“Put on your rain jacket,” the Kiwi guy said.
I looked up at the blue sky, with no cloud in sight.
“It protects you against mosquitos,” he added. “Trust me; I’ve been here for a couple of days already.”
Have you ever ended up in the middle of nowhere and realised that you forgot to pack some essential items?
For me, one of the biggest appeals of staying in a jungle lodge in the middle of the Amazon was its remoteness. Far away from cities, traffic and big malls, I could enjoy nature. But it also meant I had to be extra careful when packing so I wouldn’t forget anything important.
You do not want to visit the jungle without insect repellent.
No matter whether you’re staying in the Amazon or a different part of the world, you will find this jungle packing list helpful. I used all of these items and was very glad to have them, so make sure to pack them before leaving.
Your complete jungle packing list
#1 Long Clothes
Are you wondering what to wear in the rainforest?
The jungle is so hot and humid that I wanted to wear as little as possible. So when I packed, I was tempted to bring lots of t-shirts and shorts.
But there are numerous reasons why long sleeves and trousers are the best jungle clothes.
First of all, they protect you from the sun. Second, they protect you from scratches and burns while walking through the woods. Maybe you can recognise poison ivy back home and know how to avoid it. But in the jungle? I wouldn’t know how to tell which plants can hurt me and which ones can’t.
Third, and this is very important, long sleeves can protect you from mosquitos and other animals that try to eat you.If you visit the Amazon in Peru, go and check out our
When choosing your clothes, go for light and natural fabrics. Thin fabrics are ideal, and a loose fit so the air can circulate and you don’t get too hot. I have some cheap white long sleeves that I took into the jungle. They were inexpensive, light and airy, making them the perfect clothes for the rainforest.
Also, look into quick dry fabrics (like this shirt from Columbia). Your clothes will get wet from rain, sweat and general humidity. You might want to wash them. If you don’t want to wait for days until they dry, then you’re going to love quick-drying fabrics.
And if you don’t want to stock up on special clothes just for this trip, then try to take thin and light materials at least, so they dry faster. You don’t need to buy expensive jungle trekking clothes but can choose the lightest ones you have at home.
#2 Fleece jacket
Depending on where in the world you visit the jungle, you might not need it. For example, if you travel to the Amazon, this doesn’t necessarily need to be on your packing list. But in some jungles, it can cool down in the evening. The humidity combined with a breeze can either offer much-wanted relief from the heat or make you feel cold.
Take a fleece jacket just in case, especially if you’re going to a region where you know it will be colder at night. I love my Jack Wolfskin fleece jacket and take it on all my trips.
Most of the time, you won’t want to swim in the jungle rivers. You might have a pool next to your lodge, though, or you might arrive at a waterfall where you can jump in. Therefore, make sure to pack a swimsuit. It’s always better to be prepared, so you don’t miss out while everyone has a great time cooling down in the water.
It goes without saying, but make sure to pack some underwear and also some pyjamas. You don’t need anything special for this, just make sure it’s light. Also, if you’re staying for longer, you might have the chance to wash your underwear. Your lodge might even have a laundry service, so you can just take a few pairs and have them cleaned from time to time.
#5 Long socks
Do you know what leeches love? Bare ankles. Therefore, bring a few pairs of long socks. You can stuff your pants into your socks, and it’ll protect you not just from leeches but also from all other kinds of insects that want to crawl into your pants.
Once again, make sure they dry quickly. Socks get wet very fast, so you’ll be happy if they dry overnight. If you are willing to invest in some rainforest clothes, consider these Icebreaker Merino wool socks (click here for the men’s model) which are light and dry very quickly.
#6 A pair of comfortable shoes
Shoes are a topic where Daniel and I often disagree.
If you google what to pack for the jungle, you will find that most people recommend hiking boots. Daniel, who has a proper pair of boots, absolutely loves them and wears them everywhere.
Personally, I wear trainers. When I packed for my trip around the world, I had to decide what to carry, and I concluded that trainers are the most versatile and easy to take along. You can wear them in cities, you can wear them on hikes, and yes, you can even wear them in the jungle.
I tested my shoes on a jungle hike in Malaysia. The shoes were soaked five minutes into the trek when we had to cross a river. They remained surprisingly comfortable, even when completely wet, and dried overnight. Plus, I never felt that they didn’t offer me enough support.
In case you’re wondering, I used a pair of Nike trainers in Malaysia and when visiting the Amazon. Now, I own a pair of Skechers sneakers, and they’re doing the job just as well. Plus, they’re much lighter to carry than special jungle hiking gear.
If you ever need rubber boots, by the way, most jungle lodges offer you the chance to rent them. Usually, you don’t have to buy a pair and carry it across the globe just to use it once during your jungle trip.
#7 A pair of flip flops or sandals
In the evening, nothing feels better than taking off your shoes, especially if they’re damp. Take a pair of sandals or flip flops to wear, so you don’t have to go barefoot. You don’t need any special equipment for this, just take whatever feels comfortable for you.
#8 Rain jacket
Did you know that the jungle feels very wet? I was always drenched in sweat due to the high humidity. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it often rains in a place as green and humid.
Plus, if you’re putting together a packing list for an Amazon rainforest trip, the name of the jungle already implies that you’re going to encounter rain. And the same applies to jungles all over the world.
Be prepared and bring either a rain jacket or rain poncho. The good thing about tropical rain is that it usually stops after half an hour and the jacket will protect you during that time.
Plus, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, rain jackets also provide excellent protection from mosquito bites. They help you save DEET, as those nasty insects cannot bite through them. Yes, going out with a rain poncho in the heat of the day sucks. You will be drenched in sweat.
But at least, you will not get bitten.
If you’re wondering which jacket I’m using, I have the Tierra Backup rain jacket. It only seems to be available in a few countries in Europe, which is a shame because I absolutely love it. It’s super lightweight and well worth the money I spent on it.
Daniel used to have the Foray Jacket from Outdoor Research, which he also loved until it got stolen.
As an alternative, you can also buy a rain poncho. While you can pick up a cheap, disposable one, those end up in landfills after a few uses, so we recommend getting a reusable one.
This includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant and a hairbrush. Basically, take what you usually use but leave any make-up at home. With the high humidity inside the jungle, it’ll soon run down your face, so it’s not worth putting it on.
As a bonus, look for biodegradable toiletries before you set out. You don’t want to contribute to polluting the jungle!
#10 Insect repellent
I do not think I have ever seen as many mosquitos as in the Amazon during the wet season. We spent most of our time on a boat, so it wasn’t a problem, but the moment we stopped, thousands of them came to attack us. My guide’s legs were black with mosquitos. I did not even know that such a thing was possible!
Whatever you do, do not forget your insect repellent for a trip to the jungle. I brought 50% DEET, and it was barely enough. Therefore, try to get a repellent with at least 40% DEET. Yes, DEET is not great, but mosquitoes can transmit many diseases, including malaria, dengue, zika and yellow fever.
If you’re not going in the wet season, things might be a bit better for you. You can also spray your clothes, or wear a rain jacket, so the mosquitoes can’t bite you.
As an alternative, if you don’t like DEET, you can try a spray with picaridin. They are very popular here in Germany and work very well. I used it for many years and found it to be as efficient as DEET while not being as aggressive to the skin.
The jungle looks dark, and you might not feel that you’re getting much sunlight. Nevertheless, make sure to take sunscreen and apply it every day. Also, re-apply it multiple times during the day as it tends to wear off.
Since you will get sweaty, we recommend buying waterproof sunscreen. I always take SPF50, but if you have very sensitive skin, you could also go for a higher level of protection.
Just like you need sunscreen, you also need sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV-light damage. Plus, if you go out on a boat, you will be glad to have those sunglasses with you.
The thing about remote jungle lodges is that they are usually not connected to the electric grid. That means that they rely on generators and electricity is often limited to a couple of hours in the evening.
Wildlife is most active early in the morning, so you will get up early and go to bed early. But when you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, at a time when most jungle lodges have switched off their electricity, you will be glad to have a headtorch.
Yes, you could use your phone. But if you have ever tried to pull your pants back up, awkwardly balancing your phone at the same time and trying not to drop it into the toilet, you will love a headlamp. It’s one of those jungle essentials that are easy to pack and super helpful.
Headtorches are also great for late evening walks, so you have both hands available to take pictures of any animals you find out there.
I use a Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp. Unlike many other headlamps, this one is rechargeable. That means I don’t need to carry any spare batteries with me, and I also don’t produce much waste. Plus, the headtorch is very bright and gives off enough light in any situation. It’s perfect for when you travel to the jungle.
In the jungle, you will see many animals. They will often be far away, though, so if you’re expecting to take phone pictures of sloths and monkeys, you will likely be disappointed.
Therefore, if you’re interested in photography, consider investing in a camera with a good zoom. Daniel and I both love our Sony mirrorless cameras, but you can also find compact cameras with a good zoom if you don’t want to carry anything as large.
Make sure to pack your camera into a waterproof bag. I once lost a camera in the jungle in Malaysia, after a downpour soaked not just me but also my backpack.
#15 Spare batteries and power bank
As we mentioned above, you might not always have access to electricity. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring spare batteries for your camera, plus a power bank to charge your phone.
You likely won’t need your phone much, as you might not have reception. But if you want to take a few landscape photos, you will be glad to have a power bank to recharge it.
#16 First aid kit
When you go to the jungle, consider taking a first aid kit with any over the counter medications you sometimes use. Take a pain killer, something against diarrhoea and maybe something against nausea. If you know any drugs you have used before, then go for those. Otherwise, if you’re unsure, ask at your pharmacy or go to see a doctor for advice.
Also, remember to take any drugs that you need to take regularly! You won’t be able to buy them in the middle of the jungle, so pack them somewhere safe.When flying to the jungle, you should always put any necessary medication into your hand luggage. Find out now
Before you leave on your jungle trip, double-check with a doctor at home if you need any vaccinations. If you’re visiting the jungle in Uganda, for example, you will have to show your yellow fever vaccination certificate when you enter the country.
Depending on where you come from, this certificate might also be necessary when visiting the Amazon river in South America. Plus, your doctor can give you advice if you need to pack any malaria medication or other drugs into your first aid kit.
If you’re American, you can also get a lot of information from the CDC. Most other countries around the world also have websites where you can look up recommended travel vaccines, so this is a good starting point when preparing for your doctor’s appointment.
#17 Water bottle
In most jungle lodges, you can refill your water bottle whenever you need. To avoid plastic waste in the middle of the jungle, make sure to bring a water bottle!
Any bottle will do, but I love my Platypus bottle. It comes in different sizes, but as you’ll get sweaty in the jungle, we recommend taking one of 2 litres. Once you start drinking, the Platypus bottle starts collapsing. Therefore, it never takes more space than it needs to.
This also makes it the perfect bottle to bring for jungle trekking, as it gets easier to carry the more you drink.
#18 Day pack
You can pack your regular luggage into a duffle bag, a large backpack or even a suitcase.
For your excursions into the jungle, take a small backpack as a daypack. Make sure it’s comfortable and don’t pack too much, so it doesn’t get too heavy as you trek through the jungle. Daniel and I both have an Osprey Talon 22 backpack, which we love.
#19 Rain cover for your day pack
We have mentioned rainy weather a few times before in this article. You’re in the lush jungle, therefore, you’ll likely experience a rain shower or two.
To protect your electronics, make sure to take dry bags, in which you can store them, or a rain cover for your day pack. They come in all colours and sizes, and you might even get one specifically for your backpack model. Test it before your trip, so you know how to put it on when you need it.
#20 Books or card games
Most animals are active in the early morning or the late evening. We got up early, went out for wildlife watching, came back for breakfast and then had lots of time to ourselves. During your jungle tour, you will likely experience a similar schedule.
During the heat of the day, it is best to relax in a hammock and do nothing. I recommend bringing a good book or two for those hours of downtime.
I carry a Kindle for my travels, and I spent many hours lying in a hammock, reading. The Kiwi boys who were in the lodge with us liked to play cards. Whatever you do, take something to keep you occupied.
If you follow this jungle packing list, you should have all the essentials you need for your trip. You might find one or two items not on the list that you love to take (a hat, for example – I usually can’t be bothered with carrying one), so just add those. Let us know if you can think of anything else by leaving us a comment below!
Besides that, we have a few more posts for you that you will find helpful for inspiring you or for planning your trip.
- What is it like to travel into the jungle? Read up on my personal experience.
- Why should you visit the Amazon in Peru?
- Do you need to catch a long flight to get to the jungle? Don’t forget to pack these long haul flight essentials!
- Find out what else you need to pack for a trip to Peru.
- What else is there to see in Peru besides the Amazon?
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