How to prepare a travel toilet bag ? Our hygiene and beauty tips for travelling light!
You’re off to explore a city, a region or a country? Are you planning a trip on foot with your backpack as your only companion? In this article, you can discover our tips for staying fresh while travelling light AND eco-responsibly!
When you go on a backpacking trip, there are two watchwords: lightness and practicality! There’s no question of taking your entire bathroom because it’ll have to be carried on your back. You don’t want to end up having to take out the entire contents of your backpack just to find your toothbrush. Here, we give you some tips on finding the toilet bag that best suits your needs and list the essentials to take with you so you don’t forget anything before the big departure!
In a few words: the best travel toilet bag is the one that best meets your needs, both in terms of its contents and the type of trip you’re planning.
Toilet bag size: big or small?
To determine the ideal size for your toilet bag, take stock of your equipment and needs : - The travel bag:its size will depend on the space available to hold your toilet bag. For example, a small backpack is hardly compatible with a large vanity case, so it’s better to opt for a bag size closer to a suitcase or choose a more compact toilet bag. - Contents: do you want to go with just the basics (see the following paragraphs) or do you want to take additional products (eg: makeup, hair care, beard care, etc.)? Part of the answer is to choose between different models of bag! - The type of trip: if you plan to walk for a few days of backpacking, you’ll need to optimise the weight of your backpack as much as possible, and so opt for a toilet kit reduced to the bare essentials. On the other hand, if your trip involves leaving your bag in a hotel or youth hostel and then exploring the surroundings without having to carry your belongings with you, you can afford to have a toilet bag that’s a little better stocked!
As you’ll understand, whether for a weekend or several months, the best toilet bag is the one that’s best adapted to your travel plans!
What type of toilet bag: do you need a specific man’s or woman’s model?
Let's get straight to the point: we have not found any tangible element allowing to "gender" a wash bag.
We suggest instead that you analyse the different models of toilet bags according to: - their functionalities: robustness, compartmentalisation, hanging hook, mirror, waterproofing of compartments, impermeability of the outer fabric, rigid or flexible casing, compactness, compatible with the rules in force on hand luggage, etc. - their sizes: see the previous paragraph - their designs: provided you have a minimum number of items that last a maximum amount of time, you might as well find nice ones!
OUR FAVOURITE FOR ITS PRACTICAL SIDE: THE FOLDABLE HANG-UP TOILET POUCH!
In our opinion, the best travel toilet bag remains the most versatile because you’ll be travelling in different environments, so you might as well have a toilet bag that adapts to as many situations as possible!
Ideally, it should: - be compact, sturdy and of medium size so as not to take up too much space in your bag - have a lot of compartments of different sizes to properly organise your toiletries - have a hook to hang it wherever you are and a mirror that can come in handy if you don't have any others on hand
It's up to you to see if one of these models suits you!
What to put in a travel toilet bag: The essential toiletries kit!
Before discussing the basics to take in a travel toilet bag, we’d like to point out that this list should be adapted according to the length of your trip, your health needs (eg: contact lens box) and the constraints of your destination (eg: purifying tablets for water).
For hygiene: the basic list of travellers’ toiletries
- Toothbrush, foldable or with its own storage bag for easy storage and to keep it free from bacteria. Plus point: choose a renewable material like bamboo. - Solid, refillable toothpaste: why choose between environmentally friendly and light when you can have both? Made from clay and essential oils, it’s packaged in a small ~20g jar and alone covers the contents of 2 tubes of classic toothpaste - not bad, eh? - Solid soap/shampoo: It can be used for both body, face and hair. Go for natural, biodegradable soaps, without additives or fragrance, to limit their impact on the environment. If it isn’t sold with a storage box, we advise you to get one, otherwise you risk finding your toiletries covered with soap from the 1st shower! Also note: rinsing your hair with water may be enough to give it its shine back! If, however, you absolutely want to head off with your usual shower gel, you can also buy refillable bottles to fill just before setting off. Ideally, if you’re travelling by plane, choose approved bottles you can take into the cabin, which will save you any last-minute panic, just before going through the cabin baggage checks... - Retractable comb or hairbrush, especially if the weather forecast is sunny or if you want to swim in the sea, because salt and UV dry out the hair fibres, which become "like straw" and get tangled more easily. - Microfibre towel, ideal for travellers because it dries very quickly and is ultra-compact. - Managing your periods while travelling: read our dedicated advice!
In addition to the essentials, you can also consider bringing the following products to complete your toilet bag, depending on your needs: - Mini-solid deodorant, avoid aerosols at all costs, which pollute and can’t withstand heat. Another tip to limit the appearance of unpleasant odours: take merino wool clothes! As well as limiting odours for several days, the heat-regulating properties of merino wool fibre mean it can be worn in both hot and cold weather. - Reusable cotton swab: although it’s better to wash your ears with water (except for ear infections), some travellers like to bring a few cotton swabs. Go for reusable to avoid having to take the whole box! - Washable wipes, practical to wipe yourself down after a day's walking, more ecological than disposable wipes and less bulky than a washcloth, washable wipes have it all! - Nail clippers: they may seem to be an accessory, but the nail clipper is above all a hygiene product! This is because bacteria accumulate more easily under long nails. For example, if you scratch a mosquito bite with long fingernails, you’re more likely to develop an infection. - Reusable razor, for "hair hunting addicts"
For health purposes: the first-aid kit to go on holiday with peace of mind
First of all, it’s best to take stock with a general practitioner to define together the list of products to take away according to your destination and state of health. In general, sunscreen is essential, even if the golden rule to avoid burning is to cover yourself well (hat, glasses, long clothing, even anti-UV, etc.). If you’re travelling in a high-risk region, a good mosquito repellent is essential, as well as long clothing in the evening. But be careful to apply it correctly! In some cases, a product that soothes the itching after a bite can also be very useful...
If you already use them, don’t forget to bring your contraceptives, condoms as well as medications recommended by your doctor. Finally, get a small first-aid kit with the following items (hoping you won't have to use them...): - Disinfectant - Tweezers - Dressings - Compresses - Plasters - Saline solution - Pair of scissors This list can, of course, be extended and adapted, depending on where you’re going and for how long!
Beauty accessories: optional products but a source of well-being!
- Makeup and makeup remover: without going so far as to take your entire makeup drawer, a few space-saving favourite products are possible. But keep in mind that the relaxation associated with travel makes you naturally beautiful, a real detox cure in itself! - Hair care products: bad weather can dry out the hair fibres, so you can take products that match your hair type. Detangling treatment, moisturising mask, sun protection, etc. - the options are numerous, but be sure to take only the essentials so as not to weigh yourself down too much! - Skin care products: again, travel conditions can harm your skin. To look after it, you can take a face & body moisturiser or after-sun.
Our little tip:opt for a moisturiser that can be applied to both hair and skin! For example, an aloe vera gel or small bottle of vegetable oil (coconut, avocado, hazelnut, etc.). Important: this type of product is only applied in the evening to avoid any acceleration of sunburn.
The small pouch you should always keep close at hand!
- Anti-bacterial gel to clean your hands without needing a source of water (not to be used for cleaning your food!). - Anti-noise earplugs to sleep like a baby on transport or in youth hostels. For maximum comfort, go for custom-moulded earplugs; they also have the advantage of being more durable over time.