In this age of the clear plastic, quart-size, zip-top baggie, a travel classic we’d be happy to see revived is the old-school Dopp kit. Named after Charles Doppelt, a German immigrant whose eponymous company made the first Dopp kit in 1919, these sturdy utilitarian personal grooming carry bags were issued to GIs in wartime, and they were also commonly bestowed as a symbolic gift to mark the passage from boyhood to manhood. But modern guys could benefit from keeping a well-stocked, grab-and-go grooming bag for last-minute adventures, and with the new limited-edition Juniper Ridge + Winter Session Dopp Kit, you’re already halfway there.
Colorado-based Winter Session, which makes small-run durable, handcrafted leather and canvas goods such as wallets, totes, and work aprons, supplied the exterior: a rugged, roomy bag made of 20-ounce waxed cotton that repels dirt and water, with a tanned leather handle and solid brass hardware. Interior and exterior pockets help keep stuff organized. For the kit’s contents, Winter Session was wise to partner with California’s Juniper Ridge, the world’s only purely plant-based fragrance line. Founder Hall Newbegin calls himself a backpacker and forager, not a perfumer, and he created Juniper Ridge to be a bodycare line for men who hate fragrance. Still, even men who hate fragrance secretly harbor some kind of platonic scent ideal. Juniper Ridge nails this ideal, sourcing directly from Big Sur’s sage-covered trails, Mojave Desert campsites, and other forests, canyons, and mountains of the West to create hyper-local products that fit your dream or nostalgic memory of the outdoors.
The collaboration with Winter Session includes two cult favorites, full-size versions of the Trail Crew Soap and the Backpacker’s Cologne. Choose from the Desert Collection, in a rust-colored kit, or the Forest Collection, in olive, a distillation of the conifers of the Siskiyou range, where California meets Oregon. The plant essences were extracted using pre-industrial techniques (old whiskey stills, copper pipes, and steam). On the body, the woodsy-fresh, oil-based soap and cologne aren’t heavy-handed but give subtle promise of something better and wilder out there – all the more important on days when you and your Dopp kit are stuck at home this summer. [$200, winter-session.com]