Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Backpacking SE Asia: What To Pack


Trying to figure out what to bring on your SE Asia trip? Below you'll find ideas for both men 
and women when trying to decide what to pack in one single backpack for SE Asia. Mind you, 
my bag was partly taken up by clothes necessary to build the sports court while we were in 
Cambodia. It just shows that what it comes down to...bring very minimal if not much at all. 
You can buy those few last things when you get there! You may get so tired of the clothes 
you brought that it may be nice to leave some room to purchase a few things to add to 
your collection! What I brought could nearly get me just over a week, depending 
on the weather, before having to do laundry. 

Trust me, trust me, trust me! When I say pack light, do it! I remember reading that online before 
we left and looking back I imagine I would've been just fine without a few items I had brought. 
Here's what we suggest:

1, 40-60L backpacking bag/pack
1 small backpack, purse, satchel for daily needs/easy day packing 
(REI has small, light packs on sale every so often)

For Women:
9 pairs of assorted style underwear
1 regular bra to work with all tops, if not bring 2
1 or 2 sports bras (more comfortable with how much sweating goes on)
2 pairs of socks (if you end up bringing tennis shoes)
1 pair of old tennis shoes (if you plan on doing a trekking tour)
1 pair of sandals to wear with all clothes
1 outdoorsy type sandals (for kayaking, ending up off road on a trail, etc)
2 pairs of shorts (length close to knee for temple-appropriate attire)
1 pair of athletic shorts
1-2 athletic tank top or t-shirt
1-2 skirts (again length appropriate)
1 pair of capris (my suggestion is choose more of an athletic pair)
1 pair of cheap stretch pants (Forever 21 had them for a couple bucks)
3-4 tank tops to go with all bottoms
2-3 t-shirts to go with all bottoms
1 dress
1 light cardigan/sweater (mainly used on flights for cooler temperatures)
1 scarf (mainly used for shoulder coverage at temples)
1 sarong (can buy during trip, mainly used for leg coverage at temples)
1 hat (I bought this when we got there, but not necessary)
2 headbands (Buff brand headbands from REI are awesome!)
1-2 swimsuits (two piece is ok in Thai islands but another suit with coverage for some areas)
1 pancho (wait to buy upon arrival)
Sunglasses

Every so often you'll have to pack and repack...I put clothes I knew I wouldn't wear as often
near the bottom, then accordingly as I got closer to the top of my bag.

For Men:
2 pairs of quick dry underwear/briefs (got at REI) plus 2-3 extra regular
1 pair of compression shorts if you prefer to wear them during trekking
3 pairs of socks
1 pair of flip flops/sandals (or you can buy cheap ones there if you even need them)
1 pair of Choco-like sandal
1 pair of old tennis shoes
2 pairs of shorts, outdoor style and regular
1 pair of athletic shorts
1 pair swim trunks
2 long sleeve, light weight material
5 t-shirts
1-2 tank tops
1 hat
Sunglasses
1 pancho (buy upon arrival)

The start to Ty's packing!

Toiletry Items:
Backpacking towel (from REI, although most places have towels where you stay)
Deodorant
Toothbrush
Toothpaste (small tubes will do, you can buy more if need be later)
Face lotion
Body lotion (never used because it made me feel so sticky from the humidity)
Body wash (Dr Bronners is the most amazing stuff, get it!)
Shampoo
Conditioner
Razor for men and women
Hair brush with mirror attached (never know what the bathroom set up will be)
Q-tips
Nail clippers
Tweezers
Chapstick
Hair ties
Bobby pins
Toilet paper roll or little packs of Kleenex (either will do)
Tampons or DivaCup (divacups will save you tons of space!)

Misc Items:
Credit and debit cards (check with bank for fees, some may have a card you can get for the trip that have no international fees)
Drivers license
Book for leisure reading or word search/sudoku book
Journal and pen
Batteries for camera
Rope to hang laundry/wet clothes to dry in room
Plastic bag to put dirty clothes in
1-2 extra ziploc bags in case your airplane sized toiletry bag rips
Mozzie net if you plan on going to more rural areas or staying in certain bungalows
Watch (unless you carry a phone on you at all times)
Mini torch/flashlight/headlamp
Water proof cover for ipad/phone
Waterproof bags to put electronics in (in case of those lovely downpours!)
Waterproof cover for your backpack (helpful during those times you get caught in the monsoon!)
Passport and card holder (REI sells a variety of these, either for the waste or mini purse-like ones)
Snacks from home (just in case!)
Gum

Health/Wellness Items:
First aid kit (trust us, we used it for swarming bee stings and rope burns)
Electrolyte replacement tabs (we bought the tubes at REI, good flavor)
Sunscreen, 1-2 little tubes (you can buy more when you need it)
Insect repellent, 1 will be enough (you can buy more when you need it)
Aloe Vera (we never used ours, it can be purchased there anyway)
Eye drops
Ibuprofen
Stool softeners
Peptobismol tablets
Anti-nausea tablets if prescribed by MD
Required travel clinic prescribed medications (anti malarial, antibiotic)
Other things like neosporin, antihistamines, etc. you can buy there if you even need them along the way

Things we read would be good to pack and didn't need:
Alarm clock...use your phone, ipad, etc. instead
Power converter (we only brought an ipad and could use the USB everywhere)
Drain cover (laundry is so cheap to have done so we never had to do ours!)
Nalgene bottles (better to just buy bottled water there to ensure water safety)

Other Tips:
*Spray your clothes with premetherin before you leave home if you plan on being in rural areas
*Pull out US dollars to keep on hand in case your debit card doesn't work to withdrawal $
*Make a few copies of your passport
*You can get extra passport photos done in the States, but when you arrive by plane to
each country, they only charge you US $1...better than 6 bucks here!
*Roll your clothes when packing. Don't stuff and don't fold.
*Again, bring very little. Make life simple. Live easy in SE Asia.

That's it! It looks like a lot on paper to me, but when you start picking and choosing what
you'll be wearing for weeks you'll begin to realize that you'll be wearing a lot of
the same thing over and over. Stay tuned for tips on what places to see,
where to stay, good adventures, where to eat, and all in between!
Good luck packing!

♡The SE Asian Traveling Stanleys