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Packing for the Rain Forest...
Remember, it really does rain!


Sandy Huff is an intrepid Journeywoman and travel journalist par excellence. When she's not away adventuring she makes Safety Harbor, Florida her home. Since Sandy has packed and repacked for journeys many, many times, we asked this American adventuress to share her expertise on getting ready for the rainforest. Sandy writes...

Pack with common sense...

North American tourists that visit the rainforest invariably overpack. And what they do take is often hilariously wrong for the climate.

If you're heading for the hot, wet jungles of the South American or Asian rain forests, you need to pack wisely.

Plan on carrying your own luggage, so leave heavy items at home. Irons, hot curlers and electric shavers are definitely out, as are fancy jewelry, high heels and expensive suits. Take your oldest luggage and relaxed, even grungy clothes.

A soft-sided suitcase turns into a good cushion on long boat rides. A stand-alone backpack is not only easy to carry, but turns into an instant cabinet.

Do plan on taking along a few extra items for gifts or exchange items. Just as you won't be able to buy items you forgot to pack, the natives don't have local drugstores or K-Marts to shop in. They'll appreciate your extra gear.

What I've learned from experience...

Here's some tips on what clothing to stick in your bag.

First of all, remember that it really does rain in the rain forest. Daily. Hard. And you'll be doing your laundry in river water, which ranges from clear and red, to thick and muddy.

White shirts and sneakers turn mud colored in the first hour. You might as well start with tan and khaki colors and worry about ring around the collar when you get home.
Army Navy surplus stores or Banana Republic outlets are a good place to start, but don't forget K-Mart and Thrift shops. Many travelers plan on leaving most of their clothing for the natives anyway.
Make sure that the material in any clothing you pack is sturdy enough to hold up when you scoot over logs and sit on rough canoe seats.
Don't take jeans. They take three days to dry, assuming you can find an open spot in the jungle to hang them for the two or three mid-day hours that are sunny.
Do take lightweight, dirt colored slacks and shorts. Khaki walking shorts with lots of pockets are the choice of many travelers.
Even better for coolness and insect control are ultra-lightweight long pants in nylon, washable silk, or Indian cotton.
Shirts should be both long and short sleeved, preferably in a cool cotton blend. While it's rare, winter temperatures can get down to the fifties.

More tips...




Back to Guide for Packing



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