A trip to the Amazon rainforest is unlike any other nature-based adventure, and never is this more apparent than when you’re trying to pack for it. Given the high humidity, potential downpours and pesky jungle critters, your Amazon packing list will probably be more extensive than you may anticipate. When setting off for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the world’s most revered jungle, there are a few things you should bring at all costs, and some you ought to avoid altogether.
Here’s your invaluable Packing Guide for the Amazon:
Choose quick-dry fabrics – Nothing prepares you for the high humidity of the Amazon rainforest, a place where a wet cotton T-shirt can take up to 3 days to dry. And then, it’ll still be damp. Quick-dry fabrics are essential, both for tops and pants, and taking more changes than you think you’ll need will help you alternate clothing. Amazon trips include multiple walks and you’re bound to get incredibly sweaty – heck, you get drenched just standing around – when going out on excursions. Having a clean (and more importantly, dry) change of clothes will not only feel great but will also ward off rashes and fungal infections.
Cover up – Temperatures may be high in the Amazon but this is the one place where it pays to be covered up. The only way to avoid nasty mosquito bites and sunburn is to wear loose-fitting and lightweight long pants and long-sleeve tops.
Bring rain gear…– Daily downpours are just part and parcel of the luscious Amazon and although you will get wet of your own sweaty accord, there’s no need to pour fuel on fire. Pack a compact rain jacket or poncho and at least you’ll be just wet and not drenched!
…and waterproof walking shoes – The Amazon jungle floor can get quite muddy and although many tour operators provide clients with gumboots for excursions, you may prefer to bring your own waterproof boots, which you know fit you perfectly.
Dry bag…everything! – Dry bags will certainly be your most treasured saviours when travelling to the Amazon, so pack plenty to keep your valuables (and even your underwear) from getting damp.
You can never bring too many pairs of socks – You’ll need socks to be thick and long, to ward off insect bites and to prevent blisters when hiking in gumboots. Yet thick and long socks can take an eternity to dry, so pack plenty.
Now we’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to get specific.
Amazon Packing List
Following is a comprehensive packing list that’ll see you take on the Amazon like a pro:
Comfortable, light-weight clothing – You should aim to pack 2 changes per day, of moisture-absorbing fabrics that let your skin breath. Although you may find yourself wearing the same T-shirt for daily walks (if it isn’t wet, it soon will be!) you’ll definitely want something clean and dry to change into at the end of the day. This is especially true of underwear, so much like socks, pack as many pairs as you can.
Toiletries and medication – Nothing specific to the Amazon, so pack your usual medication/first-aid kit and toiletries.
Insect repellent & sunscreen – Given the wet environment, you will reapply a lot more often than you normally would, so make sure to bring plenty of both.
Insect bite relief lotion – Because no matter how careful you are, you will be nursing a few itchy bites.
Hat & sunglasses – Protect yourself from the harsh sun….or any creepy crawlies falling from trees.
Rain poncho – A must at any time of year.
Teva sandals – Or any pair of good, sturdy sandals for relaxing in your lodge or river cruise boat.
Bandana/scarf – To wipe away sweat from your face during excursions and keep sun rays away from your neck.
Flashlight – For night-time excursions and to find your way around the lodge at night.
Swimsuit – Did you know you can swim with pink dolphins in the Amazon? Pack your swimsuit as the dolphins are the only ones allowed to skinny dip.
Jacket – Surprisingly, it can get chilly in the evening, so pack a lightweight jacket.
Camera gear – Protect all your camera gear and electronics with zip-lock bags and do bring a pair of waterproof binoculars, essential for spotting camouflaged wildlife. Don’t forget to also pack spare batteries, as most lodges boast limited electricity supply so you may not always be able to recharge all your gizmos.
Refillable water bottle – Ironically enough, it’s easy to get dehydrated in such a humid place, so make sure to bring a refillable water bottle and keep up the fluids.
Small daypack with rain cover – For carrying your gear and keeping everything dry when you head out on excursions.
Small backpack – Even if you’re travelling to South America with a rigid suitcase, it pays to pack a smaller backpack specifically for your journey into the Amazon. Suitcases and rainforests don’t mix well and your lodge or tour operator may advise you against bringing a suitcase which is awkward for lodge staff to carry on their backs. A smaller backpack will also help keep your packing to an essential minimum.
Dreaming of exploring the Amazon? We offer a range of unforgettable experiences, from luxury Amazon River boat cruises to lodge-based expeditions to suit all travel style, likes and budgets. Contact us for more info.
Author: Laura Pattara
“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 13 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now in the midst of a 5-year motorbike odyssey from Germany to Australia.”