To Ziploc Or Not

For the last few years, I have gone back and forth on my liquids bag. Sometimes it’s a heavy duty Ziploc and other times it’s a heavier plastic bag that comes as part of a cheap toiletry kit. Here are my thoughts.

Ziploc bag. These bags are cheap, plentiful, and can hold a lot of stuff. They also may burst open if you don’t close them properly, creating a potentially embarrassing mess. After a few trips, they will often develop rips. Even so, I always have a couple in my suitcase just in case, and they have saved me on more than one occasion.

Heavier bag. I have received several skin care sets recently, and so have a lot of plastic zip top bags (similar to what comes with this toiletry set).  I like them because they won’t rip, will hold a lot of stuff, and feel more substantial than plain Ziplocs. Unfortunately, if you pack them the wrong way, the zipper will just pop off, leaving you with a useless bag. This has happened to me multiple times in the last two years.

At this point, I am going to bite the bullet and pay for a heavier plastic bag with a real zipper, such as this one from Flybags. I don’t want to be wasteful and throw away a Ziploc bag every month or so, but I also don’t want to spend a ton of money trying to figure this out. I will try this nicer bag, and report back after a few trips.

To see what I keep in my liquids bag, see Business Travel 101: Toiletries.

Readers, what kind of bag do you use for your liquids bag?


  1. I just use Ziplocs and I’ll further confess that I often lift them from TSA checkpoints because those are larger than the typical sandwich bags that I have on hand. I can usually get a few months’ worth of use out of a bag, depending on how often I use it.

  2. I’ve been using Ziplocs, but have experienced the same issues with durability and staying closed/splitting/tearing. Usually I get the ones with the expandable bottom because they can hold a lot more, but I’ve only found those in the “storage” version rather than the heavier-weight “freezer” version. Look forward to hearing the results of your testing.

  3. I always use Ziploc. I get the 1 quart freezer bags with the zip top, instead of the kind that you just pinch together. This usually last a while for me (unless I accidentally set my hair straightener down on it like I did last week. Oops!). I have tried using non-disposable bags, but something always seems to leak into the bag (toothpaste or makeup). I can never get the bags clean after that.

  4. I use the crate and barrel zip top bag, it’s very sturdy. I’ve traveled with it over a year, and it’s even washable, for that occasional toiletry that explodes (not in tsa-bomb), but household dilemma way. I got it for about 4 bucks, and it even has a cute airplane zipper.

  5. I have a ziptop bag from Eagle Creek – it came with a set of travel bottles (which are crap, BTW), but the bag is quite nice and has lasted me 3+ years of constant travel.

  6. Ziplox fan here – and I always carry an assortment of Ziplocs in different sizes in both my rolling briefcase/overnighter and my bigger bag. They can come in handy for all sorts of emergencies!

  7. I have started using an Eagle Creek bag as well, but not the one others have linked to above. It is the Pack It(TM) Pac Small. I was worried that because it isn’t exactly “see through,” that TSA might not let it slide. I’ve been using it for several months and never, ever had any airport question it. I was totally done with having to replace ziploc’s every couple of weeks.

  8. I like the Baekgaard and Vera Bradley clear travel pouches. They are decorative, yet see through. I find them the perfect size for what I need to bring on that is liquid or gel, and very durable. Unfortunately, they may no longer be sold, as I could not find on the VB site just now. The VB ones are trimmed with fabric, the Baekgaard with colorful leather.

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