Call it a toiletry bag, a "Dopp kit" -- for Charles Doppelt, a leatherworker credited with making it -- or a hygiene bag, but there's no doubt you need one. It carries the essentials for business-class frequent flyers to average guys "couch surfing" from one friend's house to another.
Most hygiene bags are made of leather, though synthetic materials are just as durable. You'll want to look for one with a main compartment, zippered down the middle, as well as with side pockets. Once you have the bag, you'll need to consider space and item weight before filling it. And this question has to be answered, "What do I consider essential?"
We'll help you think it through so you have what you need to feel clean and comfortable no matter where you're headed.
Even if you consider yourself a simple, down-to-earth kind of guy, the following are the absolute basics you'll need:
- Toothbrush -- Do we really need to explain why this is key? Add a small tube of toothpaste and you're set.
- Dental floss -- Get some travel-size floss or consider floss picks, disposable plastic sticks with stretched floss on one end and a dental pick on the other.
- Shampoo/soap -- Again, a travel-size bottle and soap bar will do. Think hotel shampoo and soap here. Popular men's body gels can double as shampoo and soap.
- Deodorant/antiperspirant -- Smell good, stay dry. Enough said.
- Razor/shaving cream -- Some men prefer electric razors, but consider disposable ones for your hygiene bag. The replacement cost is minimal if lost. To extend the life of a disposable razor, dry the blades on a towel after shaving. Water is the major culprit in dulling blades, not friction.
- Comb/brush -- Even a well-dressed man looks unprofessional with messy hair.
With the basics covered, the following are handy as well:
- Medicine -- If you're on a prescription, this is actually part of your essentials. Just make sure to keep it in the pharmacy container if traveling through an airport or across a border. Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen can also come in handy.
- Hair gel -- If you're overdue for a haircut or having a "bad hair day," hair gel can hide a multitude of sins.
- First-aid items -- Purchase a box of assorted bandages and put a few of each inside. A small tube of antibacterial ointment is an added bonus.
- Nail clippers -- Why pull off a hangnail when you can clip it off?
With the above items in your toiletry bag, you're all set for a clean and relaxing trip. Just remember to keep it well-stocked as supplies run dry.
- Dyment, Doug. "Packing List: Toiletries." OneBag.com. (March 25, 2011)http://www.onebag.com/packing-list-toiletries.html
- Mayo Clinic. "Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics." Feb. 17, 2011. (March 24, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00003
- Real Simple. "Your Toiletry Case." 2002. (March 21, 2011)