What You Need When Getting to the Deep Jungle Camping Spots

What You Need When Getting to the Deep Jungle Camping Spots

These days there are more camping spots opening up as more people are engaging in the activity. Anybody with a piece of land that has a river running through can open a camping site. While it’s great for those of us who have cars or bikes, these campsites can be quite crowded during the weekends or on public holidays.

The good thing about these camp grounds is that they are equipped with lights, showers and toilets. Women, especially, will find it comforting to know that they do not have to squat behind a bush while looking around for snakes and other creatures that may strike while they are answering the call of nature. Children will feel safer knowing that there are many people around to scare away wild animals and the “night monsters”.

But if you are like us and want to get to spots where you can camp in sites that aren’t frequented by many, and you can enjoy nature “as is”, then you need to get further into the jungles. You can do that with trail bikes or by hiking, but it means that you will have to go in light and miss out on some of the comforts. If you want to get to these wild camping sites, a 4wd vehicle will allow you to bring the essential equipment you need to spend a few days in the jungle.

If you have a 4wd vehicle, it’s best that you do not go into the jungle alone. The trails may be difficult, and you may need another vehicle to rescue you if you get into difficulties. Make sure the vehicles are equipped with the right equipment to perform rescues. These include tow straps, shackles and recovery points. A winch helps too.

Vehicles are made up of many parts. Sometimes they break down when you least expect it. It’s good to carry some spares in your vehicle. These could include fan belts, radiator hoses, jumper cables, electrical wires, wiring tape, cable ties and fuses. Don’t forget the tools. And if you have a friend on the trip who knows how to repair cars, you have a bid advantage there. Otherwise you may need to tow your 4wd out to a mechanic.

If you are planning on a trip that is going to last more than one night, then you need to ensure that you have enough of the essential supplies and equipment. The most important is having enough food and water. We have been on trips that involved short distances, but took much longer to reach than expected. On one occasion, we planned a trip where the campsite was 26km into the jungle. On a previous trip there, it took us 12 hours to get in. Coming out took 24 hours due to rain making the trail tough. So, we allocated a day to reach the campsite. But once we started the journey, the trails were so bad that it took 3 days to get in and another 3 days to get out. Fortunately, we had allowed for any mishaps and had brought extra food and water.

Anything can happen in the jungle, especially during the rainy season. You could encounter flash floods that make rivers uncrossable. Flash floods can happen within minutes of heavy rain. The water level can rise a few feet depending on the rainfall.  The strong currents may last for several hours, or even a day.

Crossing the river will be dangerous as the currents can sweep vehicles downstream, and waiting it out is the only option. If you happen to set up camp on the banks of the river, you could be swept away too. Always camp on higher ground a distance from rivers.

Landslides may occur, blocking the trail. Depending on how bad the landslide is, it could take a few days to clear the path. If you are lucky, and if you are not too far from the trail-head, you could walk out to get help. But if you are deep in the jungle, you may have to clear the trail yourself, or find another trail to get out. In this case, you not only need extra food and water, but you also need to have shovels and other digging equipment. You may also need axes, or better still, chainsaws.

The next item on the list of what you need to have for those long trips into the jungle is cooking equipment. You could go the old school way of using firewood to cook your food, but having a gas stove is so much more convenient and faster. You also need to have at least one pot, one frying pan and a kettle for boiling water. I always like to bring fire-starters and some fuel tablets just in case we run out of gas.

Of course, you need to have camping equipment as well. You could sleep in a tent or hammock, on a camp-bed in the open, or in the flatbed of a truck. You will need to have a flysheet to keep out the rain when you sleep or when you are preparing meals. A ground-sheet would be good but is optional.

At night, you need lights to see what you are doing. It also helps to keep animals away. 12V fans would also be good, especially at night during the hot spells. To power these items for more than a day, you will need a 12V battery. You will need solar panels to keep the battery charged if your trip involves being in the jungle for more than one night. Having a good Power Station would be great for lights, fans, charging your phone as well as camera equipment. It could also run a portable 12V refrigerator or freezer as well. This would be especially useful if you are having your family with you. The Power Station could be charged at home using a wall socket, using the car’s cigarette lighter to charge while travelling, or charged by solar panels when at the campsite.

A portable toilet tent would be a good item to bring along when you have ladies present. When they have to answer the call of nature at night, a well-lighted toilet tent not only provides privacy, but gives a sense of security at the same time.

And finally, you need a well-stocked first aid kit for any cuts, bites, burns, sprains or other injuries. Your medicines should include those that treat fever, coughs and allergy as well.

I have been camping in the jungles since the mid-1960s. Most of the time, my trips are great with no incidences. But once in a while, I do encounter flash floods, landslides and trees fallen across the trails. I have also treated people for allergy attacks, scorpion bites and sprains. While these things do not happen often, it’s good to have the right medication on hand in case you need them.

Although I have never had a reason to use it, I have a fire extinguisher in my vehicle for all my trips.

Being prepared helps making your wild camping trips more enjoyable and safer. We go out with a minimum of 5 people on any trip. Sometimes it’s up to 20 in the group if the trip is not too tough. It’s more fun with a group and you have enough hands to help in case of eventualities. Plan your trips and always have a checklist for what you will need.

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