I love to travel. I tend to frequent sunny locales where the sand and the ocean are involved, but regardless of what your travel preferences are, there’s one thing you should always pack in your bag. Surprisingly, it seems most guys don’t, opting for a less elegant (and slightly college-frat-boyesque) solution.

What exactly am I referring to?

A dopp kit! Sadly, the most common toiletry storage and transport system I’ve seen by far is your basic gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Whyyy. Why?

Sure, it makes sense to some extent; shit spills or squeezes out or breaks, and the Ziploc bag keeps it all contained. Or, if you’re all about abiding by TSA’s rules and regulations, then it makes sense to keep your mini bottles in sandwich-sized baggies.

But why not store all that stuff in a dopp kit?

From boyhood to manhood

If you’re the kind of dude that thinks dopp kits (or toiletry bags) are “metro” or lame, or thinks organization is for chicks, well dude, you’re wrong.

There’s history behind these bags. Check out this one from World War II (also at right). Supposedly this is the time when dopp kits became commonplace, as they were handed out to GIs before shipping out overseas.

Eventually they became a rite of passage, as young men received them from their fathers and uncles as a mark of adulthood.

Still think they’re too metro?

Everything has its place

History lesson aside, it’s good to stay organized. You’re probably thinking, “Plastic Ziploc baggies do the job just fine.” Technically, garbage bags can also double as body coverings, but do we all walk around in black Hefty bags because they “do the job”?

Dopp kits serve a purpose, keep you organized, and can be a stylish heirloom you pass down to your son one day (assuming you’re not disgusting and your grubby hands and leaky toiletries don’t completely obliterate the bag by that time).

Picking a dopp kit

If you ask me, I’d say stick to a neutral tone in leather or tough canvas. It gets squished, twisted, and beat up in your suitcase, and you’re bound to spill things inside it, so you want something durable that lasts.

Dopp Kit Examples [L to R]: Jack Spade Box Dopp KitSubstance Canvas Dopp Kit, Temple Canvas Dopp Kit

You want one that is compact, but with a wide mouth for easy access*. Compartments are great too. Some have an extra zipped area at the base for your large, flat items, and others have zippered pockets on either side of the bag. This is great for the small items (cotton swabs, band-aids, medicine). You get the idea.

The above images are some of your more quality, luxurious options, but you don’t have to go fancy at all. You can find toiletry bags almost anywhere, even Target, but realize you’re gonna be buying something made out of polyester or vinyl, which isn’t nearly as sexy or natural. If that’s not a concern of yours, then there ya go.

One good thing about these more affordable options is their disposability; if you ruin them beyond recognition, just buy a new one. Another plus (somewhat related) is that if you DO ruin it beyond recognition, it won’t break your heart to throw it away. My heart would be somewhat broken if I had to toss out a beautiful handmade leather dopp kit because a tube of Crest exploded inside.

In case you’re curious, this is the one I use:

EG's Dopp Kit

Victoria’s Secret used to make this awesome cologne (haha) called Very Sexy 2 (haha, again). Hey, it’s no Creed, but it smells delicious on me. At some point years ago, I received a free gift with my purchase, and the free gift was this dopp kit, which is actually quite nice. I’ve had it for years and it does a great job of keeping me organized when I travel, and I dig the different shades of blue.

Sure, it goes against my suggestions of picking a neutral tone and a natural material like leather or canvas, but this was free! And at the same time, it happens to work for me, so I continue to use it. Why fix it if it ain’t broken, right? Or in this case, why replace it if it’s working?

What to pack in your dopp kit

Good question. What do you use in your bathroom on a daily basis? I’d start with that.

Here are a couple things I always keep in mine:

  • deodorant
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • cotton swabs
  • bandages
  • allergy medicine
  • cologne
  • wax / paste (hair stuff)
  • razor
  • moisturizer
  • soap bar
  • mini shampoo

I keep mine stocked with this stuff and I never unpack it, so when I’m getting ready for a trip, I don’t have to think twice about what toiletry crap to bring… it’s all in there.

Nothing wrong with plastic

Here’s one tip before I wrap this up.

You know how in the beginning of this article, I mentioned most guys use Ziploc bags? And then a little later I talked about how sad it would be if you had a nice leather dopp kit and destroyed it by being careless or having some toothpaste splooged all over the insides?

Well (and here’s my tip), why not keep your liquids / pastes in Ziploc bags, INSIDE your dopp kit? You don’t have to bag everything up, just the potentially messy stuff.

That way, you can enjoy peace of mind carrying all those explosive toiletries inside your classy leather (or canvas) dopp kit.

That’s what I do. I take it one step further and double up each Ziploc, because that’s how I roll, super careful style.

Convinced?

What say you, faithful readers? Did I give you a good enough reason to invest in a dopp kit before your next trip? Or will you continue to use plastic bags, and only plastic bags, to store your toiletries? Hopefully I’ve swayed you in the right direction.

Are you a plastic bag dude or a dopp kit dude? Be honest! Let me know down below.

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