The dapper dopp kit is a timeless tradition that few people honor. Since Charles Doppelt invented these hardy, handy pieces of luggage for GI’s fighting Nazis in WWII they’ve been a necessity for men, and have been adopted by many travel-savvy women. Forget about packing up your bottled water in a bug-out bag for the zombie armageddon, nuclear war, or Kardashian Kongress that is never going to come. A quality dopp kit is your real-world survival stash. It’s how you stay clean and sexy on the road, so learn to pack it up properly.
We’ve collected a complete list of everything you need in a good shaving kit so you’re ready for whatever quaffing disasters life throws your way. We give you all the dopp kit essentials.
Get the Right Bag
Your dopp kit’s bag is your toolbox, which makes it important. If you throw everything into whatever satchel is lying around only to dump everything out onto the hotel counter, you’re doing it wrong. A quality kit either lays flat so you can get things out of it, or hangs high so you can see what you’ve got to work with. It should have as much organization as you personally need. OCD folks should let their tendencies run wild while sloppy cats should get enough space to make everything fit right where they can see it.
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How to Pack Your Dopp Kit
The shaving bag itself is important, but it’s not the size or the shape, it’s how you pack it. We suggest a top-down method or left-to-right structure. The first thing you use sits either at the top or the far left. Pull it out, put it to work, lay it to the side. Do this working down or sideways and then you can simply repack in reverse order for no fuss and no time wasted. This will also rescue you from the deadly accidental razor cut from stuffing your hand into the kit digging for toothpaste.
Note: Pressure changes on a plane, so any fluids or gels in the kit should have all the air squeezed out of them. This prevents them from exploding and ruining that sexy leather dopp you just bought.
What Every Dopp Kit Needs
Hotels are notoriously cheap about their water, so don’t expect them to give you nice, gentle, soft water. Expect the worse and pack for it with a bar of quality, creamy, moisturizing soap that can clean away hard water. Or, go with whatever you like best.
Even if you’ve never used lip balm in your life, it is a survival essential when you’re going into unknown territory. The world is a weird, wild, climate nightmare right now, and that takes a toll on your body. Chapped lips are hell on Earth, so get a good salve for your kisser.
Going the distance is sweaty work. Put this in your bag so that during a 14 hour layover you can still freshen up just enough to feel confident when you send a wink and a drink over to that flight attendant that caught your eye. Please don’t send drinks to any pilots…
Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Floss
Don’t trust the hotel to have these things, or for there to be a 24-hour store wherever you go. A grimy gob is going make everyone who meets you think less no matter what you say. Aim for a travel electric toothbrush that really goes deep and a quality foaming toothpaste that does the work. You can include mouthwash if you wish, since it can also give you a really gross buzz if you get desperate for a cocktail.
Unless you must, try to get away from disposable razors in your dopp kit. They waste space and are more likely to cut up the inside of your bag should they slip their guard. Instead, have a quality razor – safety, straight, or electric razor recommended – in a case in the kit. Ladies: a flat cartridge disposable will work, or just go jungle natural.
Shaving Cream, Soap, Brush
Use tube shaving cream that isn’t under pressure or a shaving soap along with a brush that’s real quality for spreading it around and lathering it up.
As with the lip balm, you can’t predict how your skin is going to react to being shaved down in a different climate. Give it a fighting chance with a gentle, soothing aftershave. Choose something that smells clean without being overpowering and has loads of moisturizing and SPF properties. That way it can do multiple jobs.
A compact set of nail clippers are your best friend on the road. Many a woman and man has found that a quality set of clippers becomes your grooming multi-tool when nothing else will do. Go small in size, but don’t skimp on quality.
Extreme wetness is worse than being too dry. Get damp and you’ll smell strange, feel greasy, and be uncomfortable…and that’s before the chafing even starts. Powder down to reduce issues.
Unlike gels or sprays, pomade travels well without incident. Get a tin of it for doing a little styling on the go. You could suddenly end up with a fright-wig frizz ‘fro or a flat, dead hairdo in a new climate. Fight the power and stay in style with a flash and a flourish.
You’ve got a few options here, but we’ve found that the best choice is either a tiny travel-sized roller with disposable sheets, or a quality lint mitten that can compact down. Don’t waste precious dopp space with an oversized brush for keeping your jacket natty.
Stain Removal Pen
Gunk on your garb turns a thousand dollar suit into a punchline in a split second.
A hairbrush is fine, but bulky. Having a durable, survival-grade comb on hand cuts down on wasted space and gives you the ideal way to slick down an unruly mop. Having hair-ties if you’re among the maned masses is also a good idea.
Perfume or cologne might be a waste of space, but having the ability to put a scent in an aerosolized container never hurt anyone. These let you mix and match smells, and won’t break in transit.
If you aren’t familiar with this chemical, educate yourself. It’s intended to help you fall asleep naturally and get sound, regular sleep without the use of hard chemicals or a prescription. Sure, you can do the Ambien mambo if you’re sure you won’t kill someone during a somnambulistic fit, but we prefer to keep it safe and organic.
You’ve got the basics down pat. Now there’s a few odds and ends that you might also consider:
- Bandages and Antibiotic Ointment
- 2nd Set of Glasses or Contacts
- Hand Sanitizer
- Cotton Swabs
- Emergency Cash