What to pack: trekking by means of Borneo&x27s rainforests – Lonely Planet

Video What to pack: trekking by means of Borneo&x27s rainforests – Lonely Planet

The all-enveloping equatorial rainforests of Borneo’s fantastic nationwide parks are nice for day hikes, however nothing beats an in a single day trek to actually expertise these unimaginable jungles. A world filled with orangutans, carnivorous pitcher vegetation, gargantuan Rafflesia flowers deserves in-depth exploration. However the land is numerous and situations change all through each trek, so having the proper gear (there are some fairly distinctive wants out right here) can imply the distinction between an exciting voyage of discovery and sodden distress.

Path in Bako Nationwide Park © ElenaMirage / Getty Photos

Dressing for the local weather

Borneo – made up of the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, the sultanate of Brunei and Indonesian Kalimantan – has wetter seasons and dryer seasons. Precisely when will depend on the place you’re, however downpours of biblical depth are attainable any time of the 12 months. And even once you’re not slogging by means of a deluge, the warmth and almost 100% humidity will make sure that you may keep soaked with your personal sweat. The easiest way to attenuate discomfort is to deliver equipment constructed from supplies that don’t retain water. Meaning cotton is out, whereas synthetics – equivalent to nylon, polyester, Lycra and (for greater elevations) Polar fleece – are in. All of your gear, from socks to photographic gear, must be packed in waterproof baggage.

Convey two units of clothes – one for mountain climbing and the opposite to put on on the finish of the day and at evening. Your trekking duds will likely be soaked inside minutes and can keep that manner till you get again to civilisation. Maintain your day and evening equipment strictly separate otherwise you’ll discover that you’ve got two units of moist clothes. Talcum powder may also help alleviate chafing brought on by moist underwear.

Trendy ‘leech socks’ © YamezA (

Dealing with creepy-crawlies

Mosquitoes aren’t an enormous drawback in most elements of Borneo, thanks partly to the hundreds of thousands of insect-eating bats that inhabit the island’s numerous caves, however you’re more likely to end up in a battle of wits with two forms of leech. First is the ground-dwelling brown leech, infamous for its painless bites (you will not know you have been tapped till you see blood soaking by means of your socks). The opposite is the tiger leech, which drops onto passing people from overhead branches, inflicting a chew that stings like some ant bites.

You will hear plenty of theories about one of the simplest ways to maintain the slimy blood-suckers at bay however one extensively accepted methodology is to place an impenetrable material barrier between their jaws and your capillaries. Knee-length ‘leech socks’, manufactured from tightly knit calico, do the trick. You could find leech socks on Amazon however you must actually simply purchase them in Borneo – they’re made right here and might be discovered for less expensive. Some additionally use Spandex and a few even use panty hose. Both manner, a barrier is vital. Past that, if you happen to discover {that a} leech has connected itself, salt is your major weapon – contact the leech with a thin-fabric bag crammed with a spoonful of salt and it’ll recoil pronto. Present good type when coping with a leech – my Borneo trekking information, Al Davies, advises that if different individuals are round once you’ve eliminated the leach, you must completely neutralise it by chopping it in half with a parang (Bornean machete).

Borneo trek chief Al Davies demonstrates a correctly set-up rain forest bivouac: a hammock enveloped by a mosquito web and sheltered from the rain by a

Sleeping safely and dryly

To maintain your self safely remoted from ground-dwelling bugs, reptiles and small mammals whilst you sleep, dangle a light-weight hammock between two bushes. There are two nice hammock firms to take a look at if you would like to pack your personal – Hennessy Hammocks ( and DD Hammocks ( To guard your self in opposition to flying bugs, wrap the hammock with a mosquito web soaked in permethrin. Then, to remain dry, dangle a large basha (tarpaulin) over the complete ensemble. Lastly, climb into a light-weight sleeping bag with a snug liner to make this entire setup cosy.

In a single day, the rain-protected area underneath your basha bivouac may also used to dry out your footwear, socks and trekking garments.

Rainforest first assist

Even a seemingly innocuous scratch can rapidly get contaminated within the warmth and humidity so bringing alongside correct first assist is important. Apply an antiseptic equivalent to povidone-iodine to cuts and scrapes. To scale back itching from insect stings and bites (and thus the urge to scratch, which might invite an infection), use calamine lotion, sting reduction spray or aloe vera. Purify native water utilizing a filter or tablets.

Foot care is important so after you are taking off your boots and peel off your soaking socks, utterly dry your ft after which apply anti-fungal cream or powder as wanted. Ask your physician about bringing alongside a just-in-case provide of broad-spectrum antibiotics – and the situations underneath which they need to be used.

Tiger leech © Daniel Robinson

Listing of necessities

For a wholesome, protected and pleasant trek within the Bornean rainforest, here is a guidelines of the important equipment you may want:

Basha – waterproof tarpaulin for protecting the rain off your hammock.

GPS tracker – within the rain forest, determining the place you’re might be tough. All day lengthy, regardless of the place you’re, all you possibly can see is bushes.

Hammock – string it between two bushes to maintain you and your sleeping bag comfortably above the slime, snakes and centipedes.

Hat – a large brim will maintain the rain off your face (and, if you happen to put on them, your glasses); an absorbent band will stop sweat from dripping into your eyes.

Mountaineering sneakers – for well-used trails, trainers with good traction must be fantastic, however for trekking in distant areas you may want severe mountain climbing boots with mud-gripping cleats; be certain that they’re properly broken-in earlier than you set out.

Leech socks – these function an impenetrable barrier between your blood and the leeches that crave it.

Medicines – anti-fungal cream or powder will maintain your ft, groin and different areas freed from rot; talcum or prickly warmth powder can soothe chafing from moist garments; and sting reduction spray, calamine or aloe vera will cut back itching from bites.

Mosquito web – retains the bugs at bay whilst you sleep; particularly efficient if soaked in permethrin.

Parang – utilized by the indigenous Dayak peoples, Borneo’s model of the machete is important for all the pieces from whacking thorny vines to ending off leeches.

Rain poncho – assist maintain among the rain off you and your pack in a downpour.

Water purification agent or water filter – makes native water provides protected to drink.

Waterproof baggage – use a dry bag to create a water-proof area inside your pack, then fill it with plastic zipper storage baggage containing, individually, your mountain climbing garments, dry garments, electronics, medicines and different gear.

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