Vietnam/Cambodia – My Ultra-Light Packing Plan

Read any travel magazine or website about packing tips and you will find the recurring theme that traveling “light” is better than traveling heavy.  I agree.

What are the benefits of traveling light?

  • Not waiting on checked luggage
  • Easier to take public transport
  • Ability to move faster
  • Less to keep track of and manage
  • Reduce your risk of being a “target” for scammers and thieves
  • No extra baggage charges
  • Flexibility in changing flights
  • No tips for porters and bell hops

The list can go on and on and on.  But, the key point is that there is a real benefit to being nimble on the road.  Now, this is easier if you travel frequently, as I do, because the investment in clothes and products that will help you travel light will be better leveraged.

When I decided to do this trip, I decided I would go as light as possible.  The fact that I really don’t have many business appointments on this trip certainly helps.  I also have a fairly consistent climate situation – hot – with the exception that Hanoi will be a little cooler than the rest of my destinations.  My goal is to have one bag, that I can carry-on, for the entire trip.  So, here is what I ended up with:

What to Pack for Trip

This is everything I’m going to pack and the bag I’m going to pack it in.  The backpack is the Marmot Gunnison which is billed as a “daypack.”  However, it is pretty roomy and I think I can make it work.  Of course, I also have my departure outfit to factor in which looks like this:

Travel Outfit

Many of the clothes are designed for people like me such as Ex Officio underwear, shirts, and t-shirts that are easily washed in a sink and dry by the morning.

The two pair of pants were selected with great care.  While I have a pair of lightweight North Face shorts and an old pair of swim trunks packed, shorts are not really worn out in public in SE Asia except by children and tourists, so I will mostly be in long pants.  I wanted to make sure one pair of them was super comfortable and, in the search process, I found my new favorite casual slacks – the Kuhl Outkast pant.  Not only do they have an extremely comfortable cut, the fabric has a soft feel yet dries quickly.  The second pair needed to be a stain resistant, comfortable, and easy to sink wash pant.  After trying several contenders, I settled on the Columbia Cool Creek II Stretch Pant.

The weather is going to be mostly hot but my initial few days in Hanoi have the chance of being a little cool at night.  I’m taking a heavy shirt/jacket (the light brown one in above picture) that my wife got me on clearance at Old Navy for $5.  I will leave it on the road in either Hanoi or Hoi An.

I’m violating one of my cardinal rules of travel on this trip.  No matter how comfortable a pair of shoes are, you cannot wear them everyday for two weeks without getting blisters.  But, since I want to travel super-light, multiple shoes are not an option.  After screening a number of potential shoes, I settled on Clark Wave Tract shoes which are among the most comfortable I’ve ever found.  I’m also going to take a pair of 97 cent flip-flops found on clearance at Old Navy (not pictured above) for around the hotel and pool to give my feet a change of pace.

In regards to electronics, I’m taking my iPad with Zagg keyboard instead of a laptop as that really lightens the load.  The iPad will be loaded with my travel guides, several books, music, and translation apps in the rare case that I will need them.  I will also have my Droid phone that has global capability plus my Canon Elph camera which is very small but takes great pics.  That is all the electronics other than a simple plug adapter for two-prong, European style outlets.

In my next post, I’ll discuss my planning considerations around health and safety on the trip.


One Response to Vietnam/Cambodia – My Ultra-Light Packing Plan

  1. Pingback: Hitting the Road for Eastern Europe | Note from the Road

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