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flat-pack toiletries: does this exist?

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    flat-pack toiletries: does this exist?


    I managed to pare down pretty well (to my own satisfaction at least) on a recent trip by air -- one convertable backpack, plus Checkpoint flyer. I pared down the toiletries, too: a semi-depleted tube of toothpaste (made sure it was less than 3oz when new, and so labeled); 1 toothbrush; 2 disposable razors; small bottle of shaving oil (I'm now a convert); small containers each of Dr. Bronner's soap and shampoo; stick deodorant. I was staying with a friend, and though shampoo, soap and even toothpaste were *available,* I thought it was nicer to supply my own.

    These containers / doodads, however small they are in the mandatory baggie, make an awkward little bundle. Their total volume isn't much, but what I'd like is this: squarish tubes that pack flat into something perhaps the size of a old-fashioned slim cigarette case, or perhaps more like the size of an Altoids tin. Even better, if these tubes could click together somehow. It's incongruous, but the visual model that comes to mind is a kind of candy I used to get as a kid (70s / 80s -- but this stuff was on the way out even then), with a kind of thin syrup in chewable wax cylinders. I bought them bundled in little flat packs of 4 or 5, different colored liquid in each. The feel of chewing on that wax is one of those weird childhood memories impossible to forget.

    (I can't find the bundled ones, but here's a pic that may / may not stir memories: http://www.candywarehouse.com/candywaxsticks.html)

    So: I'd like small plastic tubes like this, which would pack flat in a slim, transparent (for TSA idiocy) plastic case, into which could go a few week' frugal portions of shaving oil, shampoo, toothpaste (or powder if necessary; not sure how to manage getting toothpaste back *out* of a thin tube strong enough for this -- a small plunger?), cologne / perfume for those so inclined, perhaps room for 14 one-per-day multivitamins.

    Does this exist? Or is there a reasonable alternative? How do you bundle your toiletries for slim packing?


    p.s. Have seen, am uninterested in the gelatinous sheets of shampoo / conditioner / shaving cream -- though I have *not* tried the shampoo-in-a-bar stuff, which looks interesting. For shaving, a small tube of shaving gel [EDIT: think-oh; this should have read "shaving oil" as above] and a few disposable razors weighs far less and takes less room than any electric razor I've ever seen.
    Last edited by timothy; 04-19-2009, 12:29 PM.

    Haven't seen them myself. I find that toiletries in general are not too much of a concern for me. However, if you go to stores like Lush, you can get solid bars of shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, etc. I've switched to shaving oil.

    What might help is to go to an outdoor/camping store, and get those storage vials or containers. I bought some a couple of years ago, and while not exactly what you describe, some are rectangular and slender in shape: it helps avoid the round bulkiness that some some gels, etc. come pre-packed in.

    I have seen and bought flat bowls, plates and cups however. They're neat: they're made from heat resistant plastic, and you fold them into the shape of a bowl, cup, or shallow plate like you would in origami. Nifty!


      Timothy, I also have looked for something akin to what you desribe but to no avail.

      After a couple of years of trial and error, my kit comprises: 1 x Lush solid soap & shampoo bar which I also use for shaving (came with it's own tin), 1 x 4 use disposable razor, 1 mini moisturizer tube, 1 mini tube (from Muji.com) filled with toothpaste, 1 travel toothbrush, 1 solid deodorant stick, 1 sample vial of aftershave.

      I have other alternative sized tubes from Muji for longer trips.

      Let me know if you ever find what you are after as I would be interested in one too.



        Scott: If I find them, I'll probably write about them here

        Going to shaving oil is probably my favorite paring-down thing; I was skeptical -- thought I'd slice my sensitive face to pieces, but now I've switched completely. I wanted initially just to cut down on weight / bulk for travel, but now it's all I'm using. Perhaps I'll try the gel-in-a-can again for a week or so just for a more thorough comparison.

        I took a full-sized toothbrush on my recent trips, but I think will either bring a cut-down one or a purpose-made travel brush. Not for the few grams of weight difference, but so it doesn't need to be wrapped separately from the other toiletries.

        I will try the Lush dry shampoo (there's a Lush store not far from me), but I'm skeptical on that front, too. Will check out muji.com -- thanks.




          I use a Lush shampoo bar (Seanik) and am delighted with it. I have long, fine, oily hair and I find that the Seanik doesn't leave residue in my hair that attracts dirt. With expensive shampoo and conditoner from my hairdresser I had to wash my hair every second day - now with Seanik (which is conditioning so no separate conditioner needed) I only need to wash my hair every 4 - 6 days!

          I bought a bar in about September last year and there's about a quarter of it left.

          Fro travel, it's also a pretty good laundry soap - I've handwashed silk and wool with it successfully.

          I love the stuff! While the bars are expensive they work out very cheap on a per wash basis.

          The Lush shops smell horrible, of far too much cheap perfume. (I never went into them until reading a recommendation on flyertalk.com.) Seanik doesn't have much smell at all; my husbabnd uses "New" which is anti-dandruff (works well) and it has a light smell of cinnamon. Avoid "Godiva" - it's supposed to be "jasmine" scented and will stink the whole house out. I suspect that it's one of the stinks in the shop. Works well on my hair as well, but I didn't want to smell it on my hair all day long. I have taken it travelling - in case I get a smelly room I can at least change it to a more pleasant smell!



            Audrey, thanks for the recommendations re: Lush shampoo bars. I've been meaning to try them out but didn't know where to start. I'll probably pick up a Seanik bar tomorrow per your rec. I think my hair is similar to how you described yours, so here's hoping it'll work for me too!


              Wow. Just when I think I know it all about travel products along comes this post. Lush shampoo bars? Those just look crazy to me, but if I can find one in a store I might try it. I'm hearing more of the shaving oil but I seriously doubt I can use that and not my electric razor. Again, maybe if I can find some I'll try it but while my electric may weigh more and take up more room, at least it's not land fill material (until it dies on me at least).

              Have you looked at the Nalgene travel bottles? REI sells them in many sizes (http://www.rei.com/product/402139). The Container Store has similar items.
              Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


                Originally posted by falconea View Post
                The Lush shops smell horrible, of far too much cheap perfume. (I never went into them until reading a recommendation on flyertalk.com.) Seanik doesn't have much smell at all;
                I'm glad you've posted this. I've avoided Lush stores and products because I don't like how the stores smell when I walk by them. But I think I will try Seanik - carrying one bar instead of two travel bottles sounds great.
                Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


                  Lush Seanik

                  Goodness, Lush should pay me a commission! :+>

                  They have little tins for the shampoo bars which are excellent for travel.

                  When using the shampoo you only need very little - wet hair, then stroke the bar 3 times over your hair, then lather up. If my hair is very oily it doesn't lather well - I just wash, rinse, then repeat and the second time it lathers up fine, allowing me to comb out tangles with my fingers easily. It's much, much quicker than my old routine of shampoo twice then condition and untangle. And after squeezing my hair dry with a towel it is much drier than it used to be.

                  It's important to let the bar dry thoroughly before putting it back in its tin. I just let it sit in the lid to dry.

                  My husband and I traveled for just over 3 months (Nov - Feb) and carrying three little tins took (the Godiva for emergency laundry and for stinky hotels) was a massive improvement on carrying 3 giant bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

                  Please do all let me know what you think of it.



                    Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                    I've avoided Lush stores and products because I don't like how the stores smell when I walk by them.
                    I don't know why they do it - the smell is horrible! I would never have tried it but for recommendations, the fact that my old shampoo had just been discontinued and we were planning a 3 month trip.

                    They moved in my local giant shopping centre recently - my husband went looking for a store directory. I sniffed and said "that way!" and followed my nose straight to the shop!

                    I've never tried any of their other products - and I don't want to spend long enough in the place to see what they have.



                      Originally posted by falconea View Post
                      They moved in my local giant shopping centre recently - my husband went looking for a store directory. I sniffed and said "that way!" and followed my nose straight to the shop!
                      Hehe! I think there is a Lush store in Westlake Center now. I might visit that one. My only guess is that the majority of potential customers do like that smell - or it causes them to stop in their tracks and take notice of the store. My favorite products smell-wise are Juniper Ridge soaps, but they don't make a shampoo type bar.
                      Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                      Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


                        hmmm I will have to check this stuff out...
                        I am looking to travel super light on my next trip to Europe and I always find that the toiletires have a tendency to build up really fast and all of a sudden its like bring another pair of shoes space wise.

                        I ussually just buy the travel packs of expensive products. I have used Shaving Oil in the past and ir really is good stuff.


                          Burt's Bees shampoo bar

                          Burt's Bees makes a shampoo bar that works pretty well, and has a light, natural rosemary-mint scent. They're available at many markets these days for around $6 for a 3.5 oz. bar -- so they may be easier to come by than the Lush bars.


                            One of the plusses of Lush shampoo bars is that they are Sodium Laurel/ Laureth Sulfate free--some people prefer to avoid SLS as they find it irritating and drying. They make several different ones--and I agree that Godiva is too scented for me and smells vaguely like perfumed moth balls! I like Squeaky Green, which has a light, pleasant mint-rosemary scent. Hybrid is lightly liquorice scented and has cocoa butter in it so it is a hybrid shampoo and conditioner. They also make a separate solid conditioner bar called Jungle that has a really lovely scent.

                            By the way, you can use shampoo--solid or otherwise--to wash out socks, undies, tops etc in a hotel sink. Saves taking along a separate clothes washing product.
                            Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.


                              Update! So I did buy the Seanik and it does work well - my hair doesn't get as oily near as fast as normal. I think I'm going to try following it up with conditioner and seeing how that works (since the girl at the shop seemed to hint at getting conditioner too), but I think it might counter the un-oiliness. I also picked up the Karma one, because apparently the deal was free travel tin with purchase of two shampoo bars, and I'm going to need the tin soon, since there will be traveling and staying-at-places-other-than-home soon!

                              Can't believe I'm getting this excited about shampoo bars!