* note: Download our backpacking packing list for any length trip at the bottom of this post. This post reveals what to bring and why for any length trip to a tropical climate.
Love it…or loath it?
Do you prepare in advance like a Olympic athlete, with months of packing, repacking and list checking?
Or are you stuffing crap into a bag 10 minutes before you run out the door to catch a flight (barely making it of course).
So many freakin’ dilemmas!
Should I bring these shoes?
But they take up so much room, will I even wear them?
Can’t I just buy this when I get there?
But what if they don’t have something that I like?
Do I have enough clothes for all of the different things I want to do?
Do I have more clothes with me than there are in my closet?
I have more chargers than a Sony factory!
Without you packing, we’d be going nowhere.
But with you comes so many headaches and decisions we hate to make.
When you’re preparing for a long trip, packing becomes even more difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be.
If you are planning a backpacking trip to a warm and tropical climate, what you would bring for a week should, more or less, be the same that you bring for a month or 10 months.
A few notes on packing for a tropical climate
– Don’t overthink the value of having ‘clean clothes’. Even when you put on fresh duds, it takes about 15 minutes outside in a tropical climate to feel dirty again. Being sweaty is a way of life.
– You can cut down any packing list by bringing things that pull ‘double duty’. A bathing suit can also be your workout shorts. Pants are for going out in casual or more dressy environments.
– You can wash your clothes in your hostel or hotel sink if you need a fresh pair of undies.
– Certain tropical climates like SE Asia will require specialty items for example; mosquito repellent with DEET, malaria pills, and mosquito nets.
– Your activities and hobbies will dictate some items. I love to hike so I always bring certain things that I know to be useful on longer hikes.
-Substitute every item possible with a lighter version. Got a heavy duty steel water bottle? Grab a lightweight platypus instead. Got a huge camera and a quality smartphone? Would your smartphone camera suffice for this trip?
And remember the golden rule:
If you find you are missing something, you can always buy it there.
The Packing List
Below is a video of what I packed for a 6 week trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with a short explanation of each item and why I brought it.
Under the video is the list itself, after that you’ll see my post-trip comments and what I could have done differently or didn’t use.
Ladies, your toiletries or dopp kit or whatever people are calling it these days, will obviously be different. If you are a female backpacker and have a great and comprehensive list, I beg you to share it in the comments below!
Each person is so different. You may personally not need certain things here, and find that other things are missing that you can’t live without.
It won’t be a perfect list, but it’s a great foundation. Without further ado…
In this video I’ll share what I pack for any length trip to a warm climate, in this case Southeast Asia. You’ll see every item I pack and why, plus learn what size backpack I use to avoid having to check luggage.
Putting a packing list into 5 different piles can help streamline the process.
The Magic 5
3. Toiletries/Sundries/Dopp Kit (or whatever you call your bag with toothpaste, lotions, etc)
4. Luxury Items (items you could live without, but don’t want to)
5. Essentials and Other Items (for example, passport, plane tickets, tent, water bottle, hammock)
The backpacking packing list for any length trip to a tropical climate broken into categories.
SE Asia Packing List
40 Liter Backpack (REI)
rain cover for backpack
Light Day Pack
stuff sacks to hold clothes (1 waterproof)
1 pair of travel pants
1 cotton t-shirt
1 wicking sport t-shirt
1 long sleeve shirt (for wearing out to a nice dinner or bumming around in)
2 pairs of non cotton dark shorts
1 bathing suit
1 pair of chaco sandals
1 pair running sneakers
1 pair of flip flops (optional)
7 pairs of underwear (non-cotton)
3 pairs of socks (non-cotton)
1 small kindle plus charger cord
blow up pillow for plane
toys for kids
Essentials and Other Items
money belt (plane tix, cash, visa)
folder for documents
sunglasses plus case
SD or appropriate memory storage cards
lock (extended) and padlock
usb jump drive
small wallet for daily usage
platypus water bottles
rope (about 4-5 feet small rope for hanging clothes, tying things or anything else)
small velcro straps
small cloth for cleaning (computer and sunglasses
computer and computer case
small headphones (big headphones didm.t come)
Roland audio recorder for podcasting
iphone5 plus charger/camera
nite ize iPhone case
Currently must be 3.4 oz or less for liquids. For updates check the FAA website
Toothbrush and toothpaste
medication and vitamins
disposable earplugs (for sleeping)
Conspicously missing items
deodorant (shave your armpits or be a little smelly)
shampoo or soap (buy or use hotels)
towel (buy if/when needed) or bring a lightweight towel
Download a slightly modified general carry on packing list here:
Got your own list or comments on this one? What am I missing? What should I get rid of? What other packing lists would you like to see?
Let’s help each other out, leave a comment below now (not later because you’ll forget!)