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It’s in the bag: How the wash bag became the greatest accessory

Steal a play from a sports star this travel season with a dopp kit 

The ideal toiletry bag, then, must have some sort of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving lather of some kind and a razor.

Huddle up team, the grooming coach has a secret play to help you score on the field. All the pro ballers are unzipping their kits this season, as the squad finally discovers the benefits of war paint. Everyone from David Beckham to basketballers such as Carmelo Anthony and Klay Thompson are brushing up their acts, making the humble dopp kit (a fancy American term for toiletry bag) the go-to accessory of the season. As a simple Instagram experiment will confirm, NBA players are showing theirs off on the walk to the locker room and beyond, and footballers are breaking them out before posting a selfie. Mesut Özil was an early convert, porting moisturiser, gel and shampoo to Arsenal games for a few seasons now.

Tool kits are practical for boardroom players, too: men need to schlepp stuff around with them, but voluminous messenger bags are just so 2016 and backpacks, besides telegraphing that you haven’t grown up, just aren’t suited to our weather. The humble washbag has even become an everyday accessory on the streets of Dubai. 

The ideal toiletry bag, then, must have some sort of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving lather of some kind and a razor.

From the fanny pack to the murse, bags have been getting smaller for a couple of seasons now. Gucci, Burberry, Aspinal and even DSquared2 have all launched wash bags recently, so there’s certainly no lack of choice to fuel your excuses. And what better time to dip your fingers in than during the travel season? At least that way, you’ve got a genuine excuse to tote one around and get comfortable with the idea.

If you’re still wondering why you need one of these goody bags — chances are unless you’re Benjamin Button, the combined effects of ageing and permanently living in a sterile refrigerator (with occasional visits to the outdoor sauna) are taking their toll on your visage.

Simply letting nature have its way will ultimately devalue your biggest asset, so man up to the ravages of time already. The ideal toiletry bag, then, must have some sort of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving lather of some kind and a razor. Throw in a wrinkle minimiser and a moisturiser (because AC dries out your soul), and you’re good to go. The perfect kit must instantly make you feel better about your declining face value, while bagging style points.

English professional footballer Wayne Rooney takes the trend very seriously, carrying a wash bag with a picture of his son, Kia.

An addition for the traveller who likes taking his time on tours of local gardens — in such cases, a raincoat or two are essential to avoid slipping one past the goalie.

Discerning gentlemen will want to customise their own travel bags but there’s a good range of starter kits on the cyber highways. On Debonair’s own site is a smart assortment of chemical-free products from V76 by Vaughn, zipped into a classy clear plastic bag — perfect for those who like to travel with just a carry-on. Equally compelling is the kit from shaving brand Mr Natty, which comes with shave oil and a beech-handled razor.

Grooming Products

Czech & Speake

Three Compartment Gentlemans Travel Case in black leather – 4.8L
AED 2,000.00


Well Groomed Travel Kit
AED 180.00

Czech & Speake

Oxford & Cambridge Travel Shave Set
AED 675.00

Mr Natty

Emergency Flair - shave (shaveflair)
AED 150.00

But regular readers of this column (or those that let the Missus do their grooming shopping), will already have their go-to manscaping favourites. For them, Czech & Speake offers a smart three-compartment black leather case that keeps everything neat and tidy, and Swedish label Arsante provides an elegant, hand-tooled and waterproof 11-incher you’ll feel no shame in whipping out anywhere.

Alternatively, kick things up a notch or two like those NBA players. Prada’s nylon shaving kits, Berluti’s line of clean classics and Tom Ford’s chunky camo-print number all offer the undentable comfort of a top label. You could even blag one of Chris Paul’s minimalist Hook & Albert kits. Whether you take one to the basket or play offside, the options are endless. 

So, engage the clutch and get going. 

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