A few hours on a plane doesn’t have to leave you looking (and presumably smelling) like Robin Williams in Jumanji. As long as you bring a razor, comb, toothbrush, and a few toiletries along, you can be your usual dapper self in no time. But what to put them in? Let’s look at the best travel toiletries bags going.
Before diving in, here’s some trivia for you. You’ve probably heard the name Dopp kit to describe a travel bag for—especially a man’s—toiletries, but where’s that come from? The design we know and love was actually first popularized by an American leather worker called Charles Doppelt; he called them Dopp kits and the name stuck when they were issued to US soldiers during WWII.
Whether you want an old-timey Dopp kit or a more modern interpretation, we’ve rounded up the best picks for you to peruse.
Cheap, Light, and Good: Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Quick Trip ($25)
Okay, let’s get it out of the way. The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Quick Trip ($25) looks like a cross between the pencil case that got you bullied in middle school and a Boy Scout’s rain jacket. But, what it lacks in looks, it makes up for by being cheap and good.
Made of super light ripstop nylon, the Specter checks in at less than an ounce. It’s 10 x 5.5 x 4 inches and divides into three zippered compartments which makes it perfect for fitting and sorting all your toiletries. If you just need a great Dopp bag and don’t give a monkey what it looks like, here’s your choice. If ounces of fashion sense mean more to you than actual ounces, look elsewhere.
Cheap, Stylish, and Good: Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit ($18)
If you want something cheap but much much better looking than the Specter, check out the Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit ($18). I’m particularly fond of the Raven Crosshatch color scheme, but there’s something for everyone.
The Chapter Travel Kit is a simple Dopp kit but there in lies its beauty. It nails the basics and doesn’t mess that up by trying to be anything too fancy. Its 9.5 x 6 x 4.5 inch body has one large pocket with some internal mesh storage and looks damn good.
For the Adventurer: North Face Base Camp Travel Canister ($42)
I don’t know how the hell it happened but somehow, in the last few years, The North Face has crossed over from being an outdoor gear company for people who are happiest when they’re suffering through nipple deep snowdrifts to an outdoor gear company for people who are happiest when they’re suffering through nipple deep snowdrifts with a side business as a fashion company. Seriously.
The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister ($42) hits both markets—whether you’re braving an actual mountain or a mountain of paperwork on a business trip, they’ve got you covered. This dope Dopp bag is 9.8 x 4.7 x 4.3 inches and has internal mesh compartments to keep things organized and a mirror, so even when you’re in the wilderness, you can ensure you look sharp.
Simple and Beautiful: Hook & Albert Melange Fabric Dopp Kit ($115)
The Hook & Albert Melange Fabric Dopp Kit ($115) is a stunning, minimalist Dopp kit—with clean lines, a clean color scheme, and plenty of room inside.
It’s made of cotton but has a waterproof lining so you don’t need to worry about your aftershave leaking into your bag. The 9.8 x 5.5 x 5.5 inch bag has one main compartment and two slim side compartments. It won’t look out of place in any Five Star hotel.
Buy It For Life: Maxwell Scott Luxury Italian Leather Washbag ($174)
Not only is the Maxwell Scott Luxury Washbag ($174) a stunning piece of Italian leatherwork, but it’s designed to last you a lifetime. It comes with a 25 year warranty and is made with hardwearing materials like YKK zippers. It’s 10.6 x 6.6 x 3.5 inches so will fit everything with ease.
While the Luxury Washbag is available in three colors, we’re partial to Dark Chocolate. The Classic Tan and Night Black are nice, but they don’t have the same heirloom-y feel to them. I can see that Chocolate bag developing wonderful wear lines over years and years of use. It’s the kind of thing that will look even better in ten years than it does today. Perfect for your son to inherit.
Something Different: Hanrgraft Refresh Dopp Kit ($320)
Toothbrushes and toiletries all generally stand vertically which is why it’s slightly odd that every Dopp kit holds them horizontally. That is every Dopp kitt except for my personal favorite, the Hardgraft Refresh Dopp Kit (€270/approx $320).
Hardgraft take a novel approach to the Dopp kit with their Refresh. Like your shaving gel, it stands upright. It’s made from Italian leather and wool and is 5.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Not the biggest kit on this list, but large enough to hold most men’s toiletries.
If you’re looking for something well made, stunning, and stylish, look no further.
Obviously your grandfather’s old Dopp kit handily beats anything on this list but, if I’ve missed your favorite modern take, let me know in the comments.