The Mountainsmith toiletry bag after six years traversing the globe. Photo: Tim Wenger

This Mountainsmith Toiletry Bag Survived Six Years of Global Travel

Technology + Gear
by Tim Wenger Apr 9, 2024

For the past six years, I’ve used the Mountainsmith Essentials Stash Small Travel Organizer Duffel Bag as my travel toiletry bag. It’s the best toiletry bag for frequent adventure travelers, and has been all over the world with me – from the high alpine of Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan Mountains to the heart of Medellin’s Poblado neighborhood – on trips both professional and recreational. At this point, its condition is not pristine. One could frankly describe it as quite repulsive, in fact, and lately, I’ve hidden it from my wife when we travel together because she would waste no time in describing it as such.

But here’s the thing. No matter how much time we spend on the road together, my Mountainsmith toiletry bag and I maintain an understanding. It holds all my knick-nacks – important stuff like a toothbrush and razor alongside personal preferences like a TSA-approved Leatherman and the small bottle of “facial mist” I borrowed from the cabin the one time I flew business class on a story assignment. In return, I promise to continue taking it on the road with me rather than swapping it out for the next new gimmicky toiletry bag that comes along.

So far the deal has worked out for us both. This toiletry bag is now the longest-serving piece of travel gear I own. I know it inside and out. I often pack it last in my carry-on because I know exactly how to squeeze it in there without having to sacrifice anything else to make room. I don’t love this toiletry bag in the way that I love Blink-182 or Triscuits, but I am quite fond of it. I often tell fellow travelers that they should get one. Besides it’s low cost ($24.95), here’s why.

We hope you love the Mountainsmith toiletry bag! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to make a purchase. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

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What I like about the Mountainsmith Essentials Stash Small Travel Organizer Duffel Bag

The Mountainsmith toiletry bag after six years traversing the globe. Photo: Tim Wenger
This is what the Mountainsmith toiletry bag looks like new. See next photo for mine. Photo: Amazon

A toiletry bag should be the Khloé Kardashian of your travel setup. That is to say, it must make you feel extra organized even when you aren’t. The last thing you want is to arrive late to a hotel room, strung out from a long day of travel, only to have to sift through a bunch of junk to find your toothbrush. This Mountainsmith toiletry bag has a special holder for toothbrushes and other thin, long-necked accessories that is visible right when the bag is opened.

Two zipped elastic webbing containers hold stuff like Q-tips, pill bottles, deodorant, and my Leatherman. The bag is modern enough that it has storage areas for cables and an electric razor while being simple enough that it zips seamlessly every time, no matter how full it is. Once unzipped, each section of the bag is see-through so there’s no forgetting where anything is.

The bag is largely water-resistant. This is great since it generally lives adjacent to a sink when in use. I’ve never had any issues with its contents getting soaked, or with moisture impacting the zippers. The exterior of my bag has a bit of discoloration, as you can see in the photos, but that’s merely the result of extensive use rather than any fault on the bag’s part.

What I would change about the Mountainsmith Essentials Stash Small Travel Organizer Duffel Bag

Mountainsmith Essentials Stash Small Travel Organizer Duffel Bag

The Mountainsmith toiletry bag hangs well. Photo: Tim Wenger

I’d change two small things about this toiletry bag if given the opportunity. First, while it does have a hook to hang in restrooms, it doesn’t unfold the way that some toiletry bags do. This doesn’t impact me too much because it does unfurl to the point where you can easily grab what’s in there, but the view when unfurled isn’t significantly better than the tabletop view.

The other thing I would change has less to do with the Mountainsmith toiletry bag and more to do with myself. I would change how covered in toothpaste and facial shavings I allow it to get so that it shines more like new. Looking at any prized piece of travel gear should inspire nostalgia for past moments of road-born glory, while simultaneously kindling one’s motivation for future adventures. It’s hard to grab hold of that fire when it’s covered in grime.

Alas, I used this opportunity to clean the toiletry bag. It now looks like this:

Mountainsmith Essentials Stash Small Travel Organizer Duffel Bag

So fresh. Photo: Tim Wenger

Mountainsmith toiletry bag specs

The Mountainsmith toiletry bag is on-par with similar small toiletry bags as far as sizing. What separates it is the sheer amount of stuff it can hold in such a compact size. Here are its specs:

  • Dimensions: 4.5″ x 7.25″ x 2″ (11.5 x 18.5 x 5 cm)
  • Weight: 5 oz (0.13 kg)
  • Color: Glacier Grey
  • Compartments: Dual compartment organizer with zippered internal divider, elastic webbing storage for toothbrush, scissors, clippers, etc.
  • Coated mesh backpanel pocket for see-through storage
  • Multiple organizer pockets for toiletries, cables, accessories, etc.
  • Three internal zippered pockets
  • Webbing haul handle
  • Single vanity hook for hanging

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