Leaking shampoos, no where to put your toothbrush and always forgetting your shaving cream? Well, don’t panic as you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s one for your next holiday or to chuck into your gym bag, we’ve got all you need to know on the best wash bags for men.
There are some stylish options when it comes to wash bags for men, so don’t let yourself down with any old grubby option you’ve had for years. And those horrendous clear plastic bags that you use at the airport are just not up to scratch. You want something to hold everything you’ll need for a city break or business trip – think toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, and a razor – all whilst looking sleek and fit for the modern gent.
Men’s grooming is now such a huge industry that there are so many great options out there. There are toilet bags that suit all price ranges and uses, so follow this guide to ensure that you get the best out of your new wash bag.
Men’s Wash Bags
There are many features that you may want to consider when buying a new travel wash bag and here are a few key things to look out for:
- Water-resistant fabric – this will make cleaning your toiletries bag super easy and will stop it getting too damp. If moisture penetrates the fabric of your wash bag it will begin to discolour and most likely not smell too great either! Nobody wants a damp wash bag pressing against their clothes in their suitcase.
- Tough fabric on the exterior – your wash bag will be chucked in a suitcase or gym bag over and over through the years so it will need to be made of sturdy stuff. Leather, strong canvas fabric or a firm nylon are great options.
- Space – You don’t need a large mens wash bag but your toiletries bag should have enough space for all your travel essentials without them getting really squashed. Your bag should not lose its shape from being stuffed with too many grooming products.
- Compartments and pockets – a men’s toiletries bag ideally will have different compartments for your toothbrush, shaving equipment, and liquid toiletries. This will allow you to keep your products very organised and, if the disastrous happens and you have a leak, it won’t affect all of your toiletries.
- Miscellaneous options – other possibilities include a mirror, either attached or detachable, in the bag. An external handle for ease of carrying. Or even a metal frame so it will stand upright once opened – although this is not often found in contemporary toilet bags.
Men’s Toiletry Bags
The contents of a men’s toiletry bag needs careful consideration. You want the perfect post-workout shower gel (not the gross goo that they provide in the dispensers at the gym). You want great hair products, your signature scent, and a light moisturiser all in your toiletries bag.
Every man should carry the following items in his wash bag:
- Body wash– a pH natural soap bar is great for men but too messy to put in your wash bag. You want a body wash which is rich in natural oils and moisturisers without the acids and chemicals that can sometimes affect the skin’s natural pH levels.
- Face wash – men’s faces take a daily beating from harsh pollution, air-conditioning, dehydration, and shaving. You want something void of harsh chemicals and which removes traces of dirt, sweat, and oil. It should leave your skin feeling blissfully clean and rejuvenated.
- Shampoo – different strokes for different folks with shampoo. Some men have dry hair, some oily, some have a flakey scalp, and others have greasy roots. Choose the best shampoo for your hair type.
- Hair products (whether its clay, gel, salt spray, or a pomade) – this is down to personal choice and style. A thick pomade works well with a Don Draper side parting and a texturising gel spray works best with a tousled fringe.
- Antiperspirant – because nobody wants to be that smelly guy.
- Toothbrush/ toothpaste/ mouthwash – self-explanatory really. Get them pearly whites looking swish.
- A razor and shaving foam – whether it’s a disposable razor or a stainless steel safety razor with removable blades, you will need a decent shaving foam to avoid any skin irritation. An aftershave balm will leave your freshly shaved skin feeling smooth and soothed from any damage caused by shaving.
- Moisturiser – natural ingredients such as aloe vera and green tea are kind to your skin.
- A cologne – every man needs a signature scent.
- A comb – the simple necessity.
Men’s Leather Wash Bag
If you’re looking for a particularly slick, large men’s wash bag then choose one made of leather. A leather toiletry bag is more expensive but it is durable, elegant and much easier to clean. Leather lasts for over 10-15 years if maintained well and will hold its own in rugged conditions.
It will eventually fade in the sun and degrade with age but you will get over a decade’s worth of use from it. There will definitely be fewer colour options when it comes to a leather toiletry bag but there’s no doubt that brown leather is a classic option when it comes to sofas, shoes, and bags. It never goes out of style so a brown leather wash bag is ideal.
Leather is a hard-wearing material but not always immune to scratching which can sometimes be a problem if being tossed in and out of luggage. A canvas toiletries bag is scratch-proof, cheaper and will come in a greater variety of colours and designs. Fabric can be hard to clean if stained and will more likely absorb unwanted odours over time than leather will but your choice will ultimately depend on how you use and look after your bag.
Men’s Designer Leather Wash Bag
If you really want that extra touch of luxury when it comes to your leather wash bag then look to the designer brands. Nowhere is as synonymous with men’s luxury fashion and grooming than the stylish shops on Savile Row. This area of London is a gentleman’s playground of iconic names in the world of men’s sartorial goods.
Of course, the price tag will be significantly higher but with these purchases you’ll usually get assistance on all repairs and reconditioning, and you know you’ll be getting a product that’s built to last.
Men’s Hanging Wash Bag
The hanging wash bag is the friend of the traveller, camper, sailer, or wilderness explorer, as it is literally your bathroom cabinet on the move. A hanging bag will keep all of your essential toiletries clean, organised, and easily accessible. You can hang one from anywhere that you can find space – whether that is a tree, pipe, or the side of a camper van.
Because they unfold into a slimline hanging bag, it means they are perfect for small spaces. Such as small hotel bathrooms, cruise ship bathrooms, caravan bathrooms, and shared camping bathrooms. You won’t need to find a shelf or a stool to place this wash bag on and there’s little chance of it falling on the soggy floor.
A hanging wash bag will roll up into a small bag shape so it can be easily transported in your luggage. They will often have mesh or see-through compartments to make it easier to clearly see all your toiletries when hanging. You can store all your lotions and potions in the bag and select as you need. It means you don’t have to un-pack your wash bag and all your bits and bobs are stored safely. This wash bag is all about no-fuss and accessibility when you’re on the road.
Where Did the Wash Bag Come From?
Americans will often use the term ‘Dopp Kit’ when referring to a wash bag. This name derives from leather craftsman, Charles Doppelt. Doppelt was a German immigrant in the US and in 1919 he unleashed his new creation to the public; a travel-friendly toiletries bag for men.
The product wasn’t instantly popular with the American public but they became widely recognisable during the Second World War when they were issued to American GIs. Each serviceman was administered with a ‘Dopp Kit’ complete with travel-sized grooming products. This was the start of men’s grooming on the road and not a lot has changed when it comes to the contents of a men’s toiletry bag.
The ‘Dopp Kit’ brand name was purchased by American luggage manufacturer and retailer, Samsonite, in the 1970s. The trademark ‘Dopp’ was filed by Samsonite for registration at the US Trademark Office in 1980. The class of goods for which it was applicable was “toilet cases sold empty, briefcases, briefcase type portfolios, sample and catalog cases sold empty, luggage identification tags, and traveling bags”. Wash bags were traditionally gifted to adolescent males, usually when they turn 18, as a symbol of their ascent from boyhood to adulthood.
The Best Wash Bags for Men
- Invest in something ultra-sturdy when buying a wash bag. Anything that will easily tear, crack, dampen, or discolour is pointless.
- A hanging wash bag really is a great option if you’re travelling a lot as they can be hung up anywhere and they’re narrow enough to fit in small bathrooms.
- Compartments and pockets are great for your wash bag as they ensure that your grooming products stay organised and that any unwanted leaks do not affect your entire bag.
- A leather wash bag is a great investment for the stylish traveller. Perfectly swish for business trips, a leather wash bag will last over ten years if looked after correctly.
On That Note
Men now face more pressure than ever to look good. Attitudes towards male grooming have grown from the days where beauty treatments belonged just for the world of women. There was once a stigma attached to male grooming but that has gradually disappeared over time. Men are now taking an interest, and maybe even a pleasure, in looking after their bodies, faces, and hair. The devil is in the detail. If you choose to wear a snappy suit, have great shoes, and an even better hair cut, but then carry your toiletries in a plastic supermarket bag, you show a lack of finesse. You need to be able to carry your essential toiletries with you to ensure your skin and hair looks great. And you need to look classy whilst doing so with a stylish wash bag at the ready.
Feature image from Pinterest