March 27th, 2015
What to Pack For the Amazon
SETTING OFF FOR THE RAINFOREST? USE THIS GUIDE TO ENSURE THAT YOU PACK WHAT YOU NEED.
A trip into the Amazon rainforest is the kind of adventure that most people can only dream about. Covering over half of Brazil and home to one in every ten species of animals, the Amazon is enormous and packed with natural beauty and fascinating wildlife. (Visit from July through December during the dry season for the least amount of rain and mosquitoes.) If you are setting out on such an expedition, you will probably need some help figuring out what to pack in your bag. While most adventure tourism companies will have a standard list to give travelers of suggested gear and clothing, it’s good to have an overview of the types of things you’ll need to pack while trekking through the jungle!
Hiking boots and sandals
A pair of lightweight hiking boots will be your best bet for trekking. If you buy a new pair for the trip, make sure you break them in and wear them as often as possible. They won’t be comfortable and will give you blisters. You will also want a pair of quick-drying sandals for boat rides. The best choices in this category are sandals with slip-proof rubber bottoms. We recommend bringing a Shoe Cube in your luggage for after you wear any pair of shoes in the Amazon, so they don't get the rest of your belongings dirty or wet.
A basic, well-stocked first aid kit is essential to Amazon trekking. You will be far from the nearest city, and emergency medical care will not be available. To ensure that you can overcome small-scale issues, be sure that you plan ahead. Sunburn relief, painkillers, diarrhea medication, hand sanitizer, plenty of adhesive bandages, and a bandage wrap are essential. To help prevent medical issues while in the jungle, consider packing plenty of sunscreen, lip balm, water purification tablets/device, and any essential medication that you might take. Store all of these items in one kit, so they're organized and easy to access during an emergency. We store out kit in a Original Wallaby Small.
In the rainforest, torrential downpours are common—and they happen with little warning. Keep your clothing dry, and protect your camera if it is on you! A lightweight poncho or lightweight, breathable rain shell is your best bet. As an added bonus, they will fold into a compact bundle that'll fit easily in your backpack.
Remember those torrential Amazonian rains we just talked about? A poncho alone isn’t going to cut it! When you are choosing clothing for your trip, keep a few things in mind. First off, don't bring too many articles of clothing, because you'll need to lug stuff through the jungle and a heavy bag may start to hurt your shoulders and back after a while. Make sure that they are lightweight, to help combat the heat, and that they dry quickly. (Denim is a bad choice, for instance.) Travel synthetic fabrics will protect your skin from the sun and keep you as cool as possible, even if you are wearing long sleeves and pants (to prevent insect bites). A bathing suit is also a great choice.
The Amazon sure is a buggy place. You will need to ensure that you are up-to-date on all immunizations before you leave for the rainforest (because mosquitoes can carry diseases). And bring plenty of insect repellant. It’s your choice whether you opt for a sleeveless top and shorts to stay cool, or if you go with sleeves and long pants to try to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Keep in mind that mosquitoes can still bite you through tight fabrics.
Last, but not least, don’t forget a great pair of binoculars for getting up close and personal with the wildlife—without actually stepping too close.
Your turn, readers! Have you been to the Amazon? What did you pack? Share your thoughts, below, in the comments!
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
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by Shannon ODonnell
Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She is an acclaimed travel speaker and works with universities and businesses all over the U.S. to talk about supporting developing countries.