Kind of Obsessed

I Don’t Care About Dopp Kits, but I Love This One


September 13, 2018 Editorial & Opinion By

If you’re a frequent reader of Gear Patrol‘s “Kind of Obsessed” series, then you may already know that I’m a steadfast advocate for Peak Design’s Leash camera strap. That’s not the only one of its products that I’ve gladly emptied my coffers for though; I also own the company’s Cuff wrist strap, Shell camera cover and two of its Capture camera clips. I’m not the only one keen on its products either — pro photographers including Chris Burkard, Jeff Johnson and Savannah Cummins all count Peak Design among their favorite camera accessories makers.

I’m not gushing on photo gear this time though, because in launching its forthcoming Travel Line, Peak Design has created an entire collection of goodies for everyone, including those with photo skills that don’t go beyond adding Instagram filters to an iPhone shot. The Travel Backpack is the bedrock of the group, but there are also packing cubes, a shoe pouch, a tech organizer and camera cubes (of course). And then there’s the unsung hero, that, like the Leash, is minor by comparison but carries more than one why-didn’t-someone-think-of-that-until-now qualities. It’s a Dopp kit.

Peak Design doesn’t need to woo me to new products; it earned my brand loyalty years ago. But still, a Dopp kit? For years mine was a glorified plastic bag with a zipper until I was gifted a “more dignified” model made of waxed canvas. Still, it’s nothing more than a pouch with a zipper, and that’s been wholly sufficient for trips of every kind. What does a photo gear company know about toiletries anyway?

A lot, as it turns out. Peak Design sent early samples from the Travel Line my way a few weeks back, and I’ve since carried them on a handful of trips. The Wash Pouch’s exterior is sleek weather-proof nylon. It zips open at the middle to reveal two main compartments that are lined with various silicon-coated mesh sleeves and in that we have the tip of our hygienic iceberg because the good stuff — the features that hoisted me from Dopp kit apathy — is less obvious.

For starters, there’s the hook that tucks neatly away into a sleeve on the exterior and the fact that the kit stands upright and at-ready on a countertop without it. Then there’s the shallow exterior pocket and its barely-noticeable zipper, which is designed to keep razors, and your five-o’clock shadow, away from the items that you might put in your mouth.

The best real estate in the Wash Pouch is reserved for the tool that is to hygiene what a chef’s knife is to cooking and what a hammer is to building: the toothbrush. The Wash Pouch provides it with a hammock-like berth that’s tucked away between the folds of material that divide the two main pocket. This thoughtfully-designed compartment gives the toothbrush the breathing room it deserves while keeping it separate from the rest of the funk that might accumulate in a Dopp kit. Should any of the tiny bottles of shampoo that I regularly swipe from hotel housekeeping ever explode en route (an act of karma I’m fully expecting), my brush will be shielded in its magnetically-sealed enclosure. But Peak Design accounted for this disaster (and any buildup of toothbrush grime) by adding two small loops at the bottom corners of this compartment that aid in turning it inside-out for easy cleaning.

I don’t think another company could’ve made the Wash Pouch. Peak Design’s experience in creating tools for organizing camera equipment gave it the know-how necessary to tackle travel goods, and its outsider point of view allowed it to do so in an unconventional way. I’ve been told by a handful of respected product designers that good design goes unnoticed; it complements an activity or fulfills a necessity but doesn’t interfere with it. That’s how I feel about Peak Design’s simple camera strap, and it’s how I feel about the Wash Pouch — it just works.

Note: To purchase the Wash Pouch on its own, select the “Travel Line Á La Carte” reward and make a pledge of $48. When the Kickstarter campaign ends, Peak Design will get in touch to ask about which product you’d like your money to go toward.

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