When you’re traveling, you could just toss your toothbrush into a paper bag like you’re going to your first slumber party, but that’s going to make you the sheepish person going down to the hotel’s front desk to ask for a comb and a razor. You never want to be that person, which is why packing up your dopp kit is so important. You need to be able to get everything you need without wasting space, while having enough room in your bag for those incidental additions, like medication for when you have an infection, antihistamines for ragweed season, or a heating pad for strenuous trips complete with muscle tension.
There’s a few tricks to packing a dopp kit that professional jet-setters know and all us amateurs only guess at; things like buying the right electric razor actually saves space over shaving butters, blades, and a separate beard trimmer. Pros know that buying an SPF lotion can cut down on sunscreen and moisturizer and getting a kit that works more like a duffel bag actually enhances both space and versatility over those with partitions or ones that hang. It’s a tug of war that only those who can pack a dopp kit like a pro will know.
We’ve compiled the dopp kit essentials – all of which can be packed into most any bag easily – and found a few flex items that can be kept adjacent to your toiletry bag and swapped in or out as needed. This is the key to packing your kit smarter: Always have the fundamentals covered, but keep the additional accessories handy so that they can be added in a pinch. You should also assume nothing about the place where you are going, because the moment you think they’ll have shampoo at your destination, you’re going to land during the Great Shampoo Depression and walk around with greasy hair day after day.
The two biggest mistakes people make when putting their dopp kit together is they pack too much for their own comfort or pack too much to look good. Some people will waste space with hair gel and cream, then forget that they need foam earplugs to sleep. Others will have their slippers and sleep apnea medication, but no deodorant. Your kit should be equal parts looking good and feeling good so you can rest well. With one eye on each prize, and following the tips above, you’re ready to have the end-all, be-all of toiletry travel kits. Now here’s what you should use to start, making substitutions as you find what works for you and what doesn’t.
Will Leather Goods Wax Coated Canvas Travel Kit
Waxed canvas is what fishermen use to protect their gear since it fights off both stains and wetness. Using it as your dopp kit receptacle will decrease leaking both in and out and ensure it’s not going to mildew over time.
Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes
These clean, exfoliate, and sanitize so that you can use them for washing away bacteria, disinfecting small wounds and cuts, or just freshening up when you’re feeling a little oily from long days in an unfamiliar climate.
Baxter of California Large Comb
Crafted by hand in Switzerland, this tortoiseshell comb works for almost any hair type and any level of tangling. Using a comb over a brush reduces space, as the long, slender body is ideal for fitting into a kit.
Victorinox Nail Clippers
Before you scoff, think of the agonizing discomfort of a hangnail when you’re trying to sleep and you’ll see that having a tool for quick clipping is of utmost importance. Plus, the file and cleaning end keep your nails shiny and fresh.
Clinique For Men M Protect
Here’s your on-the-road skin care regimen. SPF 21 for guarding against sunlight while still letting you get a little tan, UVA/UVB protection from carcinogenic rays, and plenty of soothing moisturizers for that aren’t greasy or oily. Also lacks much scent.
All natural, vegan friendly, and yet able to live in your kit for ages without melting down, Hurraw! offers SPF 15 for sun protection and a soothing blend that lasts for hours and protects your lips from dryness as it heals.
Gold Bond Medicated Powder
Fighting wetness is the cornerstone to fighting odors. Stop personal itching fast, absorb sweat, and stay baby powder dry even in the everglades.
Plackers Dental Flossers
Dual strings mean less detritus gets missed over using traditional floss, while the addition of a folding toothpick lets you dig and poke to your heart’s content while taking up less space than a spool.
American Crew Hair Styling Pomade
Handle your hold without space-consuming gels or sprays. Easy to pack, excellent hold, plenty of shine, and almost zero risk of leaking.
Every Man Jack Post Shave Face Lotion
A soothing aftershave with an SPF of 15 that hydrates and protects, you can get away with dumping other moisturizers and just keeping this on hand.
Gillette Clinical Advanced Solid
Clinically strong and safe, this is your antiperspirant / deodorant combo for fighting off body odor, stopping sliminess, and yet not smelling like a medicine cabinet.
Braun M90 Mobile Shaver
Trim the long hairs and the short with the M90. A protective guard keeps it from breaking, it’s easy to clean with just running water, and you’ll get a professionally close shave thanks to the thin foil.
Ideal for sitting in a bag, the Nano-B uses gold nano particulates to clean itself off every 6 hours and bamboo charcoal to help get your teeth sterling white for impressing those rubes at the seminar.
Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste
Marvis hits tartar hard and has a powerful peppermint taste that will keep your oral orifice fresh as a mountain spring hours longer than the competition.
Flo Refillable Atomizer
Select whatever scent you want and fill up the Flo for cologne on the go. Works with any fluid and can be reused as often as you deem necessary.
Other Items to Consider
Once you have the bare necessities, there’s a few other inclusions worth thinking about for unusual trips:
- Cotton swabs – For longer trips or excursions to filthy environments where cleanliness can be life-saving
- Sleeping pills – Downtown New York is loud.
- Mints – You never know who’s going to be coming back to the hotel room with you.
- Tweezers – When you’re getting outdoorsy, splinters are a way of life.
- Hand sanitizer – They don’t wash the money or the chips in Vegas.
- Tide To-Go Stain Remover Pens – Because you’re not closing that deal with mustard on your tie.