The Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics case saved my trip to Europe

There are two types of people in this world: people who love the freedom to check in their bags and walk around the airport without a hitch, and people who live in constant fear of airlines losing their bags and staying stuck in a foreign country without any of their clothes, toiletries, or (my worst nightmare) underwear. Without hesitation, I identify with him.

Normally, traveling light has been a breeze for this minimalist traveler. But as a long-awaited trip to Europe drew closer and closer, I began to doubt my skills. After all, this trip would span four countries with very different climates, and it started with a four-day destination wedding in Scotland. The footwear requirements alone were enough to make me consider throwing caution to the wind and checking a bag for the first time in (checking schedule) four years.

But as horror stories of delayed and lost bags poured in from overseas, I re-engaged in my carry-on and began searching for the packing cubes, lanyard organizers and versatile outfits that would allow me to pass. Once I started the packing process, the highlight of my trip quickly appeared: the Calpak Clear Mini Makeup Bag.


Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case Key Features

  • How I tested: I used the case for three weeks abroad and have since used it on several weekends as well as in my gym bag.
  • Perfect for: Anyone who wants to travel with their full range of beauty and skincare products while having them organized and easily accessible.
  • What you will love: Zipped compartments for easy opening, see-through panels (so you’ll never search for the product you need) and hinged-flat design.
  • Keep in mind: This toiletry bag is TSA-approved, but international security officials may still ask you to unpack it and transfer your items into a plastic bag (often provided at the airport).

Calpak Mini Clear Cosmetics Case Review

I live in fear of blocking the security line at the airport. So naturally the first thing that drew me to the Calpak cosmetic case was the fact that it is TSA approved. With clear panels and a zippered design that allows the case to open and lay flat, I felt confident putting it in my carry-on and going through TSA PreCheck.

And the TSA’s stamp of approval is the clutch, considering this seemingly small toiletry bag fits a truly surprising number of products. When I started packing products from my color-coded spreadsheet (#VirgoThings), I thought I’d probably end up removing some items; there was surely no way I could put on everything I wanted for this trip, and at some point I would have to make the difficult choice between my Jet Lag mask and my favorite vitamin C serum. But to my surprise, everything was fine – and with room for the French moisturizers I had bought as a souvenir. The final count? I was able to fit 26 products (varying between regular size and travel size, but all under 3.3 ounces) in the small but mighty cosmetic case.

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 (like toothpaste and sunscreen) in one compartment and makeup in the other. And no matter how many times I’ve unpacked and repacked the cosmetic case, my products still fit easily (no Tetris game packaging here). Plus, because the case has transparent panels, I could easily see where the product I needed was without having to tear everything up or dig around desperately. The square shape of the zippered bag fits perfectly into the weekender I used as a personal item, and the small, unobtrusive top handle makes it easy to grab and pull out when needed.

While the Calpak Clear Cosmetics case comes in a regular size, the mini version was big enough for all my needs (and notably, the full-size version is *not* TSA-approved). My trip to Europe may have passed, but my new favorite toiletry bag has remained a go-to for weekend trips and gym bag essentials. And in the meantime, I’m already dreaming of where my Calpak and I will go in the future – I hear Mexico City is beautiful this time of year.

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