Im headed to vietnam (and hopefully many more countries) and i was just wondering if you can buy sleepingbags and tents cheeply anywhere, and also if you would advise taking them?? im heading to europe as well.
i've only just started looking thoroughly for this kinda stuff. as comparison i've found 2kg tent is about $200aud and travelpacks are a bit less than that. still looking at sleepingbags, there seems to be a huge variation and i am not sure yet what i want/need.
Kater, I have not found a need to use a sleeping bag through Thailand and Laos although it can get a little chilly just before daybreak in the northern regions and in the high country. I carry a sarong and a polartec inner liner that I bought in Nepal. My suggestion is that you get yourself an el cheapo lightweight summer bag from Target - one that can unzip to make a light blanket. If and when you get to Kathmandu Nepal, check out the many mountaineering shops for a locally made expedition sub-zero bag and a liner if this is what you need. You should be able to pick one up for around AUD200 compared to a branded one here in Australia of AUD600 and upwards. Other than my boots and backpack, I would have no hesitation in buying all my other trekking gear in Nepal. Re tent, are you sure you will be needing one at all? Just don't want to see you waste your money and lugging excess weight around Vietnam for nothing. There are few places to camp without attracting unwelcome attention esp if you are a single white female. Have fun but no need to be reckless. Hope this helps
Just to add to what Yamseng had to say. I think that for the most part you will find accomadations very reasonable in SE Asia, and although I have never thought of SE Asia as unsafe in general, I don't know if I'd be up to camping alone in populated areas there. Thats just me though, a single white male.
I would go with Yamseng on the bag as well, SE Asia overall tends to be a pretty warm place, unless you go into the mountains, and more than a tent I would want to make sure I had some good raingear or a good poncho if I was going to be outside very much... If the rain bothers you that is.
Kater, another thing to consider (at least for me) are your reasons for backpacking (independant travelling) as against packaged tours and packaged holidays. The former allows you more opportunities to interact with the locals and to gain some valuable insight into another culture. Staying in a tent, besides difficulties and security issues, will only isolate you from this experience or make you the centre of attention - a bit of a sideshow to the locals. As mentioned, a poncho is an extremely versatile piece of equipment (can be used as a ground sheet as well) as it leave your hands free (great for jungle walks in torrential rain) but you will be soaked with perspiration with the high humidity. Two army ponchos can be joined together to make a basic shelter. I have found an umbrella a better alternative for protection from sun, rain and dogs but impractical in jungle use. Equipment selection is part of the overall experience but can be an expensive one as I have found. The hardest thing to do for most of us is to avoid over-filling our back packs with all those "come in handy" items. If you like info on what to pack, you are welcome to drop me a line. Have fun