Packing Tips & Tricks for the Men
Hey there fellas…
..since I’m not a guy and I’ve never packed for a guy before, I asked my good friend, Mike (IG: mickeyjay36), to put together a list for you. Get excited!!! But, before we jump into it, it’s kind of a funny story how Mike and I became friends.
So…quick STORY TIME!
Hahaha…ok anyways, Mike and I were acquaintances back in undergrad as we had mutual friends in Chicago. We usually just exchanged greetings at parties and nothing more. Then earlier this year, during my four month journey, Mike messaged me on Facebook about his trip to Southeast Asia and coincidentally, we were going to be in Northern Thailand at the same time! We met each other up in Pai and I met all his new Chiang Mai friends and we all toured the rest of Thailand together, thus creating our Songkran Crew, lol. He moved to London after the trip for work and we are still good friends! 🙂 #friendship #yesnewfriends
Ok, enough background info. Now I’ll let Mike take it away…
Hey everyone….a little bit about myself:
- Caught the travel bug in 2013 after completing a consultancy project in Recife, Brazil
- Been in approximately 34 countries throughout 5 continents
- Lived in Chicago & Rotterdam, NL and currently live in London
- At least 2 debit/credit cards, but I prefer 3
- Things get crazy when you backpack. I carry 3 different cards in three different locations (pocket, day-bag, backpack) in the event I lose one, get it stolen, or if it doesn’t work in a specific country. I recommend getting one currency card like weSwap or Revolut. It allows you to exchange your home currency to multiple different currencies at a mid-market/fair exchange rate. Also see Sam’s post on good travel cards!
- Card holder & minimalist wallet to store your multiple cards
- Cash (USD)
- You’d be surprised in how many countries will take USD. If you ever run out of the local currency, some good ol’ Murican dollars can take you out of a tough spot. I usually store a 10 or 20 dollar bill in my phone case.
- Make a certified copy or laminated copies of your passport. Additionally, email copies of your passport and ID’s just in case
- 1 pair of sneakers:
- Light, loose-fitted shoes with a good grip on the bottom for light hiking. Something easy to clean (Nike Roshes is what I wore)
- 1 pair of light-hiking sandals (warmer weather only). Water resistant
- Didn’t use these because I think it looks stupid on my feet, but if you can rock em’ cop em’
- Flip flops. (even in colder weather)
- Some cheap ones. You’ll use them for two purposes: showering and everyday-use. Chances are you’ll lose them in the pile of other flip flops at the front door of your hostel. If you arrive at your end destination during business hours, then buy some at a local store on the way to your hostel. It’s cheap and serves as a handy souvenir to start off your holiday.
- A few Dark/Black socks
- 4-5 pairs of shorts.
- Some durable ones (khaki, denim) as well as some breathable ones (cotton, basketball shorts) as it can get blistering hot. I brought 2 khakis and 2 breathable’s.
- 1-2 pairs of swimming trunks
- 6-8 pairs of dark/black underwear.
- 3-4 pairs of pants.
- Some durable ones (khaki, denim) as well as some breathable ones (cotton)
- 6-8 pairs of dark/black underwear.
- Tip: If you’re backpacking for longer than 2.5/3 months, then this might not be enough and that’s ok. I suggested this because I encourage you to go out to the market and buy extra pairs of underwear
- 4-5 light cotton t-shirts
- 1-2 button down short sleeve shirts for that lucky lady you’ll meet at Yellow Bar in Pai
- 2-3 cut-out tees
- 1 dry-fit long sleeve shirt. REI has a nice one that I wore in a desert in Paracas, Peru. It saved me from sunburn
- Same as leg wear, buy as you need when you get there.
- 4-5 long sleeve shirts
- 1-2 button down long sleeve shirts
- 2-3 sweaters
- 1 jacket appropriate for the climate
- Same as leg wear, buy as you need when you get there.
- 1 hat to keep the sun out
- 1 pair of sunglasses.
- Cheap ones! Leave those Ray Bans at home and pick up some Bay Rans at the street market
- 1 Travel tooth brush
- Travel size (toothpaste, soap, & shampoo)
- The travel size is meant to serve as a backup. When you get there, buy regular sized ones. Tip: buy those 2-in-1 body/shampoo bottles
- Body sponge and a small waterproof 2/3L bag (I’ll provide a description of this below)
- It’s kind of a hassle to carry but will conserve your supply of soap. I’d say this is a “maybe” item
- Contact lens.
- Bring dailies and I’d suggest 1 pair of monthlies, for emergencies. I only brought monthlies and it was a hassle to go to the bathroom after a late night out
- 1 medium size contact solution bottle.
- Try to conserve this as much as possible. These are one of the items I wouldn’t want to buy overseas unless you buy from a trusted pharmacy, which was difficult for me to find
- 2 contact cases
- Sun block and insect repellent.
- Buy there. You’ll go through plenty of these
- 1 small nail clipper set
- 1 good shaver and replacement blades
- Disposable shavers. Buy there
- Shaving cream, travel size
- Ear-plugs if you’re a light sleeper.
- Mind you, you’ll be sleeping with 10 other people in a dorm…they snore
- Tip: if you want to pack light while liberating yourself, grow out your hair. I did. It was possibly one of the most liberating things I’ve done. So ditch the shavers and cream
- Standard first aid kit from REI or any other outdoor store. ACE wrap, tape, bandage set, ointments, antibiotics, alcohol pads, ibuprofen, tweezers, sleeping pills, hand sanitizer, etc will suffice
- Diarrhea pills
- Carry some medium strength (Imodium/pepto) and in rare emergencies, use an antibiotic like azithromycin. Use these with caution and consult with a physician J This is imperative.
- Insect bite cream
- Sun-burn cream if you burn easily
- Durable phone case.
- Many travelers swear by the water proof cases. I used it once in Peru but never anywhere else. Know yourself.
- PopSocket or Phone Ring
- Google it. Or a phone ring. Gives you a nice grip on your phone while taking risky shots over bridges or while riding a tuk tuk. Trust me, it makes a difference
- 2 portable chargers.
- One small pocket sized (3k-4K mAh)
- Large one (10k+)
- 1 long (4ft+) durable charging cord
- 1 small (pocket size) charging cord.
- Tip: duel USB/iPhone cords work great. As you can use it to charge your iPhone and other devices
- Basic headphones.
- I know…the wireless ones are good. But one thing I’ve learned is that you want to minimize the things you have to charge every night. Outlets are limited and it’s challenging to plug 3-4 devices every night
- Mini hard drive to back up your photos.
- Wifi sucks at many hostels so don’t rely on backing it up via cloud
- 1-2 International travel adaptor w/ USB outlets. Like this
- 1 local outlet adaptor. Buy there
- Tip: try to leave the PC at home but if you must, try to bring a tablet w/ keyboard instead
- 45L-65L hiking bag. (for minimalist packing stick to bags under 44L)
- Go with the 65L if you plan on buying large items or if you’ll be traveling to both cold and warm climates. I used my 65L to do London and SE Asia. Otherwise, less than 44L will do the trick.
- They all come with different shapes and features. One thing that is a must for me is to have the ability to pack/unpack off to the side. I don’t know how people can use top loading bags. Side-loading allows for easy access to difficult locations all throughout. The must-have features I look for are as follows:
- Detachable top lid with outer and inner pockets
- Side-loading and top loading. Bottom access is a “nice-to-have” but not a “must-have” IMO
- Comfortable hip belt with pockets
- Plenty of compression straps
- Load lifters
- Rear pocket
- Side water bottle pockets
- Tip: Reliable bags go a long way. Buy a good brand like North Face, Osprey, Deuter, Gregory, or the REI brands. I have an Osprey Stratos 34L for 1-2 week trips and a Gregory Baltoro 65L for anything over 2 weeks.
- 1 10L day pack. Many hiking bags come with a day pack
- 2, 5, 7 liter waterproof stuff sacks. REI sells plenty of sets. Check here. Great to put toiletries, electronics, and dirty laundry in
- Mini-notepad and 2 small pens.
- Phones die or lose signal. Sometimes I write down the address of where I want to go in case I’m not able to get signal. Then I can show it to a cab/tuk tuk driver and I’m good. Plus sometimes you just want to write shit down. In any case, a good ol’ trusty pen and a pad goes a long way.
- Write about your experiences. I have entries from 4 years ago and it’s sobering to read about my experiences from back then. Pictures bring you back to what you saw and writings bring you back to what you felt. Do both to record your full experience.
- Bring 2-3 TSA locks for your bag and one medium size lock for a locker. Use combination locks only. You do not want to lose a key.
- A few clear zip-lock bags
- A light, textile blanket or a cocoon blanket
- Micro-fiber body towel
- Micro-fiber hand towel
- Peanuts, granola bars, and a few bags of emergen-c
- It’s a good idea to have a few snacks during those long bus rides from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
And that’s it!
Thanks Mike for putting this together! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about what to pack for your trip or if you have any suggestions/comments from his list above. Thanks for stopping by!
For more travel tips, read the following articles: