Camping out in the woods is child’s play when you’ve been a traveler for a few years. Being outdoors in the forest, listening to the wind howl through the branches and leaves is anything but frightening. You already know how to cross streams, navigate the landscape full of hills and trees, and keep safe with wild animals all around you.
However, exploring the jungle can be one of the more challenging expeditions. Not only is foliage extremely dense, it’s humid beyond belief, you sweat profusely, and when night comes, the jungle comes alive. So, if you’re adventurous enough to head out into the jungle, think about these things before you pack up.
A New Environment
The forests may be well aware of what human beings are, but jungles are not. All throughout the Western world, forests have become accustomed to the footsteps of mankind. We have been hunter gatherers for thousands of years, thus our relationship with the deer, birds, and critters is well established. However in the jungle, nothing is afraid of you because it does not recognize who or what you are. You will hear some very strange and sometimes scary noises from animals. It’s difficult to discern which ones are just warning calls or ‘threatening to attack’ growls. With overgrown, tangled foliage at the ground level, you may not be able to see through the dense vegetation. Not knowing what’s lying in front of you can be intimidating for even the bravest explorers.
It’s important to know and utilize the S-T-O-P system to stop, think, observe and plan when you feel like you’re in danger. The Amazon jungle has jaguars and sometimes tigers. Other animals like chimpanzees and lizards can also be potentially life-threatening. Jungle explorers beware, when you hear loud and threatening noises that seem to be coming from an animal, use the S-T-O-P system to remain calm and plan your next moves. Remembering these few simple yet vital steps when you are confused, disorientated, or feel threatened will be critical to your longevity and survival while in the jungle.
Humidity in the Jungle
Generally speaking, jungles are found in tropical locations, near the equator. South America is the most popular destination for jungle-bound explorers. It’s important to remember that torrential downpours are quite common, so those that want to explore the jungles of tropical rainforests must plan for moisture management.
Moisture will build up everywhere – on your person, in your shoes, and in your backpack. Take a look at the moisture management guide that covert operative has published. In it, it’s suggested to use silica gel packets to create a microclimate in your own backpack. This is crucial to keep electronics safe and functional in such a humid environment. The silica gel packets are also known as ‘dry packs’ because they protect your food, batteries, and electronics from the rampant heat and humidity in jungles.
Because of rain and constant sweating, you must dry and clean yourself regularly. The integrity of your skin will break down if it’s continually moist.
It’s going to be difficult to find clean water all the time, so it’s a good idea to pack baby wipes (pack your trash out!) or biodegradable wet wipes. These pre-moistened wipes can provide you with a quick hygiene pick-me-up. No rinse soaps, dry shampoo, microfiber towels, and moisture-wicking clothes are essential to keep you comfortable while living in the damp, hot jungle.
Make sure to remove all of your damp clothing at night and try to let it dry out. Whether you use a clothesline, fire, or simply a sheltered area, drying your clothes will make you feel so much better at the start of a new day of exploration.
Jungle exploration is not for the faint of heart. Hopefully, these few tips will better prepare you for your days ahead in the magnificent jungle.
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