The 7 Very Best Packing Cubes For Hiking Of 2021 Reviewed

In this article, you will learn what the best packing cubes for hiking are.

You might have noticed already that their popularity is constantly rising. And it’s totally understandable – those rectangular pouches are super practical, stylish, and very affordable.

Choosing the most suitable for hiking, however, could be a bit difficult. Sometimes, even, quite confusing. That’s because there are tons of them on the market right now. There are mesh cubes, padded cubes, compression cubes, and more.

That’s why we decided to invest 38 hours to compile this all-inclusive guide. You’ll find out:

  • What packing cubes are and why they are useful
  • Which are the top-notch kit bags suitable specifically for outdoor adventure packing
  • How to pick the most suitable set of cubes for you
  • How to properly use packing cubes for better space optimization and carrying comfort

So if you want to have full knowledge about choosing the right cubes for packing and significantly ease your life, then continue reading.

Let’s dive right in.

Our Top Recommendation

To tell you the truth, we really like all 7 sets described in our list. That’s simply because each of them has something that the others don’t have. Plus, they are all practical and useful no matter if it’s for hiking, backpacking or traveling.

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With that being said, our winner and our top pick is #7 Suitednomad Compression Packing Cubes. It stands out from the rest. This set of 6 including 3 cubes, a toiletry bag, a laundry bag, and a luggage belt fulfills all requirements to be a winner.

  • Ultralight
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable fabrics, premium zippers, and fine workmanship
  • Roomy and expandable
  • Efficient compression
  • Very useful for hiking and backpacking trips
  • Proven quality and hundreds of positive reviews
  • Great price for a 6-piece set

Of course, this is an unbiased opinion. Based on your needs and preferences, any other packing cube set could be more convenient for you. But how do you choose, and why put your stuff in rectangular pouches in a first place? 

More on that later.

The Best Packing Cubes For Hiking At A Glance

* Weight means total weight with the cubes empty and decompressed.

* Some sets may come in a different number of cubes, based on your preference (you can view the options at Amazon).

guh-table__imageSuitedNomad Compression Cubes
  • Number of pieces: 6
  • Other Items Included: laundry bag, toiletry bag, and luggage belt
  • Weight: 1 lbs / 400 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageOsprey Ultra-Light Set
  • Number of pieces: 3
  • Other Items Included: None
  • Weight: 2.3 oz / 65 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageEagle Creek Pack-It Starter Set
  • Number of pieces: 3
  • Other Items Included: None
  • Weight: 2.1 oz / 60 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageGonex Compression Packing Cubes Set
  • Number of pieces: 5
  • Other Items Included: None
  • Weight: 0.90 lbs / 408 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageTripped Compression Packing Cubes
  • Number of pieces: 6
  • Other Items Included: laundry bag and slim tube
  • Weight: 10.5 oz / 297 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageTravel Dude Compression Cubes
  • Number of pieces: 7
  • Other Items Included: laundry bag
  • Weight: 0.9 lbs / 408 gr.
View On Amazon →
guh-table__imageTaskin Dual Side Compression Cubes
  • Number of pieces: 4
  • Other Items Included: None
  • Weight: 2.07 lbs / 930 gr.
View On Amazon →

#1 Osprey Ultralight Cubes (Set Of 3)

osprey ultralight packing cubes set

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

This super light set of three stylish and practical cubes will make packing a breeze. Manufactured with the recognizable quality of Osprey and designed to organize your belongings in the most efficient way possible, you’re quickly gonna love using these pouches. Check them out!

Ask anyone – you can’t go wrong with Osprey. This also applies when it comes to this set of packing pouches. Conveniently, the set comprises three cubes in a rectangular shape which makes it easy for arranging them in your backpack (you’ve played Tetris, right).

The total weight of the three cubes is only 2.3 oz or 65 grams. The overall volume is 8 L. The smallest cube’s capacity is 1 L and its perfect for storing small items such as an insect repellent, toothbrush, tiny medical kit, etc. It could easily accommodate your winter hiking hat too.

The medium-sized pouch has a volume of 2 L. It’s great for stowing socks, towels, underwear, and similar stuff. The largest one is with a volume of 5L. It could easily accommodate t-shirts, pants, and even sweaters. Well, your snow shovel won't fit it, for instance, but, hey, we don't expect them to.

The material used on the Osprey Ultra-Light packing cube set is 40D nylon. Now let’s show you the pros and the cons.

What We Like

  • Durable fabrics for prolonged use – honestly, when you touch the pouches, they might seem a bit flimsy. However, that’s not the case. The sturdy nylon with high denier makes the material quite resistant to and water repellent. It resists moisture to a certain degree, and the stitching is of superior quality. 
  • Sturdy zippers and a large opening for seamless access and easy packing. 
  • Webbing grab handles for comfortable carry -it’s very easy to pull out the pouch when you need it quickly.
  • They are super lightweight and don’t add any additional weight to your gear. Again, they’re only 65 grams in total.
  • Coming with Osprey’s unparalleled Almighty Lifetime Guarantee – The manufacturer will repair or in most of the cases, directly replace your pouches should you encounter any issues. That warranty is what makes Osprey stand out.

What We Don't Like

  • Pricey as compared to other brands. Still, the quality/price ratio is excellent.
  • Only two color options.

#2 Eagle Creek Pack-It Starter (Set Of 3)

Eagle Creek packing cubes set

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

Made by a brand known to produce durable packing gear, this set of three cubes is one of Eagle Creek’s finest. Moreover, it’s a longtime bestseller on Amazon with hundreds of positive comments. Water resistant, light, and coming in 5 different colors, this set will help you stow your stuff and carry it safely and comfortably no matter where you go.

This kit bag offers three packing sleeves with different sizes and capacity for smart compartmentalization.  The XS cube has a volume of 1.2 L and it’s good for keeping your dirty underwear or socks. Or toiletries. The capacity of the S pouch is 5 L, and it allows you to stow t-shirts, short pants, and anything along those lines.

The M cube is the largest one. Its volume is 10.5 L. It’s perfect for bigger stuff such as shirts, therm sweaters, outdoor pants, and even jackets.

Those who are keen on ultralight hiking will appreciate the fact that the weight of the entire set is only 2.1 oz or 60 grams. So no extra weight in your pack and on your back.

In addition, Eagle Creek back up their product with a reliable No Matter What™ warranty. The manufacturer will repair or replace the set regardless of the cause of damage during the product’s lifetime. Isn’t that nice!

Now it’s time to highlight the pros and cons of the Pack-It-Starter Set. Let’s see.

What We Like

  • Extra compression for bigger packing space – the stitching and the zipping closure of each pouch is such that it offers compression. That helps a lot in maximizing the packing space that’s often never enough. 
  • DWR fabric that withstands years of rugged use – DWR stands for durable water resistant. The 30D ripstop nylon successfully resists moisture and wetting. It’s also stain-resistant. That comes in handy when you use your pouches to pack dirty and sometimes wet hiking garments. 
  • Contra zippers for easy identification on the go – sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of where you put your accessories. With this feature, you’ll be able to immediately understand what’s inside the cube and remember it. Another small but important benefit is that the zipper pulls are big and sturdy, which makes it easy to open and close the sleeve. Cool.
  • Washable fabrics – unlike the fabric on most of the backpacks or packing cube sets, this one is washing machine-friendly. So cleaning it is really easy and carefree.
  • Grab handles on each pouch for easy and quick access and carrying. That’s a no-brainer but still worth mentioning. Many cheap brands don’t add that

What We Don't Like

  • The opening doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the pouch to allow easier packing when on a hurry.

#3 Gonex Compression Cubes (Set Of 5)

Gonex compression packing cubes

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

When it comes to packing gear, we all want small size and a large capacity. Well, this is exactly what you have with these high performing, yet budget-friendly compression cubes from Gonex. With rough materials, lightweight design, and easy organization, packing and unpacking gear with this combo is quick and intuitive. Make sure to check them out.

Gonex Sport is one of those rare brands that make cheap, but quality outdoor products. We know that because we are very happy with one of their backpacks – Gonex 35 L. Feel free to read our impressions here.

This particular 5-set combo of cubes includes 4 medium-sized and one small pouches in a convenient rectangular shape that allows smooth packing. It could accommodate clothes and supplies for a week-long trip in the mountains or in the woods.

The size of the medium bag is 30x23x9 cm /11.8x9.1x3.54 inches. It can store up to 6 rolled up t-shirts, towels, and underwear. Besides clothes, you can even stow more technical accessories such as bushcraft knife, torch, tinder, and anything that makes sense.

The small cube is 25x19x9 cm /9.8x7.5x3.54 inches. It’s best for stowing socks, a lighter, wired headphones, and similar stuff based on your trip and preference.

They are pretty light too – only 0.90 lbs or 408 grams. That is essential when you carry other heavy gear on extensive hikes. 

What’s best is that you can choose between a variety of colors and different sets. For instance, depending on your needs, you can order a set that combines two large and two medium cubes.

Another option would be to take a package that includes a large, medium, and a small pouch, and sleeves dedicated for toiletry supplies, a shoe bag, and a laundry sleeve. That flexibility is something that many would appreciate.

Continue reading to see the major pros and cons of those sweet bags.

What We Like

  • See-through mesh clothing on the top exterior, which provides great breathability but also visibility. This is useful when you hike in places with hot wet climate and you want your stuff to dry and breathe. That you can easily identify what’s in each pouch is a good bonus. 
  • Very good compression level thanks to the additional zipper on the side. You can save more space and arrange your cubes easier when you make them flat. Helps a lot! 
  • Strong double zippers for more comfort and durability -let’s face it – zippers are often problematic. They break easily.
  • Reinforced fabrics for prolonged use – the material here is more solid containing mainly 70D soft nylon. Users reported that the cubes last many trips while brutally used. They are not water resistant, though
  • Don’t take space when not used – the pouches are easy to roll and lightweight which is perfect when you need to transport them and don’t want to make space for them.

What We Don't Like

  • You need to push the fabric with your finger when you pull the compression zipper, otherwise, it’s difficult to close.

#4 Tripped Compression Cubes (Set Of 6)

Tripped compression packing cubes

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

Created with tons of passion by a backpacking couple living on the road, the compression cubes from Tripped are loved by thousands of outdoor fanatics and travelers. Expectedly, this 6-piece set includes everything you need when packing, hiking, and travelling. The best part – it has a laundry/shoe bag and a super cool slim tube pouch dedicated for stuff you want isolated. Let’s see more!

Tim and Fin – the couple behind these packing pouches was frustrated because of the lack of affordable gear that met their quality standards and way of life.

That’s why they started designing their own products. It turned out people love them! That’s why it’s not a surprise that their set of cubes is an Amazon’s choice and a highly rated bestseller.

Besides this six set, that you can find in eight colors, you can also consider their 2,3, and 6-piece XL set. Of course, that’s based on your preferences.

This particular set has 6 pouches (2 small, 2 large, a slim tube, and a laundry bag) that you can use to organize your clothes and gear no matter if you’re headed on a 2-4-day hike with your kids or on a weekend camping adventure with your dog. Sure enough, these compact bags are excellent for carry on as well.

They are lightweight – only 297 grams or 10.5 oz of total weight. The size of the small cubes is 10' x 7" or 25 x 17.5 cm. To give you a better idea of its capacity, let’s say that you’ll easily put several medium-sized t-shirts in there.

The size of the large cubes is 14" x 10" or 35 x 25 cm. It gives you the freedom to put more bulky clothes – a jacket, a sweater, pants, or just a bigger number of t-shirts – up to 7 would snug nicely.

You can safely arrange the packed six-piece set in a backpack that’s 40+ liters.

Let’s move on to the most important part.

What We Like

  • Laundry bag included for more capacity and enhanced organization – having a separate pouch to put your dirty or wet clothes is a life-saver on multi-day trips. The size of the sleeve is 13.5” x 18” or 34.30 x 45.70 cm. It has a drawstring closure so you can seal the opening for maximum protection. You can also put an extra pair of boots there. 
  • Slim tube pouch included for items you want protected or isolated – it makes sense to put electronics there, cables, chargers, flip-flops, snacks, etc. It’s ideal for stuff you want to keep separated from your other gear. The size of this zippered tube is 12.5” x 3” x 4.5” or 31.75 x 7.60 x 11.40 cm. Super convenient!
  • Exclusive workmanship for enhanced quality and longer usage – the stitching and the seams are reportedly very strong and last for many trips. The zipper is reinforced with a lining.
  • High-quality materials that are both durable and water-repellent – it was reported that a customer spilled a shampoo inside and it didn’t soak through. That’s awesome! Don’t expect to put your soaking bath suit there and not to have leaking, though. The fabrics are slightly water repellent but not waterproof. What’s nice is the main material is a reinforced nylon - ripstop polyurethane that’s tear and stain-resistant.
  • Expandable design and very good compression for more gear – once your items packed, you can use the second zipper that surrounds the cube to expel air and compress your stuff. The result is impressive and you save more space in your rucksack. The material is expandable, and it allows a pretty decent stuffing.

What We Don't Like

  • You have to be careful with the compression zipper as it might snag.

#5 Travel Dude Compression Cubes (Set Of 7)

travel dude compression cube set

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

Another great option for adventure packing, this cube set is made out of 14 recycled plastic bottles. But it’s not just eco-friendly. It’s stylish, dependable, and crazy comfortable to use. The kit bag features a laundry sleeve and a waterproof compartment in one of the large cubes. So if you care about your neat gear organization but also protection, you should check this set out!

Probably it might come as a surprise that Travel Dude was founded by a woman. The digital nomad Julia Dudorov had a strong passion for backpacking and a burning desire to find a way to make packing easier and affordable. That’s how she created her own brand of packing cubes in 2018. Now her product is a bestseller on Amazon with hundreds of cheerful reviews.

You can choose between the 4-piece set and the 7-piece set. Our review covers the bigger package. Both packages come in four colors, which gives you a decent choice.

The ergonomic rectangular shape of the cubes makes them easy to stow in a 50 L backpack. With it you can pack a week’s worth of clothes and gear. Sure enough, for shorter journeys you can leave some cubes at home.

The set has 2 large pouches whose size is 13.7” x 11” x 3.9” or 35cm x 28cm x 10cm. They are pretty roomy and allow you to put bulky clothes such as a winter jacket, hoodies, sweaters, shoes, etc.

The two medium-sized cubes included are great for towels, t-shirts, shirts, hats, etc. Their dimensions are 11” x 7” x 3.9” or 28cm x 18cm x 10cm.

The two small cubes in the set are suitable for underwear, socks, gloves, poo paper, small electronics, etc. Their size is 11” x 5.5” x 3.9”.

Finally, in the set you have a laundry bag with a capacious design. It has a drawstring closure on the top. Its size is 13.3” x 20.4” or 34cm x 52 cm. The volume of the pack is approximately 10 L.

The weight of the whole kit bag is 0.9 lbs or 408 grams. Not bad for 7 cubes made out of heavy-duty nylon material. When not used, you can fold or roll the empty cubes so they don’t take up space.

What We Like

  • See-through mesh material on half of the cubes for an easy gear identification and breathability. That’s convenient when you hike in hot, wet climate or when you have to store moist clothes. 
  • Practical and multi-purpose laundry bag – with an approximate capacity of 10 L this could also serve as your day pack. It’s easy to carry and you can use it for storing various items – flip-flops, shoes, snacks, etc. 
  • Separate waterproof compartment in one of the large cubes – that’s super practical when you have to put aside your wet stuff such as a swimsuit or soaking towels. Also, you can use it to store gear that you want protected such as a kindle device, chargers, etc. The compartment closes with a waterproof zipper and it’s coated with a double layer for extra protection.
  • Enjoy 30 percent more space thanks to the additional zipper that compresses your clothes and makes the superfluous air go away. You receive a smaller, flatter and lighter cube. Works as advertised!
  • Ergonomic zippers with big pulls that make it easy and quick to pack and access your accessories. They don’t snag, which is cool.

What We Don't Like

  • You lose the handle on the side when you compress the cube because the second zipper goes over it.
  • Only one of the cubes has a separate wet compartment.

#6 Taskin Dual Side Compression Cubes (Set Of 4)

Taskin dual side compression cubes set

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

Supper durable, with an exquisite quality of the materials, and having a highly functional design, this kit bag from Taskin is all you need to pack smart and carry your stuff effortlessly. What differentiates those cubes is that each of them has a divider separating your dirty/wet and fresh/clean clothes. Plus, your essentials are protected from the elements while they breathe. Check those pouches out!

Taskin is a young and ambitious company startup from San Francisco. They are striving to become one of the most recognizable brands manufacturing packing equipment.

The staff there take their job very seriously and as visible on their website and on Amazon, their products attract hundreds of positive reviews. Moreover, this dual-side packing set is an Amazon’s choice.

When it comes to the number of pouches in the set, you have two options – a set of two (one large and one medium) and a set of four. This review is for the four-piece set.

The package includes 4 cubes (three large and one medium) in a space-maximizing rectangular shape. Depending on the nature of your hiking trip, you’ll be able to fit them nicely in your backpack. If you need to pack only for the day or the weekend, you can take less of them. If you go on longer adventures, the four bags could hold plenty of clothes and gear for 4-6 days.

The large cube can hold a big number of clothes and gear if packed correctly. You can stow 3-5 blouses, pants, and a jacket or just a larger amount of smaller garments, such as 7—9 t-shirts combined with short pants. The size of the cube is 10.1” x 14.25” or 25.6 cm x 36.2 cm.

The medium pouch is perfect for underwear, socks, small electronics, toiletries, and similar stuff. Its size is 10”x 8” or 25.4 cm x 20.3 cm.

It’s important to mention that those cubes weigh a little more than others. It’s a small trade-off for the extreme durability of the fabrics. The weight of the large cube is 0.56 lbs or 256 grams. The weight of the medium cube is 0.39 lbs or 178 grams. That makes 2.07 lbs or 930 grams for the entire pack.

What’s great is the 1-year unconditional warranty and the 30-day money-back guarantee. The customer service is reliable too, as reported by many buyers.

Let’s quickly outline the good and the bad.

What We Like

  • Bombproof fabrics – by bombproof, understand really impressive durability suitable for frequent rugged use. The fabrics are a combination of 650D ballistic nylon and ripstop nylon. That makes them tear resistant and water repellent. 
  • Premium YKK zippers with big comfortable pulls– it’s rare to see packing cubes with branded high-quality zippers. The designers from Taskin go even further by patenting anti-catch zippers that don’t get caught. Packing and unpacking is really effortless thanks to those exquisite zippers. 
  • Dual side roomy pockets with a flexible divider that allows you to have two separate compartments. On one side you have a breathable mesh pocket for your clean clothes. On the other side of the cube there’s a protected waterproof sleeve where you can stow wet or dirty garments. The fabric on that pocket is rubberized and odor-resistant. For extra protection, the zippers are also waterproof and prevent soaking. The cool thing is that you don’t need to distribute the gear evenly in both pockets, especially in the beginning of your trip where you start with fresh clothes. The flexible separator lets you use 100% of the cube’s capacity when only one of the pockets is filled. However, you might want to consider using the waterproof pocket for storing items that you want protected or isolated such as a compass, snacks, satellite communication device, etc.
  • Superb dual-side compression that adds 40% more space for additional items and enhances carrying comfort. Works as advertised, and you can pack almost half more stuff with less wrinkles. The technology is well-known – you zip the entire cube until you get a flatter shape with no air inside the pouch.
  • Sturdy handles thanks to which you can use the cube as a small daypack. Moreover, it allows for better access and carrying.

What We Don't Like

  • A bit heavy because of the robust fabrics.
  • Available in only one color.

#7 SuitedNomad Compression Cubes (Set Of 6)

suitednomad compression cube set of 6

Click image to see the set at Amazon.

Another top-rated set coming from a reputable brand, say hi to these practical cubes from Suitednomad. Don’t let the minimalistic design fool you. You’ll be able to pack tons of stuff in them and save space without adding extra pounds to your pack. Yes, they are ultralight and have an impressive strength to weight ratio. As a bonus, the package includes a laundry sleeve and a transparent toiletry bag. Woohoo!

I admit that what first caught our attention to those packing bags was the eye-catching color. Yes, good looks attract. And this Caribbean blue color is really awesome.

Then, when we saw the hundreds of positive reviews, we decided to go ahead and test them. We were impressed how capacious these cubes were. And they fit pretty well in a backpack thanks to their rectangular, rounded shape.

With this set comprising 3 pouches, a laundry bag, and a toiletry bag, you’ll be able to pack for a 10-day trip. Suitednomad also offers a set of three pouches – it doesn’t include the toiletry bag, the laundry bag, and the luggage strap with an id tag. So you can pick what suits you best.

Let’s talk about the pouches. First, about the extra-large cube. Its dimensions are 16” x 12” x 4” or 40cm x 30cm x 10 cm. It’s already big when it’s empty and not compressed. You can easily stuff large items in it such as jackets, pants, and roughly 10 t-shirts.

When you fill it, you can use the large cube. It fits shirts, t-shirts, thermo jacket, etc. Really big space and expandability. Its size is 14” x 10” x 4” or 35.5cm x 25.4cm to 10 cm.

The medium cube is great for storing small garments, underwear, socks, sleeveless shirts, etc. When not compressed, its size is 10” x 7” x 4” or 25.4 cm x 17.8cm x 10cm.

The weight of each cube is approximately 60-65 grams or 0.14 lbs. The entire set weighs 1 lbs or 450 grams. Let’s see the most important pros and cons of the Suitednomad packing cube set.

What We Like

  • Impressively roomy design that allows you to pack and compress unbelievable amount of clothes and gear. That’s thanks to the highly expandable material
  • Easy and efficient compression for more space – the second zipper extends the whole circumference of the sleeve, reducing its size and volume. What’s really nice is that there’s a small sewn-in piece of fabric that you can gently pull while zipping and unzipping. This immensely helps in preventing the compression zipper from snagging. 
  • Ultralight fabrics with top-notch craftmanship – besides the fact that the cubes don’t add up superfluous weight to your backpack, the ripstop nylon is thin yet quite durable. Moreover, it’s water-resistant on both the exterior and the interior which is useful for protection. Also, the seams are reinforced and really strong, guaranteeing you years of use. The zippers proved to be sturdy and reliable too.
  • TSA-approved transparent toiletry bag included in the package. This one’s very useful not only for your toiletries but is especially handy for storing compact hiking gear – a bushcraft knife, tinder, lighter, headlamp, multi-tools, etc. It’s pretty capacious and the fact that it’s a see-through makes it easier to pass airport checks.
  • Practical luggage strap and a laundry bag in the package – the drawstring bag is useful for storing shoes, dirty clothes and other stuff that you think makes sense to be stored in there. It works as expected. What’s handy when you have to travel and check-in your backpack though, is the bright-colored luggage belt. It’s adjustable and has a name tag where you can write your name and phone number in case your pack gets lost. You can wrap it around your backpack. Small but extremely useful add-on to the set.

What We Don't Like

  • The compression zippers have small teeth. That makes it a bit difficult to slide the zipper when the cubes are fully stuffed.

Why Use Packing Cubes?

Packing cubes are trendy. People are crazy about them. Just check out the graph below from Exploding Topics.

interest for packing cubes from expoding topics

The graph shows a steady interest for packing cubes for the last two years. Source:

Of course, it’s rare that you’ll start doing something just because everyone else seems to do it. That would be unsound. Here’s the deal – packing cubes are practical. What’s more, they have many capabilities that can ease your life when hiking or travelling.

Their biggest benefits are related to space saving and gear organization. That’s especially true if you’re messy and disorganized when packing (like I often am). They can really make a difference for those who like to over-pack or don’t know how to pack.

Packing cubes come in different sets that contain a different number of zippered sleeves. Usually they are in various sizes. That allows you to compartmentalize your essentials in a neat and easily identifiable way in your backpack.

Your socks and underwear are stowed in one place, your toiletries are in another, while your t-shirts, pants, and jacket are secured in usually the largest cube.

Some sets come with a laundry bag for dirty clothes (or extra shoes) and a dedicated toiletry bag. Moreover, you know where everything is. And you can access it quickly. Simple as that. But here’s the interesting part.

Nowadays, most people use packing bags for travel. Indeed, they fit very well in a suitcase. However, their rectangular shape and thin weight make them snug even better in a Jansport hiking backpack. Furthermore, packs usually have many compartments which allows you to arrange your cubes strategically.  

Speaking of arrangement, their rectangular shape is not accidental. They are like small bricks. The ergonomic shape allows for a smart packing that eliminates dead space in your rucksack.

Pro Tip

We found that packing cubes could be very comfortable when used as a pillow. Use one, in which you have only clothes and enjoy that splendid view like a boss. Or doze off like a baby near the campfire.

Besides, you can put not only clothes in them. The nylon sleeves can accommodate any other hiking gear that you’d normally stuff unorganized in your backpack. That could be a medical kit, thermo blanket, multi-tool, snacks, navigation tool, gloves, lighters, sunscreen, insect repellent, etc. The list is long.

Furthermore, keeping your stuff in cubes is convenient when you need to sleep over in a hiker cabin or a hotel. You can have your clothes arranged in cubes in drawers (or anywhere else, actually). No scattering, no more mess. Clean and simple.

Compression Makes A Big Difference

Packing pouches are also quite powerful when they provide compression. In fact, that would easily bring your packing experience to a higher level

Compression packing cubes have an additional zipper that goes all over the side of the pouch. When you zip it, that expels the air, thus reducing the size of the cube, making it flatter. The result – sometimes up to 60 percent more space in your pack. And you can pack more gear!

For more info about the benefits of packing cubes for hikers, check out the fun infographic below.

packing cubes infographic

If you want to learn how to make the right choice and pick the best packing cube set for you, please continue reading. What follows is a buying guide.

Choosing The Right Packing Cubes Set

Chances are, you already noticed there’s a crazy number of packing pouches online. What makes the choice even more difficult is their similar features. And every brand labels them as being the best and better from the others.

So how do you decide which one is the best for you? Also, how do you know the cubes are appropriate for packing for outdoors? The first thing you need to consider is the shape.

The Shape

Luckily, most of the packing cubes are rectangular. That makes them very easy to put in order in your pack. Cubes with a square shape are also packing-friendly. Avoid those with an oval shape because that leaves unused space, which is not efficient.

I love my packing cubes to be in a rectangular shape.

Oblong cubes are also a bad idea for hikers because it’s more difficult to arrange them in your backpack.

The Size

Usually, packing cubes are sold in sets. The set could have up to 7-10 pieces of cubes. Conveniently, they differ in size. That makes it easier to compartmentalize various stuff in each pouch. The most common sets have between 3 - 6 pieces. They might also include a toiletry bag and a laundry/shoe bag.

It’s not rare to see sets that include two or three pouches only. The good thing is that there’s anything for everybody. So depending on what you need to pack and for how long, you can take your pick.

If you’re unsure about what size to choose, go for a bigger set. It’s easier to leave a pouch or two at home than regretting that you haven’t purchased a larger set later, when you need that extra room.

Another rule of thumb is to have various-sized pouches. That gives you better options to separate small items from bigger ones. In that way, you can also organize them by type. In my larger packing cube, I'm able to even store a foldable dry bag. Interested in dry bags? We have a detailed buying guide. Read more here.

The Weight

It’s difficult to find cubes that are heavy. Most manufacturers today realize that nobody likes to add extra weight in his/her backpack. For hiking purposes, go for ultralight cubes. An ideal weight of a single pouch is around 60-100 grams depending on its size.

If the brand is good, then the fabrics will be thin and tear-resistant at the same time.

The Fabrics

Most of the packing kit bags are made out of nylon and mesh clothing if they are see-through. Plus, the nylon is water-resistant. Also, all cubes on our list have a very good weight to strength ration, meaning that they are lightweight and sturdy.

best packing cubes for hiking

Photo by Lorianne DiSabato on / CC BY-NC-ND

Note that the higher the denier of the nylon, the more durable the cubes will be. Many reputable brands reinforce the stitching and the sewing. And that’s important.

As for the zippers, it’s best if they are branded and with big teeth and pulls. YKK or SBS zippers is the ideal solution. Probably you’ll agree that lackluster zippers could be nerve-wrenching.

The Type

The type of cubes that you will buy depends entirely on your hiking style and trip. If you go in places where the climate is hot and humid, probably it’d be best to have meshed cubes. That will provide ventilation and easier wet evaporation. Besides, it’s easier to see what’s inside.

If you hike in cold conditions, then compression cubes would be very appropriate. That’s because you must pack bulkier clothes. Reducing space by compression would definitely come in handy.

meshed packing cube

Meshed packing cubes provide ventilation and easy items identification. Photo by the queen of subtle on / CC BY-NC

Sometimes, you go to places where your pack could get wet. If that’s the case, then waterproof cubes are recommended.

As you can see, finding the right features for you will largely influence your decision. The good news is that you can buy cubes that are ultralight, water-resistant, and provide compression at the same time. Doing so will make sure your essentials are protected without adding extra pounds in your rucksack.

There are also padded, and MOLLE cubes, but they tend to be weighty. Use them only for specific purposes – when you have to protect special gear and you need to pack really heavy for longer expeditions.

The Price

The good news is that packing pouches are not expensive. You can find quality sets of 6 pieces in the range of $30 - $45, and often ever for less. Still, some tend to be pricey for what they are. Keep in mind that anything above $50 is probably not worth the money.

Gonex packing cubes

Gonex make affordable, yet quality packing cubes for every purpose. Image via

Our suggestion would be to invest a little more on high-class, dependable packing cubes. Doing so will spend you a lot of nerves in the future. Nobody likes to end up with torn up pouches in the middle of a long-awaited trip.

Some of the brands known to make great packing cubes are SuitedNomads, Tortuga, Osprey, and Eagle Creek. A good affordable option is Gonex.

Let’s move on and see how to use packing sleeves like a boss!

5 Smart Ways To Make The Best Use Of Packing Cubes

Without wasting time, here they are:

  1. Roll clothes instead of folding them. You’ll save space and prevent wrinkles.
  2. Use many sizes for a better organization.
  3. Don’t overstuff over because that makes it difficult to compress them. Moreover, they’ll wear out faster. Instead, buy more of them.
  4. When compressing, push down to release the air, then push the inner material down with finger to avoid zipper snagging.
  5. If your cubes are not meshed (see-through) and you want to easily identify your gear, tag them with paper gift cards or sticky notes.

To actually see how to use packing cubes in the best way possible, watch the video below.

Now let’s see the most frequently asked questions on the topic.



How to wash packing cubes?

Are packing cubes and vacuum bags the same thing?

Are packing cubes really worth it?

Are they more appropriate for a suitcase or a backpack?


Packing cubes are great for hiking. That’s why they’re so popular right now. Those little pouches are especially helpful for space saving and gear organization no matter where you go and for how long. Once you try them, chances are you’ll love using them. Thank you for reading! 

Any questions or comments are appreciated. Leave a comment below!

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Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and pizza lover who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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Tom - March 24, 2020

Hey Asen,

This is a very insightful and informative article. I have a friend who goes hiking quite a lot (obviously not at present), so I have forwarded your article onto him. I think he will also benefit from your site a whole, it looks excellent.

I have encouraged my friend to comment on your article and if he has any questions then he will get in touch.

All the best,


    Asen - March 24, 2020

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks and I’m glad you like what you read.

Robb - March 24, 2020

Hey Asen I really enjoyed this post. I was not familiar with packing cubes before finding your blog. I do a lot of canoeing and space is always a major concern when packing for a trip. These packing cubes seem like they would work perfectly. Thanks again man. Cheers.

    Asen - March 24, 2020

    Hey Robb,

    Thanks for reading. Packing cubes are really great when you know how to use them right.

Jeff - March 24, 2020

I really did find your post interesting on the best packing cubes for hiking, and this is a new product I was not aware of that even existed. The only problem is you have recommended so many choices of these hiking cubes I am really confused about which one I should purchase, so can you provide me some information on how I would choose the best product for me and my family for hiking.

I apologize, but I often become overwhelmed with too many choices in a blog post to choose the best one out of so many choices is overwhelming for me.


    Asen - March 24, 2020

    Hey Jeff,

    Choosing the most suitable packing cube set for you depends on the type of trip that you’re going on. For instance, if you go on hot humid places, it would probably be more appropriate to have meshed cubes for a better ventilation and heat evaporation. However, if you’re hiking on sandy, dirty places, that wouldn’t be appropriate.Similarly, if you go on wet places, waterproof pouches would be the best option. Read the buying guide and things should become clearer for you. Ask if you have any more questions.

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