Dopp Kit Definition
-noun, A small leather bag containing a man's grooming tools, such as razor, shaving cream, comb, nail clippers, scissors, toothbrush, toothpaste, and cologne.
A dopp kit is synonymous with a toiletry bag or toiletry kit, and the terms are actually interchangeable. But there is more to the history of the term than most travelers realize.
Why is it Called a Dopp Kit?
The term dopp kit is used primarily in the US as an alternative to toiletry bag or toiletry kit. Dopp is actually a branded term that originates from Charles Doppelt who first designed and sold the cases in the mid 1920’s.
During World War 2 when toiletry kits were standard issue for servicemen the terms “Dopp” and “Toiletry” became interchangeable and synonymous.
The Dopp brand name and dopp kit term moved between different companies who purchased the trademarks through the 1970s to 1990s. Both dopp kit and the Dopp trademark are still owned by a US leather goods manufacturer. Despite the registered trademark, the term dopp kit is still widely used by manufacturers across the country.
Traditionally dopp kits were made of leather but they have evolved to a range of materials including leather, waxed canvas, and various synthetics like nylon.
So, What is a Dopp Kit?
A dopp kit, or a toiletry kit, is a small bag, often made of leather or synthetic material, to carry toiletry and grooming items during travel. There is no functional difference between a dopp kit and toiletry bag.
Regardless of what you call them, they should be an automatic inclusion on every traveler’s packing list. A dopp kit is by far the best way to organize all of the small bottles and toiletry items that are travel necessities. They also protect everything else in your bag in case one of those liquid containers leaks. The dopp kit will (hopefully) contain the spill, preventing it from spreading through your clothes and gear.
What to Put in a Dopp Kit
Your dopp kit should be relied on for toiletry and personal grooming items. It's particularly useful for transporting liquids like shampoo, shaving cream, or body wash that could potentially leak or spill. Here is a thorough, although not exhaustive, list of what to put in a dopp kit.
- Body wash
- Shaving cream
- Razor and blade refills
- Hair gel
- Nail clippers
- Comb / brush
- Lip balm
Your dopp kit contents can be scaled up or down from this list depending on your trip duration and the size of your dopp kit.
How to Choose the Best Dopp Kit
Choose the right balance of capacity, organization, and materials to find the best dopp kit for your travels.
Your best starting point is the capacity which can be determined based on how long you typically travel for and how many toiletry items you travel with.
A large capacity dopp kit with 3 to 4 liters of space can comfortably fit every item listed above, as long as the liquids are in travel sized bottles. Smaller dopp kits with just 1 to 2 liters of space are better for light packers or short trips when you just need the essentials.
For weekend trips you can generally get away with just a couple liters. If you regularly travel long term with a good amount of toiletry items opt for at least 3 liters. Weight conscious backpackers might tend towards a smaller capacity and restock more frequently on the road.
If you’re an organized traveler that has a dedicated pocket for every item you’ll be glad to know your dopp kit can help! Or, if you prefer a free for all packing style, you can find a suitable option as well.
The standard design for a dopp kit is one bucket style space for all your items. With a small capacity kit it's manageable to find what you need. Once you start pushing to 3 or 4 liters it might require some digging to find specific items.
Many dopp kits feature at least one zipped pocket to stash small items that would otherwise get buried in the bottom. But if multiple pockets is important to you, there’s a dopp kit for that as well! With dedicated pockets for nearly all of your items, a multi-pocket dopp kit will make it a breeze to find every item and stay organized.
Finally, consider the different types of material you want. This is where things will really range and the type of material will directly impact the durability of the kit and how it looks.
A premium dopp kit made from leather or canvas can get through decades of travels and look better with age and use. If you value great looking gear consider these materials.
Synthetic materials like nylon are common and generally more affordable. These materials can be quite durable as well, particularly when they’re made from materials like ripstop nylon. In some cases you can find a waterproof design to guarantee a leak or spill doesnt seep out and get into your clothes.
Travel Dopp Kits
Whether you call it a dopp kit or toiletry bag, it's an essential piece of travel gear and one of the most useful packing accessories a traveler can own. Find the right dopp kit today in our full collection of packing accessories.