Our Top Choices in Minimalist Toiletry Bags—Simple, No-Frills, and Ultra-Lightweight

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2024-04-03
PUBLISHED ON  2020-11-19
A selection of lightweight minimalist toiletry bags that we have tested

Your Guide

Mose Hayward

Minimalist Packing Nerd

What’s the best minimalist toiletry bag? It depends a bit on what you mean by “minimalist”—we’ve experimented in our constant travels with both solutions for simplicity in design and for travelling very light. Be warned that the solutions we review here are not for those who travel with lots of cosmetics—they’d be better off looking at our reviews of the best larger toiletry bags.

But for you minimalists, here’s the best that we have found and tested in our travels up to now.

This is where my heart lies as a traveller—perhaps I’m not a true minimalist. I want travel gear that is light but maximally functional so I can stay organized, have my stuff when I need it, and focus on enjoying wherever I happen to be without extra trips shopping for missing toiletries or cosmetics, nor time spent cleaning up after a leaky bag.

For more on this you can check out our reviews of the small but fully featured toiletry bags for travelling minimalists. But our top two picks are below.

Very Smart Organization: The L.L. Bean Small Personal Organizer Bag

With a removable shower caddy and mirror and very smart organizational pockets, the L.L. Bean Small Personal Organizer Bag keeps your whole mini-washroom at the ready while on the road.

  • The oversized, rotating hook allows you to easily hang it anywhere without taking up a host’s precious shelf or counter space.
  • The judiciously used pockets keep things well organized, including, crucially, transparent and mesh pockets on the front when hanging. I’ve found them extremely thoughtful, though the side pockets for me are a bit of overkill.
  • The durability is unmatched: the nylon packcloth exterior, YKK zippers, and even the mesh elements feel quite solid and lasting.

The L.L. Bean Small Personal Organizer Bag measures 8.5 x 8.25 x 3 inches (21.6 x 21.0 x 7.6 cm.) when closed and weighs 11 ounces (312 g.) when empty.

Clear, Detachable Pocket, Very Lightweight: The Osprey Ultralight Zip

A bit smaller and much lighter than the L.L. Bean option above, the Osprey Ultralight Zip is nevertheless fully featured:

  • The small hook allows you to easily hang it whether the bag is opened or closed.
  • The main pocket has both front and back zippers, making it accessible without folding out the bag. And the detachable clear liquids pocket is acceptable at many (not all) airports’ security checks in lieu of a ziplock bag.
  • While it’s extremely lightweight, I can attest firsthand that its durability is excellent; I report in my review of the Ultralight Zip it held up for years of constant road use and still shows little sign of wear.

The Osprey Ultralight Zip measures 2.8 x 9.1 x 5.5 inches (7 x 23 x 14 cm.) when closed up and when empty weighs 4.2 ounces (124 g.).

Check on Amazon

If you want to go more minimalist in the sense of the design of your toiletry bag—that is, a simple, durable bag to chuck shampoos, soaps, etc. into—we have a couple of options to recommend depending on how simple you want to go, and whether you want transparency or good watertightness.

Simple, Leakproof, Very Light: The Matador FlatPak Waterproof Toiletry Case

The Matador FlatPak Waterproof Toiletry Case securely rolled and clipped at the top with toiletries inside

This is a svelte, useful, truly minimalist way to carry toiletries. The Matador FlatPak Toiletry Case is an extremely waterproof / leakproof way to carry any bottles and soaps that might otherwise cause disasters in your luggage.

The bag rolls up at the top and then clips, forming a nice carry handle. There is also a small loop at the back so that you can hang it on a hook or a peg when it’s open. And when full it can sit flat on a countertop without tipping over.

When empty it weighs next to nothing and folds up extremely flat.

Matador FlatPak Toiletry Case could fold up to fit in a credit card slot if you wanted.

We’re impressed with the FlatPak Toiletry Case’s ability to contain leaks. Matador also claims that the BPA- and PVC-free material allows water to slowly evaporate outwards, so that the inside doesn’t get messy. We’re dubious, but so far in our use the inside has stayed dry. We’ll be testing this more.

The Matador FlatPak Toiletry Case weighs 1.17 ounces (33.2 g.) and when full stretches out to 9.5 x 3.75 x 5.5 inches (24.1 x 9.5 x 14.0 cm.).

A Transparent, Leakproof Simple Option: The Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Sac

Eagle Creek Medium Pack-it Original Sac

The mesh outer liner of this Eagle Creek simple toiletry sack provides structure and durability while the laminated inside material keeps water from getting in or out. The construction, as you would expect from Eagle Creek, is top-notch.

Inside view of the Eagle Creek Pack-it Original Sac Medium opened up
The small clip on the end of the bag

There’s a clip on the side that is of questionable utility in my book, as it’s not quite big enough to hang in most places and in any case the positioning would make me concerned about spills if the bag is open.

You can get a full set of three different sizes for cheap at Amazon, or find a wider variety of sizes and colors sold individually or in sets directly from Eagle Creek.

A Very Cheap Transparent Option: Nylon Mesh Zipper Bags

These nylon bags are excellent for organizing small travel gear generally—as long as it’s stuff you know won’t leak. Pictured is the larger A5 bag.

These HRX Nylon Mesh Zipper Bags are a very cheap, small, lightweight packing option; their semi-transparent nature makes them great for quickly finding things.

I personally prefer any of the above options for toiletries, but one of my travel buddies has recently switched to these nylon mesh bags, which are a handsome, no-nonsense solution for the minimalist. The obvious advantage is that you can see everything inside at a glance, and quickly find what you’re looking for.

The zippers appear cheaply made, though not as bad as expected, and as of this writing have held up flawlessly after several months of daily use.

They come in sets of six, which is great because if you have them, you’ll end up using them for all sorts of other travel gear as well: cables, cards, small toys, various countries’ currencies, pens and pencils, etc.

The HRX Nylon Mesh Zipper Bag in A5 (larger) size weighs 0.6 ounces (18 g.). The bag measures 7 x 9.4 inches (17.8 x 23.9 cm).

The Cheapest Toiletry Bag Option with No Fancy Business

If you don’t travel a lot, it’s worth considering a disposable toiletry bag. All bags can get dirty/soapy/oily and will need to be cleaned at some point, and cheaper bags inevitably break down. Why not use one that you can just dispose of when it’s fulfilled its purpose?

We’re serious. Zip-lock bags are the ultimate in light travel, and can be folded up or discarded (recycled!) when no longer needed.

And if you want to be a really cheap bastard, just carry your small liquid bottles loose, and you’ll generally be offered a quart-sized zip-lock bag at airport security.

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