Have you ever wondered how to pack your backpack for the jungle?

What is the best way to pack my backpack for the jungle? This is one of those questions I often get. There are many good ways to pack your backpack, and everyone has their own preferences, but I focus on 2 things when I am packing for the jungle.

You need one big and durable dry bag as your pack liner and then smaller ones that can be of thinner material to waterproof and compartmentalize your gear

Number one most important rule when you pack your backpack for the jungle is to double waterproof everything because the rainforest is a very humid place – and it is named rainforest for a reason!

I always have at least 5 dry bags in different sizes and preferably different colors. You will need one big one that fits inside your backpack. I will recommend one of a thick and robust quality like ORTLIEB so it doesn’t rip or puncture easy as this will be the dry bag taking all the beating. You can think of this dry bag as the inside layer of your backpack.

Compartmentalizing using color coding makes it super easy to find what you are looking for

Then I have four different sized and colored dry bags for all the things I want to keep dry. These can be of a thinner material like the ones from Exped on the pictures.

I use the biggest one for my sleeping gear, which means my hammock and blanket. The red one, or second largest, I use for my spare clothing that I want to keep dry to sleep in. Second smallest I use for my washing gear – sarong, toothbrush and paste and a bar of soap. And the smallest I use for my head torch. How you want to compartmentalize your bag is off course up to you, since you might be bringing other things than me.

Compartmentalizing my backpack like this when going on a jungle tour makes it easy for me to pack my bag most practically and as well makes it easier to find what I am looking for while at the same time making sure that my equipment is double waterproof. When packing my backpack for the jungle like this it also allows me to stress free swim across a river without worrying about the stuff in my pack.

Don’t waterproof something that is already waterproof

Waterproofing everything when going on a jungle tour

I off course also have things in my backpack that is already waterproof and therefore does not need waterproofing. This will mostly be Crocs, tarpaulin and my mesh tin. These things therefore do not go inside the big dry bag.

The equipment I carry on a jungle tour

The items on the above picture and off course some group kit, as medic kit, sat phone, rations etc., is basically all I bring with me in the jungle. Remember you have to be able to carry your load – especially you girls out there! Two sets of clothes are sufficient and make-up is unnecessary – save it for the party after your return. I will write more about what exactly is in my pack for the jungle in a later post.

How to pack your backpack

Me walking towards the jungle nearby Surama in Guyana with my jungle backpack

I of course make sure to pack the things I need first or most often at the top of my bag, so I don’t have to take everything out of the bag all the time. You know best what you need most often or want to keep in handy, but here is how I do it:

I always have my head torch in the top compartment of the pack, so it won’t get too much beating and it is easy to find if it suddenly gets dark. I keep my mesh tin in the small outside compartment in the middle. My tarpaulin is always in one of the outer side pockets as this is always the first thing I need when making camp. Then I have my sleeping gear in the bottom along with my dry clothes and washing gear. The rest of my stuff does not go in the dry bag. So crocs I squeeze in to some of the small empty corners that always appear. Medic kit etc goes on top of the big dry bag in its own double waterproof bags, then my little peace of roll mat and at the very top my camel bak. Having the camel bak underneath the lit makes it easy to take it out and refill. When you have the camel bak along your back inside your pack you will have to take everything out every time you need to refill it, which is annoying. So put it underneath the lit! Then it is on with the pack and belt kit and you are ready to go!

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