Explorer Slim Review

Gravel Explorer Slim Exterior

Explorer Slim: Our Verdict

Explorer Slim Star Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


  • Easy to clean design
  • Mesh pockets make it easy to find items


  • Not TSA compliant for liquids when flying carry on only

Technical Details


22.9 cm x 14 cm x 5.1 cm



Available colours

Sand / Black

Where to buy an Explorer Slim

You can also use the below button to purchase your own Explorer Slim from Gravel or Amazon. By purchasing through these links I may receive a commission which will go towards supporting the blog.

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Explorer Slim: First Impressions

So as always a disclosure. After reading the review on the Gravel Travel Bottles, they decided to send me some of their latest products to review. The fact they sent me these products won’t affect my opinions during the review.

The Gravel Explorer Slim Toiletry Bag is the second smallest in their collection. My initial thoughts are that the material feels rugged, the zips feel strong. This is a part of their Explorer series of toiletry bags and is their second smallest. They also come in Mini, Plus and Max sizes if you want something smaller or larger.


The Explorer Slim looks quite militarised in its design. I’ve been sent the black version which I like, but it also comes in a camel colour design which I think looks just that but better. It’s definitely designed for rougher travel, with durable materials. I’d be happy to take it anywhere. If I was considering longer travel then it would be a no brainer as I know it would be able to live up to whatever happens to it in my bag. But short trips it’s great for making sure I don’t leave anything behind. The mesh pockets means I can be more organised and less likely to forget any essentials.


The Explorer Slim is made of a TPU material. I liked how easy it is to clean, which is good because it does easily attract scuffs and dirt. I’m not too bothered by this as it’s designed to take a knock and you can literally just wipe it off. It’s really easy to dry too as the water-resistant material doesn’t absorb any water, as any dirt it attracts gets washed off as soon as I go into the shower.

Organisational Features

Inside the bag has a couple of mesh covered pockets. I like these as they still provide great storage but you can see what’s inside without having to open every pocket. I stored my soap bar in one pocket along with a deodorant stick in another. The only mistake made was putting my soap bar in a black matador case, as it went basically invisible behind the mesh. 

There’s one long slim pocket which isn’t mesh, this is designed for your toothbrush. This is a great idea as if anything leaks it stops it from touching the bristles and giving you a funny taste next time you brush your teeth.


Being made of soft materials the Explorer Slim is really easy to pack. It is fairly squishy so you can mould it into a pocket.  It has a block shape which makes it easy to nestle in amongst my packing cubes. Being the second smallest in the range it is aimed for more lightweight travellers who either don’t need or don’t have that much space.


One feature I loved and didn’t realise until after I had returned from Lisbon was the handle. When you don’t need it it’s neatly tucked away in a side pocket, but can easily be pulled out when you need it. Meaning in your hotel’s bathroom or shower you can just hang it up.

Gravel Explorer Slim Handle Product Review

The Explorer Slim has zips that go all the way around, meaning you can open it up completely and access everything without having to root around. The mesh pockets make it really easy to find what I need quickly. Especially with the handle, I can hang it up in the shower and see what I grab what I need without having to rummage through and soak everything. I nearly always forget something and don’t remember until the waters running so it’s easier to bring the bag in and hang it up in the shower.

An issue I found with the slim though is that for liquids it’s not TSA compliant. So when I was flying to Lisbon as I was travelling carry-on only, I needed to have my liquids in a clear bag. Luckily Gravel also sent me their Explorer Plus bag which has one included. So I borrowed that and just kept my liquids separately. That did mean I technically had two travel bags, but since the TSA Bag had just toothpaste and a small bottle of Aftershave in it this wasn’t much of an issue. You can find solid versions of those items anyway and remove it entirely.

Explorer Slim: Final Thoughts

The Explorer Slim is perfect for lightweight and minimalist travellers who want that little bit extra. I found the organisational pockets to be really helpful in finding my things quickly, as well as keeping them secured when hanging the bag up. The range is worth exploring as there is a size for every sort of traveller. On my recent trip to Lisbon out of 6 of us there was at least one person who would have fitted every type of bag. I was more suited for the Slim, but my friend who took little more than a toothbrush would have fitted the Mini. Another of my friends had more liquids and would have preferred the Plus, and a final friend who basically took her whole make up kit would have loved the Max.

Click here if you want to check our more product reviews, or here if you want to see more Gravel products. You can follow us on socials, like our Instagram @BradsBackpack if you want to see some of our latest photos from our travels and stay up to date on our latest posts.

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