Skip to content

I fly almost 100,000 miles per year and don't travel without these packing cubes from Calpak

Sept. 30, 2022
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
  • Packing cubes can make your travels much easier, simpler and more organized.
  • The best packing cubes are very durable, easy to maneuver and come in multiple sizes and colors.
  • Calpak's five-piece packing cube set is not the cheapest on the market, but in our real-world tests, it's not only one of the prettiest designs but one of the most durable.

I resisted packing cubes ... for years. They seemed like an unnecessary gimmick that over-complicated packing. But, having become a packing bag convert, it's true: If you want to be more organized when you travel, fit more in your suitcase and potentially keep yourself safer from bed bugs in the process, you need packing cubes. But like with everything else, packing cubes are not all created equally.

Once you decide to make packing cubes part of your long-term packing strategy, you'll want one of the best options on the market. Consider Calpak packing cubes. I have used them for the past year and a half and put them through the wringer. After tens of thousands of flown miles and dozens of trips under their zippers, I can say they are head and shoulders above many other packing cube options that I've tried.

CALPAK FIVE-PIECE PACKING CUBE/CALPAKTRAVEL.COM

Calpak five-piece packing cube set: $68

What to look for in good packing cubes

After going through a few less-than-amazing packing cubes that didn't hold up beyond a trip or two, the best packing cubes I've tried have a few things in common. They come in a variety of sizes, have strong zippers, are washable, are made of a material that can stand up to both heat and routine use and have a waterproof pouch.

The least expensive packing cubes are often made of thin nylon that is likely to not hold up well, especially if heated in the dryer (which I recommend doing, more on that to come). While not essential, it's also great if the cubes you choose come in colors or designs that are fun and something you enjoy.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Having cubes in different colors can help with some useful strategies such as organizing your cubes by day or by person, especially when you have the whole family along for the journey. Even just putting the first 24 hours worth of stuff you will need in one packing cube can help so much with that first night and morning in the hotel.

Related: Why you should use packing cubes

Why we like Calpak packing cubes

Calpak makes its packing cubes out of a thick mesh and polyester material that has held up extraordinarily well across our theme park trips, ski adventures, cruises and beyond.

The handles, cute patterns (such as marble and polka dot) and see-through mesh that allows for breathability as well as a peek at what's inside, are all reasons I like Calpak. However, those are just "nice to haves" as far as I'm concerned.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

What makes Calpak a brand that I've ordered with my own cash not once -- but twice -- is how well it holds up to extended real-world use. Specifically, after bringing bed bugs home in my luggage from a trip a few years ago, I've forever changed how I pack and unpack.

Now, to reduce the risk of repeating that nightmare, my luggage never comes into the house. Instead, it lives in the garage in big plastic bins, and only the clothes and the packing cubes come in and out. However, these items do not come straight into the house. They are first heated in the dryer for about 30 minutes to kill any potential bugs.

Packing outside or in the garage is pretty tough without packing cubes, but very simple if all you have to do is put some fully packed cubes in your luggage and hit the road. This all may sound extreme if you've never lived through bed bugs, but it's really not hard once you get the hang of it.

Unlike some other brands made of less durable material, my Calpak packing cubes have survived many rounds of heat in the dryer without any noticeable impacts — something that cannot be said for many other brands.

Additionally, the cubes have waterproof pockets that you can use to keep wet or especially dirty items separate from the rest of the items, meaning that the last morning's jump in the pool won't make your whole bag a bit soupy.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: 13 must-have travel items the TPG team can't live without

What's in a Calpak packing cube set?

In the five-piece Calpak packing cube set (currently priced at $68) you get:

  • One envelope pouch (13" x 10" x ¼").
  • Two small cubes (12" x 8 3/4" x 3").
  • One medium cube (15" x 11" x 3").
  • One large cube (17" x 12" x 3").

The large and medium cubes are what I get the most mileage out of, though occasionally the small ones play a role for swimsuits, underwear and other really small items. I've found those small cubes are also handy for some of my youngest kiddo's things since they are smaller in size than adult items.

The entire packing cube set weighs in at 1.8 pounds, so they add very little to the total weight of your bag, even if you use multiple packing cubes in your luggage.

In my Rimowa carry-on, I can usually fit two large and one medium Calpak cube, along with some other assorted items such as a curling iron and a pair of shoes.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Bottom line

Since I'm on the go so frequently — often packing for the whole family in the process — and I'm pretty stringent with how I now try to avoid bringing home bed bugs, I'm very tough on my luggage and packing cubes. I've been through at least a half-dozen different packing cubes brands in recent years, and while there are certainly cheaper options than Calpak, I haven't used any that have held up and met my needs nearly as well.

If you aren't in a rush to purchase packing cubes, stay on the alert for Calpak sales and coupon codes, especially when they occasionally clear out some limited-time prints.

The cost is higher on the front end for Calpak cubes versus more budget-friendly packing cube brands. But, given the 18 months that I've had these in my own rotation, I'm comfortable recommending these as a top packing cube pick, as they have held up fabulously for mile after mile without any damage or issues.

As an added bonus, the marble colors are cute and fun to see as you do the not-so-glamorous tasks of packing and unpacking.

Calpak five-piece packing cube set: $68

Featured image by CARMEN CHAN/CALPAK TRAVEL
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023