What to Pack for a Remote Jungle Trek
After spending 6 weeks deep in the jungle around Bribri, Costa Rica a while back I have an inkling for what you’d need to pack for a jungle trek.
Hell; I know what you need to have if you go so far as to live in the jungle for more than a month.
Kelli and I were semi-prepared but learned quickly that living in a harsh, demanding environment requires a few pieces of must have gear.
One note; I ain’t talking about a touristy-type trek through jungle settings located 5 minutes from the main road. I mean deep, remote, Indiana Jones worthy jungle here.
We hiked over 3 hours – 4 on one trying occasion – into remote, lush, dense jungle on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica to reach the hut/house/home.
After exiting a dirt road on the outskirts of town you saw a few humans at the last outpost. Then….jungle, jungle and more jungle. Save one neighbor about 20 minutes up the rugged jungle path, no human beings for miles.
100 foot high canopy, perpetual shade in some spots, knee deep mud, bullet ants and poison dart frogs were a dime a dozen, and fer de lanzes had been spotted on the property.
Army ants even marched through the hut, butchering any insect in their murderous path.
At a minimum you will need at least a few of these thingees to enjoy – and survive – your jungle trek.
Quality Rubber Boots
Buy a pair of quality rubber boots. Or botas, in the Costa Rican jungle.
Even if rainfall does not occur for a week or 2, shady areas of the jungle are perpetually wet and muddy. Trying to traverse through these areas in anything other than good, sturdy, thick rubber boots is impossible. I mean that. You literally cannot walk through the mud unless you have kick ass botas….I mean boots.
Boots also help you move naturally through shallow or roaring rapids type jungle streams, each of which we encountered in the deep, remote regions in the Caribbean side of Tico Land.
Delicate milky skin dies a quick death in the jungle.
Especially when you get deeper and deeper into la selva. I mean, jungle.
Here’s why; heavy canopies lull you into a false sense of security. Shade. A bit of cooling, even, amid the humidity. But when you hit another opening on a sunny, steamy day you will burn like a rock lobster unless you slather on sun block.
No; not tanning lotion.
I avoided getting burned save one brutal day, when like a dingbat I forgot to block myself while macheting the fruit fields.
Last time I made that mistake.
Everybody needs a jungle hat to protect their face and shoulders from the sun.
Ditto for looking cool in the deep woods.
As for brims, you have many options. The best simply keeps your head and shoulders covered, to help you avoid sunburn.
Loose Fitting Clothing
Loose fitting clothing is a must for a jungle trek.
Tap into nature’s air conditioning.
How it works: you sweat like a bloody beast, loose fitting clothing allows air to travel over your sweat, cooling your body. Well, cooling your body a little bit, at least.
Even though you likely resist this buy, I strongly suggest long pants and long sleeve shirts for your jungle trek. Long pants at a minimum.
Trying to traverse deep, remote jungle with shorts borders on suicide. Or at the very least, borders on silliness. Venomous snakes tend to inhabit jungles. Burning burrs from exotic plants will agitate the shit out of your body. Kelli and I learned this painful lesson when we brushed up against a plant bare-shouldered, scratching ourselves for hours after as the burn set in.
Suggested Clothing: (Yes; I went with men’s cargo pants and women’s shirt)
A jungle tradition.
Wearing pants and long sleeved shirts helps.
But having skeeter repellent in ample supply keeps the critters at bay.
Apply liberally. These sonofabitches comes out of the woodwork in the remote jungle, dominating all sentient beings.
I almost went mad trying to avoid their insistent buzzing during early morning and early evening hours, as they attempted to satiate their blood lust.
Water Purification Filter Bottle
Traditionalists can go with ample bottled water for stocking their backpack.
Folks intent on making technology work for them can go with the water purification filter bottle.
Kelli and I had access to fresh water from a local stream hosed to the house. Tested yearly, all was good.
But other folks can grab a purification bottle and re-supply at every stream.
Everybody needs a backpack in the jungle.
Even if you don’t hike off the main path ya never know when overgrowth will spill onto the path after a few days of torrential rains.
I was supplied with a particularly sharp, nasty machete in Costa Rica. You can buy your own unless you have access to a slashing device via locals. Having a belt to hold your machete and machete cover sure helps.
Safety Tip: Especially when dealing with the deadly sharp type machete I had in CR, follow these machete safety tips:
- always cut away from yourself; more than one poor soul has lost fingers or even arms by cutting even a little bit towards themselves
- the split second you stop cutting, sheath the machete in its cover
- if you don’t have a cover, masking the machete in a thick layer of newspaper works in a pinch (I saw this in Costa Rica as well as in Fiji quite a bit)
Packing for a Remote Jungle Trek
What items can you add to this list?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org