The Best Dopp Kit for Every Type of Traveler
Whether you're a minimalist or overpacker, we've got the toiletry bag for you
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In the 1920s, Chicago leather-goods maker Charles Doppelt created toiletry bags for men to store their toiletries, although his were often called ‘Dopp kits’. During World War II, the U.S. Army contracted Doppelt to supply the troops, making his kits famous.
Servicemen loved their Dopp kits so much that they continued using them after the war, and the Doppelt’s legacy lived on. Dopp kits are meant to store your grooming essentials, and while they can be used every day, they are especially handy when traveling. Packed judiciously, even a small Dopp kit will contain what you need for most business trips or vacations.
The Dopp kit archetype is a small bag squared at the bottom with a zippered top. This is what the majority of kits look like, although there are a multitude of sizes, shapes, materials, and options. Leather remains the material of choice for more expensive bags. Then there are Dopp kits constructed of duck canvas, a tough, durable fabric, or waterproof synthetics. Which of these kits is best suited for the way you roll?
Made of 22-ounce cotton canvas, Stansport’s Travel Accessory Bag measures 10.5 x 5 x 5 inches, with two zippered pockets that make it easier to organize smaller toiletry items. A basic design, the bag has rounded corners to make packing easier, and a handle to grab ahold of it. Available in olive drab green or black, the Travel Accessory Bag matches their duffle, cargo, tool and saddle bags. Stansport is a family-run company with a 70-year history of supplying affordable camping gear.
Made from upcycled materials in Vancouver, Washington, the LUSB183 offers something new with what they call a Toothbrush Erector Patch to keep your toothbrush off any germ-filled sink while traveling. Sewn on one side, the patch fits standard toothbrushes and smaller electronic brushes. This lightweight kit uses a front YKK-zippered sleeve pocket, large internal cavity, and a water repellent interior that can be cleaned easily. The Minimalist has two grab handles, and measures 10 x 4 x 5 inches.
Founded in 2009 by brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack, Herschel Supply Company adopted the name of the Canadian town where three generations of their family grew up.
The Chapter travel kit is ideal for organizing all your grooming products, with a convenient carrying handle and a waterproof zippered main storage compartment. Inside, you’ll find their signature striped fabric liner with an internal mesh storage sleeve. There’s also a zippered front pocket with a leather pull. Made of 100% polyester, the dimensions are 6 x 9.5 x 4.5 inches, and it weighs 0.14 pounds empty. Herschel offers a smaller bag called the 3L Carry On, and the Connect, a slightly larger 5.5L bag that’s a different design. Herschel offers 24 color or pattern options for the Chapter, although not all retailers carry the entire range.
Your toiletries and other essentials will arrive intact stored in the Dakine Revival Travel Kit. This medium-sized kit comes complete with a TSA-compliant, removable clear pocket, a large mesh pocket, two small pockets for little items and an elastic daisy chain to secure things too long to otherwise fit inside. A hidden hanger loop with a quick-release buckle that’s neatly tucked away allows you to hang the bag, or it can sit on the counter for easy access.
The Revival measures 10 x 6 x 4.5 inches, with a top grab handle. Cascade Camo is one of twenty colors Dakine offers, although like the other kits selection varies by retailer. Made of 600D recycled polyester, it’s a plain weave water repellent material that’s bluesign approved. Using the Revival, it’s true there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.
Gravel’s Explorer PLUS measures 10 x 7 x 3 inches, and within its 3-liter capacity are seven pockets to organize all your necessities before and while you are on the road. There’s a clear TSA-compliant removable bag that can be easily scanned with all your liquids, and a hideaway adjustable strap with a g-hook to hang your toiletries above the airport or hotel restroom abyss. The Explorer has an outside fleece-lined pocket, perfect for stowing your iPhone, earbuds or watch. Made of polyester with a TP coating, Gravel’s toiletry bags are waterproof, scratch-resistant and easy to wash. They also offer a lifetime warranty and will repair or replace any product deemed warrantable.
Created by outdoor enthusiasts, the Hedgehog is a 1000 denier coated, rugged all-weather layer. The side panels and interior consist of TreadWeave TPU-coated water repellent material to provide abrasion and tear protection. Extra reinforcement in critical areas, YKK zippers with
easy grabbing T-pullers, and a reflective tracer cord are among the many features. Measuring 10.5 x 5 x 7 inches when rolled up, it rolls out to a height of 29 inches. The roll weighs 1.2 pounds when it’s completely empty.
The Hedgehog is more like a bag when it’s rolled up to keep your grooming essentials organized for easy transport and storage. Multiple attachment points allow the roll to hang from almost anywhere, and there’s a bucket with a drain hole where additional items can be housed while the roll is in use. It can also be used on a flat surface where the bucket will keep your toiletries germ free and off dirty surfaces. There’s even a mirror included, a thoughtful addition just in case you didn’t pack one.
Completely different from most Dopp kits, the Hedgehog may take a while to become accustomed to using it, but its functionality and accessibility will win you over.
One of the reasons why Jackson Wayne’s Dopp Kit is so appealing is because it reminds me of the one my dad used whenever he traveled. Whether his was full-grain leather like this one or not I couldn’t tell you, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have the thick water repellent canvas lining found inside this bag, nor did it have the finished edges, heavy gauge bonded stitching for durability or an antique brass zipper.
Measuring 9 x 5 x 5.5 inches, the Jackson Wayne Dopp Kit uses leather with natural color variation, so that the saddle tan color of this example may be slightly different than the one you get even if they are supposed to be the same. There are also some character lines in their full-grain leather that you won’t find in others made of leather that has been altered. Clearly, this is a leather bag like others from Jackson Wayne that will only get better over time, as it ages and develops a patina of its own. The use of a good leather cream will ensure this kit’s longevity, which will allow someone in my family to utilize it far after my wanderlust is gone.
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