Travel Bag

5 clear toiletry bags for travel that are TSA compliant

Thanks to being a TSA PreCheck member for nearly a decade, I can’t recall the last time a TSA agent asked me to remove my toiletry bag from my carry-on when passing through security. Not having to deal with rummaging through luggage to remove your toiletries (along with electronics) is just one of the many perks of TSA PreCheck, the expedited security program.

But unfortunately, PreCheck benefits do not extend internationally. In my experience, certain airports abroad, including London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), are much stricter in enforcing the universal quart-sized toiletry bag rule. In fact, the last time I flew from Heathrow, a security agent actually made me empty my entire quart-sized bag, which admittedly had several of the mini-sized products from the hotel I had stayed at sticking out. (In my defense, the products in question were Le Labo from the London Edition in the West End.)

Even so, I stood there and watched him put every last item back into the two plastic bags he supplied. Although I was slightly irritated during this process, it was a good reminder to travel with a compliant toiletry bag and to not let the opportunity for free La Labo result in trying to cram nine bottles into your bag at the last minute.

When traveling in Europe, for example, passengers are restricted to a one-liter transparent plastic bag for their liquids, aerosols, drinks, toothpaste, creams, gels, etc., per the European Union. Domestically, you must put your liquids in a quart-sized bag (approximately 7 x 8 inches in size, though TSA does not specify measurement requirements), with each product less than 3.4 ounces, per the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule.

Even if you are traveling abroad, all travelers departing from the U.S. must adhere to the quart-sized bag rule, which is why we’ve compiled this guide with some of our favorite clear TSA-compliant toiletry bags.

TPG’s favorite carry-on toiletry bags

TSA

Clear Toiletry Bag, Bagsmart 3 Pack, $11.99 at Amazon

AMAZON.COM

Since we love a deal here at TPG, let’s start with one of the cheapest options on this list. Thanks to Bagsmart, you can purchase a three-pack of bags measuring 7.5 x 5.9 x 2.2 inches for just under $12.

“Bagsmart bags are inexpensive and have held up to my frequent use,” says TPG family travel writer Tarah Chieffi, who also uses them abroad. “They are great for international travel when you often still have to remove your liquids from your luggage and put them through separately. And they come in a lot of fun colors so you can match them to your luggage.”

Stasher Quart Bag, $19.99 at Stasher

STASHER/FACEBOOK

Another budget-friendly option comes to us from Stasher, which I can personally attest to as having high-quality yet affordable products — I’ve used the brand’s Pocket Bag($7.99) to hold my headphones when traveling. Thanks to the brand’s range of reusable bags which meet any size needs, it has at least two options for TSA-friendly toiletry bags, such as the signature Quart Bag, measuring 8.75 x 7.5 inches.

“I started using them as my go-to toiletry bag because they’re super durable, washable, see-through (so easy to find what you need inside) and they have a little stretch, which is great when you need to cram in just one or two extra things,” TPG global features managing editor Melanie Lieberman told me.

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She also likes the brand’s stand-up bags, such as the Stand-Up Mini Bag ($17.99, 5.5 x 7.5 inches), whose flat bottoms allow the bags to stand up on their own, a feature that is hard to find.

The Clear Pouch Set, $45 at Away

AWAYTRAVEL.COM

Away is known for its ubiquitous hardshell suitcases, including its top-rated carry-on, my personal favorite. Beyond suitcases, the brand has expanded into travel accessories, including its Clear Pouch Set, which in true Away style, features two TSA-approved bags, one large and one small, that are also spill-proof.

With a leather-like trim, these bags have a folded bottom that expands for extra room but still packs flat. The small one measures 7.3″ x 0.8″ x 4.3″ inches with a 0.3 liter capacity, making it suitable for your liquids, while the larger one, at 8.66″ x 0.8″ x 5.3″ inches with a 0.5 liter capacity, also meets TSA size requirements.

Plus, these bags fit seamlessly into the corresponding Away Toiletry Bag (small and large versions are available online for $55 and $75, respectively) and — like all Away products — you can try this bag combo for free for 100 days and return at no cost if you are not satisfied. But based on my experience with Away products, you won’t want to return it.

Mini Clear Cosmetics Case, $75 at Cal Pak

CALPAK/FACEBOOK

If you are concerned about see-through aesthetics yet still want to be able to carry on your liquids (which to be honest, I can relate to), consider the Mini Clear Cosmetics Case from Cal Pak for $75. At 8 x 4 x 6 inches, it still weighs less than a pound despite being more substantial than the other bags on this list.

“The Calpak Clear Cosmetic Case is large enough to hold all of your toiletries, but still small enough to fit in your luggage,” says Tarah. “The separate compartments help you stay organized and because it’s clear, it’s easy to find what you are looking for.”

With a range of classic colors (mauve, stone, caramel and black) and limited editions like the dragonfruit one currently available, this bag is sure to meet your style needs. It has a lay-flat carrying handle, a water-resistant lining and features two zippered compartments to effectively organize your items. And, it’s covered by a one-year limited warranty.

If you ultimately need more space and decide to check a bag, Cal Pak also has a larger version of the Clear Cosmetics Case for $95.

Bottom line

Each of these toiletry bag options is TSA-compliant to meet the agency’s 3-1-1 liquid rule and quart-size bag requirements, so you shouldn’t have any issues using any of them, even if you are not a PreCheck member and have to remove it from your carry-on to go through TSA security.

Although you could technically use a plastic Ziploc quart bag, it’s 2022, and we simply cannot be out there using single-use plastic every time we travel.

Remember that these are TPG’s top choices for carry-on bags — TSA size requirements do not apply to checked bags. Be sure to stay tuned for our guide to the best larger toiletry bags.