7 best toiletry bags and wash bags 2018

Going away? Keep your toiletries in a selection of these fantastic washbags

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Every traveller needs a good toiletry bag. You may be the type that can get by on just a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, but the accessories you need for more than a few days away quickly mount up. Shampoo and body wash is increasingly provided by hotels these days, but you still need to travel with your own deodorant, razor, shaving cream, moisturiser, creams, gels, medication, tablets … the list goes on and on.

From sleek, soft luxury leather and canvas clutches to classic hanging designs and ultralight choices for savvy travellers, these are some of the most stylish and practical wash bags currently available.

How to choose the toiletry bag for you

You may not spend as much time choosing a wash bag as a wristwatch, but what you choose will say a lot about you. 

You can pay for materials and style, of course, with leather (both faux and real Italian hide) in our lineup. Those materials are easy to clean and exude style, but they come at a high price. 

The soft leather James Purdey & Sons Leather Wash Bag is a high roller at aroud £295, but it's very basic in design. Even the faux leather Ted Baker Cobbler Wash Bag is more intriguing, though not as impressive as the ultra-organised Aspinal of London Men's Hanging Washbag.

In the mid-rage sits the attractive Filson Canvas Wash Bag at around £120, with the rest of our roundup concentrating on more affordable and outdoorsy, unisex designs using man-made fabrics, such as the cute Lifeventure Travel Wash Bag, and the practical Kathmandu Kit Classic Hanging Toiletry Bag.

We also found a hybrid option for those who sometimes travel light; the Osprey Ultralight Washbag Zip, which acts as a hanging washbag, but includes a tear-off, see-through pouch for storing liquids in hand luggage.

Whether you're traveling light, going camping or backpacking, or you're staying in plush hotels, there's something here for you.

The 7 best toiletry bags

1. James Purdey & Sons Leather Wash Bag

A retro design classic in Italian leather

Reasons to buy
+Classic design+Superbly made
Reasons to avoid
-Basic design

If you want to travel in luxury, look no further than this beautiful leather wash bag. The clutch design may be reminiscent of a handbag, but elsewhere it's masculinity defined; where else would you find a 'signature oak bark tanning technique' applied to hide? 

At 8x18x26cm it's roomy enough for most toiletries, while the nicely lined main area contains a small pouch for contact lenses. Elsewhere it's all about style, with excellent quality zips and an embossed designer emblem. It's beautiful, if a little basic, but does anyone need to pay this much for a washbag?

2. Filson Canvas Wash Bag

A big bellied bag with a cool canvas character

Reasons to buy
+Spacious design+Retro campers look
Reasons to avoid
-Only one compartment-It's yellow

If you're after a more vegetarian retro look, consider canvas. It's light, durable and much more versatile than leather. Oh, and it's cheaper, too. Cut from canvas and lined with nylon for extra waterproofing, this simple toiletry bag from Filson is a one-compartment affair, though inside is an open side-pocket for easy division of kit. 

A grab handle on one end is a nice touch, as is a high quality zip. Measuring 14x19x30cm, it's big enough to take some serious gear, but it folds down to nothing when not in use, which is handy when you're back at your bathroom base.

3. Osprey Ultralight Washbag Zip

This small, modular design is ideal for frequent flyers

Reasons to buy
+Ideal for hand luggage+Great for backpacking
Reasons to avoid
-Outdoorsy style-Low capacity

Take two wash bags into the bathroom? If you're quite the jet-setter who's just as likely to pop over to Europe for a business meeting – with hand luggage only – as you are to go long duration, long haul, you don't want to have to buy a different wash bag for every kind of trip. 

This well-designed and incredibly lightweight 14x23x7cm option from outdoor specialist Osprey has three separate sections that can be unfurled when you get to your destination. Weighing just 12g, it's got a small coat hanger and plenty of pockets, a built-in mirror, and a transparent compartment that doubles as a rip-off toiletries pouch.

4. Ted Baker Cobbler Wash Bag

A faux leather trunk with a separate shaving compartment

Reasons to buy
+Looks great+Hidden compartment
Reasons to avoid
-Build quality is average-Few pockets

At first glimpse this looks like a solid leather trunk bag, but a clever compartment saves the day. Made from faux leather, with brass-look zips and with some attractive detailing, this 12.5x13x26cm toiletry bag has one big compartment ideal for storing the usual suspects like deodorant, shaving cream and a tube of toothpaste. 

However, another compartment on its undercarriage contains a few mesh pockets and a host of elasticated straps ideal for securing shaving accessories (or even cables). It adds some much-needed functionality because despite the attractive look, the build quality here is actually pretty basic.

5. Aspinal of London Men's Hanging Washbag

This instant bathroom cabinet is a travel classic

Reasons to buy
+Build quality+Plenty of pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Loop rather than hook-Expensive

Are you the organised type? If you're the kind of man who likes to travel with everything you need at your fingertips, there are few better options than a hanging wash bag. When closed it looks like a regular wash bag, with a magnet keeping everything snug. There’s even a carry handle on rear. 

However, unfurl it and you find three separate compartments, two of them zipped. There's even a mirror. Handmade in smooth calf leather, each pocket is lined with water resistant fabric. It's a joy to use, but the bizarre choice to have a loop rather than a hook makes it harder to find it a home.

6. Kathmandu Kit Classic Hanging Toiletry Bag

A large compartment is the standout feature on this unisex washbag

Reasons to buy
+Large main compartment+Unisex design
Reasons to avoid
-Practical, not stylish-Lacks charm

The hanging look may not appeal to all, but you can't deny it's a practical design when you're in a strange bathroom. Like the others this one has a built-in mirror, but the standout feature here is that it has one large main compartment. 

While most hanging toiletry bags are designed to roll up, the 19x23x8cm Katmandu has a fold-over lid with a a handle on one side and a hook on the other. That main compartment is perfect for storing large items, like a bottle of shampoo, or shaving cream aerosol. However, it's also got a few mesh pockets to taking things like tablets and a razor.

7. Lifeventure Travel Wash Bag

This clamshell wash bag cleans up for ultralight travel

Reasons to buy
+Great for travelling light+Wet and dry compartments
Reasons to avoid
-Small size-Tiny mirror

If you have no need for leather and looks, you'll love this small unisex toiletry bag that looks like a packing cube. Available in blue, red and grey, the 22x18x8cm Lifeventure is all about practical design rather than style. It's made from ripstop nylon, and has two compartments one a mesh pocket and the other a more secure zip top security pocket.

 Thankfully, the loop design also comes with a hook, and there's a zipped pocket to make tablets easily accessible without opening the whole bag. It's also got a mirror, though in practical terms it's mere novelty.