How To: Pack a Suitcase

Packing for a trip is an art form in its own right, meaning it can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully there are some one-approach-fits-all basic tips that make the whole process a lot smoother.

Unlike most packing tips aimed at ladies that encourage them not to take too much, almost the opposite is the case for men. A lot of us either under-pack (simply take too little and forget the essentials) or take all the wrong things.

A lot of this is thanks to years of relying on our mothers or better other halves to do it for us and when it comes to having to go-it-alone we wilt and crumble. We’re here to reassure you – it really isn’t that hard!

Your mum won’t be around forever and if you intend on being an independent well-traveled man it’s essential that you learn how to effectively pack a bag or suitcase for a trip.


What’s the weather gonna be like while you’re there? Well, if you don’t know, we certainly don’t! The good old BBC provide good, accurate weather forecasts so take a look so you know what to pack (and what to leave at home).

If you have a friend who lives in the place you’ll be visiting, give them a call or drop them an email and see what things are like on their end.


Some guys can get away with keeping a running list in their head while they pack but for most men a written list that you can check off as you go is an essential packing tool.

It’s best to do an individual list for each trip rather than a general all-rounder that you use for every trip you take. Reason being, those shorts you took to Barcelona for example won’t be much good up in the French Alps.

Also note at the bottom a list of essentials you’ll need to have on your person – not just a list of things that are going in your suitcase.

Gent's Packing B&W


  • Don’t cram your packing into the last hour or two before you’re about to leave for the airport.
  • 1 pair of trousers or shorts for every 2-3 days of your holiday.
  • Fresh shirt/top and underwear/socks for each day.
  • A pair of pajama pants if you’re that way inclined but most men sleep in their underwear so that saves room straight away. Or if you’re going to a cold destination thermal underwear/long johns would come in handy.
  • Wear bulky items en route to save case space.
  • Smaller items like shorts and socks are great for packing into the corners.
  • Pop your socks inside your shoes to help the shoes keep their shape as well as being a great space saver.
  • Shoes can be placed at the bottom of the case, around the edges with the sturdy sole of the shoe/trainer on the outside edge.
  • Take a spare bin bag/large plastic bag with you to put your dirty clothes in – keeping them away from your clean ones!


  • For larger items like jeans and jackets, it’s best to place these at the bottom as flat as possible.
  • For smaller items that don’t crease as easily such as t-shirts, underwear and cotton slacks you can roll them up.

Packing Tips


  • Two options here: place them all into a toiletry bag and shove them into your check-in bag (there’s less restrictions placed on toiletries going into the hold). Alternatively if you want more room in your main case then take your toiletries in your hand luggage.
  • If you take them in your hand luggage then liquid, gels and aerosols rules enforced by The Man will apply. So be sure to have all your necessaries in small travel sized bottles and placed inside a clear bag.
  • If your luggage is lost then at least you’ll have some essentials in your hand luggage to keep you ticking over.


  • Save a little room for souvenirs. Or slot a collapsible bag inside your main case.
  • Going with a travel buddy? Go 50-50. Half of yours and half of theirs in each case, just in case one of them goes missing – you’ll both still have something to wear.
  • A great trick is to unpack all clothes – especially shirts – right away so the creases don’t have time to fully set in. Then, when you’re taking a shower, hang creased clothing up in the same room and the steam will take most, if not all, of them out.

Packing questions/suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.


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