Toiletry Bags - Useful or Not?

Toiletry bags come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours. They can be as simple as a waterproof pouch, or as complicated as a hanging bag with multiple pockets and a hanging hook. It really depends on the space you have, how long are you travelling for and how many items you (really) need.

Below I will go over the options that are available for toiletry bags, keeping in mind that the variety available is truly outstanding.

My toiletry bag collection
My toiletry bag collection

Hanging Toiletry Bags

Hanging toiletry bags are a classic and most people would have purchased one at some stage, however, from experience I have found these to be clunky and definitely encourage over packing!

From the simple rectangle shaped hanging toiletry bag with one hanging section over the compartment in thick practical nylon (aka my boyfriend’s version), to the extra long hanging version with extra pockets in the lid and the sides in a softer nylon which can be squeezed in between packing cubes and shoes (which I brought and used once).

These are practical as an all-in-one solution to pack makeup and skincare, or for packing for two. However, they rely on having space to hang them up, which does not happen as often as it would be thought.

Most places I have stayed in (whether it is AirBNB, Hotels or even friend’s places) are more likely to have bench space over a spare hook to hang things on. A heated towel rail could work in summer of course, but come colder weather it is not so practical!

The Bagsmart Hanging Toiletry Bag is a great example of a hanging toiletry bag

The Toiletry Pouch

Toiletry pouches can also vary in size and style. From a single space to one divided into two or more zippered sections. They can be small enough to fit just the basics for a week to big enough to fit a month’s supply of almost everything. As pouches tend to be more compact, they can be much easier to fit into luggage. The downside is most items will need to be laid flat so taking care when packing is important (we don’t want bottles leaking!).

Personally I prefer pouches as I can separate items better – one for makeup, one for shower, one for hair. It keeps everything neat and reduces the chaos that normally comes with stuffing everything into one toiletry bag! It also has the bonus of making it easier to fit into smaller spaces available in my luggage.

Materials can vary from nylon, plastic, rubber, leather, cotton, cork – pretty much anything really. The same goes for colours, sizes, prints. There is no limit to designs you can pick from!

Hoyofo Portable Cosmetics Bags includes three different sized pouches in useful sizes and styles.

The Carry-on plastic Ziploc bag

A contentious issue in the increasingly Eco conscious traveller – but a necessity required by every airline out there. The 1L clear plastic Ziploc bags are required for all travellers to place 100ml or smaller bottles of liquids. These include lip balms, lipstick, moisturiser, hand sanitiser, toothpaste, perfume etc.

When you consider that apparently more than 8 million people per day fly somewhere, that is an incredible amount of single use bags being used once and discarded.

I personally have a small collection of reusable silicone Ziploc bags (not the ones from the sandwich aisle) that I use for the carry-on liquids, snacks, wet items and for cables/headphones (which are also in the carry-on bag).

It is also very handy to keep a couple of spares ones in the luggage as they are useful for perfume, electronics, swimwear and snacks. Easy to clean and not as easily damaged!

These Homelux Theory reusable silicon pouches may have been designed for food, but it is that very reason why they are also great for toiletries and makeup. Completely washable, leak proof and reusable.

Eco Friendly Toiletry Bags

There is a much wider variety of ego friendly and recycled options for toiletry bags then there are for packing cubes.

These days you can get toiletry bags made of cork, recycled plastic bottles, vegan leather, hemp and even the inner tube of old bicycle tires! The fact that there are so many options available just shows the demand for environmental friendly and sustainable options has continued to grow.

Felvarrom make innovative bags, belts and accessories from the rubber tubes found inside old inner bike tubes.

Tikea Cosmetic Bag – Makeup Pouch in Geometric Cork

How to choose the right toiletry bag for you?

This is a really personal choice. It depends on a variety of factors, and there is no right or wrong choice.

Deciding factors can include:

  • What is your price range?
  • Do you need basic or complex functionality?
  • Is attractiveness important? (such as colour and print designs on the case)
  • Size – is one or two small pouches enough or do you need a hanging case for a long term trip?
  • Environmental considerations – how important are the materials it is made from to you?

Once you answer these questions you will have your answer, but of course you can always mix it up depending what type of travel you normally do. Pouches suit short trips and overnight stays, whereas longer trips that need a more comprehensive toiletry kit would suit the handing bag or large pouches.


This post was last updated on 27th May 2021

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Are toiletry bags useful for travel?
Toiletry Bags - Useful or not


  1. Mike Ramen Reply

    I like your niche because this is something that a lot of people don’t talk about but everybody needs. I totally Iove anything that says eco-friendly. Definitely price range is something that people need to take into consideration because there’s a difference between a toiletry bag that’s five dollars and then another one that’s $500. I imagine it’s probably a toiletry bags are $500. All in all I found your article to be quite helpful.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Mike, thank you for your comments and feedback 🙂 Price is generally an indication of quality, but not always. It can be very hard to find products that are eco-friendly and budget friendly. Overall I aim for good quality products, made from recycable or natural products that will last years with good care. It can be hard sometimes!

  2. Do you think that toiletry bags are necessary and why do you think that it is better to have one than it is not have one? I think they would be useful for travelling and otherwise but there might be better things to store everything you need for getting ready. 

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi, I do think toiletry bags are necessary. They are designed to be waterproof and leakproof and from sturdier materal than most bags. You could just use a plastic bag or sandwich bag but they are not really designed for long term use. It really comes down to how many products do you use, what size/shape are the containers and how long are you travelling for?

  3. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. These are really nice and really beautiful toiletry bags. Sometimes I feel it is really necessary to get varieties to choose from and this is what you have given to us with your article. I would like to share this article with some of my friends

    • Gigi Reply

      Thank you for your comments, I’m glad you found my article on toiletry bags useful.

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