Hand & Hooks

The poet Theodore Roethke once wrote, “I dream of journeys repeatedly.”

It’s a common human impulse: to travel and set the rhythm of our lives to the cadence of unfamiliar places.

For the well traveled gentleman, few accessories are as indispensable as the venerable dopp kit. At its most prosaic, a dopp kit provides organizing space for men’s toiletries. It’s a trusty traveling companion, as vital a piece of kit for a weekend jaunt as it is for a multi-week expedition.

This past weekend, at the Northern Grade pop-up marketplace in Houston, I happened upon a wonderful American made dopp kit from Hand & Hooks. As I had lost my previous dopp kit a couple of years ago in Austin, I was in the market for a new one.

Hand & Hooks is the brainchild of Ben Cortez, a resident of San Diego by way of Galveston, Texas. My wife and I spent a few minutes conversing with Ben, and we found him to be completely delightful. He’s committed to American manufacturing, and he works to obtain all of his raw materials from American sources whenever he can.

My dopp kit is the Seafarers model, with a resolutely nautical theme. Happily, a portion of Ben’s proceeds from the sale of this item benefits the Seafarers Center in Galveston.

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It’s a truly wonderful product. The canvas is both durable and aesthetically engaging.  It’s so nice that it makes me want to invent excuses to travel just so I can press it into service.

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