Time to get some gear! Whether you’ve just come out as trans, or are looking to enhance your transition, this list of FTM essentials can help you be your best self. These items will help you be prepared and healthy while navigating your life as a trans person in today’s society.
Before we dive in, I just want to say that not all of these will make sense for everyone's transition. There are tips here for folks who haven't had chest surgery and for those who have. There are also tips for those who are on hormones and for those who aren't. Everyone's transition journey is different and that doesn't make your identity any more or less valid. This is just a list of awesome gear that might help you along on your own path.
1. Shot Kit - Keep it Clean & Organized!
One of these bad boys will help you organize all your gear for your HRT needs. In my experience, this has helped tremendously by keeping my needles, syringes, and hormones in one organized place. This kit is perfect for travel too, with a firm shell to protect your gear.
While we're talking shot gear, another great item to include on your essentials list is the Inject-Ease. This auto-injector can help reduce needle anxiety and reduce shot pain. Check it out!
2. Trans Apparel - Wear Clothes With Pride!
When I’m having a rough day with my dysphoria, it feels good to look in the mirror wearing my Trans and Thriving Hoodie. It reminds me of the journey I'm on and how far I’ve come. Having a tee shirt or a comfortable hoodie that has positive messages from a company that is aligned with my values goes a long way. It’s a nice reminder that we are not alone.
3. Pronoun Pins - Educate People
I wish I would’ve added this to my transition essentials list in the earlier part of my transition. These are a great tool to let others know how they should refer to you. Whether you’re having trouble being seen or you just want to advocate for others, these pins send a clear message!
4. Self Care Products - Take Care of YOU
Self-care is a MUST on your essentials list. Of course, self-care needs are going to differ depending on the person. Ask yourself what helps you feel less dysphoric or makes your transition easier on you and your body.
Personally, I love having a handsome journal to write down my thoughts and feelings. Transitioning can be a lot to process mentally. Keeping a journal is a healthy way to express your thoughts. It also can be a great reference later on your journey to remind you how far you've come.
I'm also a huge fan of scented candles. This Sexy Man candle makes me feel like I'm certified GQ. I know some people may think candles are cheesy but aromatherapy has been scientifically proven to be effective. Plus it's a really inexpensive way to make your bedroom a little more pleasant.
Doing things that make you feel good is essential for this journey. If you're not into candles or journaling, no sweat. Give it some honest thought and figure out what little things you can do to show yourself some love.
A good binder was one of the first items I purchased when I was discovering my gender identity. The feeling of looking down to see a flat chest eased a lot of my mental discomfort and gave me more confidence.
The NYTC Mid Binder is one of the best on the market. While no binder is truly comfortable, this one is as good as it gets. It's stretchy and breathable while still offering solid compression.
If you want to read more about binders, check out our comprehensive chest biding guide.
6. Packer Gear STP - Stand To Pee Device
Because of its incredible ease of use, I recommend snatching up the Packer Gear STP. It's super cheap and easy to learn with. An STP (stand-to-pee) device can help ease bottom dysphoria and also make navigating the bathroom easier.
Some men’s restrooms don’t have stalls and usually, if they do, they are not even close to being sterile enough to use with peace of mind. If you want more tips on how to use an STP Packer, check out our in-depth article with tons of tips.
7. Support Network - It Truly Takes a Village
Having a supportive network is huge. If you have a support group in your area, it's definitely worth checking out. I can't even tell you how awesome and helpful it is to be with other people who are on the same journey as you.
Even if there aren't any in-person support groups in your area, thanks to the internet, you are never that far from support. I recommend joining a few support groups on Facebook. They can be great places to connect with other guys going through similar things.
If you're having a particularly hard time, you can also check out T Buddy. Run by Trans Men, Trans Masc and Non-Binary volunteers, at T Buddy you can schedule a chat with another human who understands how hard transitioning can be at times.
8. Pantothenic Acid - Vitamin B5
If you choose the path of hormone replacement therapy, you are inevitably signing up for a second round of puberty. And yes… that includes the acne. I’ve heard lots of success stories of guys who say that taking this vitamin really helped their constant breakouts and oily skin. It's definitely worth a look if that’s something you're struggling with.
9. Classic Cotton Undershirts - Layers Help
When I say undershirts, I'm referring to the A-Shirts that people wear underneath their shirts. If it's not too warm out, you can put one of these tank tops on over your binder. It'll help hide the outline of your binder while wearing a t-shirt. A-shirts are also great for absorbing sweat from the occasional hot flashes caused by HRT.
I know it's counter-intuitive to think MORE clothing will help keep you cool. But the truth is, it really does work. You'll still sweat, but because your undershirt is tight and tucked in, it'll stay pressed against your body. The lack of movement allows your brain to pay less attention to your sweaty garments. Less attention means less discomfort. Plus your undershirt's slight dampness will help cool you off anytime there is a breeze. Try it and see for yourself.
Oh, and... you'll have the added bonus of not creating gnarly pit stains on your favorite button-downs.
Navigating your changing body during transition is hard enough. Navigating the world in your new skin on top of it all can be a major mind-fuck. This book is an awesome true story about the life of a trans man training as a boxer. During his training, he explores stereotypes, masculinity, and the idea of "what makes a man." Cuddling up with this book on a rainy day can help you feel less alone. It can also help you explore whatever complicated feelings you may have about your transition.
If you want to know more, you can read our Interview with Author, Thomas Page McBee here.
11. A Bad-Ass Razor
Lots of folks report that shaving their face is one of the best ways to fight feelings of dysphoria. It makes sense. For me, the smell of shaving cream has powerful associations with masculinity. Doing something with such strong gender associations can definitely give you a mental lift. As strange as it may sound, shaving can feel affirming even if you don't have any facial hear to speak of.
That said, when it comes to shaving, absolutely nothing beats the comfort a vibrating razor. Sure, you can go super classic and shave with a straight razor, or safety razor, but a vibrating razor is way cheaper and a lot easier to master.
Why a vibrating razor? If you are shaving short stubble, a vibrating razor won't make much of a difference. But if you are shaving longer hairs (3-4 days of growth), a vibrating razor is a godsend. First of all, they clog less easily. More importantly, however, they pull on your face way less. If your whiskers are extra long, you'll notice that shaving can sometimes hurt a little. Vibrating razors reduce friction noticeably and make shaving more comfortable.
12. Speaking of Vibrating Things...
If you're starting on HRT, get ready for a likely spike in your libido. A lot of guys report that thoughts of sex are so frequent that they're actually quite distracting. As fun as this might sound, constant sexy thoughts can keep you from concentrating on other important things like school or work. Enter the Pocket Rocket.
As the name suggests, this little guy is small enough to fit in your pocket. You can carry it with you literally anywhere you want to go. It's also waterproof so you can use it in the shower. No matter what kind of vibrator you like best, a good one can help keep you sane and save your forearms from the strain.
Whether you use this for your packer or to keep your feet dry, powder is one of the most useful tools in the trans tool belt. Powder has a TON of uses. Here are some of our favorite.
- Don't pack? No worries. Powder will still help keep your underwear dry during hot months or during your workouts.
- Sprinkle a little powder in your shoes to keep them from smelling like holy hell.
Just make sure you're not buying talc powder. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that talc powder can cause cancer. Pick up some cornstarch-based renewing powder and your body will thank you.
This is not at all the end of the list! Anything that helps you along your journey to ease your dysphoria and make your transition easier should always be added to your list!
Drop some suggestions in the comments below and help your trans family out! We are a community and that's what we do: help each other.
No matter what is on your list or where you are in your journey, you deserve great things.