Please share your tips, trips, tricks, advice and experience. Also ask and answer questions on this thread about camping in the jungle, such as ''should I take a tent?'' and ''how do I get the tarantulas out of my boots?''.
Has anyone done much camping in deep jungle for more than a week at a time? I've heard the best way to stay clear of biting insects is a bug net/hammock comination. Would taking a tent be completely stupid? I'm used to Montana and Alaska camping. Can anyone assist? Much thanks.
It is hard to give specific advice for jungle camping as it can vary depending what part of the world you are in. Can you be clearer, please, about which continent and which country you will be visiting?
Ecuador - Southern end of Yasuni National Park. Tropical lowland rainforest.
Just went for 2 days in NE Cambodia in the Varachey National Park and we had hammock combined with net and they were great but you need a plastic tarp for shelter - tent is maybe not ideal as its better to be off the ground. Many leeches meant that leech socks did prevent a lot of bites but not all but would still reccomend them because they can burrow through normal socks and still bite you which we found out at night when we removed them!
I have used hammocks with mosquito nets and a tarp in the Central American forests and they have worked well for me. It takes some getting used to, but if you have a good hammock then it can be comfortable. The problem with the tent is you are on the ground, which means that if you have the (likely) misfortune of setting up camp near a big column of leaf cutter ants or termites then they could make quick work of cutting up the tent. If that happens then you would be opened up for an onslaught from the other, more malicious insects that call the forest floor home. That being said, I have known many people who have used tents in the jungle and had no problems and I have used them a few times without mishap - If you take a tent then bring a good ground sheet and something like duct tape or tent repair patches to seal up any holes and then be picky about where you set the tent up.
As far as your boots go, just get in the habit of checking your boots before you put them on every time. Generally, beating them together with the openings pointed down will dislodge most of the critters who might call your boots home. It also wouldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with some of the more malicious critters, like the banana spider and the bullet ant, so you know who to play with and who to avoid (tarantulas are generally OK to play with, but just make sure it is a tarantula that you are playing with!)
The jungle is a great place to explore, but most of the activity happens at night. Be sure to take a good flashlight. In my experience the LED headlamps work well for basic trail walking, but an old fashioned incandescent bulb flashlight is better for spotting the wildlife.
Thanks Keith, Neil and Vick. This is really good info. I hadn't thought of leaf cutters chomping up the tent. That would be pretty cool in an unfortunate sort of way. I have heard to check boots before you put them on. I've been reading up on the nasties of the area too. What about fungus? Did any of you get any kind of skin rot or mold on your clothes? Keith, what do you think about the leech socks? I got hammered by leeches on Borneo but they did not carry any diseases so they were mostly an annoyance. What do you know about leeches in Sud America? Again, thanks for the help.
I have not had any experiences with leaches so far. I haven't heard of them being a big problem in the Central and South American forests, though I am sure they are there. Most of the long term jungle trekking I have done has been in the Peten Jungle in northern Guatemala. There I spent most days trudging through knee deep muddy water and I never really came across a leach. In those conditions I opted to go with what the locals used for footwear, which were tall rubber boots, so perhaps they served as leach protection. My feet stayed wet all day every day, but I made a point of drying off my feet every evening at camp, which prevented any foot rot - It is good to keep a pair of dry camp shoes or sandals for that reason.
As far as jungle parasites go, I have only met the much feared bot fly first hand and they are not nearly as bad as they sound in the books. I am headed down to the Peruvian Amazon for three months next year, but I am hoping not to meet any more of the bad parasites down there.
I spent 10 days in the Javari Basin area in Peru / Brasil which is also tropical lowland rainforest. No problems with leeches there but a few dangerous spiders and snakes like the fer de lance. If you're going to be staying in a hut then I'd definitely recommend hammock and mosquito net. Something else that I always take with me when jungle trekking is mosquito net CLOTHING. You can get a hooded jacket made of the netting as well as trousers and gloves, so that when you're actually walking the mozzies can't get at you.
Also spent 10 days in Indonesia's Mentawai islands, constantly walking through mud, swamps and rivers and never once had a problem with foot rot or mold.
I've also encountered the bot fly in Arctic Russia, Keith, where there are swarms of them. I was quite scared by Muscovites' tales of people having entire chunks of flesh devoured all at once by a swarm but in the end I never got more than a few small nips!
There is no way I would sleep in the jungle in a tent. I had a hut to sleep in, when I was in the jungle and still spent the 2 weeks there screaming. Spiders, leeches, snakes....
Here is an extract from my blog that I wrote about it.
I think every creature in the jungle is chasing after us. There cant be this many attacking everybody.
An army of ants came onto the balcony, attacked the bags of peanuts and even managed to get inside them. Yuck! What next?! I hope this is all the surprises over with and we are now used to life in the jungle. I am so glad those critters will be under lock and key when we visit the zoo on my birthday.
From Exotic creatures
hay hay... what ever you do dont sleep on the ground in the jungle, no animal's whcih live there do it, you will encounter ants and they dom bite, if you start trappling them... more will arrive... its quite funny actually but can be very dangerous....
what ever you decide. (id go with the tarp, hammok n net, perhaps another net for you face too... but all in all that should surfice,)
Be careful in there the jungle is a very very very dangerous place, even the trees protect themselfs with very shape spines, so make sure u have a macchetteee, dont camp too near rivers, and dont leave your food or waste out in the open it attracts insects in minuets.... i imagine u have some experience of camping but have your whitts about you...
i walked from coast to coast of costa rica, primarily through the jungle with a coule of ex marine mates, we had a great laugh, very worrying at one point when my pal had a reaction to the leafs he wipped his ass with... test them on you arm where the bend of your elbow is... its was very uncomfortable for him and we had to detour to the capital to take him to a doctor... he couldnt sit or s*it without being in pain... not good when your days walk from civilisation....
all in all have your whitts about you at all times, and i you encounter monkeys etc make sure not to make eye contact...
youll see some great things! have fun
Awesome. Great advice. I found a sweet little hammock that is somekind of light poly material on the bottom with mosquito netting stiched to the top. Looks like a pretty nice setup - just add a tarp. Has anyone tried any of these out? Have any recommendations or advice?
I slept in the Jungle of Colombia on a hammock with a mosquito net that the ropes fittted through. It was very comfortable, slept very well but one day awoke to find termites in everything left on the ground. It also rained at night so I put my umbrella up inside the netting and kept mostly dry. It was very warm so the rian was not unpleasant.
Leeches socks are a must if you are to go in an area where you might encounter some...although it doesn’t work 100%, it still does help. Should you still manage to get a leech calling your skin home, then spray a bit of mosquito repellant and remove it (easiest way..). Have your buddy checking your back from time to time as you would most likely not feel it.
For night trek, would not recommend the headlamp as it tends to attract mosquitoes toward your face, the old fashioned flash light actually works perfectly! (always have spare battery with you...just in case..)
While camping/ trekking at night in the jungle, watch out the floor before you decide to stop, if you don’t want to end up beaten by fire ants and try to avoid contact with leaf when possible (while following path).
Gonna be spending some time in the Corcovado park, Costa Rica, soon and yes...trips in the jungle are magical!
Through pure stupidity, I got caught after dark in the Corcovado in CR with no camping gear at all. My only option was to hike the 10 miles back to my platform tent camp. The moon was up and I figured the easiest path out would be down a stream to the beach. This actually worked out ok, but later the locals told me the Fer de lance come down the the stream banks at night to hunt and that I was really lucky not to have gotten hit. I don't think they were joking.
Been there done that on the simple looking hammock, it looked good but didn't work. The mosquitoes bite through unless the net AND the hammock support is completly seperated from your body. You "might" be able to pad/line the inside of the hammock, but don't let your body touch any outside surface.
Thanks for sharing this information.It is very helpful.
[Edited: 2014 Apr 26 18:03 - Roosta:95057 - No commercial links in the forums, please. See TOS]
Firstly leeches socks are a must if you are to go in an area where you might encounter some although it doesn’t work 100%, it still does help. Should you still manage to get a leech calling your skin home, then spray a bit of mosquito repellant and remove it. Have your buddy checking your back from time to time as you would most likely not feel it. You alwas need tent, light bagpack, maybe <snip> ,while camping at night in the jungle, watch out the floor before you decide to stop, if you don’t want to end up beaten by fire ants and try to avoid contact with leaf when possible.
[Edited: 2014 Aug 20 11:27 - traveltalesofawoollymammoth:258356 - No commercial links please, privately message the blogger for further information]