This Handy Cosmetics Case Helped Me Pack Carry-On Only to Europe for 3 Weeks

It's TSA-approved, clear, and the most functional bag I've ever used.

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Shape Certified: Calpak Mini Cosmetics Bag
Courtesy of Calpak

There are two types of people in this world: People who love the freedom of checking their bags and wandering the airport unencumbered, and people who live in constant fear of airlines losing their luggage and getting stuck in a foreign country without any of their clothes, toiletries, or (my worst nightmare) underwear. Without any hesitation, I identify as the latter.

Normally, packing light has been a cinch for this minimalist traveler. But as a long-awaited Euro trip got closer and closer, I started to doubt my skills. After all, this trip would span four countries with vastly different climates, and it kicked off with a four-day destination wedding in Scotland. The shoe requirements alone were enough to make me consider throwing caution to the wind and checking a bag for the first time in (checks calendar) four years.

But as horror stories of bags getting delayed and lost poured in from overseas, I recommitted to my carry-on and began researching the packing cubes, cord organizers, and versatile outfits that would get me through. Once I began the process of actually packing, the hero item of my trip quickly emerged: the Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case.

Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case Key Features

  • How I tested: I used the case for three weeks overseas and have used it since for several weekend trips as well as in my gym bag.
  • Perfect for: Anyone who wants to travel with their full lineup of beauty and skin-care products while still having them organized and easily accessible.
  • What you'll love: The zip-around compartments for easy opening, the clear panels (so you're never digging for the product you need), and the hinged, lay-flat design.
  • Keep in mind: This toiletry bag is TSA-approved, but international security agents might still ask you to unpack it and transfer your products to a plastic bag (often provided at the airport).

Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case

Shape Certified: Calpak Mini Cosmetics Bag
Courtesy of Calpak

Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case Review

I live in fear of holding up the security line at the airport. So naturally, the first thing that drew me to the Calpak cosmetics case was the fact that it's TSA-approved. With clear panels and a zip-around design that allows the case to hinge open and lay flat, I felt confident putting this in my carry-on and breezing through TSA PreCheck.

And the TSA seal of approval is clutch, considering this seemingly small toiletry bag fits a truly surprising number of products. When I first began packing products from my color-coded spreadsheet (#VirgoThings), I thought I'd probably end up taking some items out; surely there was no way I could squeeze in everything I wanted for this trip, and at some point, I'd have to make the hard choice between my Jet Lag Mask and my favorite vitamin C serum. But to my great surprise, everything fit — and with room to spare for the French moisturizers I bought as souvenirs. The final count? I was able to fit 26 products (varying between full- and travel-sized, but all under 3.3 ounces) in the small but mighty cosmetics case.

Shape Certified: Calpak Mini Cosmetics Bag
Courtesy of Kristen Geil

Throughout the trip, the design of the bag helped me stay organized from country to country. I put skincare and essentials (such as toothpaste and sunscreen) in one compartment, and makeup in the other. And no matter how many times I unpacked and repacked the cosmetics case, my products still fit easily (no packing Tetris games here). Plus, since the case has clear panels, I could easily see where the product I needed was without having to rip everything apart or root around desperately. The square block shape of the zipped-up bag fit neatly in the weekender I used as a personal item, and the small, unobtrusive top handle made it easy to grab and pull out as needed.

While the Calpak Clear Cosmetics Case does come in a regular size, the mini version was plenty large for all of my needs (and notably, the full-size version is *not* TSA-approved). My Euro trip may in the past, but my new favorite toiletry bag has remained a staple for weekend trips and gym bag essentials. And in the meantime, I'm already daydreaming about the places my Calpak and I will go in the future — I hear Mexico City is beautiful this time of year.

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