How can any site tell you what you actually need? They don’t know you. But I’ll provide you with a list of everyday essentials for men needed in Europe/North America AND South East Asia (to hopefully make this as personal as can be.)
This list is made under the assumption you already own a wallet, cash, identification, a phone, and all other adulting” things considered obvious.
Scroll down for 3 types of lists. My recommended general list (useful items for men to carry on them in general), a Europe/U.S. specific product list for men & a specific product list for men in South East Asia.
I’m not reinventing the wheel, rather this list is meant to hone in on the subtle differences and needs that people need to account for when living in varied climates. Some items may be similar or in fact the same, it all depends.
Why can’t we just have 1 “top list for men”?
You can’t just have 1 top list as it’s too generic for any of the advice to be applicable. I’m half Asian by ethnicity and race and have lived in Europe/Asia and U.S.
And there trust me, there are subtle differences in what I carry on me, when in Asia, compared to Europe and U.S. And it make sense, there’re two polar opposite sides of the world, so why is all the internet advice out there the same?
So aside from a general list, I corresponded with a bunch of locals living in countries like the United States (New York/Los Angeles), Europe (Norway/Denmark), and South East Asia (Thailand/Philippines) on what people like them would carry on their everyday persons. Results are down below.
Top things men should always carry on them (general list)
Breath mints are a staple to carry, and one that you’d be wise to equip on your everyday “Adult utility belt.” Because trust me, it doesn’t take much to make your breath smell foul, whether it’s from the small banana you ate an hour ago, or a small case of the burps few hours back (or even from beer breath) – breath mints is something everyone should carry, always.
And it’ll do wonders for your self-esteem (much like dressing up.) From talking to that pretty girl on the street, to engaging in a business function…hell, it’s even useful for when you have to rid the metro – just pop two in that mouth and watch as you slide into that anchovy packed cart, more confident in your smells and swagger than ever.
Covert and functional is the name of the game, so avoid stuffing that large clumsy box of Altoid’s in your pocket, and opt for something more compact, and sutble, like
It’s the 21st century, and you still a pen, at least a little. Signing documents, filling out last-minute visa forms at the airport (yes that’s still a thing), passing quick notes to a colleague. An archaic device such as a pen can still serve wonders in the modern age.
And until literally everything is digital, I guarantee you’ll run into “pen” problems on a weekly, if not, daily basis. So opt for something more compact and sleek.
Buy a mid-tier pen, not one insanely priced, but make sure it won’t break on you at least..and then buy 2 of em.
While having a fancy pen on your carry is great, I’d argue it’s just another thing that you needn’t bear the weight of possibly “not losing” if worst comes to worst.
Unless it’s by a renowned EDC (Every Day Carry) brand, a family heirloom, or a Mont Blanc, then it’s just a pen, bois.
Earphones (buy two pairs)
Most people these days are going wireless, which means…battery dependant. And no matter your diligence, you will forget to charge them, at least once…inevitably.
And so you’re better off buying a pair that are long-lasting with the best quick charging out there (for those last-minute emergency charge sessions.)
Quick tip: Buy and keep a spare set of lower price range corded earphones in your car or your house as a last resort that you can always depend on (having some music is better than NO music.)
So have a spare on deck (wired or wireless) for when the inevitable happens, and you earphones don’t work.
Solid mini fragrance
Carrying a small mini fragrance around with you can be a valuable thing, especially if you sweat a lot, or live in hot climates where perspiration can be a major issue. And as most men don’t carry one, now’s your chance to standout.
Most men don’t have the foresight to think ahead of the moments where
smelling good” will matter. Last-minute moments such as sudden meetings (wanting to impress clients), or sudden dates or convos with that pretty someone who you just crossed paths with.
However, if you want to stand out from the pack, carrying one on you will prove to be an invaluable asset during those last minute “special moments” where first impressions will matter.
So pair your stronger pairing scents with a reliable perfume atomizer of some sort.
For a good reference article on perfumes and how to wear what/when – check out this guide by Perfumdirect.com right here.
Most modern phones will last you the day’s worth of texting, tweeting, twatting & swiping. But what if you require more than that? All day on google maps, recording video, or away from home for extended periods of time…these are all instances where having a power bank could come in handy.
And the tech itself has gotten so affordable and convenient that you risk only a few bucks should you choose to purchase one, “just in case.”
And there’re a ton of options out there that are incredibly affordable, meaning you can go days without charging, with a device so small and sleek, all for under $40.
Most multi-tools (while useful) are too big and clunky to be considered as something for everyday carry.
And some options have full on knives and obvious features attached that would most likely bring about some concerns were you to whip it out in crowded spaces.
Small, subtle & simple is what to look out for in your everyday multi-tool.
These days, much like power banks, the options for multitools are so affordable and non-invasive that, even at a glance – can easily show off what you can gain by buying one, and make you realize what you lose out on by not having one at all.
U.S. / EUROPE
Top things men should always carry on them in U.S./Europe
Europe is more like the U.S. than it is like Asia (in terms of weather). It’s drier, colder (generally speaking) and because of this, affords you the ability to wear layers such as jackets (jacket= extra pocket space etc.)
Asia (in general) is warmer/more humid= few layers of clothing needed. This disparity is one of few differences between the West/East, but that means what you carry in cold, winter-wearing Europe will differ slightly from what you carry in humid “wearing” Asia.
The differences are small but noteworthy, and if not planned properly, could ruin your day. Try using the same hair product you use in Europe, in Asia for eg. and watch how the sweat and humidity ruin your style in 5 mins flat.
Slight to moderate weather differences= slight to moderate product differences.
Breath mints (BUT with a stronger smell!)
The colder and dryer it is, the less odors are able to be delivered effectively through the air (according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information), which ultimately is a good thing, but you still need breath mints!
As when it comes to the smells in your mouth, all bets are off! So when in colder temperatures, go for something more potent and stronger smelling.
NUDE Breath and Belly Freshener (link to nudemints.com) is my all round top pick for breath mints (regardless of what country you’d be in.)
NUDE Breath and Belly Freshener has a “quick lock” mechanism that enables the user to open and consume one single-handedly in under 1 second (or 0.73 seconds to be exact – I timed it myself.) With a sleek build and over 20 mints in a single package, this makes NUDE mints faster, smaller, and more subtle than carrying and opening a box of Altoids and/or gum on the “go” (as Nude mints simply dissolve in your mouth.)
Pen (BUT one with “freeze-proof” ink!)
The West can get pretty cold, and while you may not have noticed…pen inks can freeze when it gets below negative temperatures (depending on the additives used in the ink will affect how winter immune it’ll be.)
And just like how men in Asia have to account for certain things like clothing material best meant for masking sweat, you fellas in colder climates need to account for such things like your pens and how they will handle under extreme winter weather.
The select few who have to worry about such below freezing temperatures below is my pick for the top pens meant to handle such climates.
This pen can actually write in zero gravity. And has been tested and tried to pump out fine ink in temperatures between 250 F to -30 F (or 121 C to -1 C) – thanks to its pressurized ink cartridge.
Fisher itself as a brand is well known for producing reliable products used by NASA themselves…talk about quality. This pen was initially built for space, fellas.
And the best part? It’s about as cheap as 1 meal at Olive Garden (yes, really.)
Earphones (BUT one meant for cold weather!)
The average operating temperature for most electronics is highly conservative (between 32-95 Fahrenheit or 0-35 degrees celsius.) This is why for chaps living under cold weather conditions – you might benefit from getting earphones equipped to handle such extreme temperatures.
Earphones like the Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds (link to Amazon.)
I remember back in the day I was in Denmark, and it was only 43 degrees F – I was drunk, in a new country, and was looking for a bathroom with a buddy of mine. The next thing I knew, my earphones stopped working, then shortly after my phone shut down, and simply didn’t turn on again…
I have to reiterate, I was in a foreign country, at 4 am, on empty streets, and in 43 degrees (6 C) weather (well within the range of my phone and earphones proclaimed operating temperatures), and yet still, everything (including google maps) all died on me…
After 2 hours in wandering in the cold-praise be – we found a bathroom, but I digress.
If you live in temperatures near 40 F (or O C) then you can’t trust what it says on the manual. You need special tech, and in this case, you need special earphones.
While your ears do dissipate a ton of heat, the fact of the matter is – you’re playing with fire. Don’t be like me, drunk, lost, and on the streets all because I thought my tech could “handle” the cold.
Mini fragrance (BUT with emphasis on scent strength!)
As previously aforementioned, the colder it is, the less smells can travel effectively, including perfume. And in below 30 F (or O C) degree weather, you need stronger/heavier fragrances to combat the cold, and some way to be able to take it on the go with you.
My recommendation: Cremo Bourbon & Oak travel cologne by CREMO (link to Amazon)
Stronger scents of Bourbon, spices and White Oak, in the cold (much like your clothes), you can afford the ability to wear heavier scents. Also CREMO’s portable packaging is half the size of your hand, allowing you to be discreet. Also it provides you with that high end boutique smell, at a fraction of the price.
Heavier scents like wood, leather, bourbon etc. have longer sileage (how long the fragrance lingers in the air) which make these heavier scents perfect for colder climates.
For the cold, I believe your cologne will last longer through a balm or solid cologne application over a spray atomizer. Plus the cold weather will make applying cologne in the form of a balm, a rather joyful endeavor.
Much like applying lotion to your skin in freezing temperatures, applying cologne from a balm paste over the cold spray-on air by “perfume spray” will feel nicer on your skin, and allow you to remain warmer, with the added benefit of allowing precise application on pulse points.
Power bank (BUT more rugged for winter temp)
You fellas living in the colder regions yet again need to pay attention to your tech, this time it is your power banks. As most use lithium-ion batteries, in the extreme cold…your power bank battery no doubt drains faster.
Now most power banks out there will either be extremely suited to the cold (and large AF), or not suited to the cold at all, but small & lightweight. We found a slight middle ground, however.
BioLite Charge 10 Weatherproof Portable Power Bank (link to Amazon)- this thing crosses the line between the rugged outdoors and urban everyday carry.
WIth an Ipx 6 water rating, and small as hell (120g), it’s designed to handle the unknown outdoors, and it’s your best bet against the cold when you need a quick charge on the move (everyday carry is what we’re inherently after.)
Multi-tool (BUT one best suited for winter or most convenient)
To be honest I would still opt for the Gerber Dime multi-tool – only because it’s one of the tiniest most compact multi-tools out there! And the fact that (even without a spring load) it’s still designed to be opened with one hand. Perfect for your frozen clumsy fingers!
My recommended multi-tool is the Gerber Dime multi-tool (link to Amazon.) This thing (measuring at just 2.75 inches) features an array of gadgets, including screwdrivers, spring-loaded scissors, and a small subtle blade that cuts through packaging like one does through way beef. You can even “set it ‘n’ forget it” to your keys!
Winter Lip balm (BUT for dry kissers A.K.A. your lips)
Winter wreaks havoc on your lips, more so than anywhere else. And in dryer (colder) climates like U.S. or Europe, this is something that you can notice on your lips if you aren’t careful.
What I recommend: Lip Therapy Lip Balm by Vaseline (link to amazon) – it’s all about the basics with this one. With a mere 3 ingredients (Shea butter, petrolatum and vitamin E), it gets the job done at under $10, by a reputable brand too (with no shine or color.)
You don’t only need lip balms for dryer/colder climates, but you’ll notice the consequences of not applying any much faster, and with more verocity towards your lips in dryer/colder climates.
Look for balms or formulations containing petroleum or beeswax to seal in moisture” – says Dr. Dendy Englemean (board-certified dermatologist and director of dermatologic surgery in Manhattan.)
Here’s what to look for in your lip balm for reference: Look for the above-mentioned two key ingredients, along with some combination of SPF 30 or higher, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and lanolin.
If you want something more “colorful”: Try Burt Bee’s Moisturizing Coconut & Pear Lip Balm (link to amazon) – Their light scent will have you smelling like the tropics (with its subtle, sultry appetizing flavors.)
South East Asia
Top things men should always carry in South East Asia
People tend to dress “lighter” in hotter/humid Asian climates, as no one wants to be weighed down by their clothes & carry-on items in +90 F (30 C) weather. So it would serve you best to only carry with you items smaller and lighter in size, and ones that can function in the humidity.
Breath mints (BUT lighter/stronger for that Asian heat!)
You stink less in the cold than you do in the heat, or at least that’s how it seems – thanks to smells and their inability to effectively pass through the air in colder climates. Though, this also means that people will notice the subtle smells of your mouth stink in hotter climates, faster than they otherwise would in colder ones.
You need something powerful yet nimble to carry on your persons, something discreet. Yet again my choice is sugar-free NUDE Breath and Belly Freshener (link to nudemints.com)
Honestly these breath mints are king wherever they go, and I’m the biggest fan of them. They also help keep your hands clean as once you learn how to use the lock mechanism, you simply have to “whip” them into your mouth, unlike any other mint/gum brand out there.
If you want to pay less for Nude mints (the same local prices like I do), then here is a link to Nude Breath and Belly Freshener over at Lazada.com (Asia’s equivalent of Amazon) so you can buy in bulk.
Pen (BUT better suited and adaptable for Asian heat and near germ-proof!)
People in Asia dress “light”, and they don’t have the luxury to wear a jacket with a million pockets in em. In Asia, in the heat & humidity – we usually can only rely on the few pockets that come built into our jeans/pants/pockets & shirts. That in itself is not a lot of available space to work with…
Your choice of pen needs to match your choice of clothes – light yet stylish, functional, yet playful. My top pen to carry around without in Asia is the EKLOEN Six-Edge Solid Brass Pen with Clip (link to Amazon.)
This pen is amazing for on the go travel and ADHD entertainment, thanks to it’s small 5.5 inch frame and satisfylingly smooth metal click mechanism (will have you “clicking” joyously for hours.)
Also due to it’s brass finish (being an alloy of copper), it’s material has antimicrobial properties (perfect for the post COVID world.) And in use overtime (with characteristics of copper), the pen’s surface will gradually oxidize to form a unique retro charm.
Though if you prefer to keep it looking glean & mean, then simply apply a solvent based coating onto the pen (like Incralac) to keep that gloss glowin forever!
Here is a site that goes into more detail regarding pen coating (link will take you to Conservationsupportsystems.com)
Earphones (BUT one better suited against wetness and humidity – and budget friendly!)
The majority of Asia’s humidity will make you sweat…a lot. And so need you need earbuds that can handle your sweat and everything else with the ability to carry on functioning safely. What you need is similar to what sports earbuds offer, but with more style, and more affordability.
This is where my top pick for earphones will be one that I personally use and recommend: The WF-XB700 Truly Wireless Headphones with EXTRA BASS™ (link to Amazon.) Sweat/splash proof, 9-hour battery on a single charge, and under $110.
This link will take you to the WF-XB700 headphones on Lazada.com (for readers specifically living in Asia, as you may pay less on shipping etc..)
And these earbuds are perfect for Asia’s heated monsoons and tropical heat thanks to their IPX 4 rating. This makes them well suited to be “protected against moisture, condensation, and exposure to the elements such as rain” – According to Dorcy.com
I was looking for wireless earbuds on a budget but didn’t want to sacrifice on quality, and then I found these. While these earbuds don’t have active noise canceling – once in your ear – you won’t even feel like you need it. They feel like your wearing earplugs!
And while they may look chunky, the bulk of it goes deep in your ear, so it’s not so noticeable (small price to pay for 9 hours of continuous battery!)
Mini fragrance (BUT one that grips well and is portable!)
Perfume has three worst enemies: Light/Heat/ and humidity. This makes wearing one in Asia tricky. And worse, thanks to the high heats – no matter the brand – you can’t rely on the scent you doused yourself with this morning, to last the whole day, not in scalding Asia.
You need to be afforded the ability to reapply your perfume midday if the sweat and humidity have gotten to those pores of yours. You need to start carrying a perfume atomizer on your persons.
My choice for your cologne atomizer in Asia is the Mini Refillable Perfume Atomizer by D- LOTUS
The reason I like this product is it’s premium silicone case makeup and durable plastic makeup, ensuring you can pocket it anyway without fear of breaking. And I’m a sucker for its attachable lid function, which will also make sure you never lose that pesky ol lid!
So never worry about smelling bad again, simply stick the small hole on the bottom the perfume atomizer atop your perfum bottle at home, and then start pumping!
Scents best suited for Asia
Like you’d wear heavier clothing and layers in cold temperatures, in Asia, you gotta do the exact opposite. Dress your natural scent with the same heaviness as you do with your clothes – LIGHT!
Light scents equating like fresh, and/or citrus-based fragrances. None too overpowering, but rather, breezy, and perhaps sweet.
Some choices best suited for high heat/humid weather and for your perfume atomizer:
- Dior Homme Cologne
- Armani Aqua di Gio Profumo
- YSL L’Homme
- TM Mugler Cologne
- Chanel Allure Home Sport / Eau Extreme / Platinum Egoiste
- Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey
- John Varvatos Artisan Pure
- Versace Eau Fraiche / Pour Homme
Style tip: This may not be for everyone, but how most will wear more subdued and muted colognes in winter/cold countries, you could try to wear your heavier fragrances (oud/leather/wood/incense/smoke) in the hotter climates, as this will bring out their strength and uniqueness to the surface, allowing the complex notes to shine even more so, rather than be in the background.
Power bank (BUT one best suited against humidity and water!)
BioLite Charge 10 Weatherproof Portable Power Bank (link to Amazon.) This thing crosses the line between the rugged outdoors and urban everyday carry, at a great budget price.
Honestly, I feel the need to recommend the same power bank here again. This model is designed to withstand the harsher climates, and it’s stainless steel weatherproof IPX certified case means it can handle rains or spills.
So when prancing around the vibrant old school-new school alleyways admits Asia, be sure to give this power bank a shot!
Multi-tool (BUT one with durable steel against water and humidity!)
Yet again I will have to suggest my all-time favorite multi-tool – Gerber Dime multi-tool (link to Amazon.)
I know you’ve had enough of this product, but the reason I like it especially for Asia is due to it’s unique build. The Gerber Dime keychain multi-tool is made with 3Cr13 stainless steel – which, do you know what that actually is?
3Cr13is a formula breakdown of the metal in question (so 3Cr13 metal is comprised of= 13% Chromium, 3% Carbon.)
3Cr13 is a “Low-end Chinese Martensitic stainless steel, used today in the knife industry, it has high corrosion resistance and wear resistance, it’s known to be a “good for the price” stainless steel” according to KnifeUser.com
This natural barrier against corrosion and wear resistance means that your Gerber Dime multi-tool won’t break down when used throughout your time in Asia’s high heats and sweaty seasons.
“Charge with a gun, with a knife, you run.”
You can’t face the toying manipulators that we call “life” without being at least somewhat prepared for all its impending trickery – you need some tools.
How you gonna sort the world out with all your brilliance if you can’t even sort yourself out first?