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Packing Cubes vs Compression Bags (2023): What’s the Difference?

Posted by Jelinne Navarro on
Packing cubes vs compression bags

It’s never been easier to pack for a trip, thanks to the many different packing organizers out there! We’ve got two of the most popular travel luggage organizers in battle today: packing cubes and compression bags. Do you know the differences between packing cubes vs compression bags? Still not sure? Let this blog post be your guide!

What are Travel Cubes & Compression Bags?

Defining packing cubes and compression bags Packing cubes vs compression bags

So first, let’s define what packing cubes and compression bags are.

Packing cubes are like mini drawers for your suitcase or bag, acting as an organizational tool for your items. They are rectangular in shape, zippered on all three sides and come in a variety of colors, sizes and materials. They are commonly referred to as bags in bags, because they are literally small bags that fit within a bigger bag. The EzPacking cubes are one of the few see-through packing cubes on the market, which allows you to see what items are inside without even opening them.

Compression bags are sometimes known as compression sacks, acting to reduce the space in a suitcase. You can usually find them in home and travel versions. We're more interested in the latter! They look like ziplock bags and come in different sizes. Compression bags come with a little hand pump that helps remove excess air in clothes to compress them and lessen the space occupied inside the suitcase. Here's a brand that we recommend!

Packing Cubes Versus Compression Bags

Kid with small packing cube

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… Which should you choose between packing cubes and compression bags? If you’re confused about these two luggage organizers, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created a mini comparison guide below for these two organization systems.


➔ Packing Cubes - Most packing cubes are made from less durable nylon and mesh materials, making them more prone to tears. Here at EzPacking, things are different. Our cubes are a combination of cordura and vinyl plastic. This makes them durable, long lasting and flexible but also shape retaining. In other words, choose wisely because not all packing cubes are created equal!

Packing cubes are made from durable cordura and nylon materials

➔ Compression Bags - In contrast, all compression bags are made with plastic. The difference between different brands of compression bags is the thickness of the plastic material used. Cheaper compression bags utilize thinner plastic material making them more prone to tears. Hands down, packing cubes win this round because they are made from more durable (and thicker) materials.


➔ Packing Cubes - There are lots of packing cube brands available. Each packing cube brand has their own features. So for this section, we're focusing on EzPacking Cubes only! Our cubes come in different sizes and colors, all of which have three-sided zipper capability (AKA clamshell opening). Plus, all our cubes have a vinyl plastic exterior which allows them to be see through and splash resistant. Other super important features are an easy pull handle, durable stitching and modular construction. 

Turquoise packing cube magnified view of zipper and handle

➔ Compression Bags - Compression bags have three main features. They are made from plastic, they have a ziplock feature for shutting the bag closed, and each bag has a valve at the bottom of the bag meant for squeezing excess air out. Like packing cubes, compression bags also come in varying sizes, from small, up to extra large or jumbo.


Packing Cubes = Organization

Packing cubes are meant to organize luggage in a more systematic way. As bags in bags, they can hold similar items to make luggage organization a breeze. Large packing cubes are ideal for your bulky and heavy clothing items like jeans, sweaters, etc. Medium packing cubes are ideal for lightweight and cotton clothing items like your shirts, short dresses, etc. Small packing cubes can hold underwear and socks while extra small packing cubes are ideal for toiletries. Think organization, think packing cubes.

Packing cubes for categorizing travel items

Compression Bags = Space Saver

Travel compression bags were invented for the main purpose of compressing clothes. Compression bags can remove excess air from bulky clothes and let you maximize every space in your luggage. So compression bags are meant more for saving space in the luggage.


➔ Packing Cubes - Most packing cubes do not have much compression capability. Some packing cubes are simply meant to organize clothing and other travel items. But! EzPacking cubes have some compression capability, to a lesser extent compared to compression bags.

Packing cubes can be compressed if not filled fully

➔ Compression Bags - Compression bags can reduce clothing volume up to 300% if utilized correctly. You need to remove excess air from the bulky clothes via rolling of the compression bags to the valve area. Compared to packing cubes, compression sacks do have higher compression ability. That’s what they're meant to do!


➔ Packing Cubes - There are many uses for packing cubes -- in and outside of traveling! For traveling, packing cubes can be used to store heavy or bulky items, as well as small items or even liquids. At home, packing cubes can be used too as in-cabinet drawers or for comforter/duvet storage. Check out our 20 Unique Ways to Use Extra Small Packing Cubes blog post. Versatility? Check!

Black packing cube used for organizing hair tools and products

➔ Compression Bags - Not as practical for organizing items around the house, but can still be used to compress bulky items such as bedding, blankets and out of season clothes. However, it’s definitely more of a hassle to grab something you need from these now compressed bags.

Man organizing closet with compression bags


Packing Cubes - When packing clothes into cubes, wrinkle prevention really depends on how well you rolled or folded them. For lighter, softer and wrinkle-resistant clothing items, rolling is a preferred method. But for other items such as shirts, pants, and sweaters it’s best to fold them into neat piles inside the cube. Since packing cubes prevent items from moving around in your luggage, there’s less likelihood of wrinkling.

Rolled clothes inside packing cube

**Thanks to Samantha for this awesome photo!

➔ Compression Bags - Compression bags aren’t meant to reduce wrinkling of clothes. Their main purpose is simply to reduce clothes’ volume. For wrinkle-resistant clothes, this might not be a problem. Actually, compression bags have a knack for increasing the likelihood of wrinkling in clothes!


Packing Cubes - Not all packing cubes are splash resistant. Some packing cubes (usually those made from mesh fabric) aren’t meant for use in beach or pool trips. But! EzPacking cubes are made from splash-resistant cordura and water-resistant vinyl plastic. This makes EzPacking cubes ideal for beach trips and other activities that might involve a little splash!

Blue large packing cube as a beach tote bag

➔ Compression Bags - All compression bags are made from plastic so technically, they are considered water resistant and waterproof. But once the ziplocks of these compression bags break, they become prone to leakage. Ziplocks are not always as reliable as zippers (which packing cubes have).


➔ Packing Cubes - Besides for organizing clothes, they are SO many ways to use packing cubes. If you have kids, a small cube can hold toys and snacks for a flight. You can store first aid items, toiletries, or hair accessories in a small cube too.

Different size packing cubes for organizing a tote bag

➔ Compression Bags - For travel purposes, these bags  are meant to hold clothing items only. At home, they can also store bulky bed sheets and comforters. It’s not really ideal to invest in a compression bag for storing other types of items.

Which to Choose Between Travel Cubes & Compression Sacks?

Choosing between travel cubes and compression sacks

For families, nothing beats packing cubes for keeping your items organized and neat! Especially if organization is the priority of your family. When you can find what you need in the shortest amount of time possible, then you can allot more time for other fun activities. Compression bags are ideal for overpackers or solo travelers who just want to make use of all the available space in their luggage.

Packing Cubes Versus Compression Bags


Packing Cubes

Compression Bags


Materials Used

Cordura, nylon or vinyl

Plastic (Thickness depends on brands)

Packing Cubes


Rectangular-shaped with zippering capability (Many features)

Plastic body, zip locking capability and air valve (Fewer features)

Packing Cubes

Main Purpose

Organizing travel or home items

Compressing bulky clothing items

Packing Cubes

Compression Capability

Lower compression capability

Good compression capability

Compression Bags


Can be used for travel or home organization

Only works for saving space in luggage

Packing Cubes

Wrinkle Prevention

Good wrinkle prevention

Average wrinkle prevention

Packing Cubes

Splash Resistance

Resists splashes

Resists splashes


Ideal Items Inside

Clothes, gadgets, toiletries and many more

Usually just clothes or bulky items like comforters

Packing Cubes 

Both packing cubes and compression bags can be utilized for hassle-free travel. If you’re looking for a practical yet versatile option, EzPacking cubes are definitely calling your name. Decide what your main purpose for using travel luggage organizers is and you’ll be able to make an easy decision  between packing cubes vs compression bags.

Happy Packing!

P.S. Want to learn more about packing cubes? Click here for a more detailed guide plus tips and tricks when packing with cubes.

Packing cubes vs compression bags
Packing cubes and compression sacks

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