Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Review

The Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set is lightweight and durable, with a dual-sided zipper and a nice range of sizes, although there’s no compression.

Our Verdict

8.1 /10
Great info

Form

83/100

Design

77/100

Value

83/100
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Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Superb craftsmanship that holds up even when you stuff them full
  • Three cubes in three sizes come in one set

Cons

  • No compression zippers
  • Zipper is tiny and can feel like it is strained
  • Nylon material can be a bit slippery
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Technical Details

  • Weight (oz)

    2.5 oz (70.9 g)

    For all three combined.

  • Dimensions

    13 in x 9 in x 3 in (33 x 22.9 x 7.6 cm)

    These are the dimensions of the large size. The small is 7.5” x 4” x 3” and the medium is 9” x 7.5” x 3.3”

  • Notable Materials

    Recycled Nylon, YKK Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country

    Vietnam

  • Warranty Information

    All Mighty Guarantee

Buying Options

Brand
Price
Deal
Osprey Logo
$42.00 
Amazon Logo
$66.09 

Full Review

Especially when using a travel backpack, finding ways to organize your gear is key. While you could stuff all your clothing on top of one another and hope for the best, we find that packing cubes come to the rescue to keep our gear organized and together more often than not.

But you don’t necessarily want to pay top dollar or add unnecessary weight to your pack for something that’s just a shell. That’s where Osprey comes in. The brand is highly regarded for making quality gear at reasonable price points, and now offers a full line of travel gear after starting out in the hiking and outdoor worlds. To date, we’ve been impressed with their products we’ve tested, such as the Daylite, Farpoint 40, Fairview 40, and Porter 46.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set In Use
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | Organize your gear without adding weight to your pack.

So, are the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cubes worthy of a place in your pack? Let’s find out.

The Rundown

Over the years, we’ve noticed that Osprey tends to slap their logo all over a product, but the branding on these cubes is more understated. There is an Osprey logo and name centered on each cube, along with a small tab on the top right that indicates the size of the cube, whether it’s S, M, or L. The result is fairly minimal, especially if you opt for the Black colorway, and we’re digging the overall aesthetics of these packing cubes.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Medium
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | You’ll know which cube is which.

As you may have guessed from the tabs, the Ultralight Packing Cube Set includes three sizes—small, medium, and large. Packing cube sizes are not universal, so one brand’s medium may be another’s small, but we’ve found the size of these cubes to be an ideal variety for the average one bag traveler. The small cube is great for socks and underwear, the medium for T-shirts and shorts, and the large for pants and sweaters.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | There are three sizes in each set.

At the time of this review, the latest version of the set is available in Black and Waterfront Blue. We went with blue because lighter-colored cubes are easier to find inside your pack. That being said, these things are pretty bold, so if you’re not particularly into bright colors you may opt for the Black. We always love checking out Osprey’s fancy color names when we review their gear, and they’ve delivered once again! We truly can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Logo
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | The 40D nylon is recycled.

Weighing in at a mere 2.5 oz combined, these ultralight cubes are certainly true to their name. They’re made with a lightweight 40D high-tenacity nylon material, which is also durable and, as the name implies, resistant to rips. It’s a reliable fabric that has performed well for us in testing, and we think Osprey has made a great decision here. They’ve also made a step toward sustainability by using 100% recycled and bluesign® approved material. Earth friendly packers everywhere, rejoice!

There is a nylon webbing handle on the top of each cube. We don’t find ourselves using it often, but it can be useful to pull these cubes out of your bag, especially if you’ve got a top-loading backpack. You can also use the handle to carry the packing cube around. Fortunately, the handle sits close to the cube and doesn’t get in the way, so it’s not a problem if you don’t use it.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Zipper Pull
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | Two YKK zipper heads let you open the cube anywhere along the track.

The zippered opening on these cubes is in an interesting position, although it does work well. We’re going to go ahead and call this an “off-center half-clamshell opening.” It goes around half the bag but is slightly off-center, allowing more access on the right-hand side than on the left.

We have found this style of opening to be great for cramming as much gear inside as possible because you can push items to the bottom of the cube easily. It’s also a bit easier and quicker to zip up than a full clamshell. But be warned, you’ll likely need to take all of your clothing out if you want to grab something at the bottom of the cube.

The zipper on each cube is YKK. It’s small but perfectly capable for a packing cube. The Japanese zipper manufacturer YKK makes some of the most reliable zippers on the market, and we’re confident in its durability, so it’s all good here. That’s especially true because there are now two zipper heads on each opening! We find that it’s easier to zip up with two zippers when your cube is full to the brim, and it means you can pull out a specific pair of socks or T-shirt if you remember exactly where in the cube you packed them. Each zipper also has a cord knotted through the head instead of a metal pull, which is easier to grasp and makes opening and closing much smoother.

Packability

There were no signs of wear and tear after using the previous version of the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set for just over a month while traveling and going to the gym.

The craftsmanship is top-notch and we have no concerns over the durability, which is what we’ve come to expect from Osprey. These are a set of packing cubes you don’t need to be precious about, and we like that—just shove a load of stuff in, and you know these little cubes have your back (and your stuff).

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set In Bag
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | They’re easy to pack.

The three sizes—1.5L, 4L, and 9L—fit nicely into large travel backpacks and rolling carry on luggage alike, with a rectangular shape that’s easy to fill and especially simple to slot into squared-off bags (like suitcases!). The material is a little slick, but it doesn’t slip around any more than you’d expect nylon material to, and the cubes don’t stick on your other gear as you try to pull them out of a tight space as some TPU-coated items do.

We’re happy with the amount of gear that fits inside, too, although your mileage will vary depending on your size and the type of clothing you like to bring along. We can confidently say that most people could easily fit a long weekend’s worth of gear, if not a whole week’s if you’re packing for a warmer location, but things will get a lot tighter if you have to add pants, sweaters and wool socks to the mix.

Quick Comparison

So, to start, we’re going out on a limb and comparing the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set to itself! That is to say, the previous version. We think Osprey made some excellent choices with regard to iterating on gear that we already liked because now we like it even better!

You’re still getting lightweight 40D nylon, though the previous version wasn’t recycled and had a siliconized coating that we sometimes found a little slick. That coating seems to be gone from the update, and we can’t say that we’re especially sorry to see it go.

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Zipper
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | It can be easier to zip the cube shut with two pulls.

Also, it now has two zipper heads on the track instead of just one. We didn’t love having to open the cube up all the way every time to get at something on the bottom, and now you can open them anywhere along the track.

The last change is to the logo, which is to trade a triangular patch in the upper right corner with the Osprey logo and a tab with the Osprey name for a centered logo and name, with the size of the cube on the tab instead. Aesthetics aside, we like the size identification, if only because it can sometimes be hard to tell the small and medium apart when they’re empty. It’s not impossible or even truly difficult. Still, more information is always appreciated, especially if you find one random cube at the bottom of your closet and want to know how much you can stuff inside!

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set Comparison
Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set | Osprey cubes are ultralight but lack compression.

As for how the set stacks up against other cubes, we’ve pulled out the Peak Design Packing Cubes, a Pack Hacker Pick. The main exterior fabric of these cubes is a 70D nylon and polyester blend, so it’s a little thicker, yet it has a self-healing design that is supposed to fix small holes before they tear the rest of the cube. Plus, they have a unique opening mechanism; simply grab the two Hypalon tabs and pull to get inside. That means you can quickly see all of your clothing, not just two-thirds as with Osprey. However, when you do, there’s more of a chance of spilling everything out of the cube.

While these aren’t as lightweight as Osprey—with just one Peak Design cube weighing more than all three Osprey—they include a compression zipper that lets you pack bulky clothing into a smaller space. However, we think the size and shape options from Osprey are a little easier to pack clothing into and fit into your travel backpack, so you win some, you lose some. Both are great cubes; you just have to decide what’s most important to you and pick based on that decision.

In testing, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set. (Yeah, we really nerd out on this stuff.) They hold their shape when packed to the max, but they’re also perfectly usable with just a few items. The different sizes make them easy to organize within your pack, and the zipper is functional and ergonomic.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Nice that each size is labeled as such
  • Digging the updated design
  • The Waterfront Blue colorway may be a bit bright for some, but you can also get it in Black

Previous Version

  • Good range of sizes and the craftsmanship is great
1 Month of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The sizes seem a great fit for many different trips
  • Less slippery than the previous version
  • Having two zipper heads makes it easier to wedge in more gear

Previous Version

  • They’ve seen use on a one bag travel trip, as well as frequent visits to the gym. No signs of wear and tear yet.
mm
By Kristyne Defever
Created December 18, 2018 • Updated January 19, 2024
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