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Expert Shopper Bed & Bath

Which toiletry bag is best for the dorms?

College move-in day requires a long shopping list. One item you don’t want to overlook is a toiletry bag. A reliable toiletry bag can keep personal grooming supplies and shower necessities from spilling, getting soaked or getting lost in communal spaces. Without one, you’re left to lug your personal items down the hall daily, which is inconvenient and impractical. 

Shop this story: Vetelli Toiletry BagBagsmart Toiletry BagGonex Hanging Toiletry Bag

Why invest in a toiletry bag for college

While college students need to get ready for the day and clean up after themselves, most dorms don’t include shelving, bathroom cabinets or spacious vanities to do so. A toiletry bag acts as a mini medicine cabinet that holds all your products — from creams and ointments to deodorant, razors and shower gels — in a compact receptacle that’s easy to take anywhere. 

Shared bathrooms

The most obvious reason for a toiletry bag in college is the prevalence of shared bathrooms. Whether searching for an outlet for your electric toothbrush next to 20 of your peers or sharing a small restroom with a single roommate, it’s rare for any college student to have a bathroom all to themselves.

When using shared spaces, keeping your bathroom essentials in one organized container makes personal hygiene and grooming much easier than carrying each item separately. As long as you put back what you take out, toiletry bags also ensure your items don’t get lost or left behind in the communal showers.

Small living quarters

Dorms are infamous for being small spaces. Organization helps keep small rooms tidy, and toiletry bags help keep wet bathroom items, such as shampoo and conditioner, separated from the rest of your belongings.

Easy travel

During college, students often have more chances to travel for study, for short getaways or to visit family and friends over holiday breaks. Packing becomes faster when all your personal items are bundled together.

Features of a toiletry bag

Most toiletry bags come with a few standard features.

Water-resistant materials

As these small but mighty bags are the workhorse of dorm living, they need to withstand significant time in and around the shower as well as being tossed to and fro inside luggage.

Common materials include nylon, polyester, mesh, leather and cotton blends. Many bags come with water-resistant coatings both inside and out to help protect against spills and leaks. Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are most popular, as they’re lightweight, inexpensive and easy to spot clean.

Though most toiletry bags are soft-sided, many feature zipper closures or foldable flaps to provide a tight seal while also comfortably squishing into the corners of your luggage.


Some toiletry bags can hang from shower caddies or closet doors with an included hook. These hooks can be plastic or metal, and you can often tuck them out of sight when not in use.

Hooks help you open up the entire bag to access every compartment while showering, shaving or getting ready in the morning.


All toiletry bags feature at least one compartment to house all your items. Most bags offer many more compartments that are separated by zippers, Velcro or open mesh pockets.

Single-compartment bags are best for those with larger bottles and items or those who need lots of space. Multicompartment bags are better for those who want items separated by use case, for instance, separating makeup from razors and shaving cream.

Best toiletry bag for the dorms

Best classic toiletry bag for the dorms

Vetelli Toiletry Bag

Synthetic leather and a dome design add style and sophistication to this classic toiletry bag. The waterproof lining is easy to clean, and mesh pockets keep it organized. It comes with two TSA-approved travel bottles.

Sold by Amazon

Bagsmart Toiletry Bag

The low-profile design features a traditional look in four colors with water-resistant materials and a waterproof compartment for wet items. A double zipper holds the bag open to access the contents while getting ready.

Sold by Amazon

Best hanging toiletry bag for the dorms

Gonex Hanging Toiletry Bag

Multiple mesh compartments keep toiletries visible, and some wet/dry compartments help separate recently used bottles. Water-repellent materials help protect this bag against mold and mildew.

Sold by Amazon

Freegrace Hanging Toiletry Bag

For replacing a hard plastic shower caddy, this hanging toiletry bag is a great option. It features lots of large compartments that can hold full bottles, brushes and combs as well as smaller side pockets and elastics to secure items. The waterproof material is safe to use in the shower.

Sold by Amazon

Narwey Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

This hanging travel toiletry bag features a square design that houses multiple compartments inside its waterproof shell. Both large and small zippered compartments keep items organized and hidden. It comes in more than 16 patterns and colors.

Sold by Amazon

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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