The 10 Best TSA Toiletry Bags
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in October of 2015. Don't be that person. You know, the one who holds up the line at the airport because he or she is blissfully unaware that there are restrictions on what size of liquid containers you can carry onto the plane. Make it easy for the hardworking security screeners and get to your gate quicker with one of these TSA toiletries bags. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 27, 2019:
Unfortunately, at this time, we've had to remove the YouTravel YT-1 and Sleeko Stylish due to availability issues, as well as the Vumos Kit over ongoing problems with the bottles leaking. But we have added the Sea to Summit Travelling Light and Travelon Wet Dry, both of which contain reliable bottles and come from trusted names in travel gear.
As for top choices, the Keokee Organize and Neatpack Swivel are still ones to consider. The former is the simpler of the two, while the latter is a hanging choice for those longer trips. We also kept the ConAir Travel Smart, even though it is perhaps over-designed, in that its "clever" shape and zipper can end up being a touch frustrating at times. We opted for one ultra-robust option, as well, the Nite Ize RunOff. Thanks to a waterproof zipper and welded seams, you can count on this one not just for your toiletries but also to keep important stuff dry if you'll be out exploring wet environments.
Finally, after deliberation, we added the popular Lermende 3-Piece. Even though the makers claim that it is 100 percent TSA approved, there are occasional problems where individual screeners take issue with its size. If you are carrying extremely expensive makeup or toiletries that you don't want to risk having taken, this might not be the best choice for you (unless you throw it in your checked luggage, in which case it's fine.)
Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube Whereas many inexpensive options rely on cheap materials, the Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube uses only premium components that will last and last. It is clear, and so conforms to TSA standards, but you'll find a choice of various fabrics for the detailing, so you can flaunt your personal style. tombihn.com
Anya Hindmarch Bespoke In-Flight Case The Anya Hindmarch Bespoke In-Flight Case costs more than some full luggage sets, and it is not guaranteed to please all TSA screeners, which means it is definitely not for everyone. Nevertheless, those who can appreciate the luxurious feel of leather detailing, and the customizability of dual nameplates, may find it just right. anyahindmarch.com
Pack Simply Customized If it's not just finding a TSA bag but also filling it that's got you stuck, you'll want to check out the Pack Simply Customized. You can browse hundreds of travel-sized items and create your own perfect kit, which is then shipped to your home or destination. packsimply.com
A Brief History Of The TSA
In 2010, the agency adopted new visual screening hardware and software that involves full body scanners as part of the security checkpoint process.
The Transportation Security Administration is a division of the Department of Homeland Security that was formed in the wake of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. There are more than 55,500 TSA employees, who make up a large percentage of the entire DHS staff, which consists of nearly a quarter of a million Americans. It is the the third largest cabinet-level department in the United States government.
Tasked with reducing the likelihood of airplane hijackings, attacks in travel facilities, and other issues such as the transport of narcotics, weapons, and other illicit materials, the TSA faces a monumental task in helping to keep the tens of millions of annual domestic airline passengers safe.
The TSA was intended to streamline communication between multiple government agencies such as the FBI and local law enforcement. TSA officers help support security operations at ports, rail stations, bus depots, and other travel related locations, but the agency's largest area of focus by far is on aviation security. This includes careful monitoring of the federal government's no-fly list, a list of more than 45,000 names of individuals the government suspects of potential ties to terrorist groups. The TSA checkpoint has become a ubiquitous and oft-maligned part of air travel, with passengers nationwide familiar with the long lines and often invasive screening procedures put in place by the agency.
The TSA has received numerous complaints based on their adoption of pat down procedures that as many as 50 percent of passengers feel are too invasive. In 2010, the agency adopted new visual screening hardware and software that involves full body scanners as part of the security checkpoint process. Unfortunately, many people find the images created by the scanners too revealing and are left with a sense of violation. Others worry that both the millimeter wave scanners and the backscatter x-ray technologies used in these scanners have not been sufficiently tested for practical use and are concerned about possible health effects.
Whether you appreciate the men and women of the TSA and feel that overall they keep us safer, or if you think the agency overreaches and underperforms, they are a fact of air travel today and for the foreseeable future. Learning to deal with the TSA with a bit of grace and taking steps to breeze through the security line with minimal delay is important for stress-free travel.
A Hassle-Free Trip Through The Airport Security Line
To make your transition from the world outside the secured area of the airport to the area past the security checkpoint and near your gate of departure relatively painless, take the time to remove as many potential snags as possible. That starts with carefully packing the bags you will carry on to your flight.
Next, make sure to dress appropriately for the TSA checkpoint experience.
Make sure there is nothing illegal or suspicious in your luggage, and attempt to leave anything that might look even slightly suspect at home if you can. This includes toys or collectibles that might resemble weapons, unusual electronic devices, and anything else that might catch the attention of a vigilant TSA officer.
Next, make sure to dress appropriately for the TSA checkpoint experience. Unless you are on the TSA pre-check list, that means wearing shoes that you can easily get on and off your feet, and it means being ready to quickly remove outer layers like a jacket or sweatshirt. Also make sure that your pants will stay up without a belt, as that is likely coming off, too. If you can remove these types of clothing (with your shoes as the exception) before you even enter the security line, you will save yourself and your fellow passengers time at the actual point of screening.
You should also have your identification and travel documents readily accessible before approaching a TSA officer. When possible, have a printed copy of your ticket at the ready even if you are using your phone as your boarding pass. If your phone should experience an issue with its battery or software, you will still be able to pass through security and board your flight with a physical boarding pass.
Why A TSA Toiletry Bag Is A Good Idea
Liquids are arguably the most inspected item when you're going through airport security. Even bringing your own sealed bottle full of water is a huge no-no. The liquids you do have must be in containers not larger than 3.4 liquid ounces (which is 100 milliliters) and you are limited to one bag per traveler.
So in fact, it should be the 3.4-1 rule, though the latter is harder to remember.
The TSA refers to their liquids policy as the 3-1-1 rule, which is actually rather misleading. Indeed, you are allowed liquids slightly larger than three ounces, thus the "3" is not accurate, and the first "1" refers to one quart sized bag, the second "1" to one bag per traveler. So in fact, it should be the 3.4-1 rule, though the latter is harder to remember.
The easiest way to ensure that the liquids, gels, creams, or pastes you want to bring along in your carry-on baggage do indeed stay with you through the harrowing TSA security screening process is to use a toiletry bag that conforms to all TSA regulations. The small price you pay for these bags will be well worth time saved during the screening process.
As long as you make sure all of your bottles, tubes, and tubs contain less than 3.4 ounces of their respective substances, and if you can fit them into a see-through TSA toiletry bag, you should get them onto your flight without issue.
These transparent, rugged bags help make your items easy to see, but also keep them relatively safe from damage, both in your luggage and while they go through the security screening process.