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Toiletry kit recommendations, please

Hubby and I are going to Portugal in late May for 17 days. Packing carry on only. I have purchased some liquids pouches that lie pretty flat, so you can, actually get more of them into your quart-size ziplock for going through security. However, after I’m done flying, I would like to be able to put all my toiletries into one kit. The kit that I’ve owned for years and served me well has too many small pockets that my new liquids pouches won’t fit into, thereby limiting how much I can put in it. Does anyone have a toiletry kit that you can recommend that is still somewhat compact but doesn’t have little pockets designed more for bottles? TIA!

Posted by
2108 posts

I can't tell you how many toiletry bags I have tried over the years...
I was convinced a hanging version was necessary for too many iterations, but I came to realize I had rarely run into a hotel bathroom that didn't have a spot to put my stuff, and leaving stuff in the bag really wasn't convenient. Yes, sometimes I have to move hotel stuff.

I have now used this EagleCreek bag for a number of trips, and really think it's my last toiletry bag purchase. Yay!
I like the outside pocket for wet lens cases, etc., and just 2 other zipped places that can hold anything, no pockets or elastics. The whole thing is lightweight and malleable, so if you don't fill it it can squish down smaller. A loop on the end lets you hang it on a hook after you move your toiletries to a convenient shelf.

Posted by
2207 posts

I have a purple e bag and love it. I have figured out how to put my toiletries in it so it keeps me organized. I use one of the zippered compartments for medications/supplements I take at night which works perfectly for my needs.

Posted by
859 posts

I just use a children's pencil case for my toiletries. Rectangular with one zip.

Posted by
3403 posts

I use one like LIZinPA for both me and my husband. Even though we do carry on size luggage, we check our bags. I actually use a pencil case for the very little makeup I bring and a toothbrush with paste in my carry on tote to freshen up.

Posted by
6180 posts

Hi Beth, I have two that I have used depending on the circumstance. One is just a Clinique free samples bag. It’s not a cloth bag, so liquids won’t mess up my clothes if they leaked. There’s no pockets inside of it; it has a zipper on top and will sit up on a counter. The other one is the LL Bean medium toiletry bag - I favor that one. Advantages of each are listed below:

Clinique bag:
1. Lighter weight
2. Takes less room in my suitcase

LL Bean:

1. Super organized. Zip it open & everything is in its exact spot. Takes less time to find anything during my trip.
2. My quart Ziploc TSA full bag easily slips inside its main compartment after I go through airport security.

3. Has a hook (several hotels in Italy & Spain had no place in the bathroom to set my Clinique bag)
4. Front zipper section is perfect for my silicone collapsible cup - I don’t use glass cups in hotels because of scary reviews, and I’d rather reduce amount of plastic I throw away.
5. One side zipper holds my first-aid stuff.

Posted by
2713 posts

To get the weight down even more, I just use ziplock bags.
Split your toiletries into more than one ziplock, they pack in nooks and crannies in your bag more easily than one bigger one.
No one is looking to see if you have a fancy bag, and you can see what’s in them.

Posted by
13840 posts

I have an older version of the Eagle Creek Quick Trip (Specter). It holds what I need and weighs virtually nothing.

Posted by
308 posts

@ Beth

Airlines issue amenities kits to biz and first-class travellers. Hence passengers may end up with two or more kits for a return flight. Some only use one kit and offer the unused on Ebay or similar. Maybe one offered on such a social media site could be the answer. Or provide a guide on how to go about designing one.

True first-class tickets sold by Asian and middle eastern airlines have kits that almost too good to use. Actually, these airlines provide everything one could possibly want in the aircraft’s bathroom/toilet and no need to use the kit.

Still leaves the issue of how a particular country wants liquids in carry-on presented.

Regards Ron

Posted by
10941 posts

I have tried so many specialized bags and finally gave up and use a couple of reusable 3-1-1 bags from Air Quart, one of which is for my carry-on essentials and the other for those I pack. I like these so much that I have a couple of sizes and use them for first aid supplies, electronic cords, etc., as well.

These are very sturdy. I have used them for multiple trips over 4 years with no tears.

Posted by
4520 posts

I have two bags - a Tom Bihn clear organizer cube, which doubles as a 3-1-1 bag. I really like it but decided that I wanted something with some pockets, so I bought this Nomadic toiletry bag (in Slim). I have not had the chance to travel with it yet, but I like it so far. I bought it on CostcoNext, but it's also available at the Nomadic site.

However, since you don't want pockets, you might like the Tom Bihn bag better. He has other toiletry bags on his website as well.

Posted by
1259 posts

These new flat bottles of yours are from Matador? Sugggest you practice with them before traveling. I found them useful only for viscous liquids like lotions and shampoo; totally useless for watery liquids.

When you say "all toiletries" do you mean DH's too? Budget? And how many toiletry-specific features are you looking for? Dedicated bags usually have a convenient hook, a mesh pocket or two to allow damp items to dry, and maybe a waterproof pocket. Here's mine;
Small and lightweight, the Osprey offers exactly what I need and no more.

My liquids are held separately in a clear organizer from Tom Bihn:
Liquids are separate because the two bags fit in different pockets in the Aeronaut and I can throw the rollup into a daybag while leaving the liquids in the hotel.

The Rick Steves unit is economical and functional. If you want to buy USA:

A dedicated toiletry bag/kit is unnecessary, as several folks have pointed out. Try to have fun shopping.

Posted by
1486 posts

This is what we have been using for about 6 years at least. They have gotten a lot of use and are still as good as the day wee got them.

I agree, the toiletry kits from first class on some flights are very nice. My husband will only fly first class when he goes to China, so has brought home the Tumi kits that they hand out. They are not lightweight though. I do use those most of the time for my makeup (none of it is liquid) as it keeps the brushes from getting squished. if I am trying to really cut down on weight, then I just throw that stuff in a ziplock.

Posted by
1104 posts

Ha, Jean, you and I think alike in many ways. I also use one of those Clinique free bags along with two quart ziplock bags. The ziplocks fit perfectly inside the Clinique bag. One of the ziplocks hold all of my liquids, the other one holds floss, sewing kit, shower cap, bar soap, tweezers, over counter meds, etc. The bag has a nice zipper that goes completely around the bag and a handle on top of the bag for easy lifting. Usually, there is room to place this whole bag on a bathroom counter but if not, I just pull out the liquids bag and go from there. I also get all the hotel goodies and place them somewhere else to make room for my personal Clinique bag. Everyone has their own process; this is what I have been comfortable with for 15 years now.

I’ve tried the really nice Ebags hanging bag and also a RS hanging bag, but didn’t really like going in and out of the bag all the time.

Posted by
172 posts

I use the Matador pouch style toiletry bottles, and I put them inside a LL Bean medium size toiletry kit. As stated by someone else, the Matador pouches are really only good for liquids like shampoo, conditioner and facial/body cleanser. I put them in the larger open part of the kit, lying flat. Then I use the bottle holders for things that I still need to take in a bottle or can (hairspray, mousse etc). And my toothbrush and makeup brushes fit in the bottle holders too. I’ve been using the LL Bean bag for 15+ years and liked it enough that I’ve never considered trying something new.

Posted by
10098 posts

I use the Rick Steves hanging toiletry kit, my second one. The first one was lost when our luggage was stolen and I quickly replaced it with the same RS model. It holds everything I need. I also take a smaller makeup case along.

Posted by
3961 posts

We’ve used the RS Toiletry kits for years. I have the red and my husband has the yellow. It’s sturdy, compact and lightweight. It packs flat in my suitcase. I wash it in a lingerie bag on gentle cycle and hang to dry. PS and by the way they are temporarily out of stock. I like the looks of the clear bags mentioned up thread as well!

Posted by
238 posts

I have used these from Airquart for many years.

I original got them when they first went to 311 as they meet the requirements, are reusable and have the handle if you need to take out of your luggage for TSA.

I use one for "wet" and another for "dry".

The handles are good if you want to need to hang on a hook or knob. And they are translucent so you can see what's inside.

They last a long time. Maybe once did I actually puncture one and needed to replace it.

Posted by
1689 posts

I love my Rick Steves' toiletries bag. I am on my 2nd one. I particularly like the design & the fact I can wash it after the trip. However, thanks to Laurel and her suggestion of the flanabags I may have to try one of those.

Posted by
1602 posts

Another vote for the Pack it Flat from Ebags. I love it because it is thin and flat, I can slip it into my personal tote bag that I bring on board if I wanted to. It is very well designed, with a mesh zippered pocket inside that I keep a travel razor, hair ties, bobby pins, hair clips etc and it also has a hook for hanging and three long zippered pockets on the side for toothbrush, combs and brushes etc. I also transfer all my stuff to my toiletry bag once we are at our fist destination as the rest of the trip is usually trains so no need to pack it all back up until we leave.

Posted by
9776 posts

I love my red Rick Steves toiletry kit. Unfortunately, after 16 years of frequent use it has developed a hole. RS no longer carries the smaller size and the large one is too big. I wish I could find another one just like it, but I’m checking out those others have recommended. I definitely want one with a hook, as I use that feature often.

Posted by
617 posts

No one has mentioned the following toiletry kit from LLBean:
We have been using LLBean's kit for years, started with the medium size, then switching to "Small" when we began traveling with 21" suitcases. I think it must be similar to what RS sells. I like it for 2 reasons: It has a hanging hook as well as a hanging insert that can be taken into the shower if necessary. I also like to leave my electric toothbrush in my toiletry kit rather than on a shelf in the bathroom.
With an LLBean credit card, you get free monogram as well as free shipping.

Posted by
6180 posts

Hi Carol, yes, that’s the one I mentioned above. I still use the medium size and like the turquoise blue color.

Posted by
1104 posts

Carol, I really like LLBean products and I told myself that I would not be buying any new travel bags. But after your post and also Jean’s suggestion about the kit, I am rethinking my trusty Clinique free-bee. It has served me well for many years but think I will change things up.

My question, especially for Carol because you said you switched to the small kit. Is the small kit large enough to carry a quart sized 3-1-1 bag? I would like to be able to pull the quart bag out of the kit just in case TSA wants it showing in the security bins. I could then rearrange the kit when settled in to my accommodations. I like the feature of the little hanging shower pouch.

Posted by
4520 posts

Oh, I love that lapiz blue color on the LL Bean toiletry bag! Sigh :slaps face: No, I do not need another bag!!!!

Posted by
617 posts

Linda, To answer your question concerning the 3-1-1 quart bag: I've never put the quart bag in the toiletry kit, so I just went and filled it and placed it in the toiletry kit. Yes, it fits nicely....if you don't have other things in the kit. I usually fill the shower caddy with emergency items to last a couple of days.
Mardee: I think you should buy the kit. You have influenced me to purchase items, so it's time to reciprocate the favor to you :).
As an added note: Our son came over to see what toiletry kits we had; showed him the medium and small sizes. He and his wife were going on a cruise before Christmas and he needed a new kit. So he got an early Christmas gift of a monogrammed small kit.
...and with an LLBean cc, returns are free also.

Posted by
6180 posts

@ Linda, I threw away that little hanging shower pouch that came with mine - LOL!

You will notice these are bulkier and heavier - just be sure you’re okay with it. I just weighed my Clinique bag, and it’s less than 3 oz. The LL Bean bag is 11 or 14 oz. Last year when I brought two of the large bulky but lightweight boxes of proctored Covid test kits to Europe, I went back to my Clinique bag…and sure missed my LL Bean one.

For organization & ease of use, other than my TSA quart Ziploc bag, nothing inside my toiletry bag needs to be placed inside extra Ziploc bags, i.e. my dry Oil of Olay facecloths are loaded into the toiletry clear zippered “stay dry” section.

@Mardee, my LL Bean toiletry kit is that blue color, my LL Bean lightweight daypack is that color, and my Eddie Bauer medium Expedition 2-wheeler soft-side suitcase is their pretty sapphire blue color. You may be shopping “a little”! Ha!

Posted by
95 posts

Wow, everybody! Thanks for all the insight. I’m not opposed to simply using ziplock bags, but I want something sturdier. I, too, already have the LL Bean small hanging bag…as do my husband and two sons. They’ve served us all very well. But, like I said, I wanted something with less pockets and structure to be sure I could get in my new Matador-like toiletry pouches. I’ve decided to get two Airquart bags. I may only need one, but I’m sure I can find other uses for the second one. I like the simplicity of them and the fact that they have a handle. Again, thanks for the help.

Posted by
884 posts

My main toiletry bag is the square "TSA Approved" clear zipper bag I bought on Amazon. It's currently available in lots of colors for $14. I like it because it fits easily on most vanities and opens fully so I don't need to dig to find stuff.

Except for body cream, I use 1 oz or smaller containers labeled using my label maker. Unfortunately most travel toiletries and refillable containers are 3 oz which is more than I need for even a months travel.

I put daily pills in the tiny ziplocks which save space and keep me on track. To clear security, all meds including eye drops and nasal spray go in a 1 quart Ziploc along with a copy of my prescriptions.

I also bring one of two small bags that go in my day bag during the tour or on the nightstand.

Basically, rather than one bag I bring several smaller ones. I find they suit my needs better and are easier to find a nook for in my baggage. I've found a big bag just encouraged me to take more than is needed and was harder to find room for in my suitcase.

Posted by
4520 posts

Mardee: I think you should buy the kit. You have influenced me to purchase items, so it's time to reciprocate the favor to you :).

Carol, thank you for your consideration! I'll make sure and tag you on my next big buy. 🤣

Jean, the color actually comes pretty close to my carry-on suitcase. I see a buying trend here!

Posted by
8944 posts

@ Linda, I threw away that little hanging shower pouch that came with mine - LOL!

The little hanging pouch is the only part of my LL bean hanging toiletry bag that I still use ! I take it and a suction cup with me on every trip - it drives me NUTS when there is nowhere in the shower to put my toiletries, so years ago I started bringing it so I have somewhere to have my face wash, body gel, shampoo and conditioner while showering !

Posted by
154 posts

The little hanging pouch is the only part of my LL bean hanging
toiletry bag that I still use ! I take it and a suction cup with me on
every trip - it drives me NUTS when there is nowhere in the shower to
put my toiletries, so years ago I started bringing it so I have
somewhere to have my face wash, body gel, shampoo and conditioner
while showering !

I have an LLBean toiletry kit that I really like, but changed to an Ebags Flatpack to help pack better in a smaller suitcase.

I bring the LLBean pouch with the Ebags Flatpack.

I stayed in a respite center after surgery last summer and the low step shower had absolutely nowhere to put a bar of soap, bottles of shampoo, conditioner, a razor, nothing. Luckily I noticed this before I actually "moved in" and could drive myself home to get the LLBean hanging pouch.

I wish they would offer replacement pouches.

Rick Steves offers a replacement pouch for their bag, but it only has mesh pockets on one side.

Hey, RS, make one with mesh pouches on both sides!

Posted by
18 posts

Beth, I totally understand wanting to be prepared for emergencies, without wasting time looking for something that you can easily carry with you. Most of your list makes a lot of sense to me, although I don't carry such a variety of items. And, being prepared can make you feel like a hero - I've given Bandaids and antibiotic ointment to a nun in the queue to St. Peters (she was trying to make do with a tissue) and moleskin and Bandaids to a couple of young women limping their way through the Washington DC mall. In both cases, the smiles and thanks really made my day!