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I recently emerged from the Peruvian Amazon after a one-month mediation health retreat and I can say without doubt my experience was life changing. One of my biggest headaches prior to jumping off into the mosquito den that is the Amazon, wasn’t the nature of the retreat itself nor the worry my pre-diet, but a million and half questions on what I really should bring with me on a retreat into the jungle. There are a plethora of articles on the internet about jungle trekking or what to bring on a luxury retreat, but scant articles about what to bring on an average slog out into the jungle that was mix of both. After my month long journey, here is my conclusive packing list on what was most beneficial to deep in meditative contemplation in the Amazon.
Probably the most obvious on my list of what to bring into the jungle is also one of the most essential, unless you want to step on a tarantula (true story). While I remembered a headlamp on my trip, I didn’t remember to pack batteries that weren’t a decade past expiration – doh. So do yourself a favor and load up on some triple AAAs before you jump on a plane.
Sleep cocoon/ Sleep Sac
I am hugeeee fan of sleep sacs. They keep you a big warmer in the cold, surprisingly cool in the hot/humid nights, and most importantly, they help keep the bugs at bay. The name of the game in the jungle is keeping all things crawling and stinging off your skin. While most people would advocate bug sprays, deets, some other cancerous concoction to dose on your skin, the best way to keep these villains off it a strong wall. Sleep sac for the Win.
Odorless boxers for the fellas and period panties for the ladies
I couldn’t write an article about jungle essentials without addressing funk. Lady funk and fella funk. And in the jungle, with limited resources and ability to wash clothes, better to bring along articles that help your be lazy in that department. Enter period panties by Knix and any modern sport boxer brief for Men. These magical garments will keep your nether-regions less noticeably ripe and the jungle will thank you for it.
Lightweight everything- Especially polyester, dry fit
I was debating before I left on bringing cheap cotton garments or if bucking up and bringing my dry-fit gear was worth it. Well the jury is back in and I can say without a doubt, dry-fit, polyester is the bees knees in the jungle. While my cotton gear was cheap, it was hotter and more importantly, wetter than my synthetic stuff. Perhaps most glaringly though, it was the constant moist feeling of my cotton gear and the lingering smell of funk that just made me wish to have more dry-fit apparel.
Rubber Rain boots
Some people brought hiking boots, some just normal shoes, but for me, when staying at a retreat center that only has 1-3 hours hikes in range, rubber boots are the way to go. You can bring your fancy Western boots if you like or pick up a pair in country for $10. These made a huge difference as the jungle can turn muddy in a hurry with its random torrential rains.
Think lighter than light for closed toed footwear. While boots and sandals were most go to items, having a pair of crocs or Sanuks was a welcome reprieve for anyting water related. Offering more support and more protection from bugs and plants that want to kill you, these light weight additions are were worth the packing weight.
Kindle or E-reader
When staying out in the middle of nowhere, I can’t think of any tech that is better than an e-reader. Lasting a month with one charge and able to pack an entire library, e-readers for me are peak civilization. I even love the backlight on them so you aren’t obsessively using your headlamp. The e-reader is really just a perfect travel companion, especially in the jungle with minimal electricity.