Aer Dopp Kit 3 Review
Aer's Dopp Kit 3 has a more compact design than previous versions that consolidates toiletries in one large compartment and is balanced for short and long trips.
- Capacity balanced for both weekend and weeklong trips
- Focused layout eases access to toiletries
- Fairly slim, so it squeezes into tightly-packed bags
- Smaller overall capacity than the previous version
- Elastic loops too big for a regular size toothbrush
- Low roof clearance in travel bottle area
.4 lb (0.2 kg)
9 in x 5 in x 2.5 in (22.9 x 12.7 x 6.4 cm)
CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers, Antimicrobial Coating
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Seeing a brand iterate on its design can be really fascinating. Some continually add features, while others drastically change the core design. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with either approach, as both can yield improvements. At the end of the day, there’s only one question: is it better than the previous version? That’s the interesting question about the Aer Dopp Kit 3. It’s a well-balanced and solid toiletry bag—with a catch.
Unlike the Aer Dopp Kit 2, the Dopp Kit 3 has a more simplified design that ditches extra features like the front compartment and toothbrush holster. In exchange, you get a clamshell-style opening that’s more in tune with the Travel Kit 2 and a much slimmer profile that’s easier to pack. So saying it’s better than the previous version is quite tricky because your mileage may vary. So let’s shed some light on its key details to give you a better picture.
The more things change, the more they stay the same (sorry, we promise this is the only cliche in this review). The Dopp Kit 3 may be third in its lineup, but it still features Aer’s go-to material: CORDURA® 1680-denier ballistic nylon. The material is practically a signature of their brand now (though by no means exclusive or the only option), and who can blame them? It feels very durable in the hand. Is it overkill for a toiletry bag? Maybe, but at least it’s prepared for rugged outdoor environments or hotel rooms with rough fixtures. The interior liner is also anti-microbial and water-resistant, by the way, because spills are near-inevitable when it comes to toiletries.
As for the zippers, Aer’s choice is a near-forgone conclusion at this point: YKK zippers. The one on the front pocket is a self-locking AquaGuard-style zipper, while the two for the main compartment are reverse-coil types. These zippers are well-suited for their inherently water-resistant design, though they’re not completely waterproof—you shouldn’t take it into the bathtub with you, that’s all we’re saying. We’ve had issues with earlier iterations of Aer’s bags because of their jangly zipper pulls. Succeeding iterations have solved this problem, and the Dopp Kit 3 continues that trend. That said, the pulls are a bit long, although that makes them easier to grab.
Aer’s quality control is usually top-notch, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out a lone loose thread (near the logo tab, no less). Fortunately, this rogue thread seems to be a leftover from the manufacturing process rather than one that snagged or ripped loose from the fabric. In other words, we don’t expect this to deteriorate or affect the Dopp Kit 3’s long-term durability.
Moving around to the back, we find the Dopp Kit 3’s single grab handle. It’s a flat strip of nylon that sits flush against the fabric when not in use. As spartan as that might sound, it feels satisfying to use, given the Dopp Kit 3’s size and slim shape. It’s a more comfortable alternative to just clutching the Dopp Kit 3 by your side. That said, we can’t help but notice the absence of a side handle, like on the Dopp Kit 2. Another feature Aer ditches with the Dopp Kit 3 is the toothbrush holster on the side. It’s a feature that made its way to Travel Kit 2, so we hoped to see it here as well.
You can also use the handle to hang the Dopp Kit 3 to a hook. However, since the handle itself isn’t a hook, you’ll have to use a carabiner. In case you were wondering, Aer seems intent on reserving that functionality for the Travel Kit lineup.
One of our chief complaints about the Dopp Kit 2 was its bulky size. We typically like to pack a travel backpack with as much gear as we need for maximum efficiency, and the Dopp Kit 2 was the right size for that scenario. However, it feels too big and with too much space for what toiletries we need for shorter trips where we would opt to use a daypack.
The Dopp Kit 3 may have lost a feature or two, but it’s also an inch slimmer than its predecessor, making it easier to slip into tight-fitting gaps between packing cubes and tech pouches, for example. How did Aer achieve this? Obviously, losing the toothbrush holster and a handle aren’t the only diet techniques they’ve applied, so let’s check out how they did it.
Inside The Dopp Kit
Simply put, the Dopp Kit 3 ditches the Dopp Kit 2’s front compartment. In retrospect, having a dedicated fold-out compartment with two elastic loops seems too much, so we understand why this “loss” had to happen. Fortunately, the front pocket is still here, and it’s still what we’ve come to expect from an Aer Dopp kit.
As mentioned earlier, the front pocket closes with a single self-locking YKK AquaGuard-style zipper. There’s also a zipper garage at the end for added weather protection, by the way. For those not in the loop, self-locking zippers won’t move when the zipper pull is folded down, which is handy for keeping the pocket only partially open. For example, you might want to leave half an inch of the opening to holster your toothbrush there—an improvised solution instead of a dedicated slot.
The interior is fairly roomy, with the minimal depth provided by the gusseted upper corners. You won’t be fitting bulky toiletries like a travel-sized electric razor here, but a small packet of wet wipes, tweezers, bobby pins, and ear swabs will fit perfectly.
Now for the main compartment. The first thing to note is that the Dopp Kit 2 had an official spec of 2.6L, while the Dopp Kit 3 comes in at 1.8L. That 0.8-liter difference most likely stems from the loss of the front compartment. However, the Dopp Kit 3’s main compartment now fully opens clamshell-style, and since it’s only a single compartment, it feels just the right size for weekend and weeklong trips. Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on your toiletry needs, so let’s see what the storage and organization is actually like.
On the front side is a large zippered mesh pocket. This is where most of your small toiletries will go, apart from the ones you already store in the front pocket. We sometimes carry different containers of cream, a nail clipper, a nail file, and other paraphernalia, and this is an ideal spot for those. The mesh is somewhat see-through, so most items are visible from the outside. There’s also a zippered pocket across on the opposite side, though it’s not see-through and much smaller, so you’ll want to reserve that for less-frequently used toiletries.
On the back side is a wide pouch area that acts as a sort of shelf for your travel-sized bottles. Take note that when we say travel-sized, we mean TSA 3-1-1 rule compliant, like the humangear GoToob+ we use in our packing lists. Those are short enough to clear the roof of the Dopp Kit 3, and we can fit three side by side, plus a few off-the-shelf extras. That said, store-bought travel-sized toiletries often have extra plastic sticking out of them you must squeeze under the roof.
There are also adjacent elastic loops, which have been a staple feature of Aer dopp kits since version one. Our only gripe is that they’re too wide for regular toothbrushes, meaning they wiggle around once inserted. It’s not in danger of getting thrown out of the loop, but maybe some size variety is in order here. Travel-sized combs and electric shavers, though, can slot in snuggly.
In terms of usage, the clamshell design feels easy to use since most of the toiletries are localized and visible in one compartment. Plus, despite the lack of a hook for hanging, the Dopp Kit 3 can stand without needing to fully unfold, making it more like a standing pouch than a toiletry bag.
- Digging the durable materials as always
- One loose thread, though it doesn’t seem to impact durability (plus, this is a pre-production sample)
- Low-profile carry handle stays out of the way but doesn’t have an included hook for hanging
- Loose thread is still there but hasn’t unraveled
- A great size kit for those who don’t have a ton of toiletries to pack
- Digging the minimal—but still significant—organization