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What is a dopp kit and why every traveling man needs this shaving bag

Dopp Kit

Most of the time rolling out of bed and stumbling into the bathroom is all you need to access your essentials to prepare for the day.  All the tools you need to shave, shower, brush your teeth, put on your deodorant and cologne on are usually stuffed away in your bathroom cabinets.

In my case there are drawers full of different dopp kits I've tried over the years, cabinets full of more shaving stuff, and a hanging wall shelf full of my razor collection and all of my shaving brushes.

The moment you get called off to that business trip, a family vacation, or the camping or fishing trip with your buddies you'll need something to pack your toiletries in.  A men's travel shaving kit to stuff all these goodies in or what is most commonly called a dopp kit is what you are probably looking for.


What is a dopp kit

It's just another name for a bag to carry your grooming supplies.  This handy little bag is also known as a men's toiletry bag, a men's travel kit, hygiene pack, or a shaving kit bag.  Pack full of your stuff and store it away in your checked in luggage or your carry on.  When I'm not flying I usually put my bag in a larger backpack that holds a change of clothes and other essentials based on the trip I am taking.

A dopp kit or commonly misspelled dop Kit or dopp-kit or dop-kit.  It's not just used for shaving supplies either.  Sure you'll find razors, shaving brushes, razor blades, shaving cream, shaving soap, and aftershave, but also plenty of other non shaving related gear.  

Q-tips, finger nail clippers, finger nail files, deodorant, brush or comb, beard oil, nose trimmers, grooming scissors, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, man soap, pomade, hair gel, and the list goes on.

I've even seen modern day travelers carrying multiple shaving bags.  One for their toiletries and the other used to exclusively store cables, batteries, and other tech equipment.

Back in World War I and World War II soldiers were issued dopp-kits while heading off to war.  This is what ultimately what increased world wide visibility to this men's travel kit.

Simply put this is a simple way to store common grooming necessities and keep them organized in an easy to find location with everything you need at your fingertips.

mens shaving kit

Men's hanging toiletry bag vs Dopp Kit 

Charles Doppelt original design was a bag that sits on the counter as seen above.  More modern designs include hanging bags.  These are meant to hang on a towel rack or even in the shower.  Some people prefer to keep them with shampoo and conditioner and hang over the shower faucet for easy access.

The name mens hanging toiletry bag and dopp are synonymous and for the most part interchangeable.   

Personally, I prefer not to hang mine nor do I keep it in the shower.  My kit is full of things that need to stay dry, so mine sits on the counter when I'm traveling and tucked away in a cabinet or drawer when I'm not.

If you are staying in dorm rooms a fraternity house or other similar places that have shared bathroom or shower facilities it might be best for you to get a hanging bag.

Where to buy a dopp kit

Sir Hare sells a few different traveling kits that will have plenty of room for all of your stuff and a side zipper to make it easy to separate things like your toothbrush from shaving gear or just an easy access compartment for the necessities.

If you shop around the cost will depend on the type of material used and the quality of the worksmanship.  If it is hanging or counter top, on average you should expect to spend about $30 for a decent bag that will last you for several years.

I recently came across a company Ezra Arthur that re-invented the traditional dopp kit with a modern elegant twist.   


Dopp Kit Meaning

The origin of the dopp-kit is due to the name of the original creator, Charles Doppelt.  His company Charles Doppelt & Co based out of Chicago, Illinois created what they called the Dopp-Kit Toilet case and Dopp-Bilt business cases.

Leather was the original material used that included a waterproof lining.  Many of the modern kits still use leather.  Waxed canvas is also another popular material used due to the waterproof nature of the material.

The name stuck after Doppelt won a contract with the U.S. government to issue these shaving kits to the men heading off to war.

Over the years the company was acquired by larger corporations, eventually being bought out by the Samsonite company and retaining the trademarked name. 

How to pack a dopp Kit

The duration of your travel will determine what gets packed in your dopp bag.  Let's cover the essentials to put in your travel kit for a short term travel and then get into maybe a vacation or long business trip and the additional toiletries needed.

What to put in Men's Dopp Kit

essentials for short travels

  • Razor and double or single edge razor blades if you are using a safety razor
  • Shaving Cream, Shaving Soap, or Gel
  • Shaving brush
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothbrush cover
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Man Soap or Body Wash
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Cologne
  • Comb or Brush

What goes in a toiletry bag for men

packing for long business trips or vacations

  • Essential list plus
  • Q-tips
  • Finger nail clippers
  • grooming scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Saline Eye drops
  • Allergy Eye drops
  • Shave Oil
  • Beard Oil
  • Pomade
  • Aftershave
  • Nose trimmers
  • Lotion
  • Replacement double edge razor blades, disposable razors, or razor heads
  • Electric razor charger
  • Contact lenses
  • Band aids
  • Alcohol wipes
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Vitamins
  • Breath Mints

What to stock in a dopp kit

Military Ditty version

Ditty bag definition = A small bag used to hold toiletries while traveling.  Sailors, Fishermen, and Military sometimes call dopp kits ditty bags.

  • vacation packed version plus
  • Sewing kit
  • Small First aid kit
  • Over the counter medicine to relieve aches, pains, allergies
  • Spare Cash

 Men's dopp kit

Travel kit for men in checked in luggage

It really depends on what is in your dopp kit and how you like to travel.  I like traveling light and try almost anything to prevent checking in luggage if possible.  On long international flights that span for several days and multiple hops it is nice to have your bag with you for easy access and to keep you fresh.

If you have any of the following items, be sure to put the travel kit in checked luggage otherwise your carry on luggage is fine.

TSA guidelines prohibit liquids over 3.4 ounces.  They also prohibit straight razors and safety razor blades on the plane.  When in doubt check it in.

Leather dopp kit vs Waxed Canvas

Two of the most common materials used for toiletry bags are Leather and Waxed canvas.  What you choose will depend both style and function.

Water will inevitably get in and on your bag.  Leather doesn't stand up well to water, so it will need to be protected with a leather protector and reapplied regularly.

Waxed canvas is very water resistance, however it will also need to be re-waxed eventually.

I personally like the look and lower maintenance of waxed canvas.

Personalized dopp kits

Many years ago my grandmother decided to have a monogrammed dopp kit made for me.  She picked out the bag, and picked out the color and the thread color for the monogram.  A local company did the monogramming and it took about a week to finish the job.  It was one of the hanging toiletry bags and it was personalized with my initials on the front.

If you are in the military, fraternity, high school, or any other setting where you might need to tell your bag apart from others it might be a good idea to monogram it. Otherwise you probably don't need to spend the extra cash to do it.

A few historical links referencing Charles Doppelt and company

Federal register from 1951

Vintage Ad 

Doppelt Bldg - 2024 south wabash ave Chicago, Il

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