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Established as a response to the events of 9/11, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Its rules and regulations are designed to maximize the safety of all travelers to and from the United States and dictate which items are (and aren’t) allowed onto domestic and international flights. In this article, we look at a few of the best TSA-approved containers on the market right now, from transparent toiletry bags to lockable gun safes.
Our Top Picks
Best Backpack: SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack
The SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack is made from durable, weather-resistant 1,200-denier ballistic polyester. It’s beloved by Amazon reviewers for its intelligent design, which allows for rapid, hassle-free movement through security. Stash your 17” laptop in the heavily padded, separate ScanSmart compartment, which opens up to lie flat on the conveyor belt so that your laptop can be scanned while still in your bag. The backpack also features a floating pocket for your tablet or iPad, designed to keep it safe while remaining easily accessible.
As well as a roomy main compartment, the backpack includes a large, U-shaped front pocket with slip-in sections for essentials like your passport or boarding pass. The organization pocket provides dedicated spaces for your keys, pens and business cards, while the twin side compartments are perfect for TSA-approved water bottles. At 18.5” x 13.5” x 9”, the backpack complies with carry-on size restrictions and includes contoured shoulder straps and a padded, ventilated back panel. Choose from a range of colors, including black, gray heather and red.
Best Toiletry Bag: TSA-Approved 3-1-1 Airline Carry-On Clear Toiletry Bag
The TSA-Approved 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag complies with TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, which states that passengers must carry all liquids, gels and aerosols in containers no larger than 3.4 oz/ 100 ml, within a quart-sized bag. Made from clear PVC, the bag allows security staff to see what’s inside without having to rifle through your personal items. The zipper is reassuringly sturdy, while the large opening makes the bag easy to pack and clean.
Although it’s billed as a toiletry bag, this versatile product also comes in handy for transporting other liquids - such as cosmetics, medicine or baby food. Order it singly or in packs of two or three for your friends and family. While the bag itself is see-through, the zipper and motifs come in several colors, including green, blue, teal and red. Best of all, it’s protected by a lifetime warranty.
Best Travel Bottles: TSA-Approved Refillable Squeezable Silicone Bottles
If your at-home shampoo and conditioner bottles are too large to comply with TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, decant them into these TSA-Approved Refillable Silicone Bottles instead. The set includes four bottles, all measuring 3.4 oz/ 100 ml each. Made from 100 percent BPA-free food-grade silicone, they can also be used to store edible items, including baby food, condiments or non-alcoholic beverages.
Whatever you use them for, these squeezable bottles are designed for convenience with a wide mouth for easy filling and a triple-sealed cap that’s 100 percent leak-proof. You can tell which bottle is which by their individual colors, or by the ID window that displays six rotatable label options (ranging from Soap to Lotion or Conditioner). They come in a clear plastic travel case, and can be attached via the included shower lanyard.
Best Cosmetics Containers: TSA-Approved 16-Piece Travel Size Toiletry Bottles
The TSA-Approved 16-Piece Travel Size Toiletry Bottles Set is the perfect purchase for ladies whose beauty products go beyond a few same-sized bottles. It features 16 different sized bottles and jars, all of which are smaller than the 3.4 oz/ 100 ml limit. These include three flip-cap bottles, one pump bottle, one spray bottle, one squeeze bottle and six cream jars in varying sizes.
Use the included pipette, funnel and spatula to transfer products from your at-home containers to your new, travel-sized bottles. All of them are made from non-toxic BPA-free plastic, and manage to be both lightweight and break-resistant. You can wash and re-use them over and over again, and store them together in the included transparent zippered pouch.
Best for Smart Travelers: All-in-One TSA-Approved Travel Kit
The perfect gift for frequent travelers, the All-in-One TSA-Approved Travel Kit fits easily into your backpack or carry-on luggage. Despite weighing just 2.5 pounds, it carries an astonishing array of items designed to make your life easier while away from home. These include an external battery charger, an iPhone compatible Lightning cable, a universal power adapter and a digital luggage scale.
Use the first aid kit to tend to your injuries, and the TSA-compliant scissors, tweezers and nail clippers to ensure that you’re always looking your best. Other ingenious additions include (but are in no way limited to) a set of playing cards, a TSA-compliant corkscrew, two collapsible wine glasses and a microfiber towel.
Best Luggage Lock: TSA-Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Lock
Although it’s not a container, this TSA-Approved Combination Cable Luggage Lock is the essential accessory for international travel. It features a keyhole opening that can be unlocked by TSA security staff, allowing them to check your luggage without breaking it open, and then re-lock it before sending it on its way. You gain access via the 3-digit combination, which can be set to a code of your choice. The lock is made from strong zinc alloy, with a reinforced, flexible cable that loops through even the smallest zipper pulls. Available in Orange or Black and protected by a lifetime warranty, each lock measures 3.15” x 1.6” x 1.18” and comes in packs of one, two, four or six.
Best Handgun Case: TSA-Approved First Alert 5100K Portable Handgun Safe
Experience stress-free handgun check-in with the TSA-Approved First Alert 5100K Portable Handgun Safe. It’s specifically designed to meet the TSA firearm and ammunition requirements, which state that an unloaded firearm may be checked into your main luggage in a locked, hard-sided container that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. The safe is made from 18-gauge steel and has a standard key lock with two keys.
The exterior boasts a smart, black powder-coated finish, while the inside uses protective foam to prevent your firearm being damaged in transit. Depending on the design of your suitcase, you may be able to use the included 1,500 pound-test steel cable to secure the safe to the inside of your bag. Otherwise, use it to attach the safe to your car trunk or to a fixture at home in between travels. Weighing in at just 3.5 pounds, the safe measures a compact 9” x 7” x 1”.