It’s Time to Give the Dopp Kit Its Due

A good one deserves respect

December 22, 2023 6:39 am
a collage of dopp kits on a tile background
Dopp kits are anything but boring.
InsideHook/Getty Images

There is perhaps no more fitting time of the year to consider a new Dopp kit. Often lumped in the same category as items like socks — necessary but not particularly exciting — it’s one of those frequently overlooked essentials that’s typically bought without much consideration. Yet, I would argue that once you use a good dopp kit (some call it a toiletry case, but we’ll stick with Dopp kit), it might become a favorite accessory. These mini storage units are personal and keep hygiene products organized and convenient.

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When staying as a guest, they also keep your items in one tidy place. While I own a few, I use one for travel purposes; the others serve as storage for various personal items, even chargers. This is especially handy if you live with a partner who takes up a lot of bathroom real estate, or, like me, you have a touch of minor OCD. 

But first, because knowledge is power, a brief history. As with most things menswear, the Dopp kit has its roots in the military. They were invented in the early 20th century by Charles Doppelt, a German leathersmith who patented the idea of “Dopps” and marketed the kits locally before landing a contract with the U.S. Army. Originally called toilet bags (again, we’ll stick with “Dopp kits” here), they were issued to troops during WWII to store and carry their personal hygiene essentials. Eventually, Samsonite purchased Doppelt’s company, and the rest is menswear history.

As Dopp kits come in an array of shapes, sizes and textiles, there are considerations when looking for a new one. Leather is usually the most popular choice, but canvas and nylon are also popular because of their durability and malleability. There are various shapes and even some that fold out and hang — but in my view, a minimal, top zip bag gets the job done best. Size matters here, too. Depending on what you intend to bring, an ideal kit is just big enough to hold all your essential toiletries. Too big and it becomes wasted space. Additionally, opt for Dopp kits that are lightweight and equipped with a waterproof lining to help clean up inevitable spills. 

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Here are 10 Dopp kits of varying styles and sizes for your consideration. Bonus idea: if giving one as a gift, consider filling it with personalized grooming items before wrapping. I recommend The Art of Shaving, a Tweezerman kit, Kiehl’s moisturizer, Aesop sunscreen, Malin & Goetz deodorant, Fulton & Roark solid cologne, a Square Trade Goods Co. tin of incense, band-aids, toothpicks and whatever else comes to mind. This thoughtful gesture will surely welcome the recipient wherever they choose to travel in the new year.

Made from recycled fabric and equipped with a weather-resistant coating and zipper, this Herschel Dopp kit is minimalist durability at an accessible price. It includes a side-carrying handle and an internal mesh storage sleeve for convenience. The handsome olive green colorway is complemented by a silicone label featuring the classic Herschel logo for a nice touch.

Filson’s tin cloth products are renowned for their weather resistance and durability, so it’s no wonder that their cult-favorite Travel Kit is consistently in high demand. This lightweight, compact and robust Dopp kit is a no-frills solution that gets the job done. Designed to withstand the elements, the tin cloth will only earn more character with use, making it a great choice for those who appreciate authenticity. 

Billy Kirk is known for their Made in the USA, tough-as-nails leather bags and accessories, and their Standard Issue Dopp kit proves no exception. Featuring a water-resistant waxed canvas outer, leather bottom and nylon lining, it’s built to withstand drops and spills, all at great value.

Leatherology specializes in high-quality and personalized leather goods. Their customization gives you the option to choose leather type, color and have your initials monogrammed or debossed for a personal touch. It also features a water-resistant lining, making for a timeless and versatile option.

Most people recognize Want Les Essentiels for their iconic tote bags. However, the brand specializes in a wide range of luxurious accessories. Crafted from organic cotton, this smaller Dopp kit is not only durable and stylish, but also perfect for shorter trips. The sleek, elegant design is minimalism done right, and the dual top zippers ensure easy access.

I have a passion for military-style parkas and field jackets, appreciating their functionality, authenticity and timeless style. The handsome olive green nylon Dopp kit from RRL provides these traits and more. With its multiple zippers, side compartments and a fold-out hook, this kit perfectly embodies the intersection of form and function.

Swiss manufacturer Montblanc is known not only for exquisite timepiece and pens but also for luxury leather goods. This sophisticated ink blue “Sartorial” Dopp kit is crafted from Safiano-printed full-grain bovine leather and features a spacious lined interior with an external zipper pocket. The iconic Montblanc logo embodies this kit’s understated luxury.

Crafted in their trademark GG Supreme canvas (known for its durability and ease of cleaning), this Gucci Dopp kit pays homage to the brand’s storied roots. With its instantly recognizable rhombi design, the heritage-inspired piece truly reflects the brand’s rich history. The Palladium-toned hardware, five interior elastic loops and an interior mesh pocket ensure this bag is not only luxurious but also highly functional.

This full-grain leather Dopp kit seamlessly combines rugged handsomeness with the high-end luxury that is uniquely Brunello Cuccinelli. Crafted in Italy, it features a water-resistant lining, while the interior zipper pocket offers additional storage. The full-grain leather is the perfect brown hue, and the dual top zippers create a retro, heritage aesthetic. With proper care, this Dopp kit will become an heirloom, ready to be passed down.

Leave it to Tom Ford to make a Dopp kit chic, sexy and high luxury. This made in Italy, full-grain leather kit exudes minimal elegance with just the right amount of texture. Its design features a gold zipper, leather handle and discreet logo. Equipped with both internal and external pockets and a fully-lined interior, it will carry your (likely high-end) accouterments for many years to come.

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