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Why A Good Toiletry Bag is a True Travel Essential

A good toiletry bag or Dopp kit is something that many treat as a luxury, rather than an essential. But if you travel, even only once in a while, you should invest in a quality toiletry bag. After all, shouldn’t the stuff you use every morning and every night be treated with a little care? No one wants to arrive at their destination only to find that their Ziploc bag popped open and all of the contents spilled out.

The trouble is that the world of toiletry bags is so enormous that it can be hard to know where to start. Even the etymology is confusing — what’s the difference between a toiletry bag and a Dopp kit, anyway? We’ll spare you a lengthy history lesson, but Dopp kits are named for their creator, Charles Doppelet, and these bags were issued to American servicemen in WWII. Since then, the trademark for Dopp kits has been passed around a couple times. Sticklers may object, but Dopp kit and toiletry bag can be used interchangeably.

It should be clear that a toiletry bag is essential, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, they need to keep your toiletries safe (and they ought to look good). But it’s not necessary to splurge on a bag that’s going to spend most of its time inside another bag.

Choosing the toiletry bag for you will be a matter of taste, but your main priority should be finding a bag that has the amount of storage you actually need. If you keep it minimal with your grooming routine, you don’t need a Dopp kit that’s the size of a football. And if you can’t live without seven different kinds of moisturizer (no judgment here), then you may want something with plenty of compartments to keep it all organized.

And if we can offer one more travel tip — keep your toiletry bag stocked even when you’re not traveling any time soon. It may seem like the kind of advice only an international spy would need, but knowing that your toiletry bag already has basics like a razor, shaving cream and deodorant ready to go will buy you peace of mind and leave you with one less thing to worry about while packing.

We’ve picked some of the best toiletry bags available right now, including basic canvas options and stylish leather picks.

1. Herschel Chapter Travel Kit

Herschel makes the Goldilocks option of toiletry bags. It’s not too big or too small. It’s stylish, without screaming: “I spent too much on a toiletry bag,” and it comes in colors that work for both men and women. There’s a convenient handle for hanging it and carrying it. There is one large interior compartment with a mesh pouch and a small outer compartment. The interior is lined with Herschel’s classic striped pattern. True to form, this toiletry bag comes in dozens of colors and patterns.

Pros: Available in plenty of stylish colors. Convenient carry handle. Spacious interior, without the bag being too big.

Cons: Internal liner is not waterproof.

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2. Vetelli Toiletry Bag

If you’re looking for a more spacious option, consider this large leather Dopp kit from Vetelli. The bottom unzips around the entire bag, making it easy to completely open the compartment. The bottom part has internal organizers. There’s also another compartment that unzips across the top. The bag is made out of synthetic leather and has brass hardware, giving it a rugged, vintage look. There’s also a large handle for carrying.

Pros: Smartly designed toiletry bag with a large bottom compartment that opens completely for easy access. Stylish design. Good option for storing lots of toiletries.

Cons: Not genuine leather.

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3. Timberland Men’s Travel Kit Toiletry Bag Organizer

If you’re looking for a small to medium-sized toiletry bag, this pick from Timberland is a good place to start. It’s reasonably priced and made by the makers of one of the most hard-wearing boots on the market. It comes in a range of muted neutral colors, including this stylish olive option. There’s one main compartment and a small outside compartment for storing any compact and flat items like spare cash or blister packs of medicine.

Pros: Made by trusted brand, comes in stylish neutrals. Convenient leather grab handle for carrying or hanging.

Cons: No internal organizers.

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4. AmazonBasics Hanging Travel Toiletry Kit Bag

What this bag lacks in style, it makes up for in substance. The hanging toiletry bag opens wide for easy access to your essentials, and there are also two zippered side pouches for storing any bottles that might spill. The main compartment has several zippered pouches and mesh pockets, making it easy to stay organized. The bag is fairly large, making it ideal for extended trips or for anyone who likes to be well prepared.

Pros: Spacious and has many zippered pockets and internal organizers. Hanging design makes it convenient.

Cons: Wide main compartment means that if the bag is hanging, it’s possible for things to tip and fall out.

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