Planning Checklist for a Jungle Expedition

Jungle trekking in Colombia Credit: Richard McColl

Jungle trekking in Colombia Credit: Richard McColl

Adventurers are advised to create a list of items to take on a jungle camping trip. Considerations must include personal hygiene, food and logistics.

Heading out for the Amazon rainforest in South America, the Sinharaja Forest in Sri Lanka or the Daintree in Australia, to name a few, will require careful planning. You need a checklist of all the items necessary to ensure your healthy exit from some of the most perilous situations. Some points may seem obvious but there’s no substitute for in-depth planning.

Of course, expedition leaders recommend that you put all of your handy items out on a table beforehand at home and then separate the absolutely indispensable from the essential and then of course the completely peripheral and secondary.

Stocking Your Backpack Appropriately

Remember, if you are to be hauling your own backpack up and down the Annapurna or bush-whacking through an impenetrable tangle of green you’ll want ensure that it is light, not empty by any means, but that you are aware of what it is you are hauling and that each item of clothing, Tupperware and so on is absolutely imperative to your wellbeing on a trek.

Choose an appropriately sized backpack as well for the nature of your adventure. A backpack that takes the weight off your shoulders and keeps your back straight will avoid premature fatigue. Some people swear by the top packing version and others by the full length zip around the side. Of course, both have their merits and faults and you’ll have to make your own decision. Plenty of side pockets help for easy access to items such as toilet paper and flashlight and so on. Remember to empty these before taking public transport since they are easily pilfered.

Camping Equipment for the Jungle

Again, much depends on where you are going and what you are doing. Generally speaking a small two-man tent is ideal for the jungle since it allows for a separation from the jungle and its prevalent critters. However, you may be in a place where it is tough to find a level point to pitch your tent, with too many roots, rocking ground or overly dense undergrowth. If you go with the tent, a ground mat is almost essential to ensure a good night’s sleep.

If a deep jungle expedition is planned then opt for a hammock; there’ll rarely be a shortage of trees. Supplement the hammock with a mosquito net designed to stretch along the shape of your hammock. Net hammocks are light and small but offer little in the way of comfort. Bring enough rope to hold your own weight in the hammock and of course some string to pull taught the mosquito net. Of course, if bringing a hammock you’ll need to think about waterproofing and overnight rain!

Other camping equipment:

  • Leatherman or equivalent knife
  • flashlight
  • string
  • compass
  • water canteen or bottle.
Personal Hygiene in the Jungle

Aside from camping equipment your personal hygiene in one of the world’s most testing of environments is potentially the most important of considerations. The following is by no means a definitive list but something to work from. Be sure to have plenty of any prescription medications that you may be taking, other medications such as Imodium (or other anti-diarrhea medicine) for Montezuma’s Revenge, waterless soap, band aids or plasters, antiseptic creams, antihistamines, sun block and water purification tablets or iodine.

Tropical Diseases

Since you will be taking on a damp, humid and challenging environment tropical diseases are a real threat. Check with locals to find out what mosquito borne illnesses are prevalent in the region such as malaria or dengue. Is Leishmaniasis a problem?

Logistics for the Jungle

Pour over maps of the region, bring the most relevant with you and of course pack this into a waterproof map case and place it in an easily accessible location upon your person. If you are heading way out into the wilds then perhaps a GPS is necessary. A compass is an absolute must and better than a GPS in the jungle since the heavy tree canopy often found in this environment often blocks an effective satellite single.

Ideal Camp Food

Will food be available along the way and will you have ready access to water? Are you a proficient fisherman or hunter? Pack a fishing line and plenty of hooks if this is an option. Pasta and dry goods available in camping stores are a good and light option but will in no way last you all the way through an extended expedition. People often opt for cans of tuna fish but remember that these are weighty and then you’ll be lumbered with the trash for the entirety of your excursion.

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