For men who travel on a fairly regular basis, the dopp kit is an essential. The question begs to be asked then, exactly what do you pack in it?
This is a question many men have asked for some time. The fact is that while traveling it’s important to pack lightly and many of the shaving products we use at home, unfortunately, don’t come in travel size containers.
The other issue many men run into is the inability to travel with their preferred razor. Very few airline security services around the world will permit you to travel with this styles of razors in your carry on, and for many of us, checking a bag isn’t something we want to do on a quick business excursion.
So aside from carrying the standard cartridge razor like a Gillette, or an electric shaver, what options do you have? Truthfully, just a few:
- For just a few nights away, you can shave before and wait it out until you return.
- Pack a cartridge razor (though undesirable)
- Pack an electric razor
- If you check a bag, then the sky is the limit.
Each of these options has a downside, so to counteract the issues that arise from using a cartridge razor such as the lack of a close shave, try to bring with products that can at the very least, assist the razor to do the best job it possibly can.
Here are some of the best products on the market.
The first thing you want to ensure is that you have a good quality dopp kit. The dopp kit is just a fancy name for the bag you carry your products in. There’s a wide variety of kits on the market that cost anywhere from around $20 upwards of a few hundred. My advice is to go with a good quality dopp kit that is well constructed either out of leather or a strong, washable fabric. Remember that you’ll have a sharp razor blade in there as well as products and you will have to wet-clean it regularly. You also want to make sure that your dopp kit can handle a little spillage in the event one of your products spills.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many dopp kits actually come with pockets and separate areas for different products and tools, but these are useless if you travel by plane. Most western countries stipulate that before boarding all your products need to be placed in small ziplock bags. Therefore, buying a dopp kit that simply has one large, open pocket is advisable as you can easily shove another plastic bag with your products in it.
Of course, there’s no point in carrying a dopp kit if it’s not going to be filled with products. Since you don’t have much of a choice of what kind of razor to bring (cartridge or electric), one area you can focus on is making sure you have really exquisite shaving products in the bag. A razor is only as good as the products you use with it. If I tried to use an aerosol shave gel from Walmart with my Thiers Issard straight razor I’d probably butcher myself. That’s why I opt for a more premium product. It protects my face.
Unfortunately, many of the top drawer products we often recommend at Gentleman’s Gazette don’t come in travel size variants. While you could certainly repackage your product in a smaller travel sized container, it’s a hassle. Thankfully, a few companies have shaving products that are specifically designed for travel.
There are a number of great companies that produce smaller badger shave brushes designed for travel but I really like the ones that Vulfix puts out. This particular one is a faux ivory shave brush that comes with a storage tube for safe storage and travel. Made of super badger hair, it’s actually quite a nice little brush that’s easy to hold even when your hands are wet. The handle is lathe turned and hand-polished, and the accompanying travel container is fitted with threads that facilitate drying and extend the brushes life. For those who travel with a home brush or already have a travel sized badger brush but without a carrying case, one thing you can do is use an old pill container as a storage case for your full sized badger brush while traveling. It will protect the bristles and ensure it lasts through the trip. Just make sure you properly dry it before securing any brush in its case.
Edwin Jagger Travel Brush – $55
Edwin Jagger has long been a company I recommend. Overall, the quality of their products is superb and they’ve really made a name for themselves when it comes to shaving accessories. If you’re not interested in the brush by Vulfix, this is a great option that can easily be used as an everyday brush as well. It comes with a matching case for travel and is made of best badger hair.
A lot of people dismiss the Art of Shaving brand as being too commercial but the fact is they make a very nice entry level product for wet shavers. One of the best things they offer are these really great carry on kits that come in a clear plastic resealable bag and are stocked with a small travel badger brush, their pre-shave oil, shaving cream and after-shave balm. They are all prepackaged in acceptable travel sized containers that use a pump.
For those men who plan on buying blades upon arrival at your destination, this is an exceptional find. This shavette is made by Dovo in Germany and is exceptionally well crafted. It’s the same “straight razor” style razor that most barbers in North America use but because it uses disposable blades, you can keep it in your carry on so long as you aren’t carrying blades with you. The razor is made of satin finished stainless steel handle with a red insert and comes with a genuine leather carrying case by Dovo with room for two packs of blades as well as the shavette razor. Of course, unless you plan on checking luggage, don’t bring the blades with.
I’ve always really liked Trufitt & Hill and use their products quite often at home. What’s really exceptional is when a company like them puts out a travel sized shave tube. Now, the downfall of this tube is you need to be careful with how you open it as sometimes the pressure can cause it to spill a bit, however, if you’re looking for an exceptional lather, this is easily your pick. There are of course, many companies that offer shave cream in travel tubes so check to see if your preferred cream comes in a travel size container. If not, this is a great second pick.
Another exceptional shave cream by Truefitt & Hill, this is an alcohol free, rich and fragrance free product that’s perfect for those gentlemen with sensitive skin. It’s a whipped, fluffy consistency that can be applied with the use of a shaving brush or simply with the fingers. This is ideal for those needing some extra moisturizing in a shaving cream. You’ll be impressed. I guarantee it.
Proraso is probably one of the most well known brands of shaving creams and products on the market today. I’ll admit, it’s not one of my favorites, but many men I know are very loyal to this brand. What’s really nice about it in my opinion is the price. This particular shave soap is made with eucalyptus oil and menthol which ensures a clean and smooth shave. This is a great option for new wet shaver on a budget.
Lots of men, including myself, opt to use a shave bowl while shaving. Unfortunately, carrying on in your dopp kit can be rather cumbersome as they’re quite bulky. This is why I absolutely recommend the X-Mug which is designed for campers. It isn’t a true shave mug, but can easily be used as one. The bowl collapses flat which makes it easy to carry with you in your travels and is easily washable making it perfect for those who hate the thought of shaving without their bowl. Simply put a small dab of your shaving cream in the bowl and whip the same as you would at home.
For those who aren’t familiar with a styptic pencil, it’s a great tool for any wet shaver. If you happen to nick or cut yourself, the styptic pen can be used to stop the bleeding safely and effectively. This particular styptic pencil is made for traveling with and comes with a carrying case. In addition to saving you from having to use toilet paper dots on your face, the styptic pencil can be used to prep your face for an electric razor shave for optimal and smooth results.
If you are traveling domestically and are able to carry on a DE safety razor, I highly recommend you opt for this Merkur. It comes with a leather case and the best part is it separates into three separate pieces making it sublimely easy to pack and carry. One thing that I’ve done in the past if I really don’t want to bring a cartridge or electric shaver with me is I’ll carry my double edge razor but without the blades. Once I arrive at my destination, I’ll pick up a pack of Feather blades. Even though I won’t be able to use them all, they’re so inexpensive it’s worth it to me to ensure I get a good, comfortable shave.
If you’re looking for a smaller version of the regular Philips Norelco electric shaver, this is a great travel sized alternative. It provides an exceptionally clean and close shave on the go and uses independently floating heads that follow the contour of your face. The blades are self sharpening and it uses just two AA batteries for 60 minutes of battery operated shaving.
If you are going to travel with a cartridge razor, I recommend going with the new ProGlide Styler by Gillette. It’s a 3-in-1 styler with a trimmer, razor and edger. It’s not going to be as close a shave as your DE razor or straight razor but it will compare to any other cartridge razor on the market. The real benefit is that because it’s 3-in-1 and electric you can use it for a trim and to keep track of your sideburns. This is a great option for people with facial hair who simply keep it well manscaped.
Shaving Cream or Shaving Soap?
Many people often ask whether I prefer to travel with shaving cream or soap. The answer is cream. Soap, although small, is a lot more effort to keep clean, whereas with cream, you can simply expel the desired amount and keep the rest in the container. I really like using a pump container for my travel products, which is one reason I highly recommend going with the travel kits from Art of Shaving.
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