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Alternative to RS hanging toiletry bag

Does anyone have suggestions for a toiletry bag similar to the RS hanging kit (the small red one), perhaps made with a sturdier, but still lightweight, fabric? I love the RS bag in principle -- simple, super-light, with a hook to hang it -- but the fabric on mine was quickly subject to a few small tears/holes and is now ripping along a seam line. I know RS guarantees their stuff and I could probably get this one replaced, but wondering if there's a sturdy alternative that wouldn't add too many extra ounces of weight.

Posted by
2529 posts

A hanging toiletries kit now rests in my closet as being too heavy and bulky. Eagle Creek products are great....that's the brand I use as well.

Posted by
524 posts

This is my go to bag
https://www.containerstore.com/s/resort-hanging-weekender/d?productId=10035686&q=hanging toiletry organizer
I've had it for over five years and it's still in great condition. I couldn't stay organized without it. It helps when two people are sharing a bathroom with no counter space. I like the clear see through 3 pockets and the metal hook (which is more versatile). My husband finally caved after years of a zip lock bag and ordered one from Amazon. His is cheaper in quality, smaller and has the plastic hook but it works for him.

Posted by
8597 posts

Check out REI or other companies that specialize in outdoor equipment. I used to use a hanger from Lands End, but found it too much int the way with two people in a tiny bathroom. Now I use one of the very smallest and lightest of my packing cube set (Eagle Creek) for this purpose.

Posted by
16730 posts

My son gave me an Outdoor Research toiletries organizer 21 years ago and I still use it. No issues with fabric or zippers, although the elastic hold straps have stretched and are no longer usable.

I see they have redesigned it:

https://www.backcountry.com/outdoor-research-backcountry-organizer

It comes in three sizes and only the largest (#3, weighing 3.5 ounces) has a hanging hook.

Posted by
228 posts

We use toiletry bags from LL Bean. If we are going for a shorter time we combine our items into the medium and if a longer trip we each carry a small in our own piece of luggage. We have had them for years with no problems on many trips. I consider the material fairly sturdy but I am not sure about weight as compared to Eagle Creek. LL Bean has a 25% off sale thru Feb 20th.
https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/73889?feat=toiletry%20bag-SR0&page=personal-organizer-toiletry-bag-small&csp=a
https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/73882?feat=toiletry%20bag-SR0&page=personal-organizer-toiletry-bag-medium&csp=a

Posted by
7403 posts

I also purchased the LL Bean medium and am very happy with this one. I have an LL Bean very light daypack that's excellent quality, also, and I liked that I could buy both of them in similar blue colors (easier to not accidently leave behind).

Posted by
1194 posts

Just want to point out a subtle subtext in stoutfellas post:
A light toiletry bag is a great place to save weight while packing. That’s what makes the Rick Steves bag so great.

A good ultra light bag should be under 5 oz.

Otherwise you are using your weight budget for something that isn’t giving you payback.
People complain about airline weight limits or about heavy bulky bags. The toiletry bag is one of several places you can cull weight without sacrifice. Substituting a 1 lb toiletry bag for a 4 oz bag gives you enough margin to bring an extra shirt, or to make weight. That’s something to think about.

But if you have a bag that weighs 6 oz or more you might want to look at the lighter versions listed in this thread.

Posted by
5697 posts

Being terminally frugal, I would take the no-added-cost option: email the Rick Steves people and ask for a replacement bag.

Toiletry kit brands that I like are LLBean, eagle creek, Ebags. Ask yourself what features, size you want. Hook for hanging? simple one compartment zip-open to set on counter? Bright color? Light weight? Budget - then go for it.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have taken my RS toiletry bag on numerous trips over many years, including to Europe every year since the bags were first offered for sale by RS and have never had a problem of any kind with it. I did have a problem with one of his roller-carry-on-bags, the handle would not work properly. I was able to take it up to the RS headquarters in Edmonds, WA, and they inspected the bag and determined that it was a manufacturers defect and had me go pick out a brand new bag at no cost. Someone else has suggested, and I agree, that you should contact the RS folks about your toiletry bag problems and see what they have to day.

Posted by
788 posts

Wow! Thanks for all the helpful replies. Of the bags suggested, I'm leaning toward the REI or the Osprey roll-up. They are very close in weight to the RS bag.

Charlie's response ...

"I have taken my RS toiletry bag on numerous trips over many years,
including to Europe every year since the bags were first offered for
sale by RS and have never had a problem of any kind with it."

... makes me wonder if the materials have been cheapened up over the years or if mine was a bit defective. If I recall, I bought mine in late 2015 or fairly early 2016.

I wasn't that surprised to find the small rips in the very thin fabric, as I didn't expect a $12 bag to last a lifetime, but I was dismayed to find the seam separating last week on a quick Florida golf trip. As I said, I know I could probably get a replacement, but figured spending a little more instead might be a good investment.

Posted by
1194 posts

Stoutfella - there were no REI bags listed. I think you mean Sea-to-Summit? Those bags come in large and small sizes.

I seem to remember Rick Steves changing manufacturers a few years back. Maybe you were caught in the transition? It’s possible the problems were corrected.

Small rips should not be in any nylon bag. Especially if it is a coated nylon or (even better) silnylon.

Posted by
788 posts

Cindy H: Yes, I was referring to the Sea to Summit. The links were to the REI site, so I made an assumption.

Posted by
3961 posts

We have had our RS Traveling Toiletries Kit for almost 5 years and have had no change in the integrity of the material. We have traveled frequently without any issues. I wash it in cool water in a garment bag and it still looks like new. I don't over pack it either. Great bag.

Posted by
15573 posts

I've been using a RS toiletry bag for about 3-4 years. No problems. I just got a new one--I had to spend my $100 tour credit on something--and it looks and feels the same as the one I have now. I''m going to save the new one until the one I'm using starts to "go bad."

I would also suggest you contact the RS store and see what they have to say. Sadly, I've had problems with lots of their products being defective or breaking and they were always good about making things right.

Posted by
166 posts

I've used my RS toiletry bag for 6 yrs and it just works perfect, like several people here I have bought an extra one or two of the bags and keep them back if mine ever gives out. Also, when I'm explaining to a new traveler how to pack light I sometimes give them several items to help get them started with the RS toiletry bag being one of them along with a money belt and a plea to use it to avoid being pick pocketed.

Posted by
1194 posts

Especially the “light and compact” ones that weigh over a pound
;-)

Posted by
1334 posts

Not quite on subject, but I have found many hotel bath rooms lack a good place to hang the toiletries bag, so I always carry a suction cup hook I can use - either on a tile or directly on the mirror. Saved me many times.

Posted by
470 posts

Here is what my husband and I are using, and we have no complaints. The slots inside are a perfect match for things like deodorant, the zipper compartments are useful and adaptable for many purposes. The one niggle is that they are not quite long enough for my Oral B battery toothbrush so it has to "stand up". The included zipper bag for your 311 supplies is easy to pull out for security screenings, and it has proven to be way more durable than the zip lock bags I previously used.
https://www.rei.com/product/878299/rei-co-op-grande-shower-kit-black

Posted by
420 posts

Another vote for the LL Bean. I have 2 medium and 2 small. When we travel. All together I use 1 medium for all of our toiletries and 1 small as a medicine bag/first aid kit.

Posted by
788 posts

The LL Bean bags look great, but I can't get past the weight. The small one is 11 oz., compared to 4 oz. for the one I have. Right now I'm leaning strongly to the Osprey roll-up at 4.5 oz.

Posted by
34 posts

L.L. Bean has a nice selection of toiletry bags. I've used both the small and medium sized ones, but prefer the small. I've purchased these for numerous family members and they have held up well. According to size, they come in a variety of colors. Also, Tom Bihn has a good quality bag that I've considered buying.

Posted by
788 posts

A quick update. I bought the Osprey roll-up toiletry kit -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q2I851U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 -- but I'm dithering about whether to return it or not. It's nearly as light as the RS bag, just one ounce more, while the material is clearly sturdier and the overall quality seems superior. It has a plastic hook rather than the metal one in the RS version that I suspect contributed to the first rip in mine. The overall size of the Osprey is comparable to the RS kit, but the important difference is that there are three compartments instead of two. That seems good at first, but each compartment is therefore smaller. I'm finding it more difficult to arrange items in the compartments. It ends up seeming lumpy. The roll-up design also at first seems like a good idea, but when I close it up, I'm left with a sort of lumpy, uneven, triangular mass, as opposed to the RS kit that usually ends up packing pretty flat.

As I write this, I think I'm talking myself into returning the Osprey bag. This Sea to Summit kit seems like a contender -- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XG3VCHJ/ref=twister_B004WX3TTU?_encoding=UTF8&th=1&psc=1 -- but the price is pretty ridiculous, at least 40 bucks for black, more for colors.

Or maybe I'll just see if RS will replace my torn-up kit and accept the limitations of the cheaper material. Sigh, it's all too complicated. ;-)

Posted by
7050 posts

The roll-up design also at first seems like a good idea, but when I
close it up, I'm left with a sort of lumpy, uneven, triangular mass

Boy, did I see that coming....that's what happens when you try to roll up differently sized objects that don't spread out uniformly. The photo must not have had any actual items in it, that's why it looks so neat. Right when I saw it, it looked like a bad idea. I say go for the Sea to Summit, it should last you for decades. I don't know if hanging it will work real well but certainly you can stuff things in in and close it easily, and it's super light.

Also, anything with clear plastic will look really gross fairly quickly. It's unwashable and attracts all kinds of dirt, oil, you name it. I learned that the hard way. Now I want something light, easy to clean, and has some elasticity to it.

Posted by
1194 posts

I have the small Sea to Summit bag. It is $34.
I have had mine for years and years and have dragged it across several continents.
It works in the city, it works in the jungle, it works in the mountains.

Posted by
1420 posts

Stoutfella, I offer up the idea I shared w you before regarding yr Metamucil packets, just make a series of pockets inside the stripe going down the leg of yr running pants. Place a toiletry in each pocket. Tsa won't be concerned at all. (Whistles casually)

Posted by
788 posts

doric8:

:-)

Good memory! I'd forgotten the Metamucil exchange. I did end up carrying a couple dozen packets on that trip last May, though I saw similar fiber products displayed in shop windows in Venice, our first stop. Next time, I'll exercise stricter Metamucil discipline and just plan to buy some in situ.

I always forget to take something out of my pockets -- a tissue, ball of lint -- before going through the full-body scanner and have to go through again, so the hidden-packet trick probably wouldn't work out so well for me.

Posted by
788 posts

A quick, hopefully last, update. I finally stopped dithering and bought the Sea to Summit large hanging toiletry bag, and it appears to be a fine choice. It's just marginally larger than the RS kit, but seems much sturdier and more versatile. The weight is nearly the same. The largest compartment should easily hold everything from a 3-1-1 bag and more. There's a stretchy mesh partition in the back of the main compartment that should be good for holding things like pill pouches and other flat items. The two zippered secondary pockets have the same stretchy mesh. The top, smallest compartment easily holds toothbrush, floss and other odds and ends, while the middle pocket will hold a hairbrush and, well, whatever else.

The hanging hook is smallish, but it's plastic, which I think is better than the metal one on the RS kit. The zipper action is a bit stiff, but I imagine that will smooth out as I use them.

If I don't jam it to the gills, it will pack nearly as flat and neat as the RS bag and, again, seems much sturdier and very well made. Three times the price of the RS kit, but it's a case of "ya get what ya pay for." My wife hasn't thought much of either the RS bag or the Osprey roll-up bag I bought and quickly returned, but she likes the look of this one and might get one for herself.

Thanks again for all the helpful replies, especially the several of you who kept steering me toward the Sea to Summit bag. I'm a believer!

Cheers.

Posted by
7050 posts

I finally stopped dithering and bought the Sea to Summit large
hanging toiletry bag

Good choice. That courdura fabric is amazingly light (I have a dry sack made of the same material for hiking). I don't know whether I'd hang that bag though, that part looked a little iffy (I may be wrong though, I guess it really depends how well you distribute the weight around). I got the bag for my Dad and saw him pack it to the gills, it actually holds quite a bit. Let us know how you like it once you give it a spin.

Posted by
1420 posts

I've never owned any sea to summit items, but my boarder line hoarding tendency would have me hanging onto yr old bag just in case the plastic hook on the new one was problematic and you had to swap hooks

Posted by
328 posts

I bought the large Sea to Summit toiletries bag for a trip to Italy last summer. I loved the storage and organization it provided. I also liked that each compartment was mesh so it allowed breathability and you could easily see what was inside. I had no problems hanging the bag. It cost a bit more than I wanted to pay but worth it. It's a keeper and will be going with me to Croatia in June.

Posted by
1097 posts

I have three of the RS hanging toiletry kits - two of the older, smaller model (which I prefer) and one of the newer, larger ones. All three developed tears along seams in various places. I had taken a needle and thread to one of the old ones that my husband uses, and I just kept on using mine with the holes, but after reading this post, I contacted RS Support yesterday and they offered to replace the bags (with the newer model) or refund me for all three bags! I consider this great customer support! I really do wish the smaller bag was still available, though.
I accepted the offer of replacements because even with the larger size, I've never found a hanging toiletry kit I liked any better. I checked out the ones mentioned on this thread, but I really prefer the arrangement of the RS bag.
BTW - Support said they don't have a lot of reported failures, so if you have one that's not held up, let them know so they can correct the issue!

Posted by
165 posts

Muji has several styles of hanging toiletry bags, very lightweight and reasonably priced.

I was looking at this one: http://www.muji.us/store/4550002125752.html

In the end didn't get it since I'd rather have a colour other tha gray, black or navy and also my toiletry bag is still in good shape - just couldn't justify buying another one.

Muji has lots of travel accessories, some were on sale when I was there.

For any of the Ontario members of this forum, if you happen to be in Toronto there are 4 Muji stores there.