Travel Essentials: The Dopp Kit

A Dopp kit is an essential part of any guy’s travel gear.

Travel has a way of upsetting our routines. Take it from me. I travel about 100 days a year and know this phenomenon intimately. And as creatures of habit, we don’t tend to like our routines interrupted. Especially the morning one. That’s why whether for a weekend getaway, a weeklong vacation, or even a monthlong business trip, a well stocked Dopp kit is an essential part of any guy’s travel gear. Having the comforts of home in your hotel room—at least as far as your grooming is concerned—can definitely go a long way to making you feel and look your best while traveling.

So what should you pack in your Dopp kit? As a rule, it should contain two types of items: those things necessary for your daily grooming routine, as well as what I like to call just-in-case items, like ibuprofen, Band-Aids, and a small flashlight, for example. But ultimately, what you put in your Dopp kit is personal, so rather than provide a definitive laundry list, here’s a glimpse of what I keep in mine. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

Travel Essentials: The Dopp Kit

He Spoke Style’s Dopp Kit: Waxwear Travel Kit by Jack Spade, D.R. Harris Arlington shave soap, Badger hair shave brush by The Quinntessential Gentleman, Nickel plated shave brush stand by Edwin Jagger, cardboard tube from toilet paper, Safety razor by Merkur, shavette straight razor by Dovo, Pack of double-edged safety razor blades by Shark, Face moisturizer by Baxter of California, Bay rhum aftershave by Royall Lyme Bermuda, Styptic powder by Nick Relief, small grooming scissors, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, Old Spice deodorant, Brylcreem hair groom, comb by Baxter of California, cotton swabs, lip balm, ibuprofen, Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol, tweezers, safety pins, band-aids, pen knife by Victorinox, small LED flashlight by Fenix.

The Dopp kit was invented in 1919 by Charles Doppelt, a German immigrant to the U.S.

So what’s the deal with the cardboard toilet paper tube? It solves two problems, actually. The first is that it keeps my shaving brush bristles from getting flattened, kinked, or damaged. No matter how well you pack your Dopp kit, things will inevitably move around and the soft bristles of a shave brush can get damaged or misshapen very easily.

Second, it helps wick the moisture from the brush. Sometimes I need to shave in the morning, pack up, and then hit the road to another destination. This obviously does not allow enough time for the shave brush to dry completely, which can be disgusting. I once owned a stainless steel travel shave brush that let you unscrew the bristles, drop them into the handle, and screw the cap back on. Good idea and a handsome product, but even though there were a few holes in the other end to allow air in and out, the brush always retained a ton of moisture and got extremely foul smelling. Definitely not good. The cardboard tube helps remedy this by absorbing some of the moisture from the bristles as well as by having two open ends.

Travel Essentials: The Dopp Kit

You might have noticed a few items conspicuously absent from my Dopp kit: shampoo, conditioner, and a face cleanser. It’s not for lack of room. I don’t mind using the face soap provided by most hotels. It may be a touch harsher than what I use at home, but my skin is not terribly sensitive plus I always pack a great moisturizer. As for the lack of shampoo and conditioner, I wash my hair twice a week. I find that it keeps it looking healthy and much more manageable if I just rinse instead of washing daily. So if it’s a short trip, I might not need any shampoo and on longer trips, I can manage with the hotel shampoo and conditioner once or twice a week.

A safety razor and a straight razor? Sometimes I’m in the mood to use a straight razor and since I usually leave my serious blade at home, the shavette satisfies the itch if I need to scratch it.

What can’t you do without in your Dopp kit?

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style

Travel Essentials: The Dopp Kit

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  • Erica

    The suggestion about the cardboard tube is a great one…and with a few variations, this list is just as suitable for women. Maybe for Valentine’s Day, you and your skin care consultant could make some suggestions to fit this out for The Laydeez…

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Thanks, Erica!

  • Eric N

    Question about the safety razor. Did you pack any blades along with it? If you did, did you have issues getting through security? Or did you have to check in your bag?

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Great question, Eric. It’s hit or miss. I’ve had times when I’ve been let through with a pack of razors and times when I have to dig out my Dopp kit just to remove an unopened pack. If you want to be completely on the safe side, I’d say leave the blade at home, unfortunately—or pack it in a checked bag. In the cases when I’ve not brought the safety razor, I use a plain old Gilette disposable. If I absolutely have to use a disposable razor, that’s my disposable razor of choice!