Update: February 2017. The SHAPL Smart Shower Containers mentioned in this review are no longer available for purchase. As an alternative, consider this four-pack of similar containers listed on Amazon instead.
If you're a regular traveler, you'll already know that one of the more annoying aspects of being away from home so much comes when you jump in the shower.
Large bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel can really hit your weight allowance hard, not to mention making it impossible to fly with just carry-on luggage. Good luck getting that 16oz container though the security scanner.
To get around this, you can buy a few small containers under the TSA's 3.4oz limit, and fill them up with your favorite bathroom products. There are dozens of variations on the market, including the SHAPL Smart Shower Containers that I was recently sent to test out. Here's how they went.
Features and Specifications
The Smart Containers came as a pack of three cylindrical tubes, each about 5" high and holding 65ml (2.2 oz) of liquid. That's well under the maximum allowed by the TSA, which means you'll have no trouble taking them in your carry-on.
Each container had a different color suction cup near the top, letting you stick it to shower tiles or the cubicle wall and easily differentiate what's inside. They also come in various color schemes and branded designs, if you'd prefer to be reminded of Starbucks or the LA Dodgers while showering instead.
The containers hang upside down, with a white click-top lid at the bottom. Each lid screws on and off for refilling, with a rectangular notch on one side and a matching 'lump' on the other. These allow you to clip the containers together for easier transportation.
There's also a small space to stick one of the labels that comes in the package – they include shampoo, shower gel, lotion, conditioner and a couple of blank ones.
Real World Testing
I used the SHAPL containers on a five day trip to Norway. Filling them took under a minute, with the opening being large enough to complete the task without making a mess all over the wash basin.
Initially I was concerned by the relatively small size of each container, but found the combination of the small exit hole in the lid and needing to squeeze the sides to get things moving meant I used less product than usual.
Showering once a day, the containers were around half full by the end of the trip. Note that I have short hair – your mileage can and will vary.
The suction cups worked well, needing only a quick splash under the shower head before sticking firmly to both glass and tiles, and detaching easily without leaving a mark. It was simple to squeeze a small amount of product into my hand without having it go everywhere, although it did need two hands to do it.
When emptying shampoo and shower gel back into their main bottles after the trip, I was able to get almost all of the contents out and leave just a small residue.
The company suggests that due to the squeezeable design and firmly-closing lid, you don't need to worry about leaks during travel. I found that to be largely true, although did find a little shower gel around the edges of the container after one flight.
That was likely due to me not closing the lid properly rather than a fault with the product, however, as it didn't happen again for the rest of the trip.
The SHAPL Smart Shower Containers add a few extra features to a mundane aspect of travel. I liked the suction cups and firmly-closing lids, and would happily take the containers on short to medium-length trips, especially if I was traveling with just carry-on bags.
My only quibble would be with the price. At $15.99 for three 65ml containers (or $5.99 each), they're somewhat expensive for discretionary items like these. Still, if you're looking for a gift for a traveling friend, or spend a lot of time away from home and could see yourself getting regular use out of Smart Shower Containers, they're likely worth the money.