Building The Perfect Dopp Kit

by Brett on March 18, 2008 · 124 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Hair

travel-man.jpg

Unlike many women who require a small suitcase for their toiletries, a traveling man needs only a few essentials to be happy. Nevertheless, a man needs a place to stow these items. Enter the Dopp kit.

The History of the Dopp Kit

Charles Doppelt, a German leather-goods maker from Chicago, invented the Dopp kit during the early 1900′s. The small pouches became known as Dopps, in recognition of its creator. Doppelt scored a contract with the US Army during WWII to provide the toiletry pouches to millions of American GIs. The bags became a hit, and demand for Dopp kits soared when American men returned home from war.

My memories of Dopp kits include looking over my dad’s black leather one. It was worn from years of use. As a child, I was always amazed at all the stuff he could put in there. It was almost like a doctor’s old medical bag.

Building your Dopp Kit

The Bag
dopp2.jpg
The first thing you’ll need is the bag. These aren’t difficult to find. You can get a nylon travel bag for under $5 at any big box store like Target or Wal-Mart. They’ll get the job done.

But if you want a Dopp kit with class, leather is the only way to go. Sure, it will cost you more, but it will last forever, age nicely, and become something you enjoy owning and toting around. It’s something you’ll be able to pass down to your sons and grandsons, along with the stories of the places you took it. You can find a nice leather Dopp kit at most department stores. You can also buy nice affordable leather Dopp kit for $35 online. If you’re lucky, you can also score a vintage leather Dopp bag on eBay.

The Supplies

After you have your bag, it’s time to fill it up with the stuff you need to keep you well groomed while traveling. Most of things we suggest are common sense, others you might not have thought of, but will be happy to have on hand during your adventures.

  • Travel bottle of shampoo
  • Bar of your favorite soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
  • Shaving supplies: razor, brush, and cream
  • Nail clippers
  • Lip Balm
  • Band Aids
  • Safety Pins
  • Aspirin or Tylenol
  • Lint Roller
  • $20 bill
  • Extra pair of contact lenses

Organizing the kit

One of the things I remember about my dad filling up his Dopp kit is the care he took when packing his supplies. Everything had its place. The way you place supplies in the pouch will ensure safe arrival to your destination.

If you will be flying with your Dopp kit, keep in mind that pressure changes on the airplane can cause your shampoo and cream bottles to explode. This will create a big mess and a lot of disappointment, especially if you went ahead a bought a nice leather kit. To avoid a mess, try this hint: Before placing a bottle that holds liquidy materials in your bag, squeeze the air out of the bottle right up until the cream reaches the tip of the hole. Without this excess air, your bottles will be much more likely to hold unto their contents during flight.

What do you carry in your Dopp kit? Did we miss anything that you think is essential to have? Drop a line in the comment box and let us know.

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{ 121 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kevan March 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Good post! Here are a few things that I keep in my kit that weren’t on your list:

-A little black film container of quarters. (For parking meters or emergency pay phone calls)

-Some sort of styptic. (Stop those pesky razor nicks from bleeding in a jiffy)

-Nail or cuticle scissors (to trim up stray nose or eyebrow hairs)

-Gold Bond powder (no need to explain, we are all men here) :)

2 Bob March 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm

I also ALWAYS include some Alka-Seltzer or ENO Antacid caplets. They work for all sorts of upset stomachs (heartburn, indigestion, etc.), plus they last for a long time, take up very little space, and all you need is water.

3 bob March 18, 2008 at 11:07 pm

I’d recommend a comb in there as well. Dopp kits are great for me at college. For the shampoo bottle, I use an old L’Oreal Kids bottle (http://tinyurl.com/2pn3qw) with a much more manly shampoo of course. The it’s thin enough to fit well into the kit and not take up as much room, plus I can go about a month without refilling.

4 velda March 18, 2008 at 11:47 pm

a few items i always keep in my Dopp and find indispensable:

-Purell hand sanitizer. (its a dirty world out there)

-Quality face wash. (you guys are not using regular ‘ole soap on your faces are you?)

-NyQuil and DayQuil. (you can function surprisingly well when sick on a steady balance of these two medications. )

-Condoms and a small tube of lube. (for the bachelor life)

5 pete March 19, 2008 at 12:31 am

- a comb (or hairbrush, if you can accept the bulk)
- earplugs
- sewing kit (nothing fancy, just to reaffix that button)

6 Billy March 19, 2008 at 6:17 am

good article, however good luck trying to get the aerosols, razor blades, trimmers, and liquids onto the plane nowadays!

7 Matt B. March 19, 2008 at 7:35 am

Great post. The only thing I would add is diarrhea medicine, especially if you are traveling to somewhat exotic locales.

8 Brad March 19, 2008 at 7:39 am

I second the small sewing kit and would add some sort of anti-diarrheal medication, especially if you’re traveling overseas.

9 Brad March 19, 2008 at 7:41 am

Curse you Matt B! (I bow to your superior posting speed.)

10 Justin March 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

Another quick tip: Any bottles of liquid that might explode I pack in a zip lock bag…That way if they do explode, leak, or just come open it doesn’t make a mess of your case or other supplies.

11 David Bryson March 19, 2008 at 9:54 am

Another essential: a few q-tips! Coming back from a trip with no q-tips to find an ear full of golden treasure can be quite shocking.

12 G March 19, 2008 at 10:39 am

A few additional essentials that come in handy:

1) Condoms
2) Floss (can be used for sewing in a pinch)
3) Teeth Whitening Strips
4) Comb

13 Tim March 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

When flying, I always put my liquids in a little zip-lock bag. Due to the 3-1-1 FAA regulation I have all my things in small bottles in the bag so I can quickly pull it out for security screening.

14 Beth March 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

Don’t forget condoms! Another helpful item is a tin of solid-state hand salve, in case your destination is cold and dry and your hands get chapped.

Always go for a solid rather than a liquid, if the products are otherwise comparable, because solids are so much easier to travel with.

[Women need a suitcase, huh? My dopp kit (always packed and at-the-ready for a last minute trip) is 5" on its longest dimension. http://flickr.com/photos/loxosceles/2155179111/ ]

15 Brett McKay March 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Great tips everyone!

@Kevan-Ahhh yes, Gold Bond powder. I just rediscovered it a few weeks ago, and now I’m not sure how I went without.

@David-Q-tips! Another good tip! Q-tips are always the thing I forget and then regret forgetting. On a related note, why do Q-tips feel so darn good in your ear?

@Beth-Notice that I said “many women.” Some women can travel light too. They are known as a “keeper.”

16 Ian Millard March 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

A good article, and a complete kit after adding the additional suggested items.
You can get liquids on board planes – in small but sufficient quantities.

17 Geoff R. Casavant March 19, 2008 at 5:48 pm

A small bottle of mouthwash, and a bottle of multivitamins.

I have the same Dopp bag (not an official Dopp, but good enough) I’ve been using for 20 years, and it still holds up well.

18 Keith March 19, 2008 at 5:54 pm

I inherited mine from my grandfather. It’s durable nylon that looks like a folded dress shirt when zipped up. I always pack a tide pen (for those tedious little stains). I also pack a travel version of cologne and gold bond. Rolaids are always handy too. Good post.

19 steve March 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm

I have added 1 K-BAR meal set (folding knive/fork/spoon) and 1 multi-purpose tool (Victorinox) to my kit.

20 Carol March 19, 2008 at 7:56 pm

My Dad’s kit (which he called a ditty bag), always had a travel cup that some how sunk into it’s self in ring fashion and two clean and pressed handkerchiefs.

21 Brett McKay March 19, 2008 at 9:20 pm

@Carol-

Did your dad have opportunities to use his cup? For reasons I can’t quite explain, I’ve always been drawn to packing a collapsible cup. But I’m not sure I would ever need to use it.

22 Jonathan H. March 19, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Awesome article, I forward these emails to my friends quite often.
Also, I must inform you of a formatting error in your emails. The full
horizontal length of your articles are cut off almost every time – there’s
no way for me to scrolI to the right to read the remainder of your
sentences.

I use Yahoo! mail, but only Microsoft Outlook and a few other mail
services allow the user to scroll horizontally to read outside of the
margins. I suggest keeping your articles within a normal margin so that
the sentences aren’t cutoff.
Thanks!!

God Bless,

– Jonathan H

23 Sgt Rock March 20, 2008 at 3:17 am

Well, I added all the stuff that everyone has suggested putting in the dopp kit and now I have a suitcase size kit. This is a little like building a weapon for the military. The original intent was to build a slingshot, by the time a committee got done with it, it looked like the DeathStar from Star Wars.

24 Tim March 20, 2008 at 6:18 am

Good post. For years I strived for the perfect Dopp kit – spare glasses, bandaids, extra cuff links and collar stays, swiss army knife, etc. But since the airlines have instituted the ridiculous liquids in a plastic bag policy, it means that part of the Dopp kit contents are in the kit and the rest are in a ziploc. It makes the whole concept of having everything in one place impossible. But at least having liquids in a plastic bag is better than taking one’s shoes off!

25 Tony March 20, 2008 at 9:33 am

Thanks for the history behind the name of the Dopp kit.

I always pick up travel size or sample size products and keep the packs to re-use.

I also carry this little lot (deep breath!)

Fuzzy Brushes
Avid Razor
Ultra Shave Cream 50ml (also perfect to use on board in-flight)
Roll-on Deodorant
Shampoo/Shower Gel
Q-Tips
Sewing Kit (most hotels have these complimentary in the room)
Nail Brush and Clippers
Floss + Toothpicks
Tube of antiseptic hand cleaner
Diamond Nail File
Swipes spectacle cleaners (by Scunci.com but not easy to find, I believe Denman Brushes distribute them though)
Shoe Care Kit (again, a lot of hotels supply these)
Cufflinks & Collar Stays
Mini Mag-Lite
Silk socks
Nylon net bags
Copies of any important documents (on a USB flash key)

Fuzzy Brushes are handy to use anywhere and you don’t need to rely on water.
Avid razor blade cartridges are stored in the handle to protect you and the edges.
Ultra Shave is also great for using in-flight to combat the drying effect of cabin pressure.

Silk socks (apart from feeling good) stay looking respectable even if you have to wear them for more than one day. Silk also self-cleans, is cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool.

26 Ken Jones March 20, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Of all the responses, I cannot find any instance of including TWEEZERS in the Dopp kit. I find them absolutely essential. Having logged over 1,000,000 miles in 40 years of travelling, my kit always includes

Moustache repair kit (scissors, small comb, small brush)
Disposable razors (3 – 4)
Small shave cream – available at Wal-Mart (put in ziplock bag)
Tweezers
Nail Clippers
Hair Brush (not very usefull anymore without hair)
Hair comb
Hand cleaners (handi wipes)
Soap
Deodorant
Q tips
Floss, toothbrush, paste
Glycerin glasses cleaning spray and towelette
(contact supplies if used)
Small Change – although US change isn’t much use overseas
Band-aids
Antiseptic cream

Great web site…. should be essential reading for all young men

Ken

27 Matt March 20, 2008 at 5:49 pm

In a few months I am getting married and have been in a quandary as to what to get my groomsman/best-man as gifts. True I could buy the typical monogrammed flask, but I wanted something that they could use for a long time. I finally settled on creating dopp kits for them as they both tend to travel, and too few men these days seem to grasp the value of a good travel kit.

28 A-F-R-I-C-A-N March 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm

My father bought one of these when he travelled to Brazil in 1990 and eventually passed it down to me when I went away to school in 1997(That’s SEVEN years!). I used it until about 2000 but had to let it go when the leather started cracking.

This brings back a lot of memories and the dopp kit is definitely a man item. I’d only buy a leather one though.

29 Brett McKay March 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm

@Tony-Thanks for sharing your list. Are Fuzzy Brushes the brushes you use to get the fuzz off your suits?

@Ken-Thank you for your list as well. What kinds of things do you use your tweezers for? I don’t seem to use them very much,

@Matt-Congrats on your upcoming nuptials. I love your idea of giving dopp kits for a groomsmen gift. We have actually been brainstorming for a post on groomsmen gift ideas, and we’ll certainly add that to the list. Flasks are a common choice, but kind of a strange one. There are not many occasions when a man needs to carry his liquor on his person.

30 Ryan March 21, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Great article. If you’re looking for more information, I published a similar article back in January on the same topic.

http://jarjac.com/2008/01/physical-self/essentials-the-dopp-kit/

31 wozza March 21, 2008 at 10:54 pm

only a poofter would be interested in something like that

32 Tony March 22, 2008 at 4:37 am

Brett – No these Fuzzy Brushes are little chewable toothbrushes.

If you mean a clothes brush which I believe K-Tel bought out (remember K-Tel?) sellotape will do that job on the move.

I have a d.fuzz.it which is a sweater and fabric comb – maybe that’s what you meant?

33 Brett McKay March 22, 2008 at 11:55 am

Tony-

I have to admit I had never heard of a chewable toothbrush. So I googled it. They look really interesting. We don’t have Fuzzy Brushes in the US, unfortunately. So when I heard fuzzy brush I was thinking of a lint brush.

34 Mitch Ross March 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Ditto on the Q-Tips.

I like to put anything liquid in a zip-lock sandwich bag, and my toothbrush in another. Even on road trips, it’s a cheap insurance against a lid coming lose.

I got mine from my uncle way back in the 80′s. I think it was new then, and I’ve had to repair the inside linging once. I’ve had it so long, now it’s a friend I can’t part with!

35 Ian March 23, 2008 at 5:31 am

Brett,

Chewable toothbrushes are horrible and don’t work. They used to sell them in a vending machine at a nightclub I used to frequent. Disgusting!

36 Tony March 24, 2008 at 3:56 am

Brett – They are available in the US (I admit not everywhere). I believe the plan is for them to become available at airports. If you forget your toothbrush or need something to freshen breath they are handy. They were invented by a dentist, are handy to have when you go out. As you no doubt know, it’s recommended to brush within 20 minutes of eating and who carries a toothbrush to a restaurant!!

Ian – If they didn’t work they wouldn’t be so popular ;-) There are new flavours on the way. They’re also handy for those with disabilities. Each to their own.

37 Rick Tully March 28, 2008 at 5:19 am

Interesting responses…….Teeth whiting strips? How more metrosexual can you get?

38 J.K. Marshall April 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm

This was brilliant — and needed. I must say though, I’ve never know this kit actually had a name. Live and learn, I guess.

39 Wow! April 10, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Some of the stuff you included… I mean… do we really need all that stuff?

What are we? Women?

A miniature shampoo? You already have soap.

A shaving brush? Can’t you just use your hands?

And then some of you added more stuff.

Won’t they have some of this stuff where you’re going?

40 Matthew April 13, 2008 at 5:08 pm

I always pack a couple black tea bags and a couple herbal. They can be very soothing and my wife appreciates them too.

Emergen-c to keep my immune system up.

I like to keep two of everything like razors, toothbrushes, etc. One for home and one just for the kit. That way I’m always ready to go and never have to worry about switching or forgetting anything.

41 Knack April 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Most of this stuff is completely uneeded.
All you need:
- Bar soap (hair, face, body and shaving cream)
- Comb
- Razor
- Toothstuffs
- Deodorant
- Meds

Most everything else can be done with hands.

42 Arthur Othieno April 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm

As noted previously, q-tips are quite the necessity. But how do you enjoy that “q-tip feeling” away from home?

I purchased the travel-size Johnson & Johnson cotton swabs from Wal-Mart (~$1.00). They come in a nice plastic dispenser of sorts, which when empty, I’ll then refill from my family-size pack of Q-tips :-)

43 Jay May 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

Re: your dopp kit posting from March (sorry I just discovered your blog)

1) For contact lens wearers, there is saline solution and maybe a cleaning agent for them;
2) I would add immodium and some type of antacid. I find stomach trouble far more often in a traveling situation.
3) Soap and shampoo are hardly necessary these days as almost all hotels provide same.

44 Sarah May 14, 2008 at 9:31 am

One way to get around the whole liquids problem is to not have any in your dopp at all. Instead of shaving cream, get a round of shaving soap. Instead of regular shampoo, get a bottle of dry shampoo – these are becoming really popular again and so are easy to find online. Instead of mouth wash, Listerine breath strips. There’s an alternative to pretty much every liquid you might need.

45 KK May 15, 2008 at 6:16 am

Waterproof medical tape: My grandfather always did this and it’s made my life easier for sure. My wife ends up using it for the backs of her heels more than anything, but it has about 100 uses on any trip.

Styptic Pencil: Nothing better than fixing that shaving nic in 10 seconds instead of hoping it fixes itself while you’re having breakfast.

Tweezers: Ingrown hairs or splinters. They aren’t coming out on their own.

TIP: Buy hard sided clear plastic containers (REI.com) which carry less than 50 mL of whatever liquid you need. Liquid soap, shampoo, hair gel. They’re space savers, clear (to see what you have inside), and easy to refill anytime.

46 Philip A. Brankin May 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

Great web site!

All my life I have called my Dopp kit a “housewife” . I always thought that was the accepted name for this traveling essential.

47 Vincent May 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Ummmm
CONDOMS!
no really if your going traveling wouldn’t you need some? i mean even some married couples use them. just a thought

48 Steve May 22, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Wow, this is just another example of me being “out of touch” with people my age (mid-20′s). I always thought that Dopp Kits were SOP for Men. I guess being raised by my grandmother rubbed off.

My current kit includes:
Hair Brush
Comb
Toothstuffs (including the Reach Flosser, which is great)
Shave Gel
Razors
After-shave
Pomade (see?)
Spare Contacts
Rewetting Drops
Deodorant Stick
Deodorant Spray

I think I will have to add Q-Tips and Gold Bond, and remember to replace my nail trimmer. Excellent blog, and excellent post!

49 Brett McKay May 22, 2008 at 8:20 pm

@Steve-
Re: the pomade. I use Brylecreme. Every time I tell people my age what I use in my hair, I just get funny looks. When I tell older people, they always start singing “A little dab will do ya!”

50 Eugene June 2, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I’ve always wondered how you should store your soap in the kit. I don’t want residue or such getting on any of my other items. Would a zip lock bag be the most effective method?

51 Brett McKay June 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm

@Eugene-

They make plastic containers to hold your soap. They are really cheap at drug stores. The easiest thing to do, however, is simply to use the hotel soap. Of course, you may not be staying at one. And that’s when the container would come in handy.

52 Harry Paget Flashman June 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm

No Dopp kit is complete for the traveling man without Imodium A-D.

53 Jason Holbrook June 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I always pack a small bottle of benedryl. Amazing healing power against allergic reactions (hives, beestings, hayfever) and an effective sleep aid for those times when I need it. I pack my shampoo in one of the nalgene bottles from REI, they are very tough and will hold a full months shampoo, used on my few remaining hairs. I think they are 4 ounces.

54 AllEnglandClub July 11, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I always sing the praises of carrying 2-3 safety pins while traveling. Whether you end up needing them for a random tear or you simply end up providing them to a lady in need, I’ve found that they come in quite handy and take up no space. Totally worthwhile.

55 Nine July 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm

As a woman who travels with a small toiletry bag (yes, we do exist!) I would suggest the following items to add to your inventory:

- Shaving oil.
Instead of cream. Comes in a smaller bottle, you’ll need only a few drops and you’ll hardly experience any irritation or razor burn.

- Solid shampoo bar.
Comes in a tin from a place like Lush.com (or google for it). No problems with leaking, airport security or pressure changes while you’re in the air! It’ll also last a lot longer and double as a bodywash, facial cleanser and laundry detergent.

- Condoms
For the obvious reasons (plus they can hold several liters of water in an emergency).

- Prescribed medication
Don’t use strips, they take up too much space. Keep meds in small ziploc bags or tiny nalgene containers. Add a small absorbant package (the ones that come in large bottles of vitamine pills) to keep the meds from getting damp.

If you’re carrying a leather dopp kit I’d also take a film canister with a bit of clear leather wax (beeswax) to keep the leather from cracking (and to touch up your shoes for that important business meeting).

I don’t think my inventory differs a lot from what you suggest. There’s a solid hair conditioner bar thrown in with the shampoo bar and I bring a solid massageoil/bodylotion bar to keep my painfully dry skin in check. I also carry a neti pot, a small pot of salt and a spoon to rinse my nose. That does take up a bit of space but it’s a medical necessity.
And yes, I carry preventatives/condoms. Not that I don’t trust the other person… I just don’t trust their ex(es) ;)

56 Adam August 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

A few years back The Body Shop sold a dopp kit bag made of recycled inner tubes. Not as classy as a leather bag perhaps, but the thing is very durable and easy to clean. I don’t know if they still sell them but I seem to recall that they were a really inexpensive yet rugged option.

57 Victor August 5, 2008 at 9:04 pm

I also carry extra ‘mini’ plastic bags, but maybe that’s because I’m anal. I place liquids and my bar of soap in these bags so as to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

58 John August 9, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Why all the condom proponents? C’mon guys, a REAL man respects women! Any guy who expects to get some “action” while traveling is not a REAL man!

59 Ramaniac August 31, 2008 at 4:58 pm

We always called it a ditty bag. Dopp kit is much more manly! I have always had one of these. My dad always had one of these. FYI Campho-Phenique, though good for tick removal will leak.

We modern day men should add a $10 USB flash drive.

60 Mark September 19, 2008 at 12:02 am

I always try to have a few sleeping pills in there too, as well as earplugs. Travelling internationally, the sleeping pills are key to forcing your body to reset quickly to large changes in time zones (ie, flying from Europe or the Middle East to USA and vice versa). Earplugs…well…not all hotels have thick walls.

For shampoo/soap, Neutrogena makes an excellent body wash for all over. Much easier to carry one bottle than two.

Avid razors are excellent. While we’re saving space and weight, how about a bottle of Somerset’s Shave Oil in lieu of shaving cream?

Oh, important lesson from here in Iraq: immodium. Never leave home without it.

61 johnsolis October 10, 2008 at 3:28 pm

When flying, put any bottles or spray cans in a zip-lock bag. If the bottle or can decides to misbehave, it won’t spread discontent throughout your Dopp Bag. It will only embarrass itself!

62 Evan October 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I agree with some of the above that a sewing kit is essential, but not a whole kit. I keep a needle duct-taped to the inside of my floss container. You can use white floss as thread. It’s much stronger, plus it’s minty fresh.

63 mona November 12, 2008 at 2:40 pm

I got here while researching those classic washbags/shaving bags I now know are called dopp kits :-) I’m a girl and I’ve always liked these for their shape, especially the really classic design, with the two ‘floors’ and the frame!

Just thought I’d let you know about another product that might be useful for packing: the 3-in-1 shower gels by a brand called Philosophy. The 3 functions advertised are shower gel, shampoo, and bubble bath. They come in lots of different scents, and while many are more girly-type things like vanilla cinnamon and the like, there are so many scents there’s bound to be one to appeal to guys. They’re kind of on the pricey side, but if it’s only for travel and not for everyday use, it shouldn’t cause too much of a strain on the budget.

I second the advice on using solids, but mainly for longer trips, because there’s usually too much products in a full-sized solid item for trips of a week or so, and then it ends up being superfluous. Of course, with a solid you can always get a big kitchen knife (non-serrated), and chop the block in a more manageable piece. And they’re a big help if you wanna do carry-on only plane travel, which is a great feeling, since we now have restrictions on the liquids.

64 Mark Adkins November 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Soaps: Dr. Bronner’s solid or liquid soaps are great for traveling- they smell great and work for almost all cleaning jobs- even shaving. The peppermint is mildly insect repellent and very refreshing, while the lavender is very calming. The solid versions are more packable. (http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/LS.htm)

OR you can try most brands of ‘camp soap’, or save more money and use a mild, unscented dish soap.

One thing I noticed in the discussions is that different people are using these kits for different purposes- routine travel with style, minimal traveler, camper, ‘Dopp as semi-survival’ kit advocates, etc.

I think the key thing here is to find a kit and packing list that fits your needs and comfort zone. Personally, I will carry the kitchen sink if I can, but enjoy trying to fit everything into a thimble at other times. My current Dopp is aimed at being carried in the car for a quick refresher at work or to serve as the foundation of a quick overnight trip.

65 Jeff December 8, 2008 at 2:18 pm

@velda – watch out, you don’t want anything to wear or pierce the condom.

66 kasper January 3, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hi, I believe this may just be my naive Englishness but what the heck is Gold Bond powder? It sounds desirable whatever it is.

If you have a shower every morning you can do without deodorant and rely on your natural manly musk…

67 jefferb1 January 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

I am a boater, and my dopp kit is the Counter Top Toiletry Kit by McNett. Its roomy enough for full-size bottles and brushes, has side organizers for small items, and converts to a hanging bag for when counter space is limited (hangs on door knob, hook or towel rack). Check it out… it is the best!!!

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69 daniel Enright May 31, 2009 at 6:54 pm

what are you guys doing with your Gold Bond that is so good? I thought that stuff was for really old dudes with fungus or something.

70 Doug Thornburg July 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap – a consistent ph body wash gets me thru hard / soft / little / strange water showers, is shampoo and underwear-wash (no chafing on skivvies, very important).
Neutrogena Shower Oil – a tiny bottle (I think it was a sample, but mine doesn’t leak so I keep refilling it) – for shaving, dry skin, thunder-thigh chafing (yes, large men sweat and chafe, TMI, too bad). When I am spending the day walking in Atlanta / London / Casablanca, I am going to perspire – be prepared!
Very Californian – Tiny roll-on bottle of sandalwood oil – use (w/ the shower oil) as deodorant, aftershave.
I cannot believe nobody has said – Sunscreen – small quantity. I have had more bad travel days from too much unprotected sun the day before than from hangovers (although it’s a close race).
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH – 3 oz in a Nalgene bottle in my TSA Ziplock (always carry spares). Because (a) I am too cheap to pay most resort / hotel prices for a decent taste, (b) I really want a taste when I arrive, no matter what wretched time it is, (c) I have really good bottles to refill from, why drink crap?

71 JimmyDingo July 24, 2009 at 10:47 pm
72 Matthew July 27, 2009 at 12:20 am

Here’s my ditty bag list:

Travel shampoo – you can buy little bottles at target or walmart
Bar soap – I like dove stuff, it smells nice and gets the job done. I’ve got an old soap dish from an antique boy scout ditty kit.
Razor, foam – haven’t gone to the brush/bar just yet.
Toothbrush, paste, mouthwash – travel size on the two latter, thin dentist freebee on the former
Comb
Pomade
Small cologne
Gold bond
Deodorant
Nail Clippers
Ibuprofen
Safety pins
Bert’s Bee’s lip balm and hand salve
$1 in quarters

There we are, so I’ve got to put it all back. I’d really like to get a nice leather one, but I think I’m just going to drop hints for a nice birthday present.

73 Carl Muthman August 16, 2009 at 2:06 am

I used to travel a lot and for a full week at a time. I actually had 2 kits, one for the standard shaving and toiletries and the other for things like sun block, bug spray, and some minor first aid stuff. I worked in the field and after work enjoyed doing some things after work. There was always room for a fishing pole in the service truck. Some guys could even fit a golf club bag into that truck.

74 Mike B2 August 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Here is a list of what I am going to put in my Dopp Bag. It is a little bit more than most but it all fits.
Bag Dopp
Balm Lip
Battery AA 2 ea., In the shaver
Bible King James
Bill $20
Brush Tooth
Brush Tooth Case
Cards 3X5
Cards Poker
Clippers Nail Finger
Clippers Nail Toe
Cloth Bandana
Comb Hair
Deodorant Stick Brut
Floss Dental
Kit First Aid
Kit Sewing
Medical List Data
Medical List Doctors
Medical List Medications
Medical Prescription Eye
Meds Container Week by Day
Mirror
Paste Tooth Tube
Pin Writing
Powder Body
Roller Lint
Shaving After Cologne
Shaving Face XLR-370 Remington Battery
Soap Combination Hair, Face and Body
Swabs Q-Tips
Tissue Facial

75 Nik August 26, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Mike B2, it makes me chuckle that you’re carrying separate finger and toenail clippers but your soap is all-purpose.

76 Andrew September 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm

For those of us who wear glasses part of the day, a set of the small screwdrivers can be beneficial.

77 Devon Akmon September 7, 2009 at 12:06 pm

There are a lot of good suggestions in the comment section. Like others, I recommend Q-tips, Gold Bond, and a good facial lotion. However, I am not one for adding shoe polishing items in my Dopp. I recommend a separate, small polish kit to pack for keeping shoes looking good.

78 Chris September 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

So I went through and read a lot of these comments and nobody mentioned a cell phone charger. I always have an extra cell phone charger that I keep for the sole purpose of traveling and stays in my Dopp. If you’re like me you always seem to find yourself in the position where I’m buying a $60 charger once I get to my destination because you forgot to pack one.

79 Bri September 11, 2009 at 1:36 am

I never leave home without Ozeoil shaving oil. It doesn’t take up any space, it’s a non-aerosol and gives the best shave.
Also earplugs are a must.

80 Tim September 11, 2009 at 9:23 am

To play it on the safe side and add some extra security against unwanted breaks, leaks, or spills, I put any containers that may leak either liquid or powder into plastic ziplock bags. There is nothing worse than opening up your Dopp bag and finding shampoo all over everything. Also, don’t forget to stash any prescription medications you take on a regular basis in your Dopp and leave them there. That way you have some available if you forget to pack them before your trip. Just remember to rotate them out every few months.

81 stjack September 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Great article. There’s a couple of things I would add to my Dopp kit. These include:

1. styptic
2. tube of Crazy Glue
3. Zip Lock Bag
4. Two or Three “airline” bottles of Marker’s Mark.

82 David September 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Always in my Dopp kit:
flashlight – small aircraft-grade aluminum LED flashlight
you should never check into a hotel without a flashlight. in an emergency, it will be your best friend!

compass – Marble’s brass compass
Ever come up out of a subway station in a strange city with no clue as to what direction you were facing? Keep your bearings – carry a compass

83 Holly September 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

My husband is always telling me I should have my little toiletries bag constantly packed instead of packing it before each trip. It seemed like a silly waste of duplicate items when I could just pull things from my bathroom drawer instead of having to own two. I didn’t really “get it” until this post. Now I do. Thanks!

84 Tyler Geske September 20, 2009 at 3:26 am

I saw that somebody mentioned a styptic of some kind. Colonel Conk’s Styptic Pencil works great. I just bought a My Nik Is Sealed roll-on styptic pencil that I haven’t used yet (damn I need a shave), but will update you all after I’ve tried it.

85 Tyler Geske September 20, 2009 at 3:36 am

Oh yeah I almost one for the single man about town- condoms. Keep a few of those in that Dopp kit of yours, fellas.

86 Lou September 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Never leave home without a tube of Pinaud’s Mustache Wax.

87 Eric December 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Great post. I started looking around for a good toiletries bag (coming across this awesome website in the process) and soon got a black leather Dockers Dopp kit for Christmas from my mother. I didn’t know much about them before then. I only now remember my father had one when I was younger and now I’m happy to have my own. Charles Doppelt, you stud!

88 J. House February 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Every good dopp kit should have a few condoms in it…

89 Lee Nelson March 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I tend to send double edge blades in the mail to my destination before flying, since the TSA will confiscate them.

Men with condoms in their Dopp kits are not gentlemen, but scalawags and roues.

90 LRH March 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I can see the need for cuticle scissors, but remember: if you are flying, things of that type will be confiscated at airline security. Better take sharp instruments out of the bag before heading to the airport.

91 TBELL March 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Great post… THE only graduation gift I give a young man… the original Dopp Kitt.

92 Stephen March 10, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Kasper (#66) According to Wikipedia Gold Bond powder is a medicated anti-perspirant powder commonly used to treat fungal infections in your groin. I’d never heard of it before either.

93 dpmason March 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

A good shower gel – replaces that bar soap (ick – how do you put a wet bar soap in your dopp?), the shave cream and shampoo. Lip balm? come on. An extra pen and small note pad with an elastic closure. Styptic pencil. Double edge razor handle and one pack of blades. Nail clipper, toothbrush, floss, travel size toothpaste. Comb. Small bottle of acetaminophen XS. That’s it.

94 Mike Davis March 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Did anyone mention Shout wipes? I keep a couple in my Dopp kit for occasional spills.

95 MAJ Bennett March 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I like the idea, and if your working at or near or travelling to a HQ element it’s probably all necessary. For my day to day needs I opted for
■Lip Balm
■Band Aids
■Safety Pins
■Aspirin AND Advil or Ibuprofen tabs
These are necessities when in the field.

96 bryan March 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I keep a travel size gold bond powder in mine. Vacation is one thing, but most travel is for business and meetings where you are going to meet people for the first time. I always keep a styptic pencil. A little sewing kit with the safety pins because murphy just loves to rip buttons off.

97 Erik The Viking March 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Since when did condoms = something dirty and devious. I am married and practice ‘family planning’. You know, the thing where my wife and I choose when to have our next kid. Seems to me the ones crying wolf on condoms are the ones with the dirty minds.

A good Dopp kit should have condoms.

98 Eric May 20, 2010 at 1:10 am

I wouldn’t ever take all of this of course but they are ideas. Don’t get to crazy with loading up your bags. Keep it simple. Remember men only need a few essentials. Choose out what you’ll likely need for the trip.

Safety Razor
Strait Razor
Spare Safety Razor Blades
Badger Brush
Shave soap
Styptic Pencil
Electric Shaver
Spare Shaver Screens, Cutters
Aftershave
Comb
Nail Clippers
Nail File
Tweezers
Small Scissors
Detail Trimmer
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Floss
Tongue Scraper
Listerine
Cotton Balls
Q-Tips
Tide To Go Stick
Microfiber Cloth
Cologne
Deodorant
Gold Bond Powder
Shampoo, Conditioner/Shampoo Bar
Liquid Soap
Facial Cleanser
Eyeglass Cleaner
Spare Contacts
Hand Sanitiser/Hand Wipes
Aspirin
Band Aids
Safety Pins
Neosporin
Lip Balm
Small Mirror
Small Lint Roller
Small Sewing Kit
Small Tin of Mints
Small Zip Lock Bag
Travel pack of tissues
$20 Bill

I just got a bottle of Old Spice cologne and it smells awesome in the kit.

99 James Bronnley May 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Yes I do use an old good quality soap – not a detergent bar or car wash detergent that you find in your face washes.

100 RICH May 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

I recently discovered this post while researching the origin of “dopp kit ” after seeing it used in a number of blogs – I always take a sponge rather than flannel in my kit and despite travelling on intercontinental flights regularly have never had any items leak or explode in my packed luggage (easier than trying to take it on board these days) – have I just been lucky ?? – I thought luggage holds were pressurised the same as the rest of the aircraft- thanks for the ideas – I now know what Gold Bond powder is !!

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