Vietnam is well and truly entrenched as part of the Southeast Asia backpacking route and is fast establishing itself as a destination in its own right. It’s very easy to see why too, it offers lush jungle, adventure opportuinties, amazing food and an intriguing history.
Yes, so Vietnam is amazing and it is calling your name! If you are wondering what to bring to Vietnam, then you are in the right place.
Read on for your top 22-needs packing list, tips on what to wear that’s appropriate for Vietnam street fashion, a breakdown of what to pack for Vietnam by seasonal weather conditions.
By the time you get through all the good stuff we put together for you, you’ll be more ready than ever to explore pagodas in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, lounge on Nha Trang Beach, stroll along the streets of charming Hoi An, cruise through Halong Bay and dig into some tasty pho!
Let’s get started!Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Vietnam
The Ultimate Vietnam Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 11
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Price > $600
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
Packing for Vietnam is made easy thanks to us. Read on to find out what to bring to Vietnam.
Best Backpack For Vietnam: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Vietnam, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Vietnmam checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
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We’ve tested countlessday packs over the years, but the Tropicfeel Shell is something else. There are a lot of flashy backpacks on the market but not many come with a detachable wardrobe.
Weatherproof, eco-friendly, durable, feature-loaded, and comfy as fudge brownies: these are just some of the words people might use to describe the Tropicfeel Shell. But we just call it bloody beautiful.Learn More • View on Tropicfeel
Best Suitcase For Vietnam: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
Best Camera For Vietnam: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Packing Cubes For Vietnam – Wandrd Packing Cubes
In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and to keep it all better organised.
For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.
These ones from WANDRD are great quality and excellent value for money.
Best Sim For Vietnam – HolaFly eSim
The good news about ‘Nam is that there is excellent 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps in all cities and towns (but it does get patchy once you venture out into the wilds and wilderness). The bad news is that your native SIM card will probably not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can is,ply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the Vietnam, package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
What To Pack For Vietnam Checklist: Personal Gear
Vietnam may be a culture shock to some travellers. To minimise this, we strongly suggest taking the time to get your Vietnam packing right. Choosing the right clothes to wear in Vietnam, and the right electrical to bring can make all the difference between feeling over-whelmed and read to take on the world! Remember that Vietnamese culture is a tad conservative so dress respectfully especially around religious sites.
Best Shoes For Vietnam – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Visitors to Vietnam are often tempted to live in flip flops. To be fair, many of the locals do. However, we strongly advise you do your feet a favour and get some proper supported, closed walking shoes. These are great for city sightseeing, trekking in the jungles and great for riding motorbikes. Do NOT attempt to ride a motorbike in flip-flops unless you are blaise about losing a foot.
I admit that most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear. But they are some of the most comfortable and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town. I mean, your body is already going to be suffering enough from all of those 2-for-1 shots and bottomless mimosas you will be drinking, so do yourself a favor and buy some good shoes.
Check out the women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero.
Best Rain Jacket For Vietnam – Arcteryx Beta AR
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear for it. Don’t let a bit (of a lot) of rain ruin your trip and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
Vietnam can be very hot but it can also be very, VERY wet. It all depends on when you visit and where exactly you go.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.
Word up, Arc’teryx does not make cheap gear but it is worth it. If you want a cheaper brand then check out a Patagonia rain jacket instead.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when traveling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favorite, it works great for digital nomads and organized backpackers and can be used as planner or a dream diary – whatever you want!
Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online. This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.
Best Sunglasses For Vietnam – Abaco Sunglasses
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lens and frame colors to reflect your own style.
When you visit Vietnam, don’t let sun glare burn your retinas out! Get some good sunnies and stay stylish whilst staying safe.
Suncream: Thinksport Safe SPF 50+
By now, all of us are as pasty as the driven snow from sheltering in place for the last six months. Am I right? This means we are even more vulnerable than usual to the sun’s fierce rays. Packing sunscreen for Vietnam may seem like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how many sun-burned cocktail-toting people you see wandering around.
Thinksport Safe SPF 50+ sunscreen gives folks strong sun protection in a non-oily formula that’s free of gluten, paraben, phthalates and biologically harmful chemicals. Your packing list for Vietnam should include at leats one tube of good quality suncream to keep you skin nicely protected.
Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me. Plus they are not too expensive either. A no-brainer essential. The best thing about them, is that you get to keep all your toiletries in one place which is really handy for bouncing between hostels.
Best Sandals For Vietnam: OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops
Circling back to the footwear question, now we are going to talk about sandals. These are very useful for Nam as it can get sweaty as hell and make a great accompaniment to those hiking shoes we told you to buy.
Your feet will be tired and sweaty from those long days wearing shoes so do yourself a favor: pack sandals and give your feet some well-deserved cushion and fresh air. These Olukai flip flops are ultra-comfortable, well-made, and come in a variety of colors. Whilst these are great to wear in Vietnam, do not ride a motorbike in them – use proper shoes instead.
Check out the women’s OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops.
Money Belt – By Pacsafe
Whilst Vietnam is not particularly dangerous, crime does still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted.
When you are visiting Vietnam, do take care in busy cities and be especially mindful at night after a few beers.
To avoid losing all your cash at the hands of a thief, it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
Best Hat For Vietnam – Patagonia Fitz Roy Trucker
As you should know by now, the sun in Vietnam is strong and you will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time outside. Having a hat on your Vietnam packing list is a good way to ensure your face is protected from the sun throughout the day.
Patagonia makes great hats. I have probably bought three or four of these over the last five years. Simple. Practical. Comfortable. That is what you are after.
Best Waterbottle For Vietnam – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. We suggest buying big 5 litre bottles of water and filling this up each day.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Vietnam trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
Best Sleeping Bag For Vietnam – Nemo Disco 15
Camping out under the stars is great and Vietnam presents some awesome camping opportunities. If you are headed into nature, then please for the love of Uncle Ho bring a good bloody tent and a proper sleeping bag.
There are a LOT of sleeping bags on the market today and we have tried a lot of them. The quality and standards varies and not always in correlation with the price – pricey does not always mean better. The Nemo Disco 15 is a great all rounder sleeping bag packing in warmth, durability and a reasonable price tag.
Best Daypack For Vietnam – Osprey Daylite Plus
If you intend on doing any hiking, bike trips or bussing around the country then you will need a daypack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Vietnam
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a trip to Vietnam:
- A pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town. Its not essential though.
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town. Whatever makes you comfy!
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Amazon Kindle for reading by the pool
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (ATM’s can be hard to find in some regions)
- Packable Towel
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Final Thoughts on Packing For Vietnam
And that’s all, folks! Your complete Vietnam survival guide – a detailed breakdown of Vietnam packing essentials including a top 22-needs packing list, tips on what to wear that’s appropriate for Vietnam street fashion, and how to pack for Vietnam weather by season. We hope you found our recommendations for gals and guys – and what NOT to pack – helpful too!
Just remember to pack light, pack smart and be a respectful tourist – and the rest will take care of itself. You’re in for a beautiful experience in Vietnam, so get out there and enjoy every minute!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!