This content was updated for accuracy and relevance on July 12th, 2022
A Dopp kit is a portable, versatile bag that houses all of the essentials you may need on a long journey, from lotions and creams to hair brushes and razors. Generally, it’s relatively small, with a squared base and zippered top, and it’s able to fit into the very last crevices of a fully packed suitcase or travel bag.
But how did the Dopp kit come to be? And what is a dopp kit, exactly?
Dopp Kit 101: A Brief History in Toiletry Cases
Let’s travel back to early 20th century Germany to visit a man named Charles Doppelt.
Charles Doppelt was a German leather-smith who later migrated to the United States. Perhaps inspired by his journey, Doppelt unveiled his leather-laden, waterproof toiletry kit in 1926, alongside a line of Dopp-Bilt leather business briefcases.
When the second world war commenced, Dopp kits were introduced to the military, providing millions of bags to soldiers overseas. The toiletry cases became a hit and were adopted by much of America following the war.
The term Dopp kit soon became a signature alternative to the phrase toilet bag—a terminology disliked by many Americans at the time due to its “dirty” connotation.
And so the Dopp kit was born.
Today, Dopp kits are used by men and women alike. Travelers and commuters alike never lacked for anything ever again—well, that isn’t entirely true. But one thing is for certain, Dopp kits provide an organizational haven for your much-needed toiletries and grooming essentials. If you find yourself constantly searching for the best hacks for packing toiletries, using a Dopp kit is definitely one of our favorite go-to solutions.
Is a Dopp Kit the Same Thing as a Cosmetic Case?
In short, no. A Dopp kit is an accessory that is much smaller than a cosmetic case and provides more organization too. In other words, a Dopp kit is a travel toiletry bag for your essentials—toothbrushes, toothpaste, razor blades, hairbrushes, nail clippers, shaving brush, comb and deodorant. Basically, a Dopp kit holds anything you deem essential for your morning and nightly routines.
Here’s another way to think about Dopp kits. In the event of a lost suitcase, what would you want in your carry-on during a cross-country trip?
That’s what you put in your Dopp kit.
- Dopp kit – Most Dopp kits are made from leather, vinyl, polyester, or cloth and have an organization component as well. BÉIS wire-framed Dopp kits feature two interior pockets, as well as two zipped pockets for secured storage.
- Cosmetic case – Cosmetic cases, on the other hand, are for cosmetics—eyeshadow, lipstick, that silky mascara you indulged in that makes your eyelashes look extra long. They’re relatively larger than Dopp kits, too—more rectangular in size than cylindrical like a Dopp kit.
Think of cosmetic cases as the surplus you typically store in checked luggage. Similarly, a cosmetic bag may also hold a few organizational compartments to store smaller items such as makeup brushes or foundation tubes. Some cosmetic cases even feature internal, clear pouches that allow for easy viewing.
Moreover, both Dopp kits and cosmetic bags provide secured, zippered storage ideal for travel, both near and far.
How to Use a Dopp Kit
The great thing about Dopp kits is that they’re extremely versatile, befitting numerous occasions and going-outs. They’re also a great travel option if you’re looking to maximize your space.
So, what exactly are Dopp kits used for? Well, besides the essentials, anything you desire!
...As a Carry-On
First and foremost, Dopp kits provide great carry-on storage for planes, trains, and automobiles.
If you’re flying, pack your Dopp kit with each of your TSA-regulated liquids and gels for easy access while you scramble through the security check line. With one shoe off, another on, and suitcases in tow, you’ll no doubt thank Charles Doppelt once you cross the metal detector’s threshold and gain a nod of approval from the agent behind the screen.
Dopp kits also serve as a great deterrent to overpacking of personal items! While it’s tempting to pack an arsenal of beauty products, skincare creams, and hair styling tools, it’s not optimal for quick weekend travel. Pull a Marie Kondo and bring only what brings you joy—just maybe not that sparkly purple lipstick you love so much, you’ve got teeth to brush after all.
When flying, it may be useful to pack your Dopp kit with the following:
- Dental hygiene supplies such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash (to refresh after a long flight)
- Skin care items such as facial wipes or body wash (especially if your flight is overnight or transatlantic)
- Any daily medications you may need (or pain relief products like Advil)
- Chapstick and facial moisturizer (low humidity levels in airplanes may cause skin dryness and discomfort)
- Hand sanitizer (stay safe and germ-free with a travel-sized cleanser)
...As a Gym Bag
Ah, the gym. The sanctum for sweat-suffused running equipment, otherworldly grunts (how’d an Orc get in?), and the Dopp kit.
You’ve climbed, you’ve run, you’ve yoga-ed. Now all that’s left is that refreshing after-workout shower. The small size of a Dopp kit makes it easy to store in a gym workout bag or purse, and offers the perfect locale to stash any cleaning supplies you may need.
Pack your gym-destined Dopp kit with the following:
- Shower essentials such as shampoo, conditioner,, and facial soap (or dry shampoo if you don’t plan on wetting your hair)
- Deodorant (your scent of choice, of course)
- Cleansing wipes (to wipe down yourself and the machine after an especially arduous workout)
- Any shaving kit supplies, including razor blades and shaving cream
- A Dopp kit may even be a great place to store a wallet or keys for extra security
...For a Night Out
Whether it’s a romantic date night with your significant other or a rambunctious night out with friends, a Dopp kit is a great night-on-the-town companion.
This occasion, perhaps, is when the use of a cosmetic case and a Dopp kit collide. A Dopp kit provides a compact space to store any date-night essentials, including mascara, blush, foundation, and makeup removing wipes.
Hey, it may even make a great (if not avant-garde) clutch!
...For a Midday Hike
The sun is out and so are you—trekking along a picturesque hiking path when suddenly you feel the emergence of a sun-blared burn. You reach into your backpack and pull out your handy Dopp kit—full of your hiking essentials, of course.
Dopp kits are also a great storage space when on outdoor expeditions, holding sunscreen, chapstick, and maybe even a few granola bars. They’ll fit snugly into your sport tote, backpack or large winter coat—that is, if you’re one to traverse along snow-laden hiking paths.
How to Find a Quality Dopp Kit
So, you’re convinced. The Dopp kit is the storage vessel for you. But what features should you look for when picking out your very own?
Structure – The most coveted feature of a Dopp kit is its structure. Typically, Dopp kits are cultivated with tough exterior materials like leather, nylon, and polyester to uphold its shape.
Look for a Dopp kit that will last. At BÉIS, our Dopp kits are cultivated with a medley of polyester, vinyl-coated polyester (PVU), and polyurethane (PU)—a woven textile material made from polymer resins that give the bag waterproof qualities.
Waterproof – Because Dopp kits may hold a variety of liquids and creams, there’s bound to be a few leaks or messes, especially in the case of air travel.
The waterproof lining material of Dopp kits not only prevents lotions and potions from leaking into suitcases and purses, but also allows for quick and easy clean-ups within the bag itself—simply water down a paper towel or rag, wipe up the liquid, and trek on.
Design – Choose a Dopp kit that’s contemporary and uncomplicated. Too many pockets can get confusing, and while a banana-based pattern may tickle your fancy today, a simple design may suit you better in the long-run.
That’s why BÉIS offers four basic pastel colors—black, beige, Sakura pink, and matcha green— that’ll keep you stylishly chic for years to come.
Portability – You’ll want a bag that’s lightweight and compact. Extra appendages, such as adjustable loop handles may be useful as well, especially if you’re trying to make up for small counter spaces or avoid placing your bag on public surfaces.
The portability of Dopp kits is exactly why you can take them on everything from plane rides to date nights. It’s versatility, convenience, and on-to-go-ness all wrapped up into one accessible pouch.
Finally, if looking stylish while you’re traveling is an important factor for you, then you should also think about the brand…
Travel Lightly, Travel Stylishly—with BÉIS
BÉIS is your one-stop shop when it comes to traveling in style. We have a commitment to never compromise on functionality, making our Dopp kits, cosmetic bags, and travel luggage your go-to carriers for all your travel essentials. Our products will make your travel experience more organized, which will help limit stress and travel anxiety.
Our Dopp kits come in a variety of styles that feature top-notch materials, convenient organizational pockets, and water-resistant lining to keep you and your luggage nice and dry.
It’s everything your getting-ready routine requires, and then some.
"Dopp kit and Doppelt." American Dialect. http://www.americandialect.org/americandialectarchives/janxx98274.html
- "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval" United States Patent and Trademark Office. https://tsdr.uspto.gov/