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Many women have reached out asking for help for their partners and husbands especially when it comes to a packing list for Europe. Fred Perrotta, founder of Tortuga Backpacks, has been kind enough to help us out with this task!
As a frequent traveler to Europe, his carry-on backpacks were inspired by his trip backpacking Europe. Sounds like the perfect guy for the job! Read on to find out what your male counterpart should pack for Europe.
Men’s Carry-on Packing List
Women aren’t the only ones who want to look good when they travel. Most guys don’t want to wear head-to-toe khaki or pants that zip off.
We have dignity too! Men want to be comfortable and attractive. Guys, you can pack light and look good if you remember two important lessons.
You can also use these Compass Rose packing cubes to help you pack light
First, dress in layers
Layers will keep you warm without your having to pack any bulky, space-hogging clothes.
Second, pack clothes in muted colors that can be mixed and matched
Versatility is key. Three shirts and three pairs of pants should yield nine outfits, not three. Every shirt should match every pair of pants so that you can maximize your number of outfits while minimizing what you pack. I limit my color palette to grays and blues.
If you balance “performance fabrics” with classic wardrobe staples, you’ll feel comfortable and look good when you plan your packing list for Europe.
9 Piece Carry-on Packing List for Europe
Below is a packing list for Europe consisting of nine core items plus accessories which can easily fit into a carry on bag.
Feel free to substitute between categories depending on your destination’s weather.
Start with the most versatile staple of a man’s wardrobe, the t-shirt. American Apparel t-shirts provide the best balance of price with quality and consistent sizing. For performance fabrics that can wick moisture, I prefer Under Armour or Nike’s Dri-Fit line.
Mid-layers are thin, long-sleeved shirts that can be worn over a t-shirt in cool weather or between a t-shirt and another layer in colder weather.
Merino wool is the best fabric for a mid-layer shirt because it helps to regulate your body temperature. A wool mid-layer will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.
For a mid-layer, try merino wool shirts. Under Armour also makes ColdGear and HeatGear lines which can be helpful in extreme climates.
1 Button Down
Even if you’re dressing primarily for comfort when packing for Europe, you should always pack one nicer shirt for evenings out. You never know when a hot date could come up. Always be prepared. Most “wrinkle-free” dress shirts feel synthetic and look too shiny.
For your button down, you can choose one made of a natural material like cotton. An oxford cloth button down is a versatile staple for any man’s wardrobe. An oxford is appropriate in all but the most formal settings and can be worn under a heavier top layer.
Plus, it looks fine rumpled. J. Crew makes high-quality shirts for a reasonable price (especially if you wait for a sale). White or light blue are the best colors to maximize versatility.
1 Outer Layer
For cooler weather, pack one additional layer that you can wear most of the time, at least in transit. The heavier the layer, the more difficult it is to pack.
Your outer layer depends on your personal style, where you’ll be traveling, and what you’ll be doing. Cardigans, unstructured blazers, or hoodies work well. Obviously, the first two are a bit nicer. If you dress well, you’ll have a better chance of scoring an upgrade on your flight. As the Art of Manliness suggests: dress sharp.
1 Pair of Jeans
The travel community loves to argue about packing jeans because they’re heavy and can’t be washed quickly. Too bad. Jeans are another staple of men’s fashion. Every guy looks good in a pair of (properly fitted) jeans. Plus, jeans can be worn multiple times without being washed making them perfect for travel.
If packing space is at a premium, wear your jeans in transit. Jeans vary greatly in price and quality. You can find the classic Levi’s 501s for under $50, but high-end raw denim can cost over $200. If you think jeans are too restrictive, try Bonobos’s travel jeans which stretch a bit.
1 Pair of Chinos
Even if you live in denim like me, having an alternate pair of pants on your trip can help vary your look and prove that you do shower. Compared to jeans, chinos are lightweight and easy to pack.
Plus, they can be dressed up with a button down and leather shoes or dressed down with a t-shirt and sneakers. The Goodthreads and J. Crew are both known for making quality chinos. Bluffworks also makes business-ready trousers made for the active lifestyle of a traveler. Check them out here. Review coming soon.
1 Pair of Shorts
If the weather at your destination permits, pack a pair of shorts so that you aren’t drenched in sweat from your heavier pant options. Any of the brands linked work well.
For less visible items, I always opt for performance over fashion when packing for Europe. Underwear and socks don’t need to look cool. But, if you cheap out on these accessories, you can be very uncomfortable.
Shoe choices depend on what you’ll be doing in your destination. If you’ll be covering several miles per day on foot, wear New Balances or, for a minimalist option, Nike Frees. For more casual trips, I prefer Sperry boat shoes or boots like these ones from Blundstone, travel author Rolf Potts’ brand of choice.
Where To? Girls, share this post with your guys, so you’re not stuck traveling with a schlub. Guys, now you can travel light and look good. So, where are you headed, you handsome devil?
What are your men’s packing tips for Europe?
Please visit these pages for women’s Packing Lists for Europe:
- 10 Step Packing Guide for Europe
- What to Wear in Europe: Packing List for Every Destination
- The Only Backpacking Packing List for Europe You’ll Ever Need!
- How to Avoid Looking Like a Backpacker in Europe
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