What to Pack in my Backpack for Brazil?!
Now that my visa is ready and my vaccines are over with, I need to focus on packing my backpack. The problem is that I don’t even know where to start because I’ll be in 3 totally different climates during my trip! But I got to start somewhere so let’s do this one step at a time:
1. The Amazon: It’s hot, it’s humid and it’s sticky! There are bugs, insects, birds, fish and reptiles all over the place! I’ll be walking a lot and I’ll be sleeping in jungle lodges or hammocks. Based on this, the first items I plan to pack are hiking pants. Wearing shorts is definitely out of the question unless I want to be covered in bug bites for 2 weeks! This being said, how many pairs of pants will I need? What color? What material: Nylon? Cotton? Ok, so I was thinking of packing 3 pairs of hiking pants. I will not have access to a proper shower so let’s forget about finding a washing machine! If I bring 3 pairs of hiking pants, I’ll wear them twice. Not too bad, right? I am definetely buying dark colored pants because light colors obviously get dirty much faster. Now, what material? My first option is to buy 100% nylon. The advantage of buying 100% nylon pants is that it will dry fast but it may not be the best option in terms of breathability and I may consequently feel sticky relatively quickly. I do however need a material that dries fast because it will be rainy season in the jungle in December. Although it only pours a few minutes per day, it’s enough to get me wet in no time! My second option is 100% cotton. Cotton is a better option in terms of breathability but once the material gets wet, it will take forever to dry considering the high level of humidity. This being said, there is no way I want 100% cotton. My third option is to buy a pair of pants that has a mix of nylon and cotton. It would be a good solution in terms of having the best of both worlds. Based on this, I did go ahead and bought a pair of Cool Pants from Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC). 1 down, 2 to go! Do I stick to 100% nylon for the other two pairs or should I buy a mix of cotton/nylon pants?
Now that we have the bottoms covered, how about tops? I’m thinking of bringing 3 short sleeve 100% cotton tops with one long sleeve cotton top and a lightweight long sleeve jacket. Cotton is definitely the best option for tops since the upper body is normally the first part of the body to transpire so breathability is important here. Again, there will be thousands of bugs in the wilderness so I need to bring long-sleeve tops regardless of how hot it will be! I still didn’t shop for tops… any suggestions anyone?
A third important item is a pair of GORE-TEX hiking boots. For those of you who are not familiar with GORE-TEX, it’s a waterproof and breathable fabric and a registered trademark of W.L. Gore & Associates that is used to make footwear and outerwear. I saw a pair at Atmosphere for $169. I don’t remember if they were a pair of Montrail or North Face. Which is better? I’ll also pack one pair of flip flops for when my feet need to breathe!
To this, I’ll add a mosquito head net to protect my head against mosquito bites, a headlamp so I can see where I’m walking at night, a cap to protect my head from the sun, a whistle to protect myself from strange jungle animals who may try to attack me, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, odorless soap/shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, Pristine so I can disinfect dirty water in case I get stuck somewhere, a water bottle and obviously, a first-aid kit, toilet paper/wipes and my swiss army knife. And of course, I can’t forget my bathing suit so I can jump in the river! My electronics will be placed in Ziploc bags to avoid any damage that may be caused by high humidity.
2. Rio & Bahia: Packing for Rio and Bahia is much simpler. I plan to pack a few summer dresses and skirts (2-3), shorts (2) and 5 different camisoles for the rest of the trip. As most of you know, nightlife in Rio is crazy! So, I plan to pack one pair of nice sandals with 2-3 different outfits to go out. I’ll be leaving Montreal with a pair of jeans so I will have that covered. I think I have have enough items to pack in my backpack, what do you think?
The obvious that I did not mention is socks and underwear. I’ll bring 6 of each, 1 for every day in the jungle. I’m not too worried about Rio and Bahia because I’ll get the opportunity to wash my clothes there.
People, remember to always make a photocopy of your passport when going on vacation! You don’t want to ge stuck wherever you are! Keep it your photocopy in a different place than your original passport.
Did I cover everything? I hope so… last I heard, there were no convenience stores in the Jungle!