Southeast Asia’s beaches, lush landscapes, dynamic cities, and delicious food make the region a must-see for many international travelers. Before you embark on the journey of your lifetime, you’re going to need a few essentials, and perhaps the odd luxury. We’ve compiled what you need as far as travel gear for Southeast Asia in 2021. Let’s get down to it.
We hope you love the Southeast Asia travel gear we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
1. Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack
Let’s start at the beginning. You’re going to need a bag. Countless travelers swear by the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack. Accommodating 55 liters of clothes, gear, and memories, this lockable U-zip backpack is the optimal size for travelers working their way around Southeast Asia. The detachable daypack is perfect for tours, and the stowaway back panel provides easy access to everything in the pack. Oh, and you’ll also look fully legit.
Price: $102.14 — $179.95
2. Durable Poncho
Love it or hate it, monsoon season is a fact of life in Southeast Asia, and it usually hits between June and October. This durable polyurethane-coated polyester taffeta poncho is one of the most important pieces of travel gear for Southeast Asia and comes outfitted with rust-resistant snaps and a taped seam to keep out even the most overachieving of raindrops. Weighing in at nine ounces, this raincoat is not only lightweight but comes with a full-cut integral hood that adjusts with a drawcord.
3. Merino wool shirts
Much of Southeast Asia is hot and humid. Nothing ruins a day of exploring faster than being covered in sweat 10 minutes after you head out. To prevent this, merino wool is an absolute necessity. These merino wool shirts come in a variety of colors and can be worn multiple times between washings, so you can load up a few and eliminate the daily decision of which shirt to choose. There are options for men and women, and the women’s option comes with a free pair of merino wool socks for each shirt purchased. This tank-top option for women is functional and durable, as well.
4. Hat and sun protection
Proper sun protection including a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are key for those hot, humid, and sunny days. We recommend our favorites below, including reef-safe SPF 50 sunscreen and functional hats.
5. Travel toiletry kit
Toiletries are a must, no matter where you go or how you get there. The women’s option, from BAGSMART, unfolds to display your cosmetics and necessities, then packs back up into a TSA-approved, easily packable size. Elviro’s men’s kits are perfect for backpacking because they’re small but still hold everything you need, from toothpaste to a shave kit and everything else.
Price: About $30
6. GoPro HERO9 Black Camera with travel kit
The GoPro, once synonymous with bros chucking themselves from mountain tops and chest-bumping after the descent, has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. The GoPro Hero9 comes with up to 5K visual capacity and also scales down to 4K, 2.7K, 1440p, and 1080p. Fully waterproof down to 196 feet, it’s the classic companion for when you’re diving in any of Southeast Asia’s crystalline coastlines. The travel setup comes with a 128GB microSD card, dual power charger, cleaning kit, and extra batteries.
7. Logitech Ultimate Ears UE WONDERBOOM 2 Bluetooth Speaker
UE WONDERBOOM 2 is the new mainstay of UE’s ultra-portable speaker line. The squat, beer can design is not only waterproof, but floats too. We’ll let you imagine for yourself the pool party options available here.
8. Saalt Menstrual Cup Duo Pack
Reusable, travel-safe menstrual cups can come in pretty handy if you’re up a mountain, miles from a store, or on a secluded island. Composed of medical-grade silicone, this mooncup will save a life and space. When your menstrual cycle hits, Saalt has got your back with this outstanding product of the highest quality.
9. First Aid Kit — 100 Piece
A Southeast Asian hospital visit is not on travelers’ bucket lists, and this is one reason why this 100-piece first-aid kit is among the most important pieces of travel gear for Southeast Asia. Both durable and compact, this paramedic-in-a-bag includes a CPR Mask, blanket, tourniquet, and all the basics. Oh, and if you’re suffering from a UBI (the professional medical term for Unexplained Beer Injury), the bandaids will also come in useful.
10. Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 Power Bank
With over 20 million users of Anker products in the US alone, there’s a reason why this portable charger for travel utilizing Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (24W) tech is so popular. With enough power to fill an iPhone 7 over six times, the charger provides around seven days of power. Taking six hours to fully charge the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000, this product charges overnight in your accommodation so you’re ready for long days of exploration. Coming with a travel pouch and 23.6-inch micro USB cable, this product will keep your devices fully juiced during your great Southeast Asian vacation.
11. Tiger Balm Extra Strength
The most famous Thai export, Tiger Balm is used for a number of ailments including muscle pain, congestion, and coughs. It’s also great for keeping mosquitoes away. Made from camphor, menthol, cajuput oil, and clove oil, this jar of Tiger Balm Red is an essential item to keep to hand while trekking through the jungles of Borneo or scaling the limestone rock faces of Cantabaco in the Philippines.
12. Nintendo Switch Lite
Ideal for airport departure lounges or when you’re stuck inside your guesthouse during the rainy season, the Nintendo Switch Lite can bring you into the world of the Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Super Mario Bros, or Animal Crossing. With a 1,280 x 720 LCD screen, this compact cousin of the Nintendo Switch is a perfect example of the adage that the best things come in small packages.
13. AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press
No self-respecting, coffee-loving traveler should be caught without an AeroPress Go, which offers a coffee a-sip-above-the-rest. Using an air pocket, hot water is pushed through the grounds and a filter, resulting in a satisfying brew. Throw in a mug and the AeroPress Go is not only an essential companion but will arguably give you better coffee than with traditional brewing methods. Pretentious barista mustache optional.