Trekking is one of the few activities still left in the modern world that lets you experience nature at its finest. In case you have never trekked before, we suggest trying out a few small hiking sessions first, before embarking on a full-on trek through the jungle.
Now, there are various types of terrain through which you can trek, but depending on the region we are talking about, a trek through the jungle can be a particularly challenging experience. In case you are not aware, a jungle is a much more concentrated version of a forest, where the trees and the undergrowth are tightly packed together, making journey through them all the more difficult and dangerous. So, before you even think about taking on the likes of the deadly Amazon trail or even the much more docile Putussibau trek in Borneo, here are six safety tips that might just save your life!
The Clothing Needs to be Spot On
Jungles are by default, hot, wet and humid, so your clothes need to be thin and made out of cotton or linen since these materials dry quite easily, in addition to being comfortable to wear under hot and humid climatic conditions. Carry at least two sets of clothes with you in a waterproof bag, so that you always have another set to change into when your current set gets drenched in rain, stream water or sweat.
Cover Yourself Up
Jungles have billions of insects buzzing around all the time and some of them will likely try to bite or sting you at every chance. Given that malaria, dengue, yellow fever and hepatitis are just some of the diseases that these bites can infect you with, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are wearing long sleeve shirts and your pants are tucked into your boots. Speaking of boots, you need to understand that the pair you will be wearing during your trek through the jungle will likely be saving your life, or at least will save you from significant discomfort. Get yourself a pair of waterproof snake boots because every jungle in the world has venomous snakes and you probably won’t see most of them coming before they strike. Not only will the snake boots save you from potentially lethal snakebites, but also from leeches and a number of poisonous insects that jungles are usually teeming with.
Bring Your Machete
The machete is an iconic weapon in popular media and for good reason, but you will actually need this cross between a sword and a knife to get through the jungle at times. Even established paths through the jungle can become overgrown in a matter of days, so it is very likely that you will need to clear portions of your path during your trek with the machete or clear an entire area to set up camp for the night. Additionally, it’s also an excellent melee weapon to have in case of emergencies and animal attacks. If you think machetes look cool in the movies, this is your opportunity to carry one yourself for an actual purpose!
Look Out for Your Feet
In the Vietnam War, the swamps and the marshlands rotted out the feet of many soldiers back in the day, and it’s still a threat that you need to look out for today. The feet are the most vulnerable part of the body in a swampy area and that’s why you need to practice the following precautions:
- Apply antifungal cream to your feet once or twice a day, even if you don’t have an infection.
- Before you sleep, apply talcum powder to your feet to keep them dry as you sleep
- Apply a sufficient amount of petroleum jelly onto your feet in the morning, just before you slip on your boots to keep them from chafing
Your waterproof snake boots will likely protect you from overexposure to water, but it’s possible that some water will still get in at times, especially when it rains, so practice the steps above to make sure that your feet remain well-protected against infections.
Other Body Parts Need to be Protected as Well
The feet might be the most vulnerable area, but a hard and long trek under hot and humid conditions can pretty much affect your entire body, so before going to sleep, do use a lot of powder on your whole body to keep dry. Also, petroleum jelly can be used on any other sections of the body that are at risk of being sore or chafed. For example, your shoulders would likely benefit from the jelly as that’s where the straps of your backpack will be putting all the stress. Fungal infections can easily affect the armpits, inner thighs and the groin in particular, so do apply some antifungal cream on those areas as well to stop the infection from developing in the first place.
Sugar, Salt and Water
These are the three things that you will be losing constantly as you sweat through the hot and damp woodlands. In order to survive, you must replenish them on a constant basis or suffer the risk of collapsing due to dehydration or a heat stroke. There are formulas available that make the water more potent as a saline re-hydrator, but a simple combination of sugar, salt and water can also do pretty much the same thing. Make sure you are drinking at least 4 – 5 liters of salinized water on a daily basis.
We suggest that you take on a few relatively easier and shorter trips through the local hiking trails first, before embarking on a dangerous trek through a densely packed jungle in the South American continent or in Asia. Nevertheless, when you do take on a jungle trek, don’t forget to make sure that you have all the six points on this list covered. While you will still need to learn a lot more before going on an adventure, you certainly cannot ignore anything you just read here either.