Southeast Asia Packing List Backpack

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Southeast Asia Packing List Backpack – Packs and Bags:

With Carl owning more chinos and jeans than he could wear in two weeks and Sasha using five different products just to shower, the thought of living out of one backpack for 8 months was a difficult one for us. We spent hours reading guides on what to pack and searching for the right gear for our Southeast Asia Packing List, but the reality of carrying our world on our backs was actually much easier than we thought.

  1. Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 40 L

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You don’t really need much in the tropical climates of Southeast Asia, so we opted for a 40l backpack. You’ll want to be able to check it onto flights, fit it on cramped local buses/boats, and walk a decent distance in the heat with it on.  The lighter you can make it the less you have to lug round.

The backpack was one item we wanted to invest in to ensure it provided as much comfort as possible, would last during this trip and any future travels around Australia,  and make it easy to access our stuff with the amount of moving around we would be doing.

What we first looked at was the Tortuga backpack* (designed by backpackers) but it was a bit too expensive, we then found the Osprey Farpoint 40 on sale and it was perfect for us (can also be found on if you are in the US).


  • It comes in two sizes – S/M and M/L. We had one of each, the smaller one was perfect for Sasha who is 5ft 2” and the larger one for me at 5 ft 10” and both were suitable for the airline carry-on limits.
  • When full it can weigh between 7-10kg depending on what you put in it. We went for 8-9kg and it was able to fit: 2 large packing cubes, 2 small packing cubes, x2 shoes, x1 coat, x1 jumper, x1 first aid kit/toiletry bag, other small items (head torch, towel, sleeping bag liner etc).
  • When all the straps were done up the weight was really manageable.
  • We thought it was well made and durable.
  • It was easy to access both the main compartment (front loading) and the front compartment.
  • The front compartment has a place for laptops/Ipads as well as other separated sections which helped us to keep organised.
  • There was a smaller zip section for the water-proof cover for the back-packs
  • There are compression straps inside and out to keep belongings in place
  • It has easily lockable zippers (1 lock fed through both zippers)
  • Back straps can be totally zipped away for flights
  • The detachable shoulder carry strap came in handy 


  • There is no holder for a water bottle on the outside, the front mesh pockets are not made for this as the outer compression straps go over the them. It is a small detail but this would have come in handy.

 2. Day Pack: Nike Brasilia Drawstring Backpack

The Nike Brasilia drawsting backpack (can also be found on folds up small and holds a lot of stuff (it can take some serious weight). It has a zipper compartment, and 2 more separated sections inside. It was also quite water resistant but also easily fit under a jacket in a downpour. TIP: In certain cities we left all bags in the room in the evening to avoid bag snatches from mopeds – Siem Reap and Phonm Phen were rife with this.

Nike Brasilia Bag

3. Packing Cubes

Sasha’s packing cubes.

These are an absolute must on your Southeast Asia packing list and come in various sizes depending on your needs. There are lots of brands available but we used eBags Packing cubes (can also be found on They’re great quality and packed everything tightly and were easily accessible.  Carl had: 1 large and 1 medium packing cube and kept toiletries and a first aid kit in 2 smaller bags. Sasha had: 2 large and 2 medium packing cubes using one of the large ones for toiletries.

In one medium packing cube Sasha could fit: 3 dresses, 1 shorts, 2 tops, 1 skirt, 1 cardigan, underwear. (More could have been squeezed in).

Read on… ‘Southeast Asia Packing List – Clothes and Shoes’

*Disclaimer: We have added affiliate links in this post to save you some time if you want to look at any items in more detail. However, we recommend you shop around for the best deals and for items that to suit your needs as we were able to find some good discounts on our gear by doing this.

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