Blog, Stuff, Wellness

The Dopp Kit

Now that I’ve written about the social responsibility underlying motivations for this blog (apart from the fact that I just love to write), I can go all social responsibility mode on you. As if I haven’t. :p

It was a bit of a surprise to me when I learned that being stylish is actually a form of living out your own personal CSR. I always thought that fashion is an ivory tower and appearances are pretentious and superficial. But they’re not, actually – and being kempt is even more responsible. How it is a form of CSR – at least from my perspective – is that it actually empowers us, since we work to tap into the individual’s human dignity in the name of social innovation. It sends a message to the world that we care about ourselves, about our own human dignity, and that we feel confident about ourselves to face them.

Think about it: would you want to look sloppy aside a business leader who could help you in your social enterprise initiatives? Or would you want to turn others off with your rotten-smelling breath, unkempt appearance, or bad body odor (bad-y odor, hmm…)? You wouldn’t.

Hence, the Dopp kit.


What is a Dopp kit, you may ask? In a sentence, it’s the quintessential men’s on-the-go toiletries bag: the men’s kikay kit, if we are to use slang Filipino.

The Dopp kit was invented by Charles Doppelt, a German-American immigrant, in the late 1910s to the early 1920s; it became called such, derived from his last name, as a tribute to him. During World War II, Doppelt – despite his German heritage, he was an American and sided with them, notably – won a contract with the US Army to supply toiletry kits to American GIs; these were runaway successes and demand only increased after the war, when the soldiers came home.

The standard Dopp kit is housed in the kind of-ubiquitous rectangular, blockish bag (leather, if you want class and durability) with the zipper going lengthwise across the top. But if you have another toiletries bag, like the one in the photo above – yep, that’s my Dopp kit – then go ahead and use that. After all, I believe that personal CSR entails not blindly conforming to norms or “norms” – but to tailor things to as you see fit for your purposes.

© 2011 Robert Sheie (
© 2011 Robert Sheie (

This article provides a basic but comprehensive guide to assembling a Dopp kit – the blogger writes from experience of seeing his father make his own – but, again, add and remove items as you see fit for your own purposes. For example, I don’t shave all the time – just once or twice a month, I think, and always in the morning at that – so I have no reason to add a shaving kit. The important thing is to mind the purpose of the thing – it’s for personal care. So what personal care, especially on-the-go, for you is, then work with that.

The photo below shows the contents of my own Dopp kit.


From top to bottom, left to right, these are the items:

  • Body wash – I prefer this over a bar of soap, as it’s quicker to use and easier to keep.
  • Hair wax – although I barely use it nowadays, partly because hair styling products are supposedly toxic for you, this is all-natural.
  • DEET-free tomato bug repellent – supposedly more effective than citronella.
  • Sanitizer – not just a hand sanitizer, it’s all-purpose (such as for spraying on toilet seats), which is a good thing.
  • Shampoo
  • Lip balm
  • Deodorant
  • Electric toothbrush – my only toothbrush; it’s also one of my CSR acts, as I reduce waste by replacing just the brush heads.
  • Small towel – perfect for the hands and/or face.
  • Interdental brush – given to me by my aunt, who uses it as a toothpick after meals.
  • Brush head remover – an official accessory that came with the Oral-B CrossAction brush heads for my toothbrush.
  • Swiss Army knife – better in my Dopp kit than my bag, I think.
  • Stomachache medicine – important for me, as I frequently get this – this is Buscopan (hyoscine).
  • Plastic bandages
  • Nail clipper
  • Comb
  • Toothpaste (not in photo)


I don’t use contact lenses, so I find no reason to add them here. But I do use glasses, which gives me the idea of adding a glasses cleaning cloth here alongside the small towel – which I bought simply because it’s Pokémon, and that makes all the difference. :p

I would place some money in here for emergency purposes – perhaps Php500.00 or several Php100.00 bills. But since I don’t have much of that now, this will have to wait.

I found squeezing the body wash in somewhat of a hassle, but that’s only because I placed the whole bottle in. I committed myself to buying a travel bottle at Beabi (米丫米) and putting just some of the body wash in it. At least the shampoo came in its own 50ml bottle, perfect for travel.

After I took the photos, I chanced upon a case of dental floss in the bathroom of our summer home that was lying there unused by anyone. I decided to give it a new home in my Dopp kit, although I don’t floss myself (I already have the interdental brush). I never know, though.

You’ll also notice that most of my personal care products are by Human Nature. It’s a Philippine social enterprise that’s turning just six this November, and they integrate farmers’ livelihoods into their business model. They make and sell all-natural personal care products using ingredients that can be grown in the Philippines. Although entirely local sourcing would be unsustainable for them at the moment (they still import most of the raw materials, but manufacture everything here), I love their advocacy; I’m a dealer with them, which means I get discounts on their products. And that’s good on my end as far as groceries are concerned.

I take my Dopp kit with me wherever I go, especially if I’m staying for long at a certain place (such as the office, or the house of a friend or relative). It’s perfect for traveling, too, but take note that if you’re carrying it with you onto a plane, you’ll have to remove the Swiss Army knife and your shaver’s blade (if you do have one in your kit). Or you can check the Dopp kit in altogether, but if you’re flying long-haul or with stopovers, then that defeats the purpose of having a Dopp kit…

What do you put in your Dopp kit? Comment below!

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