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Everybody hates packing for a trip away. Sure it’s fun to get excited and started imaging yourself in that new outfit as you explore the world, but there’s also the stress of not knowing what to pack, as well as packing to much or too little. Luckily after years of traveling through Southeast Asia we’ve got your back!
If you’ve checked out our guys packing list and girls packing list for Southeast Asia you’ll already know exactly what clothes we pack while traveling South East Asia, but in this list we thought we’d extend the packing list to show you all the other bits and bobs that we travel with. From smart accessories that make travel easier, to camera equipment and things we’d never leave home without!
What to Pack for Southeast Asia
We used to walk through REI (a huge outdoor store in the US) and see people loading up their carts with travel accessories and think….. newbies! You know the kind of things like dry bags, small shampoo squeeze bottles and reusable eating / cooking items. But as the years have gone by we’ve learned a new appreciation for all the small accessories that make life on the road ever easier.
Here is our list of the best things to pack for Southeast Asia travel when it comes to traveling, the kitchen, doing laundry and personal care:
Self-Seal Dry Bag – Definitely one item that we’re excited to crack out along our travel. In the past we’ve seen a lot of people travel with them, but never really saw the use. Coming into the rainy season in Southeast Asia, and with lots of canoeing and beach activities, it’s good to have confidence that your electronics and travel gear is protected from the elements.
1.5L Osprey hydration packs – Kind of like a CamelBak, these water bladders tuck into your backpack, connecting to a mouthpiece for hands free hydration. When temperatures and humidity are always scorching it’s super important to stay hydrated. If not for your health, at least to starve off that killer hangover the next day!
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock – For the secluded beaches and remote countryside locations where you can just string up and kick back. A couple of hammocks were very useful for our last trip through Central America, so we’re saving space with this ultra light and super strong double hammock. Because we didn’t spend enough time together already…
Petzl Tikkina Headlamps – Never travel without a decent headlamp. When you’re backpacking around the world you’ll find power isn’t always as reliable as places like the US and Australia. It’s worth investing in a decent one, because the last thing you want to do is be stranded in the dark on some secluded beach. The good brands are all pretty much the same and from personal experience we recommend either Petzl or Black Diamond.
In the Kitchen
Light My Fire 8-Piece BPA-Free Meal Kit 2.0 – We’ve traveled with quite a bit of the Light My Fire gear in the past and have now decided to get the full kit. These are like the tupperware version of those Russian nesting dolls that pack into each other. Each piece packs into the next making a super transportable kit complete with bowl, cutting board, strainer, utensils and cup! The sporks are pretty decent, but perhaps buy a backup one as we’ve snapped a few here and there along the way.
Pegless Washing Line – If you’re doing your own laundry, or just need a spot to hang up your wet bathing suit, a pegless washing line is the perfect small accessory to take on the road. It has two strong hooks on either end to attached it to something and then the tightly wound elastic works as hookless slots to stick your clothes in so they don’t fall off the line.
20L stuff sack – Just a plain bag that rolls up into basically nothing. Super handy to keep all your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. You can also never have too many bags when traveling. Whether it’s wet clothes from a day at the beach or some local shopping, stuff sack bags are great for separating your travel items.
Microfiber Quick Dry Travel Towel– The ONLY towel we’d take with us backpacking. Not only do they dry 4 times faster than other backpacking towels, but they are really compact, have high SPF sun protection, contain Silver to combat smelly bacteria growth and they are actually comfortable to use! Other towels stick to you, making you never feel dry, but these are awesome!
PRO Packing Cells / Cubes – Never traveled with them before, wouldn’t travel without them again! Really useful for keeping all of your stuff organized. When you’re on the road for a long time it becomes very tedious packing and unpacking your bags every couple of days. Packing cells definitely help ease the burden by allowing you to organize your stuff into smaller bags, and then just jamming those into your big bag. Problem solved!
Other Southeast Asia Travel Essentials
Leathernen Skeletool – Would never leave for a trip without my trusty Leatherman. This multifunctional Skeletool design is light weight and has all the things you need on the road. Knife, pliers, wire cutters, screw driver and of course a bottle opener.
Sewing kit – Better to fix those holes then buy new clothes. I’m a modern day Armani with a needle!
Carabineer clips – Can never have too many. Handy for clipping on shoes, water bottles and all that other stuff.
Electronics for Long Term Travel
Usually we’d travel a lot lighter, but because of all the work we do while traveling we’ve had to take more electronics. Between blogging, freelance work, completing our Masters and our community development work we’ve had to bring along a lot more gear.
Work, Blogging and Study
Macbook Pro – Our whole work life is online, so it’s only natural that we’ve both got a computer. We use them not only for our travel blogging work, but when we were studying our Masters, any non-profit work we’re doing and also just to stay in touch with the world and our families. We couldn’t operate an online business without one each, so that’s what has to travel with us now. Want to know how you can start a travel a blog and travel the world for free?
iPhone – Christine has an XS and Jules an XR, both of these travel with us everywhere. I mean it’s the future, who doesn’t travel with a smartphone these days. When we arrive in new destinations we grab a local sim, so we have Internet access and can keep our travel content flowing. The newer iPhones also take an amazing picture, so sometimes we just use our phones to capture content, instead of our professional cameras.
Best Cameras for Southeast Asia Travel
These days you can travel Southeast Asia with just a smartphone if you want to get amazing pictures, but if you do want to take it up a notch here is the camera equipment we travel with. Granted, we do this for a living, but here’s what we pack to Southeast Asia when we hit the road.
Sony a7Rii – Hands down the best camera we’ve ever had, but probably not an entry level choice if you’re just looking for some nice travel shots. It’s fast, it’s sharp and it takes a damn good picture when you learn how to use it.
DJI Mavic Pro drone– The perfect combination of quality drone equipment, while also being small enough to pack in a day bag and take out adventuring. Shoots 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps for slow motion footage. Easy to learn, durable and our go to drone for traveling over the last couple of years.
GoPro HERO7 Black – Hands down our favorite action cam for sports, underwater or general wear and tear situations. Always reliable and the video footage is incredible. Particularly the ability to shoot at 4K 60fps, the GoPro gives you some incredible slow-mo scenes. The new HERO7 also has amazing image stabilization, meaning all those bouncy shots in a tuk-tuk come out super smooth.
Pixter Travel Pack– Pixter makes clip on lenses for smartphones, instantly turning our iPhone into a legit photography machine. The travel pack comes with a wide angle lens and a flexible tripod with bluetooth remote control so you can take selfies with ease. We really love our wide angle lens clip because it allows the phone camera to take in a much wider area (eg. below). Pixter’s lenses are great for people who want to up their travel photography game, without investing in a super fancy camera. For us, its the perfect solution for days when we want to snap photos without lugging around our heavy Sony a7Rii.
(The left is shot normally on our iPhone, right is shot with the wide angle Pixter lens)
Reading on the Road
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – while we’d choose paper over technology any day back home, this is so much more practical for traveling. Forget lugging around books and chasing down second hand book swaps. It’s super handy to have any book at your fingertips whenever you want it, especially when you’re leisurely swinging in a hammock on that hidden beach in Cambodia.
Are you packing for a trip soon? What are some of the things at the top of your list? Drop us a comment below, we’d love to know!
3 thoughts on “Ultimate Packing List for Southeast Asia for 2021”
Great list — I am bookmarking for future reference as a few of the gadgets we didn’t know about for our 8 month stint in SE Asia. One more to add: a lightweight foldable grocery bag — I used it for the beach, among other uses!
8 months, nice one, we’ll probably end up crossing paths at some stage 🙂 Lightweight bags are a good thing to carry with, especially to help reduce the amount of plastic bags used. Hope we’ve helped you out with a couple of useful gadgets.
Bookmarked! 🙂 I’m glad I came across this post, thank you!