What is the purpose of a Dopp Kit and how should you use it?
The Dopp Kit, or Ditty Bag, or AWOL Bag-- however you refer to it, is an essential to adventurers of all levels. Whether off at the cabin for a weekend hunt, or on a multi-week expedition in the mountains.
The Ditty Bag (or Dopp Kit) refers to a pack that is often used to keep smaller items together, yet still be stored within a larger day-pack or weekender bag.
Imagine all the uses. Camp bags, car bags, tool bags, miscellaneous organization, field bags, etc. We make ours with your ruggedness in mind-- and it's tough as nails.
Originally designed for toiletries, we like to think of it as a quick, and easy-to-grab bag that carries all of your important traveling accessories (which of course includes toiletries). If you travel on even a somewhat frequent basis, it will become your best friend. In fact, we're fans of just leaving it packed between trips. We think of it less as something you grab and pack, but rather something you grab and go. Leave it packed, and you'll always have everything you need at the drop of a hat. Like when your buddy says at the last minute, "grab your gear, we're going hunting."
So what should you put in it? Below is a list of the essentials. And honestly, it doesn't matter where you're off to, there's a time and place for each and every item on this list. At the end of the day, if the need ever arises, you're going to be glad you have it.
1) A Toothbrush. Make it a spare that stays in your dopp. How many times have you arrived at your destination only to realize your toothbrush was left behind? Even worse, the closest gas station is 75 miles away.
2) A Small tube of Toothpaste. We also like to carry a small bottle of mouthwash as it's an easy solution to a quick refresh.
3) A small bottle of Body Wash. Works for your body of course, but if need be, also your hair. Hint: if you happen to be staying at a hotel, grab an extra bottle of the shampoo they provide and put it in your dopp kit for the next time you travel. If you prefer bar soap, we've got some great natural options.
4) Travel Wipes. If your travels include excessive activities (hiking, scouting, cleaning fish, field dressing deer, etc.) these things are a necessity. You'll be glad you have them if showering is limited. We usually bring around 6 towels/wipes (individually packed), then replenish the dopp kit as soon as we return home so it's ready for next time.
5) Deodorant. No explanation needed. But make it a spare that stays with the dopp kit.
6) Cologne. We prefer a good solid cologne. Like Alfred Lane Solid Cologne. It's small, convenient and doesn't have an overbearing scent. We keep a tin in our dopp kit, but also one in the glove box. It's a quick refresh and masks the unfriendly odors you may have acquired from your day in the woods.
7) Chapstick. Never a bad idea. Choose something with sun protection.
8) Lotion. Kill two birds with one stone and choose one with sun protection. And if you find yourself wind burnt, it's a savior.
9) Shaving Essentials. If you plan on shaving that is. Find a good shave oil and get yourself a collapsible razor. We know, you probably didn't shave for the 3 months leading up to the hunting trip.. but if you're the clean shaving type, this will do the job.
11) A Comb. You'll probably never remove your hat, but if you do...
12) Ear Plugs. A night of drinking, and come night time, your camp mates will sound like the horn section of your high school marching band. And you have to hunt in the morning. Or you missed that deer and are determined to prove that it was the guns fault with quick trip to the range. Ear protection never hurts.
13) Pain Killers. There are a number of reasons. We know deer camp. Late night poker games and very early morning treks to the deer stand. You'll be thankful.
14) Fingernail Clippers. Hang nails, slivers, etc. You're climbing trees, walking through brush, dragging deer, etc. You'll find a need.
15) Phone Charger. Buy an extra and leave it in your dopp for the sole purpose of always leaving it there. Again, just one less thing to pack and one less thing to forget.
16) Headphones. See number 15 above.
17) A $20 Dollar Bill. We always travel with two separate $20 bills, each stored in a separate location-- and your wallet doesn't count! In the event you ever lose your wallet, or have any other mishap, at least you'll have a little cash on hand. The Dopp kit is a great place for a safety stash of money.
18) A few empty Ziploc Bags. In the event you need them to get through the airport security check, discover your body wash is leaking, etc.
19) Multi-tool Pocket Knife. There is always need. Always!
20) Flask. Nothing beats a nip of whiskey while sitting on the tailgate of your truck after a successful day in the woods.
And believe it or not, if you're smart about it-- all of this fits!
Remember, whenever possible, buy the travels size. Or spend a couple of bucks and get an assortment of small reusable travel vials. Then replenish as needed from your home supply. If you don't plan to check a bag, you're still going to need to make it through security. And if you are checking a bag, the Dopp Kit is the first thing we pull out and throw in the carry-on. Then if you're ever separated from your luggage, you always have the essentials.
The dopp has been a popular travel companion for many years and there are a lot of reasons why. Why not join the club and start taking advantage of the benefits!