Best College Packing List for Guys: Dorm Essentials

Are you heading off to college soon and unsure about what to pack?

Look no further – I’ve compiled the ultimate college packing list for guys to ensure you’re fully prepared for your freshman year!

college packing list for guys

Congratulations on getting admission to your dream college!

Moving away to college is an exciting and transformative experience, whether you’ll be living in an on-campus dorm, a nearby college apartment, or somewhere in between.

Living on college campuses is a wise decision because it is convenient and allows you to socialize with other students easily and enjoy group study sessions.

Think of your dorm room as more than a sleeping place – it’s your home away from home for the next few years. Because of this, it’s necessary to make it comfortable and cozy as you’ll spend most of your time there.

From bedding to school supplies, this ultimate college packing list for guys includes everything you’ll need to make your dorm or apartment feel like home. 

Whether you’re a parent wondering what your son needs or a guy gearing up for the first year of college, this college dorm packing list is your go-to guide. 

Go through the list and see what you already have and what you need to buy! Let’s dive in.

college packing list for guys

College Packing List for Guys – The Essentials

Leaving home for college and living in a dorm is an exciting and challenging experience. In high school, you may have had the luxury of clean laundry and easy access to specific needs. However, college life requires a bit more independence and preparedness.

Let’s start with the best dorm room essentials! Remember, everyone’s packing list might differ. From essentials like bedding to personal items, this packing list for guys covers everything you need in your dorm.

Bringing everything from home might not work due to shared space. For your ease, all essentials are organized into different sections.

college packing list for guys

College Dorm Room Essentials for Guys

Before you start shopping for your college dorm items, the first thing you should do is ask your dorm about the storage they provide. Here’s a list of dorm room essentials!

Keep your door open for the first few days to make friends. Snacks or cookies are welcoming touches.

college packing list for guys

Bedding Essentials For College

Most dorms have Twin XL beds and Twin XL mattresses, so bringing the right fitted sheets is a great idea. Before moving in, check with your dorm. Things like bed lifts or bed risers can create much space. Pack a high-quality mattress pad for increased comfort. The provided dorm mattresses may not be comfortable. Pack the following items to make your dorm room a home away from home.  

college packing list for guys

Clothing Essentials

Packing clothes is one of the most important essentials for guys on a college packing list and can be tricky. If you’re attending an in-state college and can sometimes visit your home, leave your out-of-season clothes there. For example, keep your winter clothes at home during the late summer and fall, except for some warm items. Dorm closets are generally small, so planning is important. 

Don’t overpack clothes. If you need more, you can buy them locally near your college. 

college packing list for guys

Bathroom and Toiletries

Most of the dorms have communal bathrooms. You should bring a shower caddy or tote to transport essentials between your room and the bathroom. 

  • Bath towels
  • Portable shower caddy with hanging hook 
  • Facewash
  • Loofah
  • Hand towels
  • Bath mat
  • Shampoo and Conditioner 
  • Exfoliator
  • Moisturizer
  • Body wash or soap
  • Hand wash or Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Shower curtain
  • Shower curtain rings
  • Bath cleaner
  • Hair products
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Deodorants
  • Q-Tips
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Dental floss
  • Shower shoes/flip-flops
  • Air freshener
  • Chapstick – optional
  • Cologne – optional 
  • Shaving cream/gel/foam
  • Razors (bring all)
  • Shaving chargers
  • Tweezers
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail clippers
  • Over-the-counter medicine (e.g., Midol, Advil, Tylenol) and prescriptions
  • Allergy medicine (e.g. Benadryl)
  • Melatonin
  • Band-aids
  • First Aid Kit
  • Thermometer
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Quick freeze ice-packs
  • Eyeglasses
  • Eyedrops
  • Sunglasses
  • Tissues

The amount of each item you need depends on how quickly you use it. Don’t overpack at first because toiletries are something you’ll need to buy again, no matter where you live.

Note: Pack liquids in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag to prevent leaks.

college packing list for guys

School Supplies

When it comes to college supplies, your class syllabus will give you more information. Desks and closets are essential for making the most of a small space. Here is a list of some general items that must be included in a college packing list for guys. 

  • Notebooks 
  • Paper pads
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Lunchbox
  • Academic planner
  • Folders
  • Scotch tape
  • Duct tape
  • Binders
  • Highlighters
  • Pens or pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Scale
  • Paper clips and binder clips
  • Sticky notes
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Study tools like index cards or Post-it notes
  • Backpack
  • Whiteout
  • Glue
  • Staplers
  • Rubber Bands
  • 3-hole punch
  • Push Pins/Thumb Tacks
  • Bulletin Board
  • Desk organizer (if your desk doesn’t have drawers)
  • Desk lamp for studying (if not provided)
  • Extra chargers and cords

college packing list for guys

Electronics/Tech Items 

The following list of electronic items is a general guideline you can follow for your college packing. 

Surge protectors or power strips are essential for college dorm rooms. You can consider sharing its cost with your roommate. 

college packing list for guys

Kitchen Essentials

Even if your college dorm has a dining hall, it’s a good idea to include basic staples on your college packing list for preparing food in your dorm room. When it comes to having kitchen items like microwaves and mini-fridges, be sure to check dorm policies. Here are some food-related things you must pack.

college packing list for guys

Laundry and Cleaning Essentials

For an ultimate college packing list for guys, don’t overlook the laundry and cleaning essentials. These important items will prepare you for a tidy dorm life. Most dorms provide communal washing machines either for free or at an extra cost. If the dorm lacks a laundry room and facilities, you might need to use a nearby laundromat. Make sure to have enough quarters, especially if the machines operate within them. 

  • Laundry detergent 
  • Laundry basket
  • Plastic hamper (You can keep it in your dorm closet)
  • Stain remover
  • Drying rack
  • Lint Brush
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Fabric softener
  • Paper towels
  • Dry sheets 
  • Dry balls
  • Small trash bags
  • Wrinkle release spray
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Clorox wipes
  • Dusting cloth (washable and reusable)
  • Coins for washer or dryer
  • Dishwasher detergent and sponge

Miscellaneous Items for College Packing List for Guys

You might need a few extra items during your studies. If your classrooms are distant from your dorm, a bicycle can help you commute between your lectures and dorm room.

Many guys love sports and exercise. If you do, too, add sports gear to your college dorm packing list for guys. For example, if you like golf, keep your golf equipment ready. If soccer is your thing, pack your soccer apparel and cleats. And if you love hitting the gym, a gym bag is a must, containing all necessary workout essentials. Some other essential things are;

Remember, the specific items you choose will depend on your preferences, needs, and college policies.

Double-check with your college for any guidelines or restrictions on what you can bring to the dorms. 

Important Documents for a College Packing List for Guys

  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Social Security Card
  • Bank Information
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Car insurance
  • Car registration
  • Driver’s License 
  • Student ID
  • Financial Aid Forms
  • Renters Insurance
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Passport
  • Checks
  • Birth Certificate

Make sure you bring these documents to college, but keep them safe. Buy a safe to store the most important things like social security cards. Heavy safes might not fit in dorm rooms, but if you have one, keep it hidden and don’t tell anyone where it is.

What Not to Add to Your College Packing List for Guys (and Why)

Wondering what you can skip out of your college packing list for guys? Here’s a list of things many college students find unnecessary or can’t have in college dorms. 


Of all freshman mistakes, the biggest one is buying textbooks too early.

You will not need textbooks on the first day of class. Attend the lectures to see which ones are essential.

Also, please avoid paying full price in the campus store. You can always find cheaper textbooks elsewhere.

Windows AC Units

Air conditioners are usually not allowed in dorm rooms.

Extension Cords

Extension cords are generally not allowed in most dorms due to fire safety concerns. 

Alarm Clock

Although punctuality matters, buying an alarm clock may not be necessary because your phone’s built-in alarm function might serve the same purpose.

TV & DVD Player

Having a TV in a small dorm room might make it feel even smaller. Consider watching your favorite shows on your laptop or phone instead. If you still want a TV, you must wait until you’ve settled in before buying one, as they can be bulky to bring during the move.


Unless your college is pet-friendly, animals are not often allowed in campus housing.

Blackout Curtains

Avoid bringing blackout curtains for your dorm room. While they are common on dorm room packing lists, they might lead to excessive sleeping throughout the day, making it difficult to wake up for class. To keep a good sleep schedule, choose regular curtains.

college packing list for guys

How to Get Stuff to College

Transporting stuff to the college, especially when it’s far away, requires planning. Here’s what you need to learn as a parent or a college freshman!

Packing Tips for Guys

Pack Stuff in a Big Suitcase or Duffel Bag. This bulky bag isn’t ideal for the school year visits home (during winter break), but it’s perfect for storing goods near campus during the summer. College students often use blue Frakta IKEA bags or similar Amazon bags.

Take advantage of airline perks like free checked bags if available. Consider Southwest, which has no checked bag costs. Upon dorm arrival, place a boot tray at the bottom of the closet for a stable platform in the duffel.

After that, keep the large duffel bag with you. While it is not suitable for regular travels home, it is useful for putting items in nearby storage during the summer. Choose a foldable or roll-able bag and keep it beneath the dorm beds or on a shelf until you need it. Bring a carry-on bag for shorter trips, conferences, and events.

College Essentials Shopping Tips

Consider buying most of your essentials after reaching college. It’s easier and more convenient to shop near campus. Shopping in stores like Target can be tiring, as you’ll need a car to carry stuff. Order essentials online for larger colleges or college towns with limited resources.

Big stores like Bed Bath and Beyond allow you to save your online shopping cart. Many stores offer student discounts, so make sure to take advantage of them. Collaborate with your roommate on shared items like rugs or appliances. Lastly, check your dorm regulations and restricted items list before shopping.  

College Dorm Essentials Shipping Tips

Consider transporting college dorm essentials ahead of time to a storage locker or college if they allow it. Check the college website for transportation and storage options. Some colleges even provide packages that include all the necessary items for guys.

Check college’ garage sales’ for bulky and expensive stuff. Many move-in events now include campus-wide yard sales, which offer leftover summer items at discounted rates. Get a big discount on items like mini-fridges, lamps, rugs, and tapestries.

Shopping with your new roommate and their family can also be the best way to get to know each other. Consider buying a foldable platform cart to help move if you’re driving to drop off your son.

Don’t forget dorm essentials like bungee cords, a Sharpie, a rubber mallet, scissors, Phillips screwdrivers, and trash bags for your college-bound guy.

If you forgot to pack something, don’t worry, as it is your first time. You can easily pick it up locally before leaving for college. 

Remember to bring a rain tarp if rain is expected on college move-in day. Additionally, label all of the items with the dormitory and room number. This safety measure prevents objects from being misplaced by move-in helpers. Prioritize cleaning the room before unloading your belongings when you arrive. Make the bed later so you can keep things organized. 

FAQs: College Packing List for Guys

What is a Dorm Room?

A dormitory or dorm room is an on-campus housing where college students live. It’s like a shared house, also known as a residence hall.
Some dorm rooms are for one person, while others can fit two, three, or four students.

If you want your private room, you can request it, but it depends on how many students need housing.  

What Should I Include in My College Dorm Checklist List as a Guy?

Your comprehensive college packing list should include bedding, clothing, toiletries, school supplies, electronics, and essential kitchen items.

Don’t forget personal items like important documents and other small items like photos to comfort you if you miss home. 

How Many Clothes Should I Bring to College?

You should bring enough clothes to last around two to three weeks.

Include basics like pants, shirts, socks, underwear, and shoes. Consider the weather and space in your dorm room.

You can do laundry, so packing your entire wardrobe isn’t necessary.  

What Should I Not Bring to College?

Think about what items are essential for your college move, and keep it simple.

Check your college campus and dorm for prohibited items (such as hot plates, extension cords, pets, and candles).

Remember that overpacking can create clutter in your limited dorm space. 

When Should I Start Packing For College?

There is no fixed time frame, but starting around a month before you move in is a good idea.

This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you’ll be less likely to forget things.

Final Thoughts on College Packing List for Guys

That’s all! I hope this guide to college packing list for guys has solved the mystery of what to bring to college.

I’ve covered everything from what essentials you actually need to pack with appropriate quantities and what not to add to your college packing checklist.  

Now, it’s your turn! Which items from the list do you want to bring along? Any suggestions about adding extra items?

If you’ve any queries or suggestions, feel free to share in the comment selection below! Good luck with your packing and move-in experience!


Best College Packing List for Guys: Dorm Essentials

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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