Help my husband pick out a travel toiletry case
December 9, 2010 12:34 PM   Subscribe

What do you use to encase your toiletries while traveling?

My husband currently uses a gallon-sized ziplock bag; he'd like to find something a bit nicer. What do you use?
posted by sabh to Shopping (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on his tastes, Flight001 has a decent selection of toiletry bags. Personally, I like this one.
posted by crosbyh at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2010

The LL Bean Personal Organizer ain't cute, but it is extraordinarily functional. It zips up compactly, hangs anywhere when open, and has a removable, independently hanging mesh bag that holds toiletries in the shower. I've had mine for years and it still looks brand new, too. Worth every cent.
posted by amelioration at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Heh. I came here to say I use a gallon-sized ziplock bag. It may be wasteful/inelegant, but it definitely saves the rest of your stuff from getting destroyed/gooed up when TSA or the throwers or air pressure completely bust open your bottle of shampoo. I guess any kit with an easy-to-clean clear vinyl bag or insert, though, could serve a similar purpose.
posted by limeonaire at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2010

Well, it used to be something like this (mine is orange, which I find enhances its utility), but ever since the airline liquid restrictions came out and it all has to go in a baggie anyway, organization doesn't really matter. But if I'm going to be somewhere for a couple days I do like it a lot. (Especially the hook--sooooo useful!)
posted by phunniemee at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2010

This one is $20 at LL Bean. Works perfectly and you can hang it up anywhere, so you don't have to take everything out everytime. The only problem is that the TSA still requires you to put everything liquid in your carryon bag into a ziplock bag. But I think that problem is common to them all.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2010

I use an Eagle Creek Gear Pack-It Quarter Cube:

I got mine at an REI store for about $10. Light weight, zipper that opens all the way and best of all the front is a very sturdy mesh which lets things inside dry out. There's another size that's twice as large, but I thought it was a bit big.

Not the height of fashion, but it works really well, and is nicer than a ziplock.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:47 PM on December 9, 2010

This one from Brookstone is nice and sturdy, and being able to hang it makes a big difference in a small bathroom.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2010

This is a good time of year to head for the Mens' section of pretty much any department or clothing store and pick up a Dopp kit; they're a classic generic dadly Christmas gift, so they're out in abundance right now. I just picked up a leather Perry Ellis one for about 10 bucks at T.J. Maxx.
posted by usonian at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Since you say "gallon-sized" I assume these are toiletries he is checking, rather than trying to sneak through TSA.

And lo, I will sing the praises of the Travelon Flat-Out Hanging Toiletry Kit. In a travel emergency, if I had to choose between save this kit or save my laptop, I would be torn—it's that useful. There is no wasted space in this kit. Be sure to look at the picture showing it unzipped. It's not extremely glamorous (black or gray nylon) so I would go for a leather Dopp kit if you want style... but for functionality, I would hold the Travelon kit up to any other toiletries bag out there.

You can either pack it in your suitcase zipped open flat, or you can roll it up and zip it closed, at which point it takes up about the space of a pair of shoes.

When you arrive at your destination, unzip the kit and hang it on the back of the bathroom door... or on a towel bar, in those hotels with no hook on bathroom door (fie!). You can just "live out" of that kit because it's easy to access.

(And let me point out a killer feature: the hanger hook snaps open. It is not one sewn loop that must be hung over a hook. Picture a traditional bag hook and then imagine where you would hang that on your average towel bar. Aha! You cannot. Stuck. Same for if you wanted to hang it over a door knob... the hook doesn't have to fit around the door knob... you need only to unclip the strap and re-fasten it around whatever. Want to hang it from a tree branch while camping? Done. This is one of the super-functional things about the Travelon bag that you don't notice/appreciate until you really need it.)

Each of those individual zip pockets you see is waterproof. So if something leaks, it at least will only leak on whatever it is zipped with.

It is surprisingly roomy. I can carry four or five 3-ounce bottles in the bottom zip pouches, which covers my shampoo, conditioner, face lotion, body lotion, deodorant. I also fit a full metal razor, travel Q-tip box, two or three of these Lush tins, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, miniature perfume spray, travel hair lotion, nail clippers, costume jewelry, tweezers, hotel sewing kit, five or six long hair clips, some girlie items, and some cosmetics, with loads of room to spare.

I've had mine for going on 5 years and it shows no wear and tear. When I do get a leak, I just wipe that compartment out with a damp washcloth and hang the bag to air-dry.

Love love love. I love this Travelon toiletries kit so much that I want to sit next to it in matching claw-footed bathtubs and watch the sun set.
posted by pineapple at 1:00 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I'm travelling overnight but only carrying hand luggage, I use this with the contents dumped out and my own correctly-sized and packaged liquids arranged within. I have a smaller clear plastic bag for non-liquid things like comb, hairbrush, etc.

Because I have difficulties with my skin and scalp, I have to take a lot of specific things with me. I therefore find it most convenient to keep a pre-packed travel washbags to hand which I can pack without a second thought, topping up the quantities on my return. Each bag contains, in a small plastic envelope, an inventory list of the contents, and a list of all the items I need to pack including robe, alarm clock, etc.

If I travel for more than a week, I have to take more things with me (because of weekly treatments etc), and I keep that set in a hanging roll-uppable bag with zippy pockets. I got my current one free with a magazine about 10 years ago.

If I'm travelling for less than a week, but checking my bag, I have an Anya Hindmarch British Airways washbag that contains absolutely everything I would need if I were stranded, including a very compact towel and some spare underwear and tights. As an emergency bag, it's a chocolate teapot since I can't take it through security (I originally meant to keep it in my car but I worried about the contents perishing in hot weather). Still it's a more compact version of the large hanging roll-uppable bag.
posted by tel3path at 1:12 PM on December 9, 2010

I use a translucent plastic organizer from Japanese company Nomadic Inc. which I bought at the Container Store (they don't seem to have it online). It has this remarkable legend on the side:




posted by ocherdraco at 1:16 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just going to pop in one more time to say that if the guy was used to using a Ziplock bag, a very, very simple travel case will probably be most appreciated.

I'm a guy who's done a lot of traveling for business and pleasure over the last 20+ years and I can't imagine wanting a bunch of separate compartments for things.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:26 PM on December 9, 2010

I came here to say the LL Bean Personal Organizer. My mom had one on a road trip we took, and I almost stole it from her. They have several sizes, too!
posted by epj at 1:59 PM on December 9, 2010

One great merit of a zip-lock bag is that you can see through it. You want to replace it with something that makes it easy to find things. I found out after buying an expensive one that this classic style of toiletry kit and this one are a big pain in the ass because they don't open wide enough, and you can't see whats at the bottom. Hard to dump out, hard to root around in.
posted by wryly at 3:33 PM on December 9, 2010

I do both - classic Dopp kit with a ziploc or two inside it. Keeps the Dopp kit clean in case of a leak (which is rare), keeps my toiletries private but lets me pull out the ziploc when I need to see them or root around. And, since I travel by air frequently, I keep the liquids in a quart-size separately from the rest in another size bag so I can grab them out for the carry-on. I use this, and the bottom compartment has loops for grooming tools and a few pockets for other stuff.
posted by MrZero at 5:10 PM on December 9, 2010

I have this fold-up hanging thing. It holds a stupendous amount of stuff and lies flat. I love it.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:47 PM on December 9, 2010

I use the thick clear vinyl zippered pouch that my bedsheets came in. It's a good size, sturdy, waterproof, simple, and because it's clear, I can find things easily. Also free, and reused.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:51 PM on December 9, 2010

wow, thank you all for your help! i will forward these on to mr. sabh and see what he likes!
posted by sabh at 6:33 AM on December 10, 2010

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