Best Travel Toiletry Bags and Dopp Kits for the Organized Traveler
Your business trip was meticulously planned. You reach your hotel room ready to impress your client with your presentation. Unpacking your suitcase, you glimpse your shampoo bottle. The cap? It’s missing. Your suit, freshly-laundered shirt and your good mood are awash in slime. Do you rush out and shop? Call the concierge and offer to pay any price to have everything cleaned? Or were you clever enough to avoid this drama because you own a travel toiletry bag that makes sure this nightmare never happens to you?
Our Top Toiletry Bag Picks:
A Distinguished History
They’re not in a Witness Protection Program, but the classic toiletry bag goes by many different names, so when you search for one that suits your budget and sensibilities, give your search engine a choice of these keywords: best travel toiletry bag, dopp kit, hanging toiletry bag, body hygiene kit and ditty bag. This portable product is designed to hold essentials you need to survive when you’re away from your bathroom.
The original name of this product was the Dopp Kit, named for Charles Doppelt despite the fact that his nephew Jerome Harris was the actual inventor. These organizational bags were first produced and sold around 1919 for soldiers deployed to Europe during World War I. By World War II, they were standard issue for members of the military. The original Dopp brand was acquired by Samsonite in the early 70s and again by Buxton in 1979. The expansion of this niche has been dramatic and in keeping with the worldwide increase in travel for business and pleasure.
5 Things to Look for When Buying a Toilet Travel Bag
When BusinessInsider.com tackled the topic of transporting liquids capable of passing muster while threading one’s way through security checks, writer Avery Hartsman commiserated with folks weary of packing their bags only to have them taken apart by glove-wearing airport security staff.
She sleuthed out the online startup Pack Simply, a company that encourages site visitors to “build your own” TSA-approved toiletry bag online, exploring this convenient way to prepare for travel if you're so crunched for time, you can't shop for toiletries.
But if the idea of spending more on a compiled kit doesn’t intrigue you because you’re brand loyal and have no desire to pay someone else for putting pedestrian brands into your toilet kit, you’ll want to express your individuality by selecting travel toiletry products you prefer. Here’s what to consider when you browse the toiletry bag market:
- Ease of retrieval. You should be able to extricate your bag from your suitcase quickly when asked to produce it for TSA agents.
- Waterproofing. Select bags featuring lots of thick plastic compartments to constrain leakage. Compartments needn’t be fabricated of see-through plastic, but having a clear view items you carry could help you transit that security line faster.
- Zippers, zippers, zippers. While they’re not 100-percent leak-proof, zippers may constrain items in compartments better than snap or button embellishments that allow liquids to seep out. Look for zippers that emulate those found on sandwich bags for the best seal of all.
- Does it hang? The hanging toiletry bag is especially handy because it’s designed to unfold, at which point cords, hangers or ribbons secure your bag to towel bars, door hooks and the shower curtain so items you use most are handy.
- Locking mechanism. You don’t have to be paranoid to worry that when your bags are being shuttled around by airport luggage handlers, gate agents and cart drivers somebody could get into the accessory that often does double duty as a jewelry tote.
Why See-Through Inner Travel Bags are Considered Essential
Nobody likes to stand in long lines, put up with fellow passengers screaming into their cell phones or arriving at airports so many hours before take-off that you’re exhausted just finding your seat, but domestic and world travel protocols have changed dramatically in the past few years.
Putting your toiletries into a plastic bag so contents are clearly viewed by TSA agents has become the norm, which is why savvy travelers usually “double bag” when they travel, sticking essential toiletries into a see-through case for quick retrieval and filling a larger (and perhaps more fashionable) bag with items that aren’t essentials.
As a consequence of potential terrorist threats, “Any type of liquid, from sunscreen to mascara, must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less, as larger amounts raise concerns about explosives,” say editors at wiseGeek.com.
The TSA even recommends clear cases don’t exceed 1-liter in size. Adds wiseGeek, “the TSA believes that it reduces the risk of smuggled explosives and other contraband items,” via those see-through bags, and when it comes to your personal safety, don’t you want to take every measure known to man to get where you’re going safely?
Clever Ideas that Could Change the Way you Fill Your Bag
All credit goes to "Huffington Post" writer Suzy Strutner who has collected, invented or intuited the following offbeat ideas that will make your bag one of the most practical and unique on the planet.
- Fill straws with skincare products to make room for other essentials.
- Stick a report clip over your razor head to avoid cutting yourself.
- Convert a plastic contact lens case to storage for dabs of toothpaste or creams.
- Stuff cotton balls or Kleenex into cases with mirrors to reduce potential breakage.
- Fill a Tic-Tac case with hairpins; wrap elastic hair bands around tubes and bottles.
- Fill an empty eye-drop bottle with toothpaste and leave the tube at home.
- Add lanyards with clips to your toiletry bag for emergency lingerie washing.
- Double seal everything that could leak with masking tape strips or clear wrap.
Taking a long trip? This YouTube video offers toiletry bag packing tips that are practical and inventive. Need a laugh? This Ryanair video could help you vanquish any stress associated with packing your bags for travel! This affordably-priced toiletry bag comes with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee and the company prides itself on “World Class Customer Service” should you have to return it. Find plenty of space and clever compartments to stow essentials. The signature Rip-Stop “Honeycomb waterproof fabric” used to fabricate this bag not only stops leaks and spills but the lightweight material won’t add to the weight of your luggage. Easy-to-wash and clean, this carryall comes in colors, one of which should suit your personality. Because it folds down to form a snug, flat silhouette, even if you cram your suitcase with more clothing than you need, you won’t have problems finding room for this toiletry kit.
Best Travel Toiletry Bag Reviews
This affordably-priced toiletry bag comes with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee and the company prides itself on “World Class Customer Service” should you have to return it. Find plenty of space and clever compartments to stow essentials. The signature Rip-Stop “Honeycomb waterproof fabric” used to fabricate this bag not only stops leaks and spills but the lightweight material won’t add to the weight of your luggage. Easy-to-wash and clean, this carryall comes in colors, one of which should suit your personality. Because it folds down to form a snug, flat silhouette, even if you cram your suitcase with more clothing than you need, you won’t have problems finding room for this toiletry kit.
- Hang the bag anywhere that’s convenient to access contents.
- Saves room on crowded hotel vanities and sinks.
- Packs flat thanks to lightweight fabric and slim profile.
- Side zippers offer easy access to see-thru bag that holds essentials.
- Priced to fit all budgets, it makes a terrific gift for travelers.
- Won’t accommodate large bottles, hairbrushes and other bulky items.
- The vivid colors are more suited to women than men.
- Shoppers returning this bag say it’s too large for their purposes.
- Shopper complaints most often focus on hard-to-close or broken zippers.
- You could run into fraying issues around stitching points.
Is there any product area Amazon doesn’t invade? The name says plenty about a company with a pulse on trends and markets, so keeping personal items organized the Amazon way could be your first-class ticket to travel ease. Available only in black, this hanging bag features an internal lining that contains leaks and spills. The fabric is 1680D polyester, a workhorse in terms of durability yet when it’s readied for insertion into your luggage, it takes up approximately the same amount of space as a pair of jeans. There’s a large compartment with a mesh divide and internal storage, two side compartments plus a handle if toiletries are your only carry-ons. Slide your plastic essentials case into the bag after passing security and use the hidden hook to hang it at your destination.
- Design is comparable to pricier branded products yet this bag costs half the price.
- The retractable, sturdy hook won’t snag garments when your luggage is tossed around.
- Plenty of interior space makes it easy to remove a plastic essentials bag at security.
- The Amazon brand is reliable and dependable.
- Doubles as a cable holder, jewelry stash and hobby bag when not used for travel.
- By placing zippers in side pockets facing down, contents could fall out when bag is hung.
- Not for the traveler seeking a free-standing bag like a traditional dopp kit.
- Photos make this bag look bigger; it may not hold everything you need when traveling.
- May not compress down as efficiently as advertising copy states.
- Shoppers have called the fabric used to make this bag cheap and flimsy.
If your purchase decisions start and end with fashion-forward color options, the eBags Pack-it-Flat toiletry bag may have your name written all over it. Best described as vivid and bold, the canary yellow style appears to be a hot seller. There’s a Limited Lifetime Warranty against material and workmanship defects and though you’ll pay nearly twice the price of the aforementioned toiletry kits, you also get extras. Have zippers disappointed you? This bag features “premium self-repairing YKK RC coil zippers.” There are four roomy compartments including one designed just for damp, leaky or oozing contents. If zippers on toiletry bags have confounded you in the past, you may have found Nirvana in eBags.
- Dare we again mention those no-fail zippers that won’t let you down?
- Large storage capacity holds small and large items, yet fits into backpacks and weekenders nicely.
- Performs better than single-pocket toiletry bags that allow contents to roam loose and possibly open or break.
- eBags fans are loyal; frequent travelers have stuck with the brand for years.
- Fabric is waterproof, durable and seams are reinforced for strength.
- Due to its Pack-it-flat fold-down size, this bag is bigger than it looks in photos.
- Smaller pockets barely hold travel-size bottles.
- The watertight compartment may not be large enough for your plastic essentials bag.
- A smaller bag could save you some money if you pack light.
- If your style is conservative, color choices are minimal.
Perhaps you felt a rush of nostalgia when you first glanced at this traditional-looking bag and remembered your grandpa’s visits. Ignore the word “leather” featured in the headline: this vintage toiletry bag is actually high-density washed canvas with a bit of faux leather trim. Unlike the fold-down, hang-down and multi-pocked designs featured in this review, this utilitarian carryall offers a roomy, single interior expanse, though there are inside and outside zipper pouches and pockets. The metal zippers are industrial strength and plenty of women buy this carryall, despite the fact that it’s marketed as a mens travel toiletry bag.
- Vintage styling and conservative color appeal to travelers who don't like bells and whistles.
- The most affordable toiletry bag in this review, the cost of this bag compares to two fast food meals.
- The inside zipper pouch is designed to hold items that may leak or spill.
- Makes a terrific gift for groomsmen, office colleagues and friends.
- Neutral color hides soil but the canvas is easy to clean up with soap and water.
- May not be big enough to fit your plastic essentials case into this bag.
- The zipper could malfunction and/or fall apart down the road.
- If you dislike faux leather trim, remember what you paid for this toiletry bag.
- For lovers of hanging and compartmentalized toiletry bags, this bag may not work.
- You could experience construction issues over time if you travel a lot.
As the priciest mens travel toiletry bag in this collection, you could buy two of the aforementioned products for the cost of one Vetelli leather bag-—but don’t get too excited. That's not real leather. Sure, it looks luxurious and sports stylish embossing, but a discriminating eye is all that’s needed to recognize polyurethane. Functional and fun because it’s designed to look like Euro kits of the past, you’ll like the waterproof lining, nylon inner lining and water-resistant inner bottom. There are steel zipped inner pockets and mesh pouches. Vetelli supplies two free silicon travel bottles with each bag and stands behind its 100-percent customer satisfaction guarantee purported to last the lifetime of the product.
- Get the look of vintage leather without the hefty price tag.
- Easy to clean, there are no offensive odors usually associated with faux leather.
- Large enough to stow half of your bathroom if you’re of a mind to bring everything.
- If you’re dying for leather but can’t afford it, this is your men’s travel toiletry bag.
- Sturdy stitching and industrial-strength zippers could compensate for real leather.
- If nothing but leather will do, this isn’t your bag.
- Shopper returns are most often due to faulty and malfunctioning zippers.
- Water spots can leave permanent marks on faux leather.
- Despite “Italian” brand roots, these bags are fabricated in China.
- You may consider the price too high for what’s essentially plastic.
For occasional travelers who aren’t out to impress, the BAGO and AmazonBasics bags are twin sons of different mothers, so your decision between the two could come down to a choice between a conservative black versus a wild mix of colors. The eBags toiletry kit--at nearly double the price--has no distinguishing features to justify a purchase unless you’ve had myriad zipper issues in the past and you’re willing to pay anything to avoid them in the future.
We love the Vitelli bag for too many reasons to count: It’s gorgeous. The tooled logo and high-end look have made this one of the hottest sellers on today’s market—-but we’re talking plastic here and must ignore the cool look to claim the MSG Vintage Leather Canvas bag as our best pick for styling, storage, price and function. Sure, it’s the least expensive bag in our roundup and the Vetelli bag would win any beauty contest, but the roomy, stylish MSG with its industrial-strength zippers earns our top marks for the best compendium of features and design.