Mens Carry-On Packing List for 12 Weeks in Asia

Olivia wrote a post about what she’s carrying-on through Asia a few weeks back so I figured it is time for me to do the same.

My general packing principles are as follows:

  • Quick dry is a friend
  • Collared shirts are nice to include because you don’t always want to feel like a backpacker
  • A good speaker is essential because music is important no matter where you are
  • Good coffee is possible (post coming soon about our setup)
  • A collapsable backpack is really helpful (Olivia feels the same way)
  • “River sandals” (in my case Chacos) are worth the ugly


Here’s the 40L North Face backpack I use. There are so many better ones out there (40L Nomatic and 34L Ortlieb Roller) but a friend gave me this one a few years ago and it does the job. I wish it weren’t just a top-loader or that it at least had some bottom loading component as well. However, cubes cover this fault well enough.

And here’s what I stuff in it.


6 T-shirts

  • 2 Everlane V-neck
  • 1 Everlane pocket crew
  • 3 (super old) Mossimo V-neck originally purchased at target
  • One tank-top (not pictured)

4 short-sleeve button up shirts (left to right)

  • Patagonia 100% polyester
  • Patagonia 60% cotton, 40% polyester
  • Everlane chambray
  • Custom-made in Hoi An, Vietnam to mimic the left-most Patagonia

1 long-sleeve button up shirt

  • Lightweight Levi second-hand

1 Jacket

  • Patagonia nano-puff, packs down small in its own cube (no rain jacket for SE Asia trip; storms are usually short-lived and it stays humid so drying is easy)

3 Pants 

  • 1 jean (would have left these behind if I were to do it again. I wore them once in Japan)
  • REI travel pant (they’re not zip-off to shorts because I despise those, and they have no extra pockets)
  • Lulu lemon travel black pants, slim fit. These are my favorite, super comfy, quick-dry, and have a little elasticity so nice for long plane and train trips)

1 swimsuit and 3 shorts (left to right)

  • Patagonia swimsuit, black
  • Everlane chambray shorts
  • Hurley khaki shorts with Nike drifit fabric (found these at a second hand store and I love them)
  • Sleep and yoga shorts, light weight

3 Shoes 

  • Rainbow sandals
  • Saucony low tennis shoes (they got bleached early on but whaddayagonnado?)
  • Chacos

Underwear (quick dry is most important here)

  • 3 pair of Ex-officio Give-n-Go boxer briefs
  • 4 pair of Patagonia quick-dry boxer briefs
  • Note: I like the Ex-officio better in terms of fit and they dry more quickly so I’ll be switching fully to these asap

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a must. Mine are Eagle Creek. From left to right:

  • Shoes cube (can fit my sauconys and sandals and hair clippers, see below)
  • Large blue for pants/shorts
  • Large expandable green for shirts
  • Small green for underwear/socks
  • Patagonia Nano-Puff has its own special REI expandable packing cube pictured in the final photo below


Music and Coffee Set-up

Computer and Small Cubes (clockwise)

  • Macbook with slim case
  • Patagonia flat zip pouch for passport, yellow fever card, small journal, pen, headphones, ear plugs, chap stick, etc
  • Sunglasses case
  • Small blue eagle creek cube with electronics (see below for details)
  • Patagonia toiletries pouch (middle bottom)
  • Not pictured (Kindle Paperwhite)

Electronics Accessories in Small Blue Eagle Creek cube (clockwise)

  • 10000 mAh Poweradd Powerpack (charges iPhone at least 6 times on a single charge, which is always more than we need so consider getting a lighter smaller version)
  • Macbook charger (USB-C)
  • iPhone charger cord
  • Headphones splitter
  • Kindle and UE Boom charger cord
  • Spork
  • iPhone charger plug
  • Center is a small Anker portable charger which is extra
  • Universal Plug adapter
  • Bottle opener and grinder handle pictured again


  • 1 baseball hat (I’m bald so I wear this all the time)
  • 3 pair of smartwool ultra-light micro socks
  • Micronet towel (fits in my pants/shorts cube)
  • Brown leather belt
  • Knapsack for dirty clothes

  • 220 volt hair clippers (purchased in Africa because 110 volt clippers from the US won’t work, even with an adapter because they are not the correct frequency and the clippers will stick). I buzz my head weekly so these are essential and have never caused me problems carrying-on airplanes
  • Manduka travel yoga mat


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