Applications of cellulose nanomaterials (CNMs) have attracted increasing attention in recent years. One conceivable path lies in their commercial applications for packaging, in which their barrier properties will play an important role in determining their competiveness with conventional materials. This review critically analyzes the performance of CNMs acting as a barrier against moisture and oxygen permeation in CNM films, CNM-coated polymers and papers, and CNM-reinforced polymer composites, gives some insights into remaining challenges, and brings an overall perspective of compositing CNMs with other materials to achieve balanced properties adequate for barrier packaging. In general, CNMs are a poor moisture barrier but excellent oxygen barrier in the dry state and are still good below 65% relative humidity. The addition of CNMs can improve the oxygen barrier of the resulting polymer composites; however, neat CNM coatings and films can afford better oxygen barrier properties than dispersed CNMs in coatings and nanocomposites. The morphology and surface functionality of CNMs can be tailored to maximize the barrier performance of materials comprising them. The higher the surface charge density is of CNMs, the better is the barrier performance of coated polymers. Like other oxygen barriers such as ethylene vinyl alcohol and cellophane, the moisture sensitivity and sealability of CNMs can be improved by sandwiching them with high moisture-resistant and sealable polymers such as a polyolefin. A multilayered structure with layers of CNMs providing oxygen resistance covered by other layers of polymers providing moisture resistance and sealability might be competitive in barrier packaging markets dominated by synthetic plastics.