How to pack for the jungle

If you’re planning a day hike in a cloud forest, or trekking in the depths of the rainforest, here are 10 essentials that you should pack:

  1. Mosquito repellent – use a DEET-free one that is kind to the environment while protecting you from midges. Check the elevation you’ll be heading to – at some altitudes they are not an issue. Read the travel advice for your specific area to find out if there are any diseases you can protect yourself from in advance (yellow fever, malaria, etc.).

  2. Sun cream – protect your skin with at least SPF30, and opt for one that is easily absorbed and simple to reapply as you may face downpours or have to deal with excessive sweat. 

  3. Long-sleeved clothes – wearing a light long-sleeved top is a great way to regulate your temperature and keep insects off, while also protecting you from any UV rays that filter through the canopy.

  4. Leech socksdo your research before you go and if there are leeches, it is worth buying a cheap pair of socks to wear above your trousers/shoes to avoid having to remove these blood-sucking parasites. 

  5. Waterproof cases for cameras – you might think this is only necessary for water-based activities, but the rainforest and cloud forests can be humid, damp places. Even if you duck the rainfall, moisture will collect on your cameras and devices so take care to keep them dry.

  6. A reusable water bottle – depending on where you are travelling, check if there is a source of safe, potable water for you to top up your bottle for free. Save buying a plastic bottle each time by taking your own. Aluminium bottles with carabiner clips can be attached to your bag strap and will keep your drink cool.

  7. Charger packin some remote places, you will not have a guaranteed source of power to charge your phone and other electronics. Invest in an external charger pack that can keep you fully charged, so you can enjoy your trip without worrying about finding the next available socket.

  8. Raincoat / poncho – in tropical climates, a lined raincoat is too warm and will end up sticking to you. A lightweight version, or even a thin poncho, will keep you dry without causing you to overheat. Umbrellas are a bad idea as you won’t be able to safely navigate the paths in the jungle with your head down. 

  9. Fruits / nuts as snacks – take dried food that is easy to store and will not expire or melt in warm temperatures. High energy snacks are important if you are planning on active excursions and need something readily available. Most places will offer fresh fruit or local snacks to keep you going, but it is worth carrying some in case you need extra or have any food allergies / preferences that may not be catered for there.

  10. Waterproof fabric plasters – if you don’t carry your own first aid kit on your travels, at least pack some decent plasters or band aids. Small cuts might take longer to heal in humid conditions, and if you get blisters you’ll want to pad them out so that you can continue walking comfortably. 

Two things that should not end up in your bag are:

  • Plastic bags / rustling packets – leave these at home to not only help reduce waste, but to avoid the wrong kind of monkey attention.
  • Sunglasses and a hat – these aren’t always necessary as the canopy offers shade. If you need to look up to spot wildlife, having these fall off your head might be a nuisance.

Now you’re all set! Enjoy packing and venture into the jungle fully prepared for your trip.


We’d love to hear from you – is there anything else that you think should be on this list?

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