What Is A Dopp Kit and What Are The Essentials Items To Pack In One?
Definition and Origin
There are few things to make a man feel more like a real gentleman than with a Dopp Kit. A term most commonly used in the United States, a Dopp Kit is a specific kind of men's toiletry bag used for travel.
The name was derived from the early 20th-century German leather artisan known as Charles Doppelt. He initially introduced his invention as a "toilet bag," under his own company in 1926. Over the years, a catchier name of "Dopp Kit" became more widely used. The term 'Dopp' was preferred since in American culture, the word "toilet" has a less than appealing connotation.
During the second world war, the kit became more popular as they were introduced into the military. Samsonite purchased Doppelt's company in the 1970s in order to produce and register a trademark on the Dopp Kit.
If you want to get technical, a leather Dopp kit differs from a standard toiletry bag in that the Dopp kit is larger in size and can, thereby, hold a greater number of products. On the other hand, a toiletry bag is smaller and is more like a pouch that can be zipped.
If you opt for a leather dopp kit, one thing to consider is conditioning your leather for longer lasting wear. Learn how to condition leather here.
Necessities of a Dopp Kit
Most men don't even think twice about the body and toiletry products they use, either opting for the cheapest brand or whatever they get gifted or handed from their loved one. It's time to break the cliche and start caring. Travel should be no exception.
The typical Dopp kit can fit at least 6-8 regular sized toiletry items. This list isn't exclusive but the most common items include the following:
- A toothbrush & toothpaste
This should go without saying but for the sake of necessity, we will. No one should ever travel without a toothbrush and toothpaste but you'd be surprised to hear how many people forget these essential items!
Travel can bring with it all sorts of extreme climates and temperatures. Of noteworthy mention is being crammed on a plane for 8 hours. Packing a small roll-on deodarant is the easiest way to keep a fresh smell about you and not send your travel comrades running in the other direction (although this could work in your favor in some instances!)
- Soap or shower gel
Unless you're staying at a 5-star resort, chances are the hotel soap will be poor quality and may even leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Many hotels simply refill bottles so you are unable to see what the ingredients are or even the brand name. They could contain all types of alcohols and additives that leave a film on the skin and create a barrier against moisturising. Simply pack a travel size version of your favourite soap and pack it in your Dopp kit to ensure your skin stays healthy and smooth, wherever you go.
One essential item that men forget to pack is body lotion. If you are travelling in the winter, body lotion will soon become your new best friend. Dry skin is not only unsightly, it can be frustrating to deal with because of its itchiness and flakiness. Similaring, harsh conditions that are dry and hot, can leave your skin dehydrated. Make sure to pack a small travel size lotion, so your full-size bottle is not seized at the airport.
No one enjoys having the extremes of either dandruff or oily hair. If you are travelling and are depending on the hotel shampoo to wash your hair, then you may be doing your hair a big disservice. Similiar to the situation with hotel soaps and shower gels, you often have no idea of the quality or brand of hotel shampoo. You may find your hair drying out and looking less than ideal. Avoid an embarassing situation by bringing along your own shampoo, and your hair will surely thank you.
- Shaving cream, oil & a razor
For bearded men, it's imperative to travel with a shaving kit to ensure your lovely facial hair doesn't grow too unruly. Even if you're going for the vacation 'castaway' look, you'll still want to keep it somewhat in check. After all, you're not trying to win an Oscar here. Your just trying to remain somewhat presentable so you don't scare the kids away.
- Hair Comb
Nothing can finish off a A hair comb should easily fit into your Dopp kit and will make a big difference in your style since you will need to go out once in a while in your trip. This is especially important if you are on a business trip or going to a large event. Unbrushed hair can lead to hard knots to get out or hair that is unkempt. Packing your brush can ensure that you keep looking fresh and dapper.
An easily overlooked addition to your Dopp kit are body wipes. These are fantastic for long haul flights where you may not have access to a shower for over a day. To keep yourself feeling and smelling fresh, a quick wipe-down with a body wipe can do the trick. No one likes sitting next to fellow passengers with bad odour, so don't be one.
Other Packing Considerations
When packing your Dopp kit for a holiday or work trip, take into consideration your destination and any extra items you might need. For example, a business trip with executives will require you to look sharp so you may want to pack a lint brush and a sewing kit in case you cannot get to the dry cleaners. A weekend at a beach resort or a camping trip calls for more sunscreen, insect repellant, wipes, and some hand sanitizer.
If your packing your Dopp kit for a Stag's weekend with the boys, things could get a little wild so you might want to consider packing some extra aspirin and hangover remedies.
If you're looking for a long-lasting handmade leather Dopp kit that will stand the test of time and travel, check out Galen Leather's Dopp Kit collection.
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