Jungle Survival Journal – Pre-Trip – T minus 6 Days: Clothes, Gear, Cameras

I have now hit every outdoor store in a 70 mile radius and surveyed their gear. The kit list calls for two sets of clothing, an emergency medical kit and a bunch of miscellaneous items. Nothing bright or flowery because that attracts insects. I guess outdoorsy women in the US aren’t bothered by bugs? Every. Single. Shirt. I see in the stores is either bright, or flowery, or both. Online, too. So I end up buying men’s shirts. In hay green. And muted blue. And gray. And pants in gray. And gray. And beige. I’ll be blending in so much, I’ll end up fading away into the jungle.

I remind myself that this isn’t about fashion; this is about escaping the bites of millions of vicious insects whose only purpose in life it is to stick me with some horrible, insect-borne disease. (Well, at least that’s the impression you get when you read the information on recommended vaccines on the CDC website and when you talk to people at the travel health clinic.)

I’m taking three sets of clothing for the trip (plus one to travel in): three pairs of quick dry pants (two pairs with insect-repellent permethrin), three long sleeved quick dry shirts (also two with permethrin), several undershirts and socks. Plus an extra pair of socks. Hiking boots for the day, crocs for bathing and for walking around camp. An extra pair of insoles in case my boots get wet. — We are supposed to bring one set of clothes for day, which will get wet, and then a second set for nighttime, which will remain dry. The next morning, you put your (still) wet clothes back on. Divya told me on our skype call that the one thing she wished she’d brought was a third set of clothing, because the wet day clothing doesn’t dry overnight and eventually even the dry night clothing gets wet and sleeping in wet clothing is just uncomfortable.

I lay everything out, my clothes, toiletries, electronics (Ian says a kindle is nice – should I bring my Ipad or Deron’s kindle??), batteries, the kit stuff we have to bring, like headlamp, paracord, bug spray etc.

 

Facing the scale before the flight…

Everything gets weighed. Little yellow stickie notes on every pile with the weight. I have to stay at 10kg, 22lbs. So every gram counts. Crocs are well over a pound. I’m debating on the size there too. They only come in full sizes and 7 is too small, 8 too big. After days of trying them on and walking around the house (yes, yes, I really did that: it can be very painful when you’re trying to make everything perfect, LOL, and sometimes it just hurts to be me!!), I finally settle on the 8s. I figure once I get out of my hot sweaty boots, the last thing I want is a croc that feels too small. (In hindsight, that was the right decision for walking around camp, but as wear-while-bathing shoes, the huge crocs kept coming off my feet in the mud. But that’s a story for later!).

 

I am putting so much thought and effort into the packing, I know I’m way overthinking it. My usual anal self, LOL. But it’s also what makes planning and prepping for trips fun for me: imagining all the different use cases and scenarios and being prepped for each one. Yes, I know: only other INTJs can appreciate the beauty in preparedness. At this point in the process, my family would have a glazed look in their eyes and a “just pack the shit up!” attitude. Even I get annoyed with myself: does it really matter which of the medicated foot powders I bring? (Really not something I want use anyway.)  Half the stuff in the emergency kit is stuff I have never used, and don’t even know what it is or what it’s used for (zinc oxide tape??). Just pack it up.

My Cameras…

I bring my big Nikon 3200 DSLR with 50mm lens and 50-200mm zoom, and a smaller point-and-shoot, a Canon Powershot S120, as backup (good to fit in a pant pocket; good colors on photos, optical zoom not great, and terrible battery life when taking videos). I opt to leave all the chargers home and bring lots of charged batteries instead. For each of the cameras I have two original batteries and two aftermarket batteries (cheaper but hold a charge slightly less well). That should see me through the trip. Worst case, I’ll also have my phone (cheap Amazon fire phone, shitty camera, but good battery life for videos where the quality doesn’t matter).

And I bring some books to leave behind – Ian had asked us to leave behind whatever books we bring, so they can build a library of sorts in the village. He says anything’s fine, including travel guides. I decide to bring some of Deron’s books. I bet they don’t get a lot of books suitable for kids.

I fit everything in a small duffel that is small and light enough to go through as a carry on. Wow. Despite my fussing and slow decision-making throughout the process, now I’m proud of myself: that’s packing light! I have stuff for freaking 2 weeks in this tiny duffel! That and my camera bag is all I’m taking.

 

 

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