The following is a guest packing list brought to you by Katie Folkerth. See our packing list master post here.
Now that you’ve carefully packed everything you could possibly need to travel throughout South East Asia, you’re going to need to find somewhere to stash most of it while you’re out in the jungle. The less you take with you the better. There aren’t necessarily clear-cut paths and you’ll be going over some pretty rugged terrain. Trust me on this: you don’t want to have all of your worldly possessions on your back while trying to navigate a steep incline.
A quick note on fabrics: you really want to wear things that are quick-drying. It’s hot, you’ll sweat, it might rain, you’ll sweat, you’ll be crossing streams, and you’ll sweat some more. You’re going to want to be able to dry out as quickly as possible.
Hiking boots or shoes – with a very good tread.
Quick-drying hiking socks – This might sound like I’m trying to make you go out and buy something needlessly, but you really don’t want to be walking around with soaking wet feet for hours after walking through water because your socks still haven’t dried.
Long quick-drying hiking pants.
A moisture-wicking top.
In your bag:
Waterproof bag – You will need some type waterproof bag to protect your camera while crossing streams and in case of rain.
Water – Check with the guide leading the trek first because they might be providing it.
Flip-flops – For wearing while you’re resting/swimming/bathing and your hiking shoes are drying.
Sarong — This might seem unnecessary but it doesn’t take up much space and it’s multi-functional. It’s a towel, cover up, and when hiking I wrap it around my DSLR to protect the camera because bringing a separate camera bag isn’t practical.
If you’re going overnight you’ll need to make a judgment call on changes of clothing. You’ll need something to sleep in, and for that I’d recommend long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Temperatures won’t drop very low, but you’ll want to protect your skin from bugs.
Garbage bag — You’re going into the jungle. Please leave it as you find it. Anything you take in with you that isn’t fully biodegradable needs to come back out.
Ziplock bags — Pack extra clothes in ziplock bags to keep them from getting wet should you accidentally fall over in a stream or it starts pouring rain.
Bug spray with DEET – If you’re trekking in Borneo you need to bring it with you because you can’t buy it there. If you’re checking a bag from your original location it’s probably best to bring it with you because it can be slightly difficult to find on peninsular Malaysia as well.
Menstrual cup – Again, you are going into the jungle. Whatever you take in with you must also come back out, and let’s face it: who really wants to have to lug around used tampons or pads? If you end up using traditional methods make sure you don’t forget the ziplock bags mentioned above to stash them in until you leave the jungle.
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About the Author: Katie is a native of Cincinnati who currently resides in Malaysia after having lived in the Czech Republic and Switzerland. You can follow her life as a serial expat and her exploration of South East Asia on twitter @katieinprague.
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