Dustin and I are heading to Asheville soon, and while this isn’t exactly wedding-related, I wanted to share one of the things that has made packing easier for me ever since I bought this little dear three years ago.
You need this in your life. I don’t usually say anyone needs something, as, let’s face it, that mindset has gotten me a closet full of unworn clothes and way too many DVDs, but I’m not exaggerating. If you do any kind of traveling at all, you need this piece of luggage.Here’s why:
Quality: I’ve had it for 3 years, and there’s nary a rip, tear, or busted seam to be seen. I’ve put this thing through the ringer, too–I’ve thrown it in the “shoe” suitcase (don’t tell me I’m the only one who can’t fit her shoes in her normal suitcase); I’ve forgotten it until the last minute and then thrown it in the trunk. When I’m not traveling it lives in the darkest corner underneath my sink. I pack it waaaay too full, and am constantly testing the limits of its zippers and seams. And still it holds firm. The only thing that didn’t last was the little mirror. After three years of being tossed in my purse, kept in my car, lost in my suitcase, and chewed on by cats, it’s finally too scratched up to actually be used as a mirror.
Organization: My biggest complaint with every other toiletry bag I’ve ever seen or owned is that the designers seem to thing one big pocket with a side zip counts as organization. No way, bub. The L.L. Bean Personal Organizer lives up to it’s name. Here it is (the medium) all unfolded and unzipped:
All personal photos from here on out, pardon the iPhone quality.
I own the Medium one, and it’s got one main compartment, with a zippered pouch, but that main compartment has three smaller mesh pockets, which are the perfect size for several travel-size bottles, or one full size bottle (per pouch!). Above the main compartment there’s a waterproof zipper pocket that’s perfect for my facewash bottle. Above that there’s another zippered pocket, which I use for toothpaste, toothbrush, and flossers. See that little rectangle of velcro? It hold this little thing: a detachable two-pouch thingy that has its own little hook so you can hang it separately from the main bag. I don’t use this very often, but it’s great in longer trips or when I’m carrying Dustin’s toiletries along with mine. Behind the top section, there’s yet another zippered pocket, which I use to carry spare contacts, bobby pins, ponytail holders, and anything I’ve forgotten to pack until I’m running out the front door.Check out those prescriptions, folks, I am blind.
Then there are two side pockets, which are the perfect size for (full size!) deodorant, razors, my contact case, and other things I’ve forgotten to pack (noticing a trend here?)
Value: The medium size costs $25. I’ve had it for 3 years, and gone on maybe 15 trips (mostly back home to visit my parents and fiance). That means I’ve essentially paid $1.75 for each visit. Um, deal! And, I’ll have it for many, many more years. This thing is totally worth it.
The Pretty Factor: These definitely lean more on the side of function than form, but you can get them in more than black. They have a few patterns, too. What I like is that they are monogrammable, so you can spoil yourself, a new bride, a new grad, your bestie, your mom-in-law, anyone taking a trip, your paper boy, pretty much anyone.
Convinced yet? Now, what size should you buy? I’ve been getting by with the medium size for a while. In retrospect, I wish I’d gotten the large one, as I don’t fly, and therefore don’t have to pack travel sizes (and don’t like to, because my hair is thick, my legs are hairy, and I go through 3 oz. in about 2 days). But, the medium size is currently holding all of my toiletries (except my makeup back, which I pack separately so I can throw it in my purse) and about half of Dustin’s.
I think the small would work for only the sparsest of travelers, and the family size is just that–for an entire gang of people hitting up Disney World.
Oh, and blogging friends? I would totally never complain if someone bought me a large one of these with my new monogram. In red. :o)