Going out and about dude business, like going to the gym or the mall, can turn into a “oh man, I forgot my (blank)” moment. I have a 3-year-old toddler, do you know how many times I’ve been like “ah shoot, I didn’t bring an extra diaper” and then had a kid with a poo diaper until I could buy one? And diapers are never sold individually, the least you can find are 4-packs at a 7-Eleven or something.

Only dads will relate to that, but all dudes can relate to forgetting an essential something in your EDC bag, especially if you’re going to the gym. So I’ve put together a list of essential items you should be packing in your dude-purse at all times.

Hand wipes

Small towels and hand wipes are essential gym bag items, for wiping down equipment and sweaty hands. Bad accidents can easily happen when you have a sweaty grip and are trying to lift 300lbs of steel plates.

There are a lot of hand wipes to choose from though. You might think it’s as easy as buying baby wipes, and then the baby wipes section at the supermarket has dozens of brands and formulas. Alcohol-free? Hypoallergenic? Cooling sensation? Lightly scented or unscented?

It’s too much for a guy to consider, and that’s why I stick with the straight-to-the-point Dude Wipes. Dude Wipes are flushable wipes made specifically for dudes, formulated for a dude’s skin. They have Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, so they keep your hands soft and moisturized but still dude-like and manly. That’s like, totally perfect bro, because you can focus on dude stuff and not get lost in the baby wipes aisle.

Alcohol spritzer

I will admit that COVID-19 has turned me into a bit of a germaphobe, but when I wipe down sweaty gym equipment with a towel, I think of the bacteria breeding in my gym bag on that towel.

So I carry a little spray bottle filled with 70% isopropyl alcohol, and just spritz it over equipment and wait a few seconds before wiping it down. It makes me feel a little safer knowing I killed most of the bacteria, instead of just transferring it to my towel.

Antiperspirant, deodorant, or talc powder

To eliminate post-workout sweat and body odour, should you reach for an antiperspirant, deodorant stick, or talcum powder? Which is most effective at giving you a clean, fresh scent after you leave the gym?

Well, the answer largely depends on the level of activity you’re planning to do! All three of these products work as intended, it’s a matter of choosing the right one for the job.

Antiperspirant sprays use aluminium salts to block the pores on your skin, thereby reducing the amount of sweat on your skin. Some people think blocking the sweat ducts is harmful to the body, but no studies have linked antiperspirants to any negative effects.

However, antiperspirants should be used after an intense workout, when you’re sweating the most. Spraying yourself with antiperspirant after a light jog is like using a fire extinguisher on a candle.

For lighter cases of sweating, talc powder is perfectly fine. Baby powder for example does an excellent job of reducing excess skin moisture, and you may enjoy the cooling sensation it leaves on your skin.

For situations where you have almost no sweat, but want to eliminate body odour, deodorant is fine to use. Deodorant itself doesn’t block sweating, but it does prevent bacteria from forming in your sweaty armpits that causes body odour.

A liniment

Muscle soreness is usually a good thing post-workout to a degree, as it’s a sign of your muscles improving. Muscle pains and stiffness on the other hand can be a sign of injury. In either case, you can address both with a muscle rub, also known as topical ointments, massage oils, or liniments.

Tiger Balm is probably the most commonly known brand, but there are lots of others out there.

Odour absorbing laundry bag

Even if you change into fresh clothes after the gym, what do you do with your stinky workout clothes? If you’re carrying them in a regular bag, people can probably still smell your clothes in your bag.

That’s why I buy the odour-eliminating laundry bags, like the Tide Sports Laundry Bag.

Face masks

I don’t even need to say why just always have a spare face mask or two in your bag.