Seven years of travel goes by so quickly. I’ve traveled to more than 100 countries on all 7 continents and get asked about packing constantly. This single question has inspired me to share my top travel essentials for men.
I’m a believer in products and brands, if I pick something out to use, it will be tested to its limits. Everything listed below has been with me on my travels at one point or another over the years.
We have had varying adventures during our travels. We have hiked some of the tallest mountains and most active volcanoes in the world. We have experienced cold climates in Tibet, wet/humid climates in the Amazon and some of the hottest/driest climates while traveling in Africa.
For the first few years, we traveled full time, meaning I carried one set of clothing across 5 continents. Since then, we tend to travel from a base. This allows me to change out my clothes for each trip.
Either way, these items are the ones I keep in my go-to pile.
Top Travel Essentials for Men: The Ultimate Packing List
Functional pants are definitely essential when you travel as much as we do. You can find pants that are suitable for all adventures and also look good enough to be worn out on the town.
Truly, wrinkle-free is the best, so you can roll them up into a ball and pack them away and take them out for next time with no stress over wrinkles.
Another great feature to have is stain resistant fabric that is easily washable. Last but not least is quick-drying fabric, so you can wash them before going to bed and they will be dry in the early morning.
Top Recommended Pants:
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants
- Columbia Men’s Cascades Explorer Pant, Water & Stain Resistant
- Marmot Men’s Arch Rock Pants
I have put around 10,000 + miles on my Merrell Blaze Hiking Shoes. I have been happy with them for every adventure so far. No matter what the path was: dirt, asphalt, or no path at all, they have provided me with comfort and support.
They are water-resistant and the grip on the rubble sole has held up well even though they have been used for so long.
Top Recommended Shoes:
- Merrell Blaze Hiking Shoes
- Columbia Men’s Redmond Low Hiking Shoe
- Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Boot
There’s no wonder why these socks are the leader in socks for outdoor activates. They are a little pricey but worth every penny. They take a little longer than everything else in my pack to dry but they are worth it.
These socks are in great shape for being used for over 8,600+ miles. To this day they still fit like a glove.
Top Recommended Socks:
I started our beginning backpacking trip with 4 pairs and ended the trip with the same 4 pairs. Two Gray, One Green, and One White. Exofficio is available for purchase in 17 countries.
The Exofficio boxers are still in like-new shape, they have held up beyond what I expected. Washing is quick and easy and they are truly quick-drying underwear.
Top Recommended Boxers:
- Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxers
- Smartwool Men’s Base Layer Bottom – Merino 150 Wool Pattern Active Boxer Briefs
- Arc’teryx Phase SL Boxer Men’s
Best Button-Up Shirt
There’s no wonder why Columbia is a leader in outdoor clothing. These shirts feel great in all types of climates from hot to cold. The vented sides and back vents are a great plus for keeping you cool in the hottest weather.
I’ve drenched these shirts in sweat hiking and within thirty minutes they are dry.
One feature I really like is the ability to roll-up sleeves with the attached strap to keep them up. Another plus to these shirts is they look nice while your traveling and since some of these shirts are button-ups you can look professional while feeling casual.
I’m a believer in these shirts and they are a must for anyone who likes to explore the outdoors.
Top Recommended Button Up Shirt:
- Columbia Men’s Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt
- Columbia Men’s Tamiami II Short Sleeve Fishing Shirt
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Mountain Short-Sleeve Shirt
Best Active Tee
The Exofficio Give-N-Go Tee is a simple active t-shirt that’s quick drying. This shirt is comfy and a heck of a value for the price. These tees are good for using as a base layer if the weather is cold or as the only layer on a hot day.
No matter how much I sweat wearing this shirt it never really gets wet like other shirts which were a major plus!
I also used this shirt as a pajama top. I get really warm while sleeping and this shirt wicks away the heat and keeps my comfortable throughout the night. This is one of the only shirts I will sleep in because unfortunately, I am always warm when I sleep.
Top Recommended Active Tee:
- Exofficio Give-N-Go Tee
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
- Columbia Men’s PFG Terminal Tackle Long Sleeve Tee
Best 3 in 1 Jacket
My all-time favorite 3 in 1 jacket is the Jack Wolfskin-Norrland jacket. This jacket holds up well in snow, rain and cold weather. The fleece inner jacket can zip apart from the outer shell so you can wear it if it’s just cool out.
That was great for those cool camping nights in Africa. The rain jacket part has saved my butt many times from getting wet.
Top Recommended 3 in 1 Jacket:
- Jack Wolfskin-Norrland 3 in 1 Jacket
- Columbia Men’s Rural Mountain 3 in 1 Interchange Omni Heat Jacket
Long Sleeve, 1/2 or 1/4 Zip
One of my favorite items, I basically live in them during our travels. For cold camping days and long flying days I have one of these long sleeve shirts with me.
You can get weeks of usage out of this with no need to wash it. When you do have to wash it though it takes some time to dry. This will be on me for all of my travels.
Top Recommended 1/2 & 1/4 Zip:
- Icebreaker Merino Original Long Sleeve Half Zip
- Columbia Men’s Standard Low Drag 1/4 Zip
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Cloud Layer Pro 1/4-Zip Pullover
Made out of rubber, they are light-weight for easy packing and are comfortable no matter what adventure we are on. I’ve even used them on some hikes, they are that comfortable.
I literally do not travel without a pair of Chaco sandals in my bag. While I wasn’t a fan at first and Lina had to convince me to try them, these sandals are just about the perfect travel shoe.
They are lightweight, pack easily into any bag and really hold up. I wear them in cities, hiking, water adventures and anywhere else I go. They dry fast and have good support.
Top Recommended Sandals:
Quick Dry Shorts
I love these shorts, they are good for anyone who loves the outdoors. These shorts are good for a long day of hiking or just relaxing on the beach. They are quick-drying and stain repellent.
I currently have a khaki pair and will be getting a darker pair, since on our over-landing trip from Cape Town to Cario they showed too much dirt I had to wash them after every use.
But if you like to wash after one wear, that’s ok too, as they are quick drying. These are my shorts of choice no matter what the adventure is.
Top Recommended Quick Dry Shorts:
- Columbia Men’s PFG Stain Repellent and Sun Protective Shorts
- Columbia Men’s Palmerston Peak Short
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Shorts
These shorts have been in all of the oceans of the world! They are great quality and you definitely get what you pay for. The one pocket on the side is useful for putting all kinds of items like room keys and GoPro parts in it.
Just like most board shorts, they are quick drying.
Top Recommended Swimming Trunks:
- Billabong Men’s All Day Pro Boardshorts Grey Heather
- Amazon Essentials Men’s Quick-Dry 9″ Swim Trunk
- O’Neill Men’s Santa Cruz Solid 2.0 Boardshorts
It’s been nice to have a rash guard in my bag. For those days we are scuba diving or those days we are playing on the beach and I do not want to get much sun.
It’s quick-drying and provides comfort in the coldest waters. If your someone who scuba dives or even someone who enjoys water sports this is a must for you. It has also been nice to wear as a compression undershirt for extra warmth on those cold nights.
Top Recommended Rash Guards:
- Kanu Surf Men’s Long Sleeve Platinum UPF 50+ Rashguard, Grey
- O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard
- Hurley Men’s Long Sleeve Pro Light Quick Dry Sun Protection Rashguard
This is an item every traveler needs. There are twelve different ways you can wear your Buff headwear. For me, in Africa, I would use it as a durag (do-rag) covering my head from the hot African sun.
For early morning hikes, it’s nice to have my wool one around my neck to keep me warm.
Top Recommended Buff Headwear:
- BUFF Original Multifunctional Headwear, Graphite
- Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Printed Multifunctional Headwear
Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.
- Shop Columbia – The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts, and travel pants.
- Shop REI – They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
- Shop Moosejaw – Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.
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