Essential Packing List For Backpacking In Vietnam

backpacking in vietnam what to pack

Vietnam's rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities make it an ideal destination for backpackers. Whether you're planning to trek through the lush mountains of Sapa, explore the ancient town of Hoi An, or cruise along the iconic Halong Bay, you'll want to make sure you're well-prepared for your adventure. In this packing list, we'll cover all the essentials you'll need to have a memorable and hassle-free backpacking experience in Vietnam. From lightweight clothing to durable hiking boots, we've got you covered. So grab your backpack and get ready to discover the beauty of Vietnam!

Characteristics Values
Weather Humid, tropical climate
Clothing Lightweight and breathable clothing
Footwear Comfortable walking shoes
Backpack Sturdy and waterproof backpack
Sleeping Bag Lightweight and compact sleeping bag
Tent Lightweight and easy to set up tent
Cooking Equipment Portable stove, cookware, and utensils
Food and Water Purification tablets or filtration system, water bottles
First Aid Kit Essential medical supplies and medications
Navigation Map, compass, and GPS device
Personal Hygiene Travel-sized toiletries, toilet paper, wet wipes
Money Sufficient cash and credit cards
Travel Insurance Comprehensive travel insurance coverage
Electronics Camera, power bank, and adapter
Communication Mobile phone and SIM card
Language Basic knowledge of Vietnamese phrases and greetings
Safety Locks for bags and valuables, travel insurance
Transportation Reliable transportation options such as buses or trains
Permits Depending on the specific activities, permits may be required
Local Customs Respectful behavior, modest clothing in religious sites


What are the essential items to pack for backpacking in Vietnam?

Source: Reddit

Backpacking through Vietnam is an exciting adventure, but it's essential to pack the right items to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Whether you're planning to explore the bustling cities or venture into the picturesque countryside, having the right gear and essentials will make your journey much more comfortable and convenient. Here is a list of essential items to consider packing for backpacking in Vietnam:

  • Backpack: Investing in a high-quality backpack is crucial as it will be your primary means of carrying all your belongings. Look for a backpack that is durable, lightweight, and has multiple compartments for easy organization.
  • Clothing: Vietnam's climate is diverse, with the northern regions experiencing cooler temperatures and the southern parts being hot and humid. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing, including t-shirts, shorts, and comfortable pants for warmer days, and warmer layers and a rain jacket for cooler evenings or unexpected rain showers. Don't forget to pack a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Footwear: Comfortable and durable footwear is essential for exploring Vietnam. Pack a pair of sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for trekking and outdoor activities, and a pair of comfortable sandals or flip-flops for relaxing or beach days.
  • Travel Adapter: Vietnam uses Type A and Type C electrical outlets, so make sure to bring a universal travel adapter to charge your electronics and ensure they are compatible with the local power supply.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: It's important to bring basic personal hygiene products as some may not be easily available in certain areas of Vietnam. Bring travel-sized toiletries, including toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and any specific medications you may need.
  • First Aid Kit: Prepare a compact first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, and any prescription medication you require. It's always better to be prepared for any minor injuries or illnesses that may occur during your backpacking trip.
  • Insect Repellent: Vietnam is known for its mosquitos and other insects, especially in rural areas or during the rainy season. Protect yourself by packing a strong insect repellent to ward off bites and potential diseases.
  • Travel Documents: Keep your passport, visa, travel insurance, and any other important documents secure in a waterproof pouch. Make copies of these documents and store them separately in case of emergencies.
  • Travel Guidebook or App: Carry a travel guidebook or use a reliable travel app to navigate your way through Vietnam. These resources provide valuable information about attractions, transportation options, and local customs.
  • Cash and Cards: Although credit cards are widely accepted in major cities, it's always handy to have some cash on hand. ATMs are readily available, but it's advisable to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with your cards.
  • Backpack Lock: Ensure the security of your belongings by using a backpack lock or combination lock. This will protect your belongings while traveling on buses, trains, or staying in shared accommodations.
  • Travel Insurance: Don't forget to purchase travel insurance before your trip. Having insurance will give you peace of mind in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, accidents, or theft.

When backpacking in Vietnam, it's essential to pack efficiently and prioritize items that will make your journey comfortable and stress-free. Be mindful of the weather conditions, the activities you plan to engage in, and any specific needs you may have. With these essential items in your backpack, you'll be well-prepared to embrace the beauty and adventure that Vietnam has to offer.


Source: Reddit

When planning a backpacking trip to Vietnam, it is essential to pack the right clothing and accessories to ensure your comfort and safety. The weather in Vietnam can vary significantly depending on the region and time of year, so it is crucial to be prepared for different conditions. Here are some specific clothing items and accessories that we recommend for backpacking in Vietnam:

Lightweight and breathable clothing:

Vietnam can get hot and humid, especially in the summer months. Packing lightweight and breathable clothing will help you stay comfortable and cool. Opt for loose-fitting, quick-drying materials such as cotton or linen to allow for better airflow and moisture-wicking properties.

Long-sleeved shirts and pants:

While it may be tempting to wear short sleeves and shorts to combat the heat, it is essential to protect your skin from the sun and insects. Long-sleeved shirts and pants made from lightweight and breathable materials can provide both sun protection and defense against mosquito bites.

Rain gear:

Vietnam experiences a rainy season, especially in the central and southern parts of the country. It is crucial to pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket or raincoat to stay dry during unexpected downpours. Additionally, waterproof shoes or boots with good traction can help navigate slippery paths and flooded streets.

Hat and sunglasses:

Protecting yourself from the sun is essential when backpacking in Vietnam. A wide-brimmed hat can shield your face and neck from direct sunlight, while sunglasses with UV protection can protect your eyes from harmful rays. Choose a hat that is lightweight, breathable, and has a chin strap to prevent it from blowing away in the wind.

Comfortable footwear:

Vietnam offers a wide range of terrains, from urban areas with uneven sidewalks to hiking trails in national parks. It is essential to have comfortable and durable footwear that can withstand long walks and provide good support. Opt for lightweight and breathable shoes or sandals that have a good grip to prevent slips and falls.

Quick-drying towel:

Many budget accommodations in Vietnam may not provide towels, or they may charge extra for them. Packing a quick-drying towel can come in handy during your backpacking trip. These towels are lightweight, compact, and dry quickly, making them perfect for travel and outdoor activities.


A reliable daypack is a must-have accessory for backpacking in Vietnam. It allows you to carry your essentials such as water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, and map. Look for a backpack with comfortable shoulder straps and multiple compartments to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

Insect repellent:

Mosquitoes and other insects can be prevalent in some parts of Vietnam, especially in rural areas and during the rainy season. It is crucial to pack an insect repellent with at least 30% DEET concentration to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria. Apply the repellent to exposed skin and clothing, and reapply as directed.

Travel-sized first aid kit:

Having a basic first aid kit is advisable for any backpacking trip. Include essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, nausea medication, diarrhea relief medication, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. It is also a good idea to carry a photocopy of your prescription and contact information for emergency medical services.

Travel adapter:

Vietnam uses a two-pin plug socket, so if you plan to charge your electronic devices, it is essential to bring a travel adapter with you. Check the voltage of your devices to ensure they are compatible with the standard 220V used in Vietnam. A universal adapter with multiple USB ports can come in handy for charging multiple devices simultaneously.

In conclusion, when backpacking in Vietnam, it is crucial to pack lightweight and breathable clothing, long-sleeved shirts and pants for sun protection, rain gear for the rainy season, a hat and sunglasses for sun protection, comfortable footwear, a quick-drying towel, a daypack, insect repellent, a travel-sized first aid kit, and a travel adapter. These items will help ensure your comfort, safety, and enjoyment during your backpacking adventure in Vietnam.


Is it necessary to bring a mosquito net or bug spray for backpacking in Vietnam?

Source: Outdoor Life

When planning a backpacking trip to Vietnam, it is important to consider the potential presence of mosquitoes and other insects. Vietnam is located in a tropical region where mosquitoes thrive, and they can carry diseases such as dengue fever or malaria. Therefore, bringing a mosquito net and bug spray is highly recommended to protect yourself from these pests.

Mosquito nets are a useful tool to keep mosquitoes away while you sleep. They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them a popular choice among backpackers. When properly set up, mosquito nets create a physical barrier that prevents mosquitoes from reaching you. This can significantly reduce the risk of mosquito bites and potential infections.

Bug spray, on the other hand, acts as a repellent to keep mosquitoes and other insects away from your skin. Look for insect repellents that contain DEET, a chemical compound proven to be highly effective in repelling mosquitoes. Apply the spray to exposed skin areas, such as your arms and legs, before heading outdoors. It is also a good idea to carry a travel-sized bug spray bottle with you to reapply as needed throughout the day.

While mosquito nets and bug spray are essential for protecting yourself from mosquitoes, there are additional measures you can take to minimize your exposure. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes can help reduce the amount of exposed skin, making it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite you. Additionally, sticking to well-lit areas at night and avoiding stagnant water can help minimize your risk of encountering mosquitoes.

It is also worth noting that different parts of Vietnam may have varying levels of mosquito activity. Coastal areas and regions with standing water, such as the Mekong Delta, tend to have higher mosquito populations compared to mountainous regions. Therefore, it is important to research the specific areas you plan to visit and adjust your precautions accordingly.

In conclusion, bringing a mosquito net and bug spray is highly recommended for backpacking in Vietnam. These items provide an extra layer of protection against mosquitoes and help reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases. Along with the use of mosquito nets and bug spray, wearing appropriate clothing and avoiding high-risk areas can further enhance your protection. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your backpacking trip in Vietnam while minimizing the risk of mosquito bites and infections.


What type of footwear is most suitable for backpacking in Vietnam?

Source: Trekking Tour Sapa

When planning a backpacking trip, it is important to consider the right footwear for the journey. This is especially true when backpacking in Vietnam, as the terrain can vary greatly and pose unique challenges. Choosing the right footwear is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. Here, we will discuss the most suitable types of footwear for backpacking in Vietnam, taking into account the scientific and experiential factors.

Sturdy Hiking Boots:

One of the best options for backpacking in Vietnam is a sturdy pair of hiking boots. These boots are designed to provide excellent ankle support and proper traction on various terrains. Look for boots that are waterproof, breathable, and have good cushioning. This will help protect your feet from moisture, rocks, and uneven surfaces. Moreover, sturdy hiking boots are essential to prevent ankle sprains and provide stability on muddy or slippery trails.

Lightweight Trail Runners:

For those who prefer a lighter and more agile option, lightweight trail runners are a solid choice. These shoes offer the benefits of a hiking boot but are typically lower in weight and provide more flexibility. They are especially suitable for those who plan to cover long distances or incorporate trail running into their backpacking trip. However, it is important to ensure that the trail runners offer sufficient grip and support to handle rugged terrain.

Water Shoes or Sandals:

Vietnam is known for its stunning beaches, rivers, and waterfalls. If your backpacking trip includes water activities or encounters with wet environments, consider investing in water shoes or sandals. These are designed to provide protection and grip in slippery conditions while allowing your feet to breathe. Look for water shoes that have a secure fit, good traction, and quick-drying features. They will ensure comfort and reduce the risk of injury when navigating wet areas.

Flip-Flops or Slippers:

While not suitable for hiking or long walks, flip-flops or slippers can be valuable additions for resting at campgrounds or walking short distances in more relaxed environments. They are lightweight, easy to slip on and off, and provide a break for your feet from closed shoes. Make sure to choose a pair that fits securely and has a good grip to avoid slips and falls.

In conclusion, the most suitable footwear for backpacking in Vietnam depends on various factors including terrain, activities, and personal preferences. Sturdy hiking boots are an excellent option for general backpacking adventures, providing ankle support and traction. Lightweight trail runners are ideal for those who prefer agility and want to cover long distances. Water shoes or sandals are essential for water-based activities or encounters with wet environments. Lastly, flip-flops or slippers can serve as comfortable resting footwear. Whatever option you choose, make sure to consider the specific needs of your backpacking trip to ensure a comfortable and safe journey.


Are there any specific toiletries or travel essentials that should be included in a backpack for Vietnam?

Source: No Back Home

When traveling to Vietnam, it is important to pack the right toiletries and travel essentials to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free trip. From personal care items to practical accessories, here are some specific items that should be included in your backpack for Vietnam.

  • Sunscreen: Vietnam is known for its tropical climate, and the sun can be quite harsh, especially during the summer months. It is essential to pack a good sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from sunburn and damage.
  • Insect repellent: Vietnam is also home to various insects, including mosquitoes, which can transmit diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. To stay protected, pack an insect repellent containing DEET and apply it regularly to exposed skin.
  • Hand sanitizer: It is always a good idea to have hand sanitizer with you while traveling, especially in crowded places or when access to soap and water is limited. This can help keep your hands clean and prevent the spread of germs.
  • Travel-sized toiletries: To save space and weight in your backpack, opt for travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and toothpaste. You can find these in most convenience stores or purchase refillable travel bottles to fill with your favorite products.
  • Quick-drying towel: A quick-drying towel is a great addition to your backpack as it is lightweight, compact, and dries quickly. It can be handy for beach trips, swimming, or even as a backup towel in case your accommodation does not provide one.
  • Universal adapter: Vietnam uses a different plug type (2-prong round) than many other countries. It is recommended to pack a universal adapter that can fit different plug types to ensure you can charge your electronic devices without any issues.
  • Rain jacket or poncho: Vietnam experiences frequent rainfall, particularly during the rainy season. It is a good idea to pack a lightweight rain jacket or poncho to stay dry during unexpected downpours.
  • Travel laundry detergent: If you plan to travel for an extended period or prefer to do your laundry while on the go, consider packing travel-sized laundry detergent. This can be especially useful if you are backpacking and need to wash your clothes in sinks or laundromats.
  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is essential while traveling, and rather than buying single-use plastic bottles, it is better for the environment to carry a reusable water bottle. You can refill it at drinking water stations, filtered water stations, or use water purification tablets if necessary.
  • First aid kit: It is always wise to carry a basic first aid kit that includes items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relief medication, and any necessary prescription medication. This can come in handy for minor injuries or illnesses while on the road.

These are just some of the specific toiletries and travel essentials that should be included in a backpack for Vietnam. By packing these items, you can ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable trip while staying prepared for any situation. Remember to also pack appropriate clothing, comfortable footwear, and any necessary travel documents for a stress-free journey.

Frequently asked questions

When packing for a backpacking trip in Vietnam, it's important to pack light and choose versatile clothing items. Bring lightweight, breathable clothing that is suitable for the hot and humid climate. It's also a good idea to pack a rain jacket or poncho, as Vietnam can experience sudden downpours. Don't forget to pack comfortable walking shoes or sandals, as you'll likely be doing a lot of walking.

Yes, it's highly recommended to pack insect repellent for your backpacking trip in Vietnam. Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be a nuisance, particularly in rural areas or during the rainy season. Opt for a repellent that contains DEET, which is effective in keeping mosquitoes away.

Absolutely! Sunscreen is essential when backpacking in Vietnam, as the country experiences high levels of UV radiation. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it regularly, especially if you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors. Don't forget to protect your face, neck, and shoulders, as these areas are particularly susceptible to sunburn.

In Vietnam, the standard voltage is 220V, with a frequency of 50Hz. The plugs and sockets used are of Type A, C, D, and G. Therefore, it's a good idea to pack a universal travel adapter that can accommodate these types of plugs. This will ensure that you can charge your electronic devices and use them without any issues.

No, it is not recommended to drink tap water in Vietnam. The tap water is not considered safe for consumption. It's best to stick to bottled water or boil the tap water before drinking it. You can also use a water purifier or carry a portable water filter if you prefer to drink water from natural sources. Staying hydrated is important, so make sure to always have a bottle of water with you while backpacking in Vietnam.

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