to arrange anything in your luggage, they work well for clothing items.

Once you get the packing cubes, organize your clothes into separate piles like shirts, trousers, dresses, and underwear.

You will then roll each pile into the small bags to get a good fit. If one bag feels empty, you can combine two clothes piles.

Lastly, close the packing cubes but avoid overstuffing them. Place them in your suitcase, with the largest going in first.

Ensure they take up every available space by layering. Your bags are now ready for travel.

Top-Rated Packing Cubes For Travel

When shopping for packing cubes, choose those that suit your needs. If you have checked-in luggage, you can use those that come in sets of 4 and above.

However, a carry-on is sufficient for minimalist travelers; you only need 2-4 packing cubes.

Here are the two best packing cubes for travel.

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes: Best Overall

These travel organizers are made of polyester and come in a set of four with different sizes.

They are durable, have a zipper, and are ideal for clothing. If you prefer to travel light, they are the best option and are quite affordable.


  • Double zipper makes opening and closing easy
  • Mesh cover offers ventilation and recognition of contents
  • Handles for convenient lifting
  • Fabric is durable


  • Medium size is quite small
  • Require several sets for large suitcases

Shacke Pak Travel Organizers: Budget Buy

These black nylon packing organizers come in a set of five with a laundry bag included. Shaped like a cube, they have a zip closure to ensure your clothes are securely in place.

These bags can accommodate two weeks’ worth of vacation clothes. Additionally, you can use the extra pieces to separate your clean and dirty clothing.


  • Set of 5 is perfect for large families
  • Nylon material makes cleaning easy
  • Separate dirty laundry bag
  • Water-resistant 


  • Will not hold up by themselves
  • Material feels very light for items other than clothing

Are Packing Cubes Space-Savers?

While packing cubes help organize your luggage to make the most of the available space, they are not primarily space-saving. Read on as we explain how compression bags save space better.

What Are Compression Bags?

Although most people think that compression bags are similar to packing cubes, they are quite different.

Compression or space bags constrict your clothes to occupy the least space possible. As space-savers, they help you pack more items into your luggage.

travel compression bags

Unlike packing cubes, which keep your clothes wrinkle-free, squeezing bulky clothes into compression cubes causes them to crease.

Therefore, they are ideal for packing heavy clothing you will not mind getting wrinkled.

Compression bags come with zippers, but there are brands with pull drawstrings. The available ones look like packing cubes but are known as compression cubes. While slim and lightweight, they do not require a vacuum to work.

If you come across those needing vacuuming, skip them, as they work best for home storage. Instead, go for travel compression bags, which are smaller to fit into most travel luggage.

What Are The Benefits Of Compression Bags?

Compression bags help arrange your clothes while taking up minimal space. Below are the advantages of using compression bags to pack for travel.

Squeeze More Items

Compression bags can add more to your luggage than packing cubes. However, it is not a reason to pack more than is necessary. If you are like me and struggle with over-packing, compression bags can help you pack less.

Separate Dry and Wet Clothing

Separating dirty or wet clothes from dry and clean ones is simpler using compression bags. They are airtight and waterproof to prevent odor and staining.

How Do Compression Packing bags Work?

Like packing cubes, using compression bags is easy. First, organize your clothes into neat piles depending on your purchase type.

If you use a plastic compression sack, place your folded clothes inside and then roll it out to remove excess air before closing. Ensure all contents lay flat before stacking them into your suitcase.

On the other hand, if you are using the sacks with drawstrings, place your folded clothes inside or roll them. Pull the drawstrings together once you fill the bag to expel any air and compress it closed.  

When you return from your trip, cleaning compression bags is also simple. Wipe using soap and water or machine-wash those whose care label allows.

Best Compression Bags for Travel

The best compression bag to keep your clothes less wrinkled does not require a vacuum. There are several types available to simplify your packing needs.

Here is one that will meet all your needs.

Frelaxy Compression Sack: Best Lightweight

These compression sacks are ideal if you are outdoorsy and prefer backpacking, hiking, and camping trips.

They are made of tough, water-resistant polyester/nylon fabric and are perfect for every season.

They have four buckles to further squeeze in your gear besides the drawstring. It rolls so small that you would fit a coat inside if needed.


  • Lightweight but durable
  • Available in various colors and sizes
  • Can fit numerous items
  • Water-resistant for spills


  • Fabric not stretchy 
  • Gets wet in heavy rainfall

Should I Use Packing Cubes Or Compression Bags?

While packing cubes are best for keeping your clothes arranged and wrinkle-free, they do not squeeze to carry more. In addition, they will keep your smaller items together, reducing the risk of loss.

Compression bags will work better, especially for backpackers and minimalists who prefer smaller luggage.

Although you may stuff more items, the risk of creases is higher, and they do not make arranging easier.

Moreover, in terms of price, compression cubes tend to cost more than packing cubes. If you are on a budget, using packing cubes is convenient since the two do not differ much, especially for short visits. 

Lastly, removing clothes from packing cubes is easier than in compression bags. You have less clothing in packing cubes, and unlike compression bags, they only have one zipper closure.

Final thoughts

Considering the different features and uses when comparing packing cubes vs. compression bags is important. However, we recommend compression bags if you are storing items long-term.

On the other hand, frequent travelers should consider packing cubes as they keep everything well-organized and crease-free.

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