As we like to say, a dopp kit should fit your lifestyle rather than force you to fit in it. The key is to tailor its contents to what you need and use on daily basis, taking under account the duration of your travel, the type of your travel (air, car, camping, etc.), and some emergencies that may happen during that travel.
Your dopp kit should be there for you just like your best man would – always at your disposal and always ready to save you from whatever life brings your way. That being said, you shouldn't pack more than you need because you definitely don't want your dopp bag to take up half of your luggage space.
Finding the right balance between wants and must haves and learning a few organizational tips, my friend, is all it takes for you to go from a “newbie” to a “pro” packer. I've compiled a comprehensive list of essentials and optionals that will help you quickly mark off the items that fit your lifestyle best.
WHAT IS A DOPP KIT
First things first. What is a dopp kit? A dopp kit is essentially a man's toiletry bag, used for stowing one's grooming essentials. Jerome Harris, nephew and employee of Charles Doppelt, designed the dopp kit in 1919. Named after the company owner, the word “dopp” is a cropped form of the name Doppelt and the word "kit" simply means “a set of articles or equipment needed for a specific purpose”. Registered as a trademark in the 1980s, since 2003 the “dopp kit” mark is no longer active and therefor cancelled. Dopp kit nowadays is simply an American household name for a man's toiletry bag.
Now that we got a glimpse of the history behind the name dopp kit, let's talk about the art and science of building the best dopp kit.
THE DOPP KIT ESSENTIALS
Whether you are traveling for work, traveling abroad, going on vacation, road tripping, camping, or backpacking, there are a few items that you simply must have in your dopp kit at all times.
1. Your contact information and a list of medications you take [in case you get into a fight with a bear]
2. A telephone list with emergency contacts [in case your cell phone conks]
3. Quarters [for emergency laundry, phone, vending machines]
4. $20 bill [in case you loose your mind... I mean - wallet]
5. Pen [you want to write down that bear's phone number]
6. Sewing kit [you don't want to walk around with unbuttoned pants]
7. Grooming essentials [always look sharp]:
- for shaving: safety razor, shaving brush, shaving soap / cream / stick;
- for beard and mustache care: comb, brush, trimming scissors, mustache wax, beard oil
8. Nail or cuticle scissors, nail clippers, tweezers [keep those nails and hairs under control]
9. Deodorant or cologne [self-explanatory]
10. Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss [maintain that shiny smile]
11. Cotton swabs / q-tips [avoid dealing with an ear full of golden treasure]
12. Napkins [something that can double as toilet paper never hurts]
13. Hand sanitizer / alcohol wipes [its a dirty world out there, plus an alcohol wipe is a must have item for building a small first aid kit]
14. Band-aids / small gauze pad / adhesive tape [you never know who/what might bite you]
15. Aspirin / tylenol / ibuprofen / Goodys headache powder [don't let pains and aches ruin your vacation]
16. Any sort of daily medications, preferably stored in daily pill boxes
OPTIONAL BUT UTTERLY INDISPENSABLE DURING TRAVEL MEDS AND SUCH
1. Gold Bond powder [prevent and treat chafing and razor burns]
2. Digestive medicine [I don't know about you but I always get an upset stomach during travels]
3. Immodium (diarrhea medicine) [especially if traveling overseas]
4. NyQuil and DayQuil [you can function surprisingly well when sick on a steady balance of these two]
5. Vitamins [as mom told you, don't forget to take your vitamins]
6. Sleeping pills [especially if you have an important meeting and need to be rested]
7. Condoms [you have to have some fun - almost moved that one to the essentials list]
BASED ON PERSONAL PREFERENCE / NEEDS
1. Extra pair of contact lenses and solution [especially if you are not a fan of eyeglasses]
2. Comb, brush, hair product (gel, pomade) [to take care of those shiny curls]
3. Quality face wash [if you are not using regular 'ole soap on your face]
4. Lip balm [cracked lips are no fun when trying to smile for a selfie]
5. Styptic [stop those pesky razor nicks from bleeding in a jiffy]
6. Earplugs [in case that bear roars all night long]
BASED ON YOUR TRAVEL TYPE
1. 3-in-1 shampoo/body wash/shaving cream or bar of soap or travel bottle of shampoo [if your travels don't come bundled with a nice hotel]
2. Lotion / solid-state hand salve [in case your destination is cold and dry and your skin gets chapped]
3. Sunscreen [sunburn is never fun]
4. Anti-bug balm [a must have for any outdoorsy destination, especially a hot and humid one]
5. Travel-sized lint roller [especially useful on a business trip]
6. Flashlight, swiss army knife, multi-purpose tool (Victorinox), K-BAR meal set (folding knife/fork/spoon) [indispensable if you are camping, road tripping, backpacking]
Phew! And that's a wrap. Thanks for hangin’ in there with me.
Did I miss something essential? What do you pack in your dopp kit? Leave me your comment below.
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.