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This trusty minimalist packing list for men, which I’ve been using and fine-tuning for over a decade, will help you figure out what to pack and what not to pack, down to the last Ziploc bag.
A Man is Judged by the Size of His Bag
In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep’s character said, “You can always judge a woman by her bag.” (Probably. I never watched the movie.) I don’t know about her general advice, but if she had been talking about a traveler, she’d have been spot on.
You are what you pack.
A man with an enormous bag is overcautious, inexperienced, and indecisive. And probably sweaty.
A man who can go for months with just a daypack? That’s a happy camper who knows what’s up.
And since you’re reading this blog, you probably want to be the latter. So, without further ado, here’s my complete go-to minimalist packing list for men that I’ve been perfecting for over a decade.
Men’s Minimalist Packing List
Because minimalist men always look at the big picture first. Click any to jump straight to it.
- 3 Bags – Main bag, day bag, and laundry – 2.3 lb
- 16 Articles of Clothing – It’s all about layering – 8.4 lb
- 2 Pairs of Shoes – Sandals and versatile sneakers – 1.5 lb
- 14 Electronic Items – Computer, phone, chargers, etc. – 5.5 lb
- 9 Toiletries – The basics, and toilet paper just in case – 0.5 lb
- 11 Miscellaneous Items – Passport, cash, lock, etc. – 0.8 lb
- Only Pack if Really Necessary
- DO NOT Pack
TOTAL: 55 items, 19.5 lb
December 2018 Update:
- I now wear an Oura Ring sleep tracker everywhere I go, so it’s earned its way onto the list along with its little charger.
- The Nike Free 5.0+ shoes have been kicked to the curb in favor of some even lighter, more comfortable, and, hopefully, more durable New Balance 20v7s.
- A technical merino tank top from Icebreaker has replaced the polyester ones I used to use.
- The Arcteryx Cover Cardigan’s been swapped out for an Icebreaker hoodie.
Note: The Amazon links in this minimalist packing list for men are affiliate links that reward me for referring you to them. As proof to you that these are legitimate recommendations and not money-grabs, I’ve included photos of myself using them. And, as further evidence, you’ll notice many of the links aren’t to Amazon. I earn no commission on these but recommend them anyway because they’re better than whatever Amazon offers.
3 items, 2.3 lbs / 1.1 kg
Even though you’re traveling light, you should have at least two bags. One light bag for all your stuff, and a super-light bag for day trips.
16 items, 8.4 lb / 3.8 kg
A minimalist packing list requires maximum flexibility, so ensure every piece of clothing matches with the others. Also, always choose easy-to-wash, difficult-to-stain, and quick-to-dry fabrics over cotton.
2 items, 2.0 lb / 0.9 kg
14 items, 5.5 lb / 2.5 kg
9 items, 0.5 lb / 0.2 kg
11 Items, 0.8 lb / 0.4 kg
Only If Really Necessary
DO NOT Pack
Take a Load Off
Altogether, this minimalist packing list for men contains 55 items and weighs in at only 8.8 kg or 19.2 lb. And unless you’re traveling around butt naked, you’ll be typically wearing a good 5 lbs of that, so it’ll weigh closer to 14 lb.
Everything fits into one small, nondescript, and easy-to-carry backpack. You won’t have to roll your clothes to get them to fit in your bag, you won’t be missing anything, and you’ll be shaking your head every time you see a poor sucker with a needlessly giant bag.
Before You Pack Up and Leave…
What are your favorite items you’d have on your own minimalist packing list?
Do you think I missed anything or included something unnecessary?
Contribute in the comments below.
And if you’re looking for some other tips that’ll help you have a better trip, check out our post on what cliché travel tips you shouldn’t follow, and what to do instead.