What I Wish I Brought to Backpack SE Asia

As a follow-up to sharing what I packed to backpack SE Asia, this is a post about what I wished I’d packed. 

Thankfully, it’s not much different from what I packed but if I could do it all again, I’d make one big change: I’d choose a 40L bag vs. a 55L one.

I was stunned at the number of 70 and 80L bags I saw in Koh Tao (a backpacker’s paradise in the Thai islands). So big, presumably so heavy, and filled with so much s.t.u.f.f.


Backpacking for over a month now, I’ve got a strange desire to return to London and sell or donate 80% of what I left behind.

Truthfully, even that wasn’t so much- three suitcases, a duffel bag and three boxes.

Even so, when you live out of a backpack, you learn just how much you need to live with.

Spoiler: You don’t need much.

I’ve always said experiences > things, and backpacking SE Asia has only strengthened that belief.

If I could do it again, not only would I bring a smaller bag, but I’d also bring-

  • Another set of lightweight pants (my cotton ones my favourite thing to wear)
  • Second swimsuit
  • Hat to protect from the sun
  • GoPro

The GoPro would be a splurge, but would have been awesome to have for all my sea adventures (boating, snorkeling, swimming), as well as things I’ve done on land (explore night markets, visit elephants, tour temples).

As is, I’m capturing moments on my iPhoneXR, which is going pretty well but does come with limitations I wouldn’t face if I had a GoPro.

Something to keep in mind if I ever decide to backpack South America 😉


Items that would be nice to have, but not wholly necessary-

  • Second sports bra
  • Another set of leggings (for workouts)
  • One or two more shirts for workouts and lounging
  • A few more pairs of socks and underwear for weeks when doing laundry is tough

Aside from the aforementioned items, I’m pretty happy with what I brought. I spent a lot of time reading posts and reviews from people who backpacked before me in the hope of learning from their mistakes, and heeding advice for what worked.

Have you ever gone on a backpacking trip? Is there anything you brought that you couldn’t live without or realised you needed once on your journey? 

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Image 1 Credit: Link // Image 2 Credit: Link

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