Review of the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer—After Years of Constant Travel with it


I have used the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer for over four years of nearly constant travel, and yes, in that period I have frequently brushed my teeth, shaved, and even showered.

This small toiletry bag has stood by me for all of those adventures, storing and organizing my implements for self-care while keeping my clothes and the rest of my pack dry and safe from them.

My opinions on the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer haven’t changed much over this time, and as I report further below the unit has shown almost no signs of wear.

Overview of Pros and Cons of the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer

Pros

  • Best for those packing for light and minimalist travel
  • Very lightweight compared to other options; quite suitable for backpackers’ hiking packs
  • Pop-out mirror
  • Can hang from its hook, whether open or closed
  • A transparent liquids section suitable for airports in most parts of the world
  • A mesh upper pocket allows you to see and easily locate small items
  • The middle pocket has quick access zipper on the outside so you don’t need to open up and fold out the entire bag to get at essential items
  • UPDATE: Mine is still in near-perfect condition after four years use—so yeah, it’s durable

Cons

  • Too small for some tastes, if you’re carrying standard-sized shaving cream, shampoo bottles, etc., this is not for you; get a larger toiletry bag (options reviewed here)
  • There are cheaper options (though the difference isn’t much)
  • Hook is a bit small

The Osprey UltraLight Zip’s Features, Way Over-Analyzed

To put it simply, this toiletry bag worked so well for me over the years because it combined a number of the thoughtful features I knew I wanted in a small bag—a hook, a mirror, and a transparent bag—with others that I couldn’t have guessed would work out but turned out to be very useful, like the outside zippered access.

The Transparent Snap-On Bag for Liquids

The transparent detachable airport-security friendly liquids bag

Thanks to this, generally you can whizz through airport security without taking out all of the small liquid bottles and putting them in a separate clear bag each time. This is one of the few small bags that has a transparent zippered bag section, and it gets extra points for being detachable — for a light trip (on a long day trip or overnight for example) you could just detach and take the liquids bag with your toothpaste, sunscreen, etc.

We’ve used this bag for carrying liquids through airports in the USA, Europe, and South America and only occasionally (in Switzerland and the USA) were we asked to use a (provided) standard ziplock bag instead.

I’ve had bottles leak profusely while travelling but never had the creams or shampoos escape this transparent zipped bag, so it’s a nice extra layer of protection. Also, it folds up into the middle of the larger organizer, making it even less likely, should some soapy substance escape the first bag, that it will get further out into the suitcase and ruin your clean clothes.

The clear plastic bag measures 8.0 x 5.0 in. (20.4 x 12.8 cm) and doesn’t have much depth to it, though it’s flexible. As pictured, it can fit a few standard flight-approved toiletries (i.e., of less than 3.4 oz / 100 mL).

The Hook (Slides Out or Hides Away, Hang the Bag Open or Closed)

There’s nothing special about the plastic hook at the top of this bag, but the fact that there is a hook is vital. We wouldn’t consider any bag that doesn’t have a hook. Unfolding and hanging your bag allows you to have your toiletries set vertically rather than taking up valuable counter space when you’re crashing with someone, and it saves you from having to pack and unpack everything to find something.

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This hook is smaller than I would ideally like; it can’t fit on some larger pipes or shelves for instance. A possible solution is something I recommend travelling with in any case: the HeroClip, which allows you to hang anything pretty much anywhere (a purse from a bar stool, a backpack from a tree…). In this case, it can help you hang your toiletries if the Osprey’s hook is smaller than the situation calls for.

The Small, Detachable Mirror

The Ultralight Zip Organizer’s pull-out mirror is a bit tiny but gets the job done.
The mirror is attached to a strap in the top segment of the bag via velcro, so it can be used where it is or detached for a closer look.

In your less-refined bathrooms or in the finest of camping spots, there may be no mirror. These are the moments when the pop-out mirror of the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer comes in handy.

The mirror is thoughtfully velcroed to a small strap, so you can either use it from where it’s hanging or detach it (for example, in order to groom yourself up close or use it as a secondary mirror to see the back of your head.

The mirror is small and light enough that I mostly forget it’s even there.

Other Thoughtful Details of the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer

  • The top section has a see-through mesh bag that is good for small items such as nail clippers — you can see where they are before you open it. There is a more “private” zippered section behind it, which contains the aforementioned mirror.
  • The main section is accessible with the front zipper when the bag is opened up and hanging, and also fully accessible via a different zipper when the back when the bag is closed. This means that you don’t have to open the bag up completely if you want to quickly retrieve something from the middle section—possibly the most brilliant little innovation of this bag. There are also two open mesh pockets on the front of this section.
  • The zippers are quite durable and have never caused me any issues.
  • There are two straps on the back of the bag that could be used to attach it to the outside of a rucksack, for example, if you’re running short on space inside your pack.
Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer after four years of use—typical of Osprey products, it’s kind of boring to report on the (lack of) change, wear, and problems.

Durability and the Osprey Guarantee

The Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer is backed by Osprey’s “All Mighty” Guarantee, which offers to repair or replace any broken bit or other fault for free, for life, no matter what it is. I have never had to use this myself with any of my Osprey gear purchased over the years. Bloggers often report that the company follows through on this promise with their products.

This updated review is being published after four years of pretty heavy use. There are no issues to report and just slight wear is visible around the edges.

From what I’ve seen, toiletry bags from L.L. Bean and Eagle Creek are just as well-buit and durable, but they’re not as lightweight.

Verified Specs—Remember, It’s Small! There’s a Larger Version Too…

Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer, empty, weighs 4.2 ounces (0.12kg) including the detachable see-through plastic pouch

The Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer is hard to measure because the material is just a bit stretchy, but closed up and comfortably full it’s 2.8 x 9.1 x 5.5 inches (7 x 23 x 14 cm) and when empty the bag weighs 4.2 ounces (0.12kg). This makes it one of the lightest bags out there, and certainly the lightest bag I’ve found that’s so fully featured. (But if you want to go even lighter, check out our coverage of minimalist toiletry bags.)

Also keep in mind the dimensions and actually measure the size of your toiletry gear before buy. While the Amazon reviews for the Osprey UltraLight Zip are overwhelmingly positive, the few who did knock it down a star or otherwise complain generally did so because they found it too small for their needs. I have found it quite suitable over the years, but it has certainly forced me to pack carefully and not add unnecessary extras like shaving cream (soap does just fine in my opinion).

Osprey’s larger version of nearly the same thing is the Osprey UltraLight Toiletry Kit, which has mostly the same features and layout. But it can definitely help you carry much more, if you’re the sort of person who travels for example with full-size shampoo bottles. It measures 8.7 x 11.4 x 4.3 in / 22 x 29 x 11 cm.

The Ultralight Kit has a larger hook and a similar layout of organizational pockets, but doesn’t have the clear plastic section for liquids. If that’s an issue and you opt for larger, you may want to also get the Osprey UltraLight Liquids Travel Pouch.

Wrapping Up: Is the Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer Right for You?

We think it’s the best small lightweight option as long as you don’t need more space. But if you’re not convinced or have different needs, check out our other reviews of toiletry bags (we’ve tried out lots).

Osprey UltraLight Zip Organizer
A small, lightweight durable bag with all of the most useful features for travel; holds up extremely well over time

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