A Dopp kit is a small bag made for transporting toiletries in a convenient and portable manner - if you’ve never heard of the term Dopp kit before, they’re also known as toiletry bags, or wash bags. They can be made from any number of materials, but we think they’re best made out of waxed canvas.
Our classic waxed canvas Dopp kit is based on the original invention by Charles Doppelt, an American immigrant of German origin, whose company stitched the first “Doppelt Kit” out of leather in 1926. It was named after its inventor, but affectionately abbreviated to Dopp.
Initially only sold locally, an order from the US Military during WWII tasked the factory with providing one to all active service personnel. And when those soldiers finished active service, most brought their Dopp kits home and started using them in civilian life. Thus, the “Dopp kit” became a household name.
When it comes to choosing a travel Dopp kit, our number one tip is: don’t go too large. The best travel Dopp kit should be about 1 litre in size – not only is this the ideal size to pack what you need, it’ll also help you get around the TSA liquids rule, ensuring you don’t come up against any difficulties at check-in.
Remember that a Dopp kit is meant to be portable, so it should be small enough to fit in your carry on luggage without sacrificing too much valuable space. It should work like a packing cube for your toiletries – keeping them neat, and maximising packing efficiency.
So don’t think about packing that full sized bottle of shampoo! We’re packing for speed, weight, and space.
Here’s our list of the top 10 essential items to pack in a Dopp kit:
1. Body Wash
Whether it’s a bar of soap, or a small vial of your favourite body wash, this is an absolute essential. Pack just enough to see you through the trip, and remember that a little can go a long way!
2. Shampoo & Conditioner
Consider dry shampoo – it’s a more efficient way to pack (and another way to avoid the TSA liquids rule) and it can be used on the go without worrying about finding a water source, or drying wet hair. It’s perfect for a quick spruce up after a long flight, or when arriving in a new city.
No need for a large unwieldy brush - a good metal comb will last you a lifetime, and even help you reduce your plastic consumption. Equally good for facial hair, too, it’s your classic go-to for all your hair styling requirements.
4. A good reusable razor
Forget cheap plastic disposable razors – they just create waste, and don’t give you a personal shave. Investing in a good reusable razor will give you a product that you can use time and time again, only having to replace the part you need. As a bonus, spare blades can be found all over the world. We recommend the classical aluminium razor by standard razors. Trust us, your skin and wallet will thank you for it.
5. Toothpaste and a foldable toothbrush
A folding toothbrush will do two things: it’ll save precious space, and it’ll also keep the bristles clean, saving the need for a toothbrush holder. Easy.
6. A travel sewing kit
It doesn’t need to be big – just a needle with some thread to fix any emergencies. Omit this if you're flying.
Avoid large and short-lived aerosols. Pack a small stick deodorant to save space. Or better yet, a small spray like the amazing herbal spray deodorant from Aesop. With ingredients you can recognise, it’s the ideal size to throw in your Dopp kit for freshening up in an emergency.
8. Ear Plugs
This one is easy. For planes, trains, or even just loud cities, these can be your fastest way to get a bit of peace and quiet while travelling, or trying to bed down somewhere new.
9. Nail Clippers
With such a minimal packing footprint, it's worth buying a small, good quality pair of metal nail cippers with an attached file. They’ll last you a lifetime.
10. Paracetamol, and relevant medication
Remember, health comes first. One of the toughest things to arrange in a foreign country is medicine and healthcare, so take some emergency paracetamol, and a tailored pouch of relevant drugs. Think anti-histamines, antacids and any prescription medication you need to take regularly.
Aside from the essential items, travelling light is about travelling smart, so here are our guide to how to pack your Dopp kit like a pro.
Solid is the new liquid
When it comes to carry on travel, solid is the new liquid. Think solid soaps, shave bars, moisturisers, and even solid toothpaste. Solid toiletries can also be cut to size, meaning you can bring only what you need.
Travelling efficiently is about taking what you need - saving weight so you can pack more of the essentials, travel lighter, and avoid the dreaded check-in bag. We can tell you how you to pack your Dopp kit like a pro, but all that hard work can be undone if you’re not packing smart elsewhere. We have a full guide on how to pack for hand luggage only, but these three key tips will ensure you’re on the right track:
A good carry on luggage backpack
A lightweight travel towel
With these two key travel tips, and a well packed waxed canvas Dopp kit, you'll be good to go!