Cases

Dopp Kit Dump

by , March 25, 2013

What’s in your Dopp Kit?

A great Dopp Kit is kind of an art form.  The ideal setup more or less consists of 2 parts survival kit, 1 part toiletry bag and a dash of EDC.  A curated selection of quality and necessary items for personal hygiene, minor emergencies, and increasing basic comfort.  All this, while being compact and mobile.

Dopp Kit Dump Sandqvist Mickel Washbag

We’ve covered Dopp Kits before here and here.  But our EDC Pocket Dump series got us to thinking… let’s see what’s inside of a few of our Carryology contributors’ Dopp Kits.  Maybe even see what some of our readers carry in their kits, too.  Sure, it’s kind of an intimate and personal subject, but one that potentially we could learn from.  Maybe interesting, maybe not.  Either way, here we go, here’s mine (Taylor’s) below…

Dopp Kit Dump Sandqvist Mickel Washbag 2

SANDQVIST “Mickel” Washbag:
Made from heavy cotton canvas, cognac brown leather grab-handle/hang-loop and zipper pulls, and metal grid YKK zippers.  One zippered large main compartment with 3 additional liner pockets inside.  One external zippered pocket.  5 pockets total.

Designed in Stockholm, Sweden. Crafted in India. Dimensions are 22 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm / 8.7″ x 5.9″ x 3.9″ (W x H x D).  I just received this as a gift, perfectly in time to retire my old single pocket hemp thing which had developed a bunch of holes over years of wear.

Dopp Kit Dump Sandqvist Mickel Washbag 5

For the sake of the article, I had to look up the price of this gift, coming in at €55 ($72.70 USD), available here if you’re interested.

I dig this thing.  Looks handsome as hell and offers phenomenal organization, especially compared to my previous solution.  Judging by the premium materials and the quality construction, I’m certain that I’ll never need another Dopp Kit in my lifetime, even with my frequent domestic and international travels which can be pretty abusive on travel gear.

Dopp Kit Dump

Contents:
Bic lighter
Ray Ban glasses case w/Lens cloth

Dopp Kit Dump Lip Balm Cash 2

$20 bill and $10 bill (hidden in an empty lip balm tube)
SanDisk Cruzer Micro 2 GB flash drive (w/encrypted scan of Passport)

Dopp Kit Dump Sharpie Gorilla Tape

- Sharpie Fine Point wrapped w/Gorilla tape (backpacker’s trick)
- Tin of Firehouse Moustache Wax
- Tin of Murray’s pomade

Dopp Kit Dump Keys Photon Shard

- Sparehouse key
- Gerber Shard multi-tool*
- Photon Micro-Light II keychain LED*
- Liberty Mountain Compact Travel Toothbrush
.9 oz Tube of toothpaste

Dopp Kit Dump Gaffers Tape

- Eyeglasses Repair Kit wrapped w/Gaffers tape (to cover bright LEDs/LCDs at night)*
- Shaving cream (in .5 oz Travel Capsule)
- Deodorant stick (full size)
- Spert mini comb

Dopp Kit Dump Ear Buds

- iPhone ear buds (wrap method #2)
- iPhone wall/USB charger
- Gold Bond Body Powder (in 1 oz REI Travel Bottle)
- Altoids mints mini tin

Dopp Kit Dump Streamlight Stlus Pro torch

- Streamlight Stylus Pro LED pen light*
- Ear plugs (in .25 oz REI Plastic Travel Capsule)
- 4 Quarters*

Dopp Kit Dump Mehaz Clippers

- MEHAZ 660 stainless steel nail clippers*
- Mini nail scissors
- Bandanna
- Koozie

Dopp Kit Dump Ziploc Sandwich Bag

Ziploc sandwich bag: 
- 10ft of 4mm nylon utility cord (who knows)
- 3 Business cards (for ID, in case of loss)
- Roll of Tums (necessary for Asia)
- 2 Emergen-C packets
- 2 Wet Nap packets
- 2 Band-Aids
- 2 Paper towels
- Sewing kit

Dopp Kit Dump Plastic Pill Squeeze Pouch

Plastic squeeze pill pouch:
- 4 2mg Loperamide aka Imodium (also necessary for Asia)
- 4 50mg Diphenhydramine aka Benadryl*
3 800mg Ibuprofen
- 3 Muscle relaxers
- 2 Pain killers
- 4 Sudafed

All of this fits tidily into the SANDQVIST Mickel.  Now that I’ve typed it all out, I’m kind of shocked at how much it is able to store, as well as how organized it all can be in such a small form factor.  Plus, there is still room to spare.

Dopp Kit Dump Sandqvist Mickel Washbag 4

Items that I’ve eliminated over the years:
OHSO travel toothbrush w/toothpaste stored in handle:  Though super clever and compact, this unit literally snapped in half with no more than a finger tap worth of pressure.  Cannot recommend.
- 2 oz Hair/body wash:  The nicest hotel or even the shoddiest hostel, there will always be some free soap around… or I can just buy some for $1 / reduces “liquid hassle” with TSA.
- Electric razor:  Even the small units are too large and heavy, plus they require a power cord or charging base.  I just leave this at home, not necessary on a trip.
- Safety razor w/1 blade:  Too much hassle with TSA, even when the blade was removed they would search it… best to keep the “nice” razor at home.

Items I’ve been thinking about adding:
- Extra pair of socks
- Extra pair of boxers
- Whiskey, 1.7 oz airplane bottle size:  Yes, it is allowed… but I don’t really want to have to keep it in a 1 quart Ziploc bag and then remove it every time I go through security.
- 2.5″ Mini Swiss Army knife:  May or may not get taken by TSA, only $2-5 to replace / still not sure if it is worth the headache.
- Energy bar or trail mix bar:  Nice to have some calories if there are no other options, seems slightly over the top though.
– Zip Ties, but I feel the Gorilla tape is probably adequate in a pinch.

Dopp Kit Dump Sandqvist Mickel Washbag 3

So, back to the beginning of this post…
What do you carry in your Dopp Kit? 
Is there anything that you see here that could/will help you out? 
Do you have suggestions for any item(s) that could help others out? 
Any revisions you’d make to this list?

We’d love to hear your input.

*UPDATE (3/25/12):
Based on reader comments (special thanks to Jason), I’ve added a few new items to my Dopp Kit contents.  Keep the discussion going and suggestions coming, great stuff so far!

- Streamlight Stylus Pro LED pen light:  Compact, very bright, great battery life, uses simple batteries (2 AAAs), nearly indestructible, and only $20.  Always nice to have a quick access light source.  Info here.
- Photon Micro-Light II keychain LED:  Super tiny and reliable, with plenty of lumens to find my way around a dark room in the middle of the night without having to wake anyone else in the room (if I cover part of the LED with a fingertip).  After quite a bit of research, this unit appears to be the hands-down winner among its competitors in this category.  Works great.  About $10.
- Gaffers Tape:  Just a few feet of it, wrapped around my eyeglass repair kit tube.  Used to cover up those annoyingly bright blinking lights on electronics that can keep you awake all night.  Leaves no sticky residue.
- 4 50mg Diphenhydramine:  A really helpful sleep aid for when the time zone difference is between 8-12 hours.  Only used for desperate measures.  Aside from its sedative properties, it’s also an antihistamine (its primary purpose).
- Stainless steel nail clippers:  I found the MEHAZ 660 “Professional” nail clippers, made in Japan.  KAI is the parent company and manufacturer of Mehaz products… they also make Shun knives.
- Gerber Shard:  TSA-friendly travel multi-tool that actually works.  Small and large flathead drivers, Phillips driver, wire stripper, pry bar, bottle opener, keyring hole.
- 4 Quarters:  Payphones, laundry machines, vending machines, etc.  Sometimes even cash is useless.

  • Ryan

    Great insights!

    I never thought of using this for anything else besides toiletries. I might try some of these suggestions out for my small vaca this week. Right now, I just have the basics:
    contact case
    contact solution
    tooth paste
    tooth brush
    deodorant
    q tips
    lotion
    disposable shaver.

    For your suggestion of adding extra socks and or boxers I am not sure if that would work. Where do you put this bag? Im sure it would be in another larger backpack? I would keep the extra socks and stuff in your pack and keep the extra space for something else. Who knows!!

    • Taylor

      Heya Ryan,

      Sold simple kit there. There is no wrong or right, only what works best for you.

      I agree on the socks and boxers. Basically they would be super thin, backups for the backups. I always try to bring extra of each when traveling. But there has been a few trips where I didn’t have access/time to wash, and ended up wearing some for 2-3 days. Not terrible, but not ideal.

      I usually keep my Dopp kit in my carry-on shoulder bag. Occasionally inside the backpack.

  • Dopp de Dopp

    I’ve never understood why so many Dopp kits are made of canvas and leather. When you think of how much time they spend in damp environments, how hard they can be to clean when something inevitably explodes or spills, and how heavy they are for what they do (esp. if you’re a carry-on only traveler).

    Also, I’m typically a less-is-more person when it comes to pocketing, but it strikes me that a Dopp kit is one of the times you don’t want a single big space where all the bits and pieces end up surprisingly hard to find.

    I made do for years until I finally landed on the Muji travel case. I have an early iteration that used better materials, but the design is largely unchanged from this:

    http://www.muji.us/store/health-and-beauty/pouches/nylon-hanging-travel-case.html

    It’s a light, easy-to-clean, water-resistant nylon case with a variety of thoughtful pockets for the oddments of traveling personal care (there’s another zip pocket just behind the three slim “vertical” pockets). Travel in the Third World sold me early on the benefits of hanging kits but that hook has seen duty in the Peninsulas and Hampton Inns of the world as well.

    I know that carry decisions involve a great degree of subjectivity (esp when aesthetics are involved) but for what is such a utilitarian piece, I’m a bit surprised that function doesn’t dictate form more than it does.

    • Taylor

      This Muji Dopp kit looks like an incredible solution. Simple, light, slim and efficient. Thanks for the insights!

  • Jason Dellinger

    My personal favorite is the Red Oxx Tri-Fold.

    It is cavernous when needed (holds full size bottles), but also compresses nearly flat when empty. It hangs, and the pockets are smartly arranged and zippered so that your junk doesn’t fall out when you hang and unzip. 2 outside pockets, 3 inside pockets (2 large, 1 small), all zippered. The large inside pockets are mesh which allows stuff to dry. 1000D Cordura Nylon, locking YKK zips, and made-in-the-USA by ex-parachute riggers.

    What’s not to like?

    http://www.redoxx.com/Cool-Luggage-Accessories/Tri-fold-Shave-Kit/91040/170/Product

    As for contents, I always carry a couple of Tylenol or Advil PM’s and a couple pairs of disposable ear plugs. A good night’s sleep is CRITICAL to happiness the next day. I can handle a lot as long as I get a good night’s sleep.

    I also like to keep a small cheap pen light in an easy to access outside pocket and I use gaffer tape instead of duct tape because it’s easier to remove with less residue. I use this to cover up any LED lights or alarm clock displays that are annoyingly bright.

    I’ve also gone back to the old-school manual toothbrush instead of electric for weight/complexity reasons. The electrics always break or need batteries which reduces them to a manual anyway. I also like to use dual-purpose products that I can use for hair and body which reduces weight/containers. Some even work as shaving soaps in a pinch. I have to carry soaps/shampoos since I have sensitive skin and the fragrances in most hotel-brand products are irritating (on a number of levels).

    I don’t carry prescription meds unless I have an electronic or paper copy of the prescription with my name on it. One hassle with resulting delay was enough.

    Finally, I always Ziploc bag my toothbrush to protect against container leakage. A toothbrush that tastes like hair gel cannot be undone. However, the toothbrush bag needs to be washed/air dried or replaced regularly to prevent nastiness. A light, coated waterproof nylon sack would also be good since it could be turned inside out and washed/dried easily.

    • Taylor

      The Red Oxx Tri-Fold Dopp also sounds like a killer kit. Really nice.

      I personally love three of your suggestions here…

      -Black gaffer tape. I recently just made a fort of pillows to block a damn DVD blinking light that was keeping me up for hours. This is brilliant, especially since as your said, it doesn’t leave any residue. However, I keep the Gorilla tape for repairs (if a sole of a shoe comes off, pack strap is ripped, pack gets a cut into the fabric, etc). I think I’ll only bring about 3 feet of the gaffer tape, should do the trick just fine, then replace as necessary. Awesome, brilliant.
      -LED pen light. Though I have a flashlight on my iPhone, I don’t always have it on me, especially if the bathroom is a distance away from the bedroom area where the phone may be charging. Since they make these so small now, this is a great addition.
      -Tylenol PM. I always *try* to go without sleep aides, or medicine at all. But when the time difference is 12 hours, this would really help. The rest of my pills are for emergency only, so these Tylenol PMs would be as well.

      I’ll be permanently adopting all three as staples into my kit before my next trip, coming up here in a couple of weeks.

      • Jason Dellinger

        Happy to help. This is just hard-earned knowledge and quick-fixes that tend to work.

        I agree that there is no replacement for Gorilla tape, especially for repairs, but I think you’ll find gaffer tape a little more friendly for blocking annoying LED’s (you could land planes with some of those LED’s). Be sure to have enough to cover the face of a standard digital alarm clock. Usually you can still see the display through black gaffer tape but it reduces the level down to comfortable.

        LED penlight, you should ALWAYS have some kind of light source that you know exactly where it is. Very handy if you travel with a spouse or business partner and don’t want to disturb them getting medication or some such. It should go back in your Dopp kit immediately after use, but don’t go overboard and attach it to the kit itself.

        Tylenol/Advil PM, is great but don’t discount ear plugs. 75% of my sleep-related issues are due to ambient noise (snoring roommates, noisy neighbors, airplanes, etc). Most people don’t find ear plugs comfortable for extended periods, but that’s because they haven’t found the proper fit. Industrial supply houses and Amazon offer sample packs of different styles. Try one of these packs to find the most comfortable.

        I can feel groggy after taking Tylenol/Advil PM, especially with an early wake-up, so I start with the plugs and then take medication if I am still unable to fall asleep due to noise. With physical problems that keep me awake, I start with meds.

        I keep things dedicated to my kit as much as possible. I keep the essentials (deodorant, cleaners, toothpaste, etc) in the kit at all times and don’t repack them for every trip. This almost eliminates the possibility of forgetting something and makes it much easier to pack. I was severely burned a couple of years ago and needed to stay overnight in the hospital. It was very quick and easy for my wife to grab my Dopp kit and a change of clothes for my overnight without having to scrounge up all the basics around the house.

        Good luck and safe travels!

        • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

          These are fantastic. Just updated the post above (at the bottom) to include these three items. Now I’ve got to find a local shop that carries gaffers tape, shouldn’t be too hard.

          I also never unpack anything from mine (even the phone charger is an extra one, just for the kit), keep it packed, fully stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. But I never thought about the Dopp Kit as being an emergency bag. Very very good point here. Brilliant, in fact. Your input is amazing, thanks Jason.

        • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

          Just ordered a Streamlight Stylus Pro for my pen light based upon the shining reviews I researched through. Though there seem to be some other great options out there, this seems like the favorite (only $20, great light and battery life, simple AAA batteries/not C123A, nearly indestructible, etc).

          • Jason Dellinger

            There would be brilliance if I had figured this stuff out BEFORE I lost more than a few nights sleep and upset my roommates/spouse turning on lights looking for Zantac. But alas, this is not the case and I’m simply sharing hard-learned lessons and experience.

            Another option for a penlight is the excellent Fenix LD01 which is a single AAA light with 3 modes. You’ve also made a good choice with the Streamlight and it should give good service.

            I get gaffer tape from B&H Photo. Their General Brand is excellent and it’s available in a smaller 12 yd roll for about $6. As for local, check Guitar Center, but be prepared for $15-20 for a huge 25 yd roll.

            A general rule that I learned a long time ago working in the automotive industry is that if you need it at least 3 times, you need to buy it. I apply this philosophy with all things carry, EDC, Dopp kit, whatever. Except for First Aid items, if I’ve needed it at least 3 times, I always include/carry it. If I’ve not used it at least 3 times in a reasonable time frame, it gets left at home. I’ve found that this criteria really helps in deciding what goes and what stays.

            Thanks to you for this excellent article It’s small things like the contents of your Dopp kit that can mean the difference between happiness and misery on a simple overnight. It’s because of these kinds of articles and authors that Carryology is the preeminent carry site on the web.

  • Maxime

    Great post! I love the topic of dopp kits; I’m always looking at ways to reduce the amount of stuff I take on the plane, but having enough to keep me comfortable.

    Really appreciate the ideas you posted:
    – The OHSO tooth brush – excellent! got one straight away
    – The duct tape wrapped around the marker
    – The emergency cash in the lip balm tube

    Personally I prefer things to be flat and organised in different pouches when I’m travelling; for me a dopp kit like the one you have would simply add too much bulk. Furthermore, I would struggle to find all my stuff when it all packed together like that. But I could see how it would work for carry-on only travel.

    However, I do use a dopp kit for my everyday commute. Riding a scooter, just became a bit annoyed with the messenger bag around the shoulder for the limited amount of stuff I needed at work and reverted to a toiletry bag that I’d stuff under the seat. Recently though I stumbled on a small waist bag by RipCurl in the local surf shop, for AUD$29. Found a similar product here (not as nice as mine ;-)):

    RipCurl 24/7 POUCH CORP

    Took off the waist strap and now I have me a perfect dopp kit. Measures 13 x 17 x 6,5 cm with one main compartment (over the full length) and two zipped compartments (1/3 and 2/3 length). Loaded up with the following:

    – a-Jays three earphones in their circular carry case
    – house keys
    – coins
    – retractable usb micro cable
    – lipbalm
    – micro sd reader compact with 4GB sd card
    – sunnies in micro fibre sleeve
    – Ulterior Motive ‘sand lagoon’ card wallet (thanks for the tip Carryology!)
    – secondary card case
    – 6″ Kindle (2011)

    Could fit more, but that’s all I need. I guess it would work well for people that need a bit more organisation with less stuff for a carry-on dopp kit, but I appreciate that some may find it a bit too small (all your stuff would definitely not fit!).

    Cheers

  • Catherine

    Awesome post and great comments! Just had a thought while reading through the comments, it might be useful to include an eye mask in a dopp kit (like what you get on planes but you could opt for a better quality one if you wanted). That way you wouldn’t have to spend time going around taping and untaping annoying lights (plus depending on where you are, street lights could be blocked too if relevant).

    Of course, the tape is still really handy for repairs and the like and some people just don’t like the feel of wearing eye masks so it wouldn’t be a solution for all. However it’s a lightweight item that could be scrunched up and stuck in a dopp kit without any hassle.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

      Excellent point, Catherine.

      Reminds me of a story/legend I heard about the invention of sandals. Hundreds of years ago, a craftsman presented his king with a gift made of leather. The leather was so soft and so supple, the king rubbed it on his hands, face, arms, and eventually the bottom of his feet. This made him realize how great leather felt against the bare bottom of a foot. He immediately declared that all the animals in the kingdom be slaughtered so there could be enough leather to cover the ground of the entire kingdom. The craftsman responded to the king with an idea, “what if we just put leather on the bottom of our feet instead?”

      The eye mask is a great solution here. Unfortunately I’m one of those folks who can’t sleep with something on my eyes/face. I’ve done it before in the past, but it just doesn’t feel comfortable to me.

      Dig the suggestion, this may work for many others.

      One thing that is becoming very apparent… sleep is important.

  • Marcus

    My (recent) dopp kit of choice is the Dror for Tumi one. Great materials and loads of space but packs flat because of the 2 section design – you can either have it standing up or flat by splitting the 2 sections. Plus you can hang it on a towel rack if you need to. Lots of zippered areas to hide things, which is useful.

    The typical content in my kit:
    toothbrush, toothpaste (with a screw cap so it won’t flip open on me. Marvis toothpaste has proven to be good),
    Jack Black 3 in 1 all over wash (face, hair and body) put into a smaller travel sized bottle (I have these silicone ones called GoToob),
    razer with shave cream that’s in the GoToob,
    hand cream/face cream/lip balm,
    pimple cream (just in case),
    hair product (one tub),
    roll on deodorant,
    contact lenses (daily disposables and quantity depends on how long my trip is),
    eye drops,
    plasters/bandages,
    condoms (just in case!!),
    Jack Black Antimicrobial Wound Rescue Silver Gel (great all round antiseptic),
    a splinter pack of Panadol,
    cologne (usually one that comes in a metal casing) and
    cufflinks/bracelets etc go in a zipped compartment… sometimes spare cash in the hidden zippered compartment in the middle of the Dror kit.

    I like the tip about putting the sharpie/gaff tape in there as well, plus the hidden money in an empty lip balm tube, so I think I’m going to adopt those! Obviously, my dopp kit is more for check in than carry-on and if I were to only have carry-on, i’d do an edit. Usually have a separate see through zippered bag from Muji in my carry-on with small travel sized things that I’d use on the plane like hand cream, lip balm, face wipes and a small hand sanitizer.

    But you might already be able to tell that I’m a high maintenance traveler, so my kit might not suit everyone!

    • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

      Excellent comments and suggestions, thanks Marcus! love it.

      I’ll be updating my list here shortly, as some items have failed and some have been added!

  • Richard Young

    Very nice. I’m working on my contents now. When all assembled, I’ll order the bag!

    I’d add a spare AA & AAA battery; also a caribiner.

  • Richard Young

    Marcus, where did you get the Billykirk keychain? I don’t see it on their site?

  • Richard Young

    Sorry; I meant to address my question to Taylor Welden.

    Taylor, where did you get the Billykirk keychain? I don’t see it on their site?

    Thanks – Rich

    • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

      Heya Rich,

      Thanks for your message, man.

      The leather Billykirk keychain fob actually came with one of their Carryalls I’m currently testing. I’m sure if you’d like to pick one up on its own, you could shoot them an email and ask about it. Tell them Taylor from Carryology sent you. I’m sure they’ll hook you up. Great folks!

      Shoot me a message back once you hear any news.

      Take care!

      • Richard Young

        Taylor, thanks for the response. I’ll reach out to Billykirk and let you know the outcome!

        Peace – Rich

        • Richard Young

          Taylor, Adam Rajchel at Billykirk sent me 2 Keychains GRATIS!

          Class Act:)

          Rich

          • Taylor

            Bad ass! Those folks at Billykirk are rad. I had a feeling they might just hook you up :)

  • Richard Young

    Taylor, which Billykirk Carryall are you testing? I’ve been thinking of getting this one…but now it’s sold out:(

    http://www.billykirk.com/products/no-166-large-carryall-light-denim

    • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

      Hey Richard,

      I’m currently finishing up the Road Test of the 166 Carryall, in black on black color option. My color preference would have been the “sierra” or “olive”, but the black is the only color combo they had left at the time. Regardless, I’m extremely satisfied with the product. Highly recommended.

      Shoot the folks at Billykirk a message asking about when they’ll restock. I’m sure they’ll work on a creative solution for you!

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