L.L.Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag Review
Keep everything organized and at eye level with the hanging L.L.Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag, although it struggles to stand upright on a countertop.
- Easy to find everything with plentiful organization
- Removable shower caddy great to carry essentials into bathroom
- Fits enough gear for several days
- Doesn’t stand on its own when open
- Larger gear struggles to fit in small size
- Front flap can be difficult to zip if pocket contains tall items
11 oz (311.8 g)
8.5 in x 8.25 in x 3 in (21.6 x 21 x 7.6 cm)
Nylon, Packcloth, Polyester, YKK Zippers
When packing for a trip, what’s top of mind? Your clothing goes in a packing cube, your tech goes in the admin panel of your travel daypack or a tech pouch, and your shoes go in a shoe pouch (or on your feet!) Depending on where you’re traveling, though, toiletries may not be top of mind. If you’re heading to a hotel or resort where they’re complimentary, you may not need many supplies from home. What if you’re packing for a hostel adventure or a VRBO vacation? Or what if you prefer your favorite brands? In that case, a well-organized toiletry bag may be the perfect travel companion.
While L.L.Bean may be the company you think of for outerwear like coats and boots, the same company also makes a lot of travel gear, from school backpacks to hiking packs and duffle bags. And luckily—for our purposes with this review—toiletry bags! Just because it exists doesn’t mean it’s the one for you, though. Does the L.L.Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag make the grade? From zippered pouches to hanging hooks and a separate shower caddy, it might be the one you reach for. Let’s dive into the details to find out.
A bag that spends time in the bathroom will inevitably get wet. That’s why we like the water-resistant nylon packcloth of the L.L.Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag. It can withstand splashes from the sink and contain spills from the liquids you carry inside. The solid colorways include Black, Navy, and Red, all with black YKK zippers, or Crisp Lapis—a light blue with gray zippers. The metal zipper pulls all sport the L.L.Bean brand name, and there is a small tab with the name adjacent to the right side of the front pocket zipper.
We’re testing the small version of the Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag, though you can also pick it up in bigger sizes. L.L.Bean says the 3L small holds enough for a 1-2 day trip, the 6L medium for 2-3 days, the 9L large for more than three days, and the 16L family size for more than five days, though your mileage may vary. Depending on your minimalist packing skills, you can likely carry everything you need for several days to a week in the small organizer if you use a variety of small travel-sized toiletries. However, if you like to bring more full-size products, you may need a bigger bag.
Whichever you choose, there’s a large carry handle that L.L.Bean says is tested to withstand a breaking force of 300 pounds. Not sure what kind of rhinoceros is using this bag, although it’s nice to know it should withstand a tug-of-war fight with your loved one. You can hang the bag up with this handle when the bag is closed and use it to pull it out of your travel backpack.
Of course, this toiletry bag is much more interesting when it’s open, so let’s head inside.
Inside The Pouch
There are four compartments on the L.L.Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag: three smaller ones on the outside and one main compartment.
The front compartment features a 6-inch horizontal zipper that opens to a 5-inch deep slim pocket with an additional 2 inches of space above the zipper. Slender gear like a makeup palette or pack of tissues fits here. There’s not much space to pack thicker items inside this pocket. However, stowing taller gear makes it harder to zip the bag closed.
Side zippers shaped like a C or a D (depending on the side) open to reveal small compartments for skinny gear like toothbrushes, razors, and cotton swabs. Each side includes two elastic loops against the bag’s interior and a small mesh pocket adjoining the outside. While a toothbrush and a razor fit in the elastic bands, they’re too snug for travel toothpaste. That, however, works well in the mesh pocket, as does a collection of cotton swabs. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t have enough gear to use the elastic on one side, there’s a bit of a shelf where you can sit a small bottle, such as a Matador Waterproof Travel Canister, for any medications or supplements you need.
While these three compartments each open with one-way zippers, the main compartment features a dual-sided zipper, so you can open it from either end, the middle, or wherever you please. It unzips in a U-shape from the top of the bag, swooping down to the bottom, across the side, and back to the top, which is key since this is a hanging toiletry bag.
A triangular piece of mesh leads to a large swivel hook at the bottom of the front panel. Use it to hang the bag on a shower bar, the back of a door, a door knob, or wherever you see fit, and when you do, you’ll have complete access to its remaining capacity. At the apex of the triangular mesh is a small piece of the hook side of hook-and-loop fastener, which will come into play shortly.
There are three zippered pockets, two mesh pouches, and a shower caddy with three more mesh pouches inside the Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag. Let’s start at the top with a clear plastic zipper pocket 6 inches wide and about 3.5 inches deep. It’s almost as shallow as the front compartment and works well for makeup brushes, tweezers, or clippers.
On the front of this pocket is a small mirror, handy when you may need to get ready without a wall mirror, be it in a hostel, at a campsite, or because your daughter won’t get out of the bathroom. It’s also great to look at the back of your hairdo because it’s secured with a hook-and-loop fastener so you can pull it off. If you do, you can attach the triangular mesh to keep the hook from flopping around when you close the bag. Then, of course, you need to find a place for the mirror, though there are plenty of places to slip it.
The second pocket on the rear of the front panel is more barrel-shaped, and you can put thicker items here. The opaque water-resistant material is coated with a plasticky mesh, although the zipper is your average reverse coil zipper, not an AquaGuard. That makes this a good place for your liquids, whether it’s lotion, shampoo, or sunscreen since the mess will likely stay contained if there’s a spill.
When the bag is closed, the thick barrel shape takes advantage of the space at the top of the organizer’s interior, whereas the thinner top pocket aligns with the third zipper pocket on the bottom of the bag. It’s another 6-inch wide mesh pocket, though it’s just over 2 inches tall. It protrudes slightly into the remaining space of the main compartment, so you have a little more leeway to put rounder gear here, whether it’s lip balm, disposable razor blade heads, or a beard comb.
Now that we’re through the pockets, there’s still some remaining space to cover. It, too, is packed with organization—this is an organizer, after all. Against the back panel are two large mesh pockets topped with flexible elastic to hold larger gear tight. A travel hairbrush fits well here (with the bristles facing away from the mesh), as does a larger bottle of lotion or a tube of ointment.
On the front of both mesh pockets are two patches of hook-and-loop fastener. They attach to the 6-inch wide mesh pocket on the shower caddy, so it stays in place while you travel. The 3-pocket carrier has a swivel hook to hang it up when you bring your essentials in the shower. The rear pocket is wide enough for a bar of soap. On the front are two pockets that easily accommodate small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, or any other sundry you need to bring, like a travel razor or deodorant stone. The caddy material quickly dries overnight if you leave it hanging.
Even when the caddy is in the organizer, there’s still some room on the side for additional products, be it hair spray or anti-itch cream. Between the structure of the caddy and the two pockets, anything you slide on the sides remains standing as you travel, although they’ll slip if you remove the caddy.
Now, a few caveats. First, the weight on the front flap drags the bag down when you set it on a countertop while it’s open. You can mitigate this slightly by propping it against a wall, though it’s not perfect, and you’re better off finding a place to hang it if you can. Also, nearly all the capacity is pockets and pouches. That’s great for organizing unless you have gear that doesn’t fit well in those pockets (maybe it’s thick or longer than 6 inches).
For having a place for everything and knowing exactly where to find what you need to get ready in the morning, however, the pouch works well. Then you can go on autopilot even if you had too much fun at the theme park the day before and want to rope-drop to do it again the next day.
- Like the convenience of the shower caddy
- There are plenty of pockets so you can stay organized
- There’s a loose thread, though it doesn’t seem to be unraveling
- Removable mirror shares hook-and-loop fastener with hanging hook
- Plenty of room for a weeklong trip in the small size
- Great for staying organized while moving from place to place