So, about to jet off on a once in a lifetime volunteer experience, career break or vacation? This blog will provide you with all you need to know about the jungle and the essential items you’ll need on your trip from first-hand experience...
First off, the jungle is a sweaty, humid and rainy place. So you’ll definitely need to pack some dry-fit clothing or at least long sleeve tops (the latter are best to avoid the mosquito bites), ones that dry quickly when a sudden rain shower descends.
Personally, I did not bring anything of this description and brought nothing but cotton. Big mistake. Cotton takes forever to dry and sweat stains are very easily seen (albeit unavoidable in the jungle). So, when going through your packing list make sure dry-fit clothing, especially tops, are at the top of the list.
Second, (and ladies, this is mostly directed at you) do not pack short-style underwear. You will constantly be pulling them from your derriere which is not a good look, even in the jungle.
I took this style of underwear and only this style of underwear, which consequently meant I will spend 6 months of my life with a constant wedgie.
Also, for the guys out there, a few of the men I’ve met in the jungle so far suggested that bringing white underwear was also a bad idea. Every log, rock and muddy patch you sit on will be engraved in your pearly white briefs forever. Ain’t no way you’re getting those stains out! And people will constantly wonder what the stain really is when your smalls are hanging on the washing line.
Same goes for socks, black is the new white when it comes to jungle living.
Crocs! I once said that never as long as my bum points downwards would I ever buy a pair of crocs. This changed in the jungle.
Everyone knows to pack flip flops, people pack them everywhere they go. So just like regular people, I packed flip flops: perfect for hot, sunny days. Not so perfect for rainy, stormy and generally miserable days round camp. You’ll find yourself stepping in muddy puddles just after taking a shower, you’ll find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place when your feet get wet or if you caught in a downpour running from el baño in the middle of the night.
So I say, pack flip flops and crocs. Covering all eventualities.
Snacks. I made the mistake of only packing the things that I thought I would miss the most, turns out those were not the things I truly want to snack on.
To the best of your ability try and pack things that you eat at home. For example, for all you Brits out there, don’t forget to pack a lovely stash of tea bags. Can’t be doing without a nice brew.
I would also recommend packing sweeteners. Even if you not a huge fan sometimes the sugar is all gone before lunchtime so at least you have prepared a back-up plan.
Lastly, powdered milk is like gold dust in the jungle and has usually disappeared before you’ve even had breakfast. To save you from the disappointment of making a cup of tea or coffee and then realising there’s no milk, bring a small stash of your own powdered milk or coffee creamer. But keep it you yourself, you’ll be amazed how many friends you think you have by broadcasting information of that quality around camp.
To round up this post I just want to mention my last but by no means least important tip - have fun! This experience is going to change your life. I can promise you that. Enjoy it and make lots of memories.
You can read all the blog posts in the world to prepare for the jungle (I know I did) but you’ll still forget things and when you arrive they’ll be things you wished you brought instead of things that have no use to you whatsoever. It’s all part and parcel of life in the jungle.