Packing: Jungle Trek *List*
In packing for my 4 night / 5 day trek in the Colombian jungle, I had to keep 4 important factors in mind:
1 Jungle Humidity – Really the heat was not to be believed. Once you started to sweat, you wouldn’t stop and your shirt would never dry.
In fact, we found the only way to dry our clothes would be to put them on wet in the morning and have our clothes dry with our body heat…that is until we started walking again, which meant you had dry hiking clothes only during breakfast.
2 Ravenous Mosquitoes – These carnivorous buggers were vicious. And not just at dusk, but anytime. If you were exposed, you’d better be wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks – despite the heat.
I made the fatal mistake of taking a siesta one afternoon without repellant and paid a high price. Actually a few of us did. Just check out our bitten legs in this pic:
3 Tropical Rains – Torrential downpours were the norm in the afternoons. And sometimes we got caught while hiking, which meant that we needed to have a rain poncho (or at the very least a large plastic bag) to cover ourselves and our gear.
If you got caught in the rain and got wet you were doomed. (See factor #1: Jungle Humidity.) As an extra measure of waterproofing, I placed all my clothes in a plastic bag, which served as an extra liner.
4 Self Portage –Since we had to carry our own gear, packing light was paramount. And trust me, each kilo counted as you struggled uphill in the hot noon-day sun.
In terms of gear, I carried:
- Day Pack: I carried my 20 liter daypack. It wasn’t great because it doesn’t have a waist strap, so all the weight hung from my shoulders. On the upside, it had 2 side pockets for water bottles. And I clipped my combo thermometer / compass / whistle to the outside pocket.
- Dry Bag: This small 8-liter bag can be folded to be water tight. I put in supplies I needed to keep handy like sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and sunglasses and hung it on the outside of my backpack. It was a little awkward as the weight of the bag kept shifting.
- Camera: My large SLR camera was carried in its own specifically-designed bag and positioned front of me. It was heavy.
Here’s a list of what I actually packed. I threw in a few cold-weather items (I heard it got chilly at night), which I didn’t actually need and they took up a lot of space:
- Flip flops
- 1 Tank top (dry wicking)
- 2 T-shirts ( 1 dry wicking)
- long-sleeved top
- button down top (to use as a sun shirt)
- light-weight long pants
- 5 pairs of socks (super great to put on clean dry socks each morning!)
- 5 pairs of undies
- 1 sports bra
- Baseball hat
- Quick dry towel
- Silk Sleep Sack
- Long-sleeved light jacket
- Polar-tech Vest (unnecessary – I’m always afraid of being cold!)
- Wool hat (unnecessary)
- Gloves (unnecessary)
- Tiny Umbrella (unnecessary)
- Rain poncho
- Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, face lotion, lip balm, soap, brush.
- Medical kit: ibuprofen, allergy pills, antiseptic wipes, band aids (I used it all).
- Misc items: small notebook / pen, iPhone (for video), knife, nail clippers, mosquito face net, sunglasses, reading glasses, cards, headlamp.
A few things I’d wished I had packed:
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Bathing Suit
- Extra sports bra
In the end, I could have left out the cold-weather items and then fit the 8-liter bag into the backpack for a more comfortable fit. But that’s 20-20 hindsight. And although I swam in my underwear and toughed it through with dirty hair, I was fairly pleased with my packing!
This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 and is filed under What to Pack.