College Essentials for Guys

College student essentials

Written by Sonia Su

Transitioning into college life brings both excitement and the need for preparation, especially when it comes to setting up your new space. Stepping into their dorm room and having the right items can make all the difference in creating a comfortable and functional living environment.

From practical items to personal touches, this is your ultimate college packing list that explores the must-have college dorm room essentials to transform a bare dorm room into a cozy and efficient living space tailored for the modern college guy.


Tips on Creating a College Packing List for Guys

Before we get into our top picks for guys' dorm room essentials, here are some general tips to help you pack efficiently for college:

  1. Create a Checklist: Make a list of essentials such as clothes, bedding, toiletries, electronics, and study materials. This will ensure you don't forget anything important.
  2. Pack Seasonally: Consider the climate of your college location and pack clothes accordingly. Include a mix of casual wear, formal attire, and weather-appropriate clothing like jackets, sweaters, and coats. Check out Nimble Made's guides on smart casual, formal vs semi-formal attire, semi-formal men's attire, men's winter outfit ideas, and what is business casual.
    Smart casual dress code
  3. Bedding and Linens: Bring sheets, pillowcases, a comforter or blanket, and bath towels. Check if your college provides bedding to avoid overpacking.
  4. Toiletries and Personal Care Items: Don’t forget items bathroom essentials like toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving kit, and any specific skincare products you use.
  5. Electronics and Accessories: Pack your laptop, chargers, power strips, headphones, and any other electronic devices you'll need. Consider a surge protector or extension cord for multiple outlets.
  6. School Supplies: Bring notebooks, pens, folders, a backpack, and any specialized equipment or other school supplies needed for your major.
  7. Furniture and Decor: Check what furniture is provided in your dorm room. Consider small items like posters, photos, or decorations to personalize your space.
  8. Kitchen Essentials: If your college allows, pack some basic kitchen items like a microwave, mini-fridge, plates, utensils, and a coffee maker. Coordinate with roommates to avoid duplication.
  9. Medication and First Aid Kit: Bring any prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and a basic first aid kit.
  10. Laundry Supplies: Don’t forget laundry detergent, a hamper or laundry bag, and quarters if your college uses coin-operated machines.
  11. Exercise and Recreation Gear: If you're into sports or fitness, pack your workout clothes, sneakers, and any equipment you may need.
  12. Important Documents: Keep your ID, insurance cards, passport, and any necessary academic documents in a secure folder.
  13. Storage and Organization: Without much storage space in a typical dorm room or dorm room closet, consider storage bins or organizers to maximize space in your room and keep things tidy.
  14. Comfort Items: Pack things that make you feel at home, like a favorite blanket, photos from home, or a familiar pillow.
  15. Check College Policies: Review your college’s guidelines to see what items are prohibited or limited in dorm rooms.

Remember, while it's crucial to have essentials, try not to overpack as dorm rooms can be limited in space. Prioritize items based on necessity and functionality, and you can always buy additional things once you settle in if needed.


College Dorm Room Essentials for Guys

As you start your college shopping, make sure you bookmark this college dorm packing list to ensure you have all the best dorm room essentials for college students.

Amazon Basics Lightweight Super Soft Easy Care Microfiber 3-Piece Bed Sheet Set, Twin XL

Amazon twin XL sheets

Dorm rooms have twin XL mattresses, which means you won't be able to bring your sheets from home. Be sure to choose twin XL sheets for these extra-long dorm mattresses. We recommend buying at least two sets of sheets to make doing laundry a bit easier!

This polyester microfiber material offers strength and durability with exceptional softness.

Linenspa 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin XL

Mattress topper

Those twin XL mattresses may not be the softest or most comfortable, so consider adding a mattress topper for your dorm bed. This topper is infused with a cooling gel that helps capture and distribute heat to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep.

Amazon Basics Down Alternative Pillows, 2-Pack


While you may be able to bring the pillows you already have, you might as well get some extras, especially when you need something comfortable to against while studying late at night. This down alternative fill offers a great option for allergy sufferers and features soft density for stomach and back sleepers.

Amazon Basics Reversible Lightweight Microfiber Comforter Blanket, Twin/Twin XL, Navy/Sky Blue


Don't forget that your blanket should also fit a twin or twin XL bed. This blanket is made of polyester microfiber for softness and strength and features diamond stitching that prevents the fill from shifting. It is lightweight for all-season use.

Amazon Basics Under Bed Fabric Storage Container Bags with Window and Handles, 2-Pack

Storage bags

To store any extra bedding, seasonal clothing, shoes, and more, be sure to have storage containers to keep them clean and ready to go. These are often used as bed storage, as the twin XL beds usually are raised higher to allow for storage underneath.

This bag features flat loop handles that allow for convenient access and portability. The bag can be folded flat and put away when not in use, and the Zipper closure helps protect items from dust.

Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler


As part of college life, you likely will receive many freebies, including a reusable water bottle during orientation or other social events. But when it comes to things worth investing in, we definitely recommend a quality, durable water bottle that you will want to use to stay hydrated and avoid plastic water bottles at the same time.

This popular tumbler features a FlowState™ 3-position lid with a rotating cover for versatility: no splash straw quencher, open drink spout, or fully covered and closed.

Amazon Basics Rectangular 6-Outlet, 200 Joule Surge Protector Power Strip

Power strip

Among the dorm room essentials of a college student, a power strip (or two!) for all of your electronics is one of them! Don't be that student who ends up running out of battery while taking notes during class or having to find a seat next to an outlet.

Deluxe Strong Mesh Pop-Up Laundry Hamper Basket


You will want a lightweight laundry basket that is easy to carry to and from the laundry room. This option is a classic option for any college student.

ECOS Laundry Detergent Liquid

Laundry detergent

ECOS Laundry Detergent is an effective yet gentle cleaning solution for clothes that is suitable for students with skin allergies and sensitivities. If laundry detergent liquid isn't your thing, try Molly's Suds Laundry Powder, where just 1 tablespoon can help get stains out for good with its concentrated laundry detergent free of artificial scents.

Molly's Suds

American Soft Linen Luxury 6-Piece Towel Set


These soft, absorbent towels are perfect to make your dorm room feel like your home away from home.

Mesh Shower Caddy

Shower caddy

Thanks to communal bathrooms that are common in most dorms, you will need a shower caddy for carrying toiletries to and from the communal bathroom. This mesh shower caddy features a base made with Oxford fabric, providing more substantial wear and tear resistance that even filling the bag to full won't damage the bottom.

Form-Fitting Dress Shirt

Whether it's for an internship interview or a special date, invest in a quality, form-fitting dress shirt, such as dress shirts from Nimble Made. Whether it's a crisp white dress shirt or a navy blue checked dress shirt, there are many options for those with slimmer builds. Don't settle for men's dress shirts with too-tight collars and blousy midsections, and browse Nimble Made's slim-fit men's bestselling dress shirts that feel and fit the way you want.

How a dress shirt should fit

Make sure to use this fit guide to determine your best sizing.

Slim-Fit T-Shirt

While you may be getting your fair share of boxy college T-shirts, for those with slimmer builds, none will be as important as a truly slim-fit T-shirt that you can dress up or down.

Nimble Made dedicates itself to crafting high-quality men’s dress shirts that offer a slim, tailored fit. They know that most people aren’t wearing dress shirts every day, especially college guys, so they offer slim t-shirts that are perfect for college students to wear to class, the dining hall, or just for lounging around in college dorms.

Shop Nimble Made's men's slim-fit T-shirts, from this classic white crewneck T-shirt to this black V-neck T-shirt.

Havaianas Top Men's Flip Flops

Flip flops

Speaking of showers, if you live in a dorm with communal showers, shower shoes should be at the top of your dorm room essentials. Even if you're lucky enough to snag a college apartment with your shower, it will be worth investing in a pair. Thank me later.

Zober Plastic Hangers 50-Pack


Limited closet space? In addition to the under-bed storage containers, keep your room organized and clothes wrinkle-free with these slim yet durable hangers.

AmazonCommercial 3 Gallon Rectangular Commercial Office Wastebasket, 2 Pack, Black

Trash cans

With a simple, clean appearance, this trash can set is perfect for any dorm room. No worries about trash bags, as you usually will be able to reuse your CVS shopping bags or other bags that you may receive when buying lunch or other groceries.

Welly Quick Fix, On The Go First Aid Kit


Welly's flex fabric bandages are designed to stay on, and their first aid kit includes ointments and hand sanitizers. Each bandage is sealed in a clear wrapper that keeps the bandage sterile and makes it easy to find the print, pattern, and size you need in a pinch.

Durable, stackable tin packaging helps keep your dorm room desk organized. Plus, its tins are reusable and recyclable!

Seventh Generation Multi-Surface Wipes


These are perfect for move-in day for cleaning and sanitizing various surfaces of your dorm room. Keep these handy for everyday messes and to keep your space clean. This safe and effective multi-purpose cleaner has 0% synthetic fragrances or dyes.

Honeywell Turboforce Fan


A dorm room is not known to be the most comfortable, especially during the summertime. Some may not even have air conditioning. Whether it's for the hotter months or simply for your own sanity after workouts, invest in a portable fan that will help you stay cool and comfortable while studying.

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum


Among your cleaning college essentials, a handheld vacuum will come in handy to clean up messes and maintain a tidy environment. This hand vacuum is lightweight, portable, and ready to pick up small and large debris like dust, flour, coffee, cereal, and more, thanks to its powerful suction.

The built-in crevice tool gives you instant access to cramped spaces and tight corners, while the translucent dirt bowl lets you see the debris level, so you’ll always know when to empty it. Plus, this hand vacuum includes a convenient wall mount that doubles as a charger, so it’ll be ready for next time.

Presto! Flex-a-Size Paper Towels

Paper towels

For cleaning up quick spills or to use as a plate and napkin for your pizza or snacks (IYKYK), paper towels are essential. These claim to be up to 75% more absorbent versus leading 1-ply brands, with multiple tearable sheet sizes for customized clean-up and less waste.

Posters/Wall Decorations


Don't forget to add dorm decor to personalize your space! Whether it's posters, wall art, or photos, room decor will help you feel like this is truly your new home for the next four years.

Laptop or Tablet with Carrying Case or Cover

Laptop sleeve

While the best laptop or tablet will vary widely depending on individual needs and preferences, don't forget to use a case or cover to protect it, since you will be lugging it around everywhere from your classrooms to dining hall to dorm room. Consider this Benfan PU Leather Laptop Sleeve 13 Inch or the Lenovo Urban Laptop Sleeve 14 Inch.

Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

College campuses can get noisy, especially in dorms. Invest in headphones that can make dorm life a bit easier. These earbuds feature up to two times more Active Noise Cancellation for dramatically less noise when you want to focus. Transparency mode lets you hear the world around you, and Adaptive Audio seamlessly blends Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode for the best listening experience in any environment.


Where to Buy College Dorm Essentials

There are several places where you can buy college dorm essentials, both online and in physical stores. Here are some options:

  1. Online Retailers: Websites like Nimble Made, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wayfair offer a wide range of dorm essentials. They often have dedicated sections or lists specifically for college dorm supplies.
  2. Department Stores: Physical stores like Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond have numerous branches across the country. They typically have sections dedicated to college dorm items during back-to-school seasons.
  3. Discount Stores: Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross often carry a variety of home goods at discounted prices, including bedding, kitchenware, and storage solutions.
  4. Specialty Stores: Some stores specialize in dorm and college living essentials. Places like The Container Store, IKEA, and Dormify offer a wide range of products tailored to dorm living.
  5. Thrift Stores: You can find affordable and unique items at thrift stores. While not everything might be suitable for a dorm room, you might discover some great bargains on essentials like lamps, rugs, or decorative items.
  6. Online Marketplaces: Besides Amazon, eBay and Etsy can be great places to find unique and sometimes handmade items that could add a personalized touch to your dorm room.
  7. Local Stores: Check out local home goods stores, hardware stores, or even dollar stores for basic items like cleaning supplies, hangers, and kitchenware.

When shopping, keep an eye out for deals, discounts, and package deals that might help you save money. Additionally, consider coordinating with your roommates on certain items to avoid duplication and to maximize shared space in the dorm. Always make sure to check with your college on what they recommend bringing and what to avoid bringing.

college dorm


What NOT to Bring to College

here are certain items that might not be suitable or allowed in college dorm rooms for guys. Here's a list of things you might want to avoid packing:

  • Large furniture: Dorm rooms are typically small, so bringing bulky furniture might not be practical. Check with your college for guidelines on what furniture is provided or allowed.
  • Appliances not permitted: Some appliances like hot plates, toaster ovens, or space heaters might not be allowed due to fire hazards. Check the college's guidelines for approved appliances.
  • Illegal substances or items: This includes drugs, alcohol (if you're underage), and any other illegal items as per college policies.
  • Weapons: Most colleges have strict rules against bringing weapons of any kind into dorm rooms, including firearms, knives, or any other potentially dangerous items.
  • Pets: In most cases, pets are not allowed in dorm rooms. Check with your college about their policy on animals.
  • Candles or incense: Open flames are generally prohibited due to fire hazards.
  • Excessive clothing or shoes: While it's good to have a variety of clothing, bringing your entire wardrobe might overcrowd your space. Here's a guide on how to build a men's capsule wardobe.
  • Valuables that can't be secured: Avoid bringing expensive jewelry or items that you can't secure properly in your dorm room.
  • Loud or bulky musical instruments: Instruments like drums or loud amplifiers might not be suitable for a shared living space.
  • Excessive decorations: While personalizing your space is encouraged, bringing too many decorations might clutter the room.

Always check your college's specific guidelines or reach out to the housing office to ensure you're complying with their rules and regulations regarding what can and cannot be brought into the dorm rooms.

College dorm 

Dorm Room Essentials Bottom Line

Equipping a college dorm room with essentials tailored for guys is pivotal in creating a comfortable and functional living space.

By focusing on versatile furniture, bedding, organization solutions, and gadgets, students can curate an environment conducive to productivity and relaxation. Embracing personal style through decor and incorporating practical items like study aids, tech gear, and kitchen essentials further enhances the overall dorm experience.

Ultimately, a well-equipped dorm room not only fosters a conducive environment for academic success but also cultivates a sense of independence and comfort for guys navigating their college.


Frequently Asked Questions about College Essentials for Guys

What does a guy need for college?

For college, a guy typically needs essential items such as a laptop or computer, textbooks or study materials, comfortable clothing, bedding, toiletries, school supplies like notebooks and pens, a backpack or bag, and possibly a mini-fridge or microwave for dorm living. Additionally, personal items, a phone, and any required identification or documentation are essential.

What do you need for a boys' dorm room?

For a boys' dorm room, room essentials for guys typically include a comfortable bedding set (sheets, blankets, and pillows), storage solutions (like bins or shelves), a study desk and chair, lighting options, decorations reflecting personal taste, and possibly a mini-fridge or microwave for convenience. Tailoring the room to individual preferences with posters, sports memorabilia, or tech gadgets can also personalize the space.

What does my son need for his dorm?

Your son will likely need room essentials for guys like bedding (sheets, pillows, comforter), storage solutions (bins, organizers), personal care items, a desk lamp, electronics (laptop, chargers), kitchenware (microwave-safe dishes, utensils), and possibly some decorations to personalize his space. Checking the dorm's regulations or contacting his university for specific guidelines can help ensure he brings everything necessary.

How many clothes should a boy bring to college?

A boy heading to college should pack enough clothes to last about two weeks, accounting for various weather conditions and social activities. This typically includes several pairs of jeans or pants, a mix of 10-15 shirts (T-shirts, dress shirts), a few sweaters or hoodies, enough underwear and socks for at least a week, and appropriate outerwear.

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