HK and I had a debate a while back about the necessity of keeping a toiletry bag when you’re not on the road.
“Of course you need one,” she said. “Where else do you keep your stuff?”
“I dunno. On the bath, the sink, cupboards. Where else?” I said.
When I backpacked around Europe in my early twenties I didn’t even pack a toiletry bag. My stuff was everywhere, a system of chaos that somehow seemed to work for the time. God knows how I maintained basic hygiene (it was likely that I didn’t). In later years I’ve come to appreciate owning a toiletry receptacle, something reliable and resilient to corral your toothbrush and paste and shaver and brush and all them bathroom-related bits and pieces as you hightail it long haul from one chunk of the earth to the next. Enter the Tanner Goods DOPP, my long haul bathroom assistant for the Berlin trek.
As far as travel toiletry bags go, the Tanner is a sweet unit. Tanner remain one of the leaders in making hard-wearing, heritage-inspired carry, producing some of the most attractive and resilient everyday carry offerings on the market, not to mention a vast range of outdoor adventure packs, travel companions and sundry woodlands essentials. Heavy on ethos and dedicated to communicating their story, Tanner keep one foot in the traditions on yesteryear, with the other firmly pointed towards the future.
“Heavy on ethos and dedicated to communicating their story, Tanner keep one foot in the traditions on yesteryear, with the other firmly pointed towards the future.”
Crafted out of sea blue waxed denim, their DOPP is easy on the eye, while not coming off too precious. It’s road-ready, hungry to get out and show itself to the world. It’s also the perfect size for a toiletry bag – not too small to have to leave out crucial bits, not too big to invite taking too much and turning it into a make-up chest or tool vault. The double zip system is a nice touch too for maximum, flexible access. Each trip I’ve taken this year, from Melbourne to Berlin, the UK to Canada, to the South of France and Prague, the DOPP has functioned as a totally reliable, intrepid yet handsome toiletry chauffeur. It’s the Hugh Jackman of toiletry bags. Functional, handsome and inoffensive. The right amount of rugged.
“It’s the Hugh Jackman of toiletry bags. Functional, handsome and inoffensive. The right amount of rugged.”
But after arriving at your long-term destination, what was a toiletry bag but an empty piece of material with a zip that sat around gathering dust on a shelf? You unpack, distribute its contents around the bathroom. What then? When I’m not moving around, the DOPP barely gets a run. I couldn’t help but think that such a swell bag had so much more to offer than a sedentary existence on my messy clothes shelf. What if this humble toiletry bag was an underused accoutrement, a capable multi-tasker pining for new experiences?
Turns out there’s a lot of things you can do with a Tanner DOPP.
“Turns out there’s a lot of things you can do with a Tanner DOPP.”
# 1 Stylist Pencil Case and Writing Instruments accoutrement
Each morning I rise and head out on bike or foot to a local Berlin café. There’s only so much your carry sack or backpack can do to keep all your pens and notebooks together in one space. The DOPP has come into its own as a vital supplement to the basic backpack; throw in a few pens, pencils, rulers and sharpeners and the DOPP becomes a sweet pencil case, without making it look like you’re Billy Madison and back in grade 2 again.
#2 Musician’s mate: Mic case and recording gear holder
We took the U-Bahn out to Grunewald a couple of months ago, a lush forest on the far western edge of Berlin where the old US spy station sits on the top of Berlin’s highest lookout. The forest is laden with trails and tracks and it isn’t hard to get lost. What you might find if you do though is a flock of nude Germans getting loose and lazy in the cool waters of one of Grunewald’s nudist lakes. Germans are big advocates for flopping it out – ‘Freikörperkultur’ is the local movement for ‘getting naked for the sake of getting naked’, the art of feeling free and nude without any sexual overtones. Thankfully we managed to dodge most of the flopping flesh out there in Grunewald that day and instead battled thick scrub to seek out a cosy space to record some tracks – I’d brought down my sax, laptop, and basic recording gear to lay down a few lines for a pal in New York City who I gigged with years ago living in Woodside, Queens. The reverb in the forest was immense, almost better than a real studio. It was a quick session. Hon and I enjoyed a cold beer on a fallen tree trunk. When the time came to pack it all up, I slid the mic and its cord and all the other bits and pieces of recording gear effortlessly and neat inside – you guessed it – the Tanner DOPP.
#3 Camera gear buddy
HK and I ride and wander around Berlin a lot—me with my bag of writing paraphernalia, HK with her leather camera satchel where her Canon 5D SLR resides. Sometimes that camera bag gets real heavy; there are only so many lenses and bits and pieces you can fit into it without it becoming a burden on your shoulders. The Tanner DOPP has become our 2IC camera accessory tote, perfect for housing and transporting a shutter lens remote, a mini tripod, battery packs and additional lenses, to alleviate the hefty lens weight and make life a little easier.
#4 Art case: Paintbrushes, paint, pencils and artistic goods
We came to Berlin to write, take photos, paint, draw and generally immerse ourselves in creative endeavours. A number of our shared projects call for illustration as well as words. When we work outdoors or away from the studio we need to keep our gear in the one space. Lately, HK has been taking her illustration pens, coloured pencils and related bits and pieces in the Tanner DOPP, and when we paint, the DOPP is a perfect case for our brushes and paints too.
#5 Bier buddy
So it’s a beautiful day out and you’re off to read a book or write some stuff or catch up with someone to hang out and soak up the day. You pull an ice cold Shöfferhofer from the fridge that will have cost you the grand sum of 0.50 Euro cents once you return the empty bottle and cash in your refund for the carry crate. You don’t want it getting warm and frothy in the meantime, so you zip open the Tanner DOPP and slide that delicious longneck in. That bad boy DOPP keeps it crisp and cool on the ride, and you feel especially good about yourself upon arrival for having had such excellent forethought.
Well outside the confines of the bathroom, the Tanner DOPP proves itself a bonafide all-rounder – an adventuring hold-all, built for purpose, tailored for variety and indeed, the ultimate DOPP for Berlin and creative adventures abroad. Berlin Muse throws it an A++.
“Well outside the confines of the bathroom, the Tanner DOPP proves itself a bonafide all-rounder…”