Men may have it a little easier than women when it comes to choosing which clothes to throw in their suitcase — shirt, pants, shirt, pants, coat, done! — but they still have to make smart decisions. From the best types of jackets to the right kind of hiking pants, below you’ll find the 6 Types of Men’s Travel Clothes needed for any great vacation.
1. Functional Outerwear
Whether it’s a winter jacket, a lightweight vest, or a raincoat that can double as a windbreaker, outerwear is a basic travel necessity.
With the advent of packable down jackets, traveling light has gotten a whole lot easier. Many companies offer them now, and most are fairly inexpensive, as well as being quite warm (to a point, of course). They also easily stuff into a backpack.
This 32 Degrees Men’s Nano Light Melange Down Jacket comes in six colors and packs down into its own carrying bag…
…and this version adds a hood.
For layering, you’ll want to pack a lightweight vest.
Something like this Columbia Men’s Cathedral Peak Fleece Vest is great by itself or under a heavier jacket. It has a zippered front, on-seam zippered pockets, and a fold-over collar.
And for wet and windy days, take along a waterproof raincoat like the Columbia Men’s Watertight II Front-Zip Hooded Rain Jacket. This one feels more like a windbreaker, but is just as good as keeping out the raindrops.
2. Lightweight Shirts
When it comes to traveling, 100% polyester is not your friend. It’s hot and tends to trap body odor. On the flip side, 100% cotton isn’t the way to go either. The fabric may be soft and breathable, but try washing it in a sink and getting it to line dry in less than two days. For lightweight traveling, you want a blend.
Uniqlo makes a nice, inexpensive cotton/poly blend t-shirt. Their Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt (pictured above) wicks away moisture and rolls up very small for packing.
If it’s color you want, go with one of the 10 choices of the District Made Perfect Tri Crew Tee made of a cotton, polyester, rayon blend.
3. Heavier Fleeces
If you’re traveling somewhere cold and need more warmth without too much volume, take along a fleece pullover. If it’s too bulky for your bag, just wear it on the plane.
Columbia makes this Men’s Klamath Range II Half-Zip Pullover in every color under the rainbow.
Helly Hanson makes a similar Polartec Daybreaker shirt with flat seams for less bulk.
4. Comfortable Pants
Neutral color, water repellent, fast-drying, loose-fitting, and maybe a security pocket or two? These are the qualities you’re looking for in a great pair of traveling pants that will transition easily between city sightseeing and hiking.
Royal Robbins Men’s Traveler Stretch Pants are superb, breathable, non-wrinkling travel pants. They also have a zippered front pocket that’s great for your wallet, phone, and other valuables.
No need to pack pants and shorts if you’re wearing zipoffs. Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants are thin enough for hot climates, but strong enough to ward off errant branches. They’ll also protect your legs against water and sun, until you decide to turn them into shorts!
5. Sturdy Shoes
Whether you plan to walk on a sidewalk, jump over streams, or scale mountains, make sure you take at least two pairs of shoes that fit well and suit your needs. The waterproof, suede, slip-on Merrell Jungle Mocs (pictured above) really hold up to all-day wear. They’re also super comfortable.
For moderate hiking, KEEN makes the Men’s Targhee II, a low profile, leather hiking shoe with a reinforced toe and easy pull-on heel.
For more heavy-duty activities, Adidas offers the Outdoor Men’s AX2 Hiking Boot with a Gore-Tex lining and a high traction rubber sole.
6. Dashing Hats
Remember Indiana Jones? No one would accuse him of looking like a dork wearing his fedora in the Amazon. So don’t be afraid of a great hat. Your non-sunburned neck will thank you. There are many stylish choices out there, some that can be crushed in a suitcase and bounce right back into shape. Read this post about the best travel hats for both men and women.
Ethics statement: Several of the items on this page are clothing and shoes that we actually own and use. We try to recommend items that are manufactured by reputable brands and/or get excellent customer reviews.