After a recent trip to Florida, I got to thinking about travel kits and what it takes to be well stocked. The design of this kit is intended to meet the needs of a quick flight, comporting with the TSA’s 3-1-1 policy of 3oz liquids or gels in a 1 quart plastic bag. It also stands ready for a spur of the moment car trip out of town, to be thrown in the car in the event of bachelor parties, or fulfill a psychological need to meet the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” I can recall nights where it began as innocent revelry and good fun, but had to be redirected to involve jaunts up to an hour away because of a call for help from a friend. Needless to say, lessons were learned.
This kit is not something that I put together the night before, but is instead one that sits ready to be used. After a trip and using these products, take the time to see what you need to replenish before the next time you throw this in your bag. Travel sized toiletries can be found in a number of places, but I am fortunate enough to be a Birchbox Man subscriber. Every month, they send me an assortment of goodies including travel sized toiletries. Because this may take a flight with you, the caps on many of these toiletries should have a bit of plastic wrap under them. This prevents blowouts when the pressure changes as you fly through the sky.
Dopp Kit or Bag
You want something sturdy but that is also able to be cleaned. While there are really nice leather bags out there for this purpose, I like to use this bag instead because it is easier to clean. Antonio at Real Men Real Style does a great job explaining what you should look for in a Dopp kit and the history of the term.While the one he mentions there as his go-to is great, if you a looking for a more budget friendly alternative check out Target’s Hawthorne Bag as described by Dappered.
I keep my travel toiletries in a quart plastic bag to comply with TSA travel limitations in case I am flying somewhere. I can easily pull this bag out of the Dopp kit before security and return it to the bag at my leisure afterwards.
Handy Prepacked Toiletries
1 Quart Plastic bag for 3-1-1 Gels and Liquids
- Shaving cream or gel
- Contact lens solution (if you wear contacts)
- Contact Lens Case (Even if empty)
- Lip Balm
- Stain pen
- Antifungal Cream – Look, sometimes we all need it, far better to have it ready than not. As a side note, the chemical in most athlete’s foot creams is the same as the chemical in jock itch creams. See which one is cheaper and don’t be embarrassed to be prepared.
Razor – I use a disposable razor because of the case I got for it years ago. I never use this razor except on trips so it doesn’t get worn down very often. If you have a high quality razor with a travel case, use that but I recommend against leaving a razor unsheathed in the bag.
Powder – This is similar to the antifungal cream above. You can take regular baby powder or talc if you want, but I pack something like the pictured Gold Bond in my dopp kit. If you are going to a higher temperature or humidity location, the uses are legion and the comfort immeasurable.
Bottle of NSAID – A little ibuprofen can go a long way. I like ibuprofen because it is a better anti-inflammatory but use whatever over the counter painkiller suits your fancy.
Spare Shoe horn
Extra Quart plastic bags – When I fly, I take a minute before leaving the house to empty my pockets into a spare plastic bag. When I go through security at the airport, instead of having to empty my pockets, I plop the plastic bag into my upturned hat and send it through the scanner.
Electronics Bag – A plastic bag with a phone charger, spare battery pack, and other assorted electronic goodies.
A little cash; a long way
Cash – If you are a gentleman, you know that there are many places where tips are proper. This includes skycaps at the airport , housecleaning staff at a hotel, and most stewards/stewardesses if they serve you an adult beverage. Keep $10 to $20 in ones and fives to be able to tip properly. (Side note – if you are going to Florida, or any other toll road laden state get an extra $10-$20).
The Travel Kit
For bonus points, stick your travel dopp in your ready to go weekending bag. Here, I have a carry-on bag with a lot of little pockets that makes it perfect for storing a lot of little things.
Mock the rubber duckies at your peril
Pajamas – It doesn’t hurt to have some pjs rolled up in the travel bag. Yes, those are rubber duckies on mine; want to make something of it?
Softcap or baseball cap – These can easily be rolled up and stuck into the bag with the pjs. You never know when you may need the head cover.
Notepad & Pens – I like to have the time to write my thoughts down on paper. I think that it forces a bit more analysis and enhances your memory of events of ideas you get. It is also classier to jot down the places you discover in a notepad than on a digital “note” in your phone. I like Field Notes because they are affordable,a good size for smaller writing and note taking efforts, and made in America.
Book – Reading material is a sign of intelligence. Take your pick between fiction and nonfiction, but let it be something that is not work related in your corner of the world. I am currently catching up on some fiction that I put off reading for a few decades.
The bonus points for the bonus points
This bag has some great pockets and space, so I have added in a copy of a magazine to read, like Imbibe and a flask. There are enough pockets and space left for me to throw anything else in there I might need in 10 minutes or less for a trip.
There are a few other write-ups on the web about Dopp Kits. I don’t find the GQ write-up very helpful, but it is here. The Art of Manliness has a decent description here. Dappered has one of the better ones I’ve seen lately. Do you have a “go bag” at the ready? What is in yours that I didn’t include here?
Kit and Caboodle