Borneo

£500.00£1,695.00

14 Nights (in-country)
Borneo
Hard
Jungle Lore, Expedition Skills
6-9 (+ 3 Leaders/Medics)

Join us as we venture deep into the emerald interior of Borneo,the oldest jungle in the world, to meet the last of the island’s hunter-gathers – the tribal Penan peoples. You will travel through some of the wildest rainforest on the planet; learning jungle-craft from the Penan tribe who have retained, and continue to adapt, their traditional ecological knowledge and jungle-lore. This is an authentic, well ‘off the beaten track’ adventure that very few individuals have the chance to experience.

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  • Category: Jungle
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Description

“In the language of Borneo’s Penan tribe, there are forty words for sago palm, and no words for goodbye, or thank you – or thief. The Penan are a nomadic people who view the entire rainforest as their home. They are an “eco-village” on the move, one with a history many thousands of years old. If we all knew and loved the natural world with the intimacy of the Penan, we would not be destroying it wilfully.”– The Penan: Community in the Rainforest by Wade Davis (Ethnobotanist) 1991

Home to the clouded leopard, sun bear, orang-utan, gibbon, hornbill and many species of squirrels, langurs and civets – we will be travelling along the river beds, traversing cloudy mountain ridges and passing secret natural salt licks – it promises to be a trackers paradise. By learning from the Penan, you will be helping to directly support their community and helping to prove that what remains of this rainforest paradise should be preserved for the people and not cleared for palm oil plantations.

Consistent with the ethos of Wild Human, this expedition aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills required to plan and undertake your own adventures in a rainforest environment. This is a hands-on experience and you will be expected to participate in all practical activities relating to jungle travel and living. This means collecting firewood, helping with cooking, looking after your own sleeping arrangements, using cutting tools etc. The Wild Human team will teach you the practical routines and jungle bushcraft to feel comfortable and at ease in this ‘extreme’ environment and the Penan elders will impart a myriad of techniques used to sustain life, from hunting with blowpipes to casting nets for fish. So, be prepared to feel overwhelmed as you first explore the tropical rainforest with your Penan 
 This expedition is not simply to sample the culture or environment as a passing tourist, but to become absorbed by the spirit of the place itself, as you follow some of the last hunter- gather peoples, in what remains of this ancient and once far mightier forest.

From the outset it’s important that you understand that the expedition is NOT a cultural tour – you will NOT be fully catered for, nor have your every need met as we observe aspects of Penan culture from a distance. This is a practical jungle experience in a remote location where you will be required to help with the tasks required to live and travel in such a place.

Highlights

  • Water; importance, collection and disinfection.
  • Shelter; requirements and importance. Tarps and hammocks, natural shelters.
  • Fire; selection and preparation of materials and ignition methods.
  • Physiological requirements; acclimatisation and common medical issues associated with 
a jungle environment.
  • Natural Hazards
  • Clothing and equipment selection
  • Safe and effective use of cutting tools. Sharpening techniques.

 

Jungle living, crafts and techniques

  • Natural bindings and construction methods.
  • Identification of plants, trees and fungi used for food, medicine, fire and other utilities
  • Animal tracks
  • Penan hunting methods including traps and snares for mammals and birds and hunting 
with blowpipes and poison-tipped darts.
  • Fishing techniques and nets. Preparing and cooking fish.
  • Craftwork; selection and collection of materials for containers, cordage, traps and hunting
  • Jungle sanitation and hygiene

 

Jungle travel

  • Suitable equipment and how to carry it
  • Travel hazards and their avoidance.
  • Learning how to walk in the jungle, Penan style!
  • Campsite selection and constructing fly-camps.
  • River hazards and crossings.

Inclusions

Included

  • Two Wild Human Expedition Leaders.
  • All food (snacks and meals) and soft drinks.
  • Internal transport as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special in-country permits and permissions.

Not included

  • International flights/ travel.
  • Travel insurance (obligatory).
  • Alcohol (Due to the remote nature of this Expedition no alcohol will be taken into the Jungle)
  • Personal equipment (full kit list in the Notes Section).

General Information

We will aim to cover the following (but please bear in mind we are at the mercy of weather and factors out of our control):

Please click on the + symbols opposite to read about what you will learn each day.

Geographical Location

Borneo is the third largest island in the world, located above Australia in the South China Sea. Roughly two thirds is Indonesian territory (Kalimantan), with the remaining third belonging to Malaysia. The sovereign state of Brunei, located on the north coast, comprises about 1% of Borneo’s land area. Malaysian Borneo comprises of two states, Sabah and Sarawak. We will be heading deep into the interior of Sarawak, to the village of Long Kerong.

3° 17.080’ N 115°12.876’E

The Physical Environment

Sarawak has a mix of coastal flat land, interspersed with swamps and contains large areas of lowland and highland rainforest. The area in which we will be visiting is a mountainous region crisscrossed by many rivers and is one of the last remaining pockets of primary rainforest in Sarawak. Malaysia’s land is approximately 58% forested but the rate of deforestation is now infamous and equates to roughly 68,400 ha per year or the equivalent of 11 football fields per hour. Sarawak has received the brunt of the logging and it is now estimated that 90% of the primary rainforest in what are the traditional lands of the Penan and other tribes has now been logged. We are very fortunate to be able to experience what is left of this fragile ecosystem – it is conservatively predicted that it will all be gone by 2020!

The Rainforest

Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions setting minimum normal annual rainfall between 1750–2000 mm. Tropical rainforests are defined as lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The vegetative layers are split by ecologists into the Emergent layer (trees which punctuate the Canopy sporadically) Canopy layer, Understory and the Forest Floor, it is estimated that 40-75% of all species on earth are indigenous to rainforests and that there may be as many as one million species still left undiscovered.

The local rainforest is a typical combination of dense trees, plants and hanging vines that cover every square inch of habitable land. It is fairly common to see trees with diameters of up to 2 meters or so, and jungle vines or ‘Lianas’ hang from the canopy and twist their way down through the undergrowth. It is a mountainous region, punctuated by bare rocky outcrops and interlaced with numerous crystal clear jungle streams, literally teaming with fish- a truly magnificent environment and pristine rainforest.

The biodiversity of Borneo is staggering. The rainforest contains over 15,000 species of plants and trees and over 1400 species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals. There have been thousands and thousands of insect species recorded with new species being discovered all the time. It would be impossible to list all species here, but as a taste, of the 288 species of mammals know to exist in Borneo it is quite possible that we may come across some of the 102 species of

Bat, 61 species of Rodentia, various species of Gibbons, Macaques and Langurs, Marbled Cats, Civit Cats, Bearcats and other Cats, Mongooses, Badgers, Wild Pigs and Deer. Not to mention the Sun Bears, Eurasian Otters and Clouded Leopards. There is a good chance we’ll also meet some of the 105 species of Lizards, and a few of the resident snakes!

Such a rich population of insects, mammals and birds creates an incredible concert in the forest and the sounds are truly unforgettable.

Climate – Borneo is bisected by the
equator and so lies firmly in the tropics.
 This dictates a typical tropical climate;
fairly constant year-round high
temperatures (average 23-33 deg C),
plenty of sunshine interspersed with
high doses of rainfall that combine to
create high humidity (average 85-95%
per annum).

Sarwak has two monsoons – The North
East Monsoon, which usually occurs
between November to February brings
with it heavy rainfall and the South West
 Monsoon from June to October which is
usually milder. Our expedition sits
placed between these two monsoon
seasons and therefore will likely be
relatively dry, however the rainforest
creates its own microclimates and the mountainous nature of the area will be visiting will lead to orographic precipitation.

The Penan

The Penan are in indigenous group who inhabit the rainforests of interior Sarawak. Traditionally they subsisted by hunting and gathering however the last few years have seen the majority of nomadic Penan settle into permanent villages and begin to cultivate rice and staple fruit and vegetables. The Penan are still very much reliant on their knowledge and skills in the forest and are widely regarded, even by other local tribes, as masters in the forest. Their ability to navigate the complex terrain is uncanny, and their botanical and zoological knowledge of such a diverse ecosystem is staggering.

The Expedition Locations

Our expedition will take us deep into the interior of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo. Our destination will be the village of Long Kerong, a Penan village located on a small tributary of the Selungo River. There are about twenty-five wooden houses in Long Kerong. Immediately surrounding the village are a few ‘gardens’ where the Penan now cultivate rice, Tapioca and some fruit and vegetables.

Meals:

All of the food on the expedition will be cooked outdoors over an open fire using a mixture of modern expedition techniques and traditional Penan cooking methods.

We will not have specially employed catering staff cooking for us; meals will be a communal affair with everyone taking their turn to help. Cooking will be supervised by one of Wild Human staff, all of whom hold a ‘basic food handling and hygiene’ certificate.

Breakfast will typically be cereals and dried fruit, tea and coffee

Lunch will be a simple carbohydrate staple of egg fried rice or stir-fried noodles

Dinner will consist of a cooked dish with rice or pasta

Vegetarian options will be available, if required.

*As part of the expedition we will aim to substitute our diet with traditional Penan foods hunted and gathered from the forest.

Water:

Mains water in towns is not considered safe to drink however bottled water is cheap and easily available. The local rivers and streams will be our primary source of drinking water. Our primary method of disinfection will be boiling but while on the trail we will likely also make use of filtration systems and chemical treatments. We will cover these methods in detail while on expedition.

Alcoholic Drinks:

You will be expected to pay for your own alcoholic beverages while in town. We will not be consuming alcohol while at the village or in the jungle.

Teaching & Skills

During our basecamp and jungle travel days we will immerse ourselves in the techniques associated with jungle travel and living and be fortunate to be accompanied at all times by Penan guides who know the rainforest intimately and are exceptionally skilled at living there. Our Penan guides have a working knowledge of English and are therefore capable of explaining techniques and demonstrations in their own words; they are also incredibly generous with their knowledge. The Wild Human team will teach a proportion of relevant skills as well as providing logistical guidance and ensuring the safety of the group at all times.

Emergency Field Communications:

Emergency in-country contact numbers will be available closer to the time. Wild Human has its own Iridium satellite phone.

UK Office:

Whilst on expedition, a member of the Wild Human team will act as our UK back-up in case of emergency and will be contactable 24 hrs a day on the following number – number to be released at a later date.

Personal Communications:

If you have an international roaming agreement for your mobile phone, we have no objections to you using it on expedition, providing it is used discreetly and does not affect others enjoyment of the forest. However, it is almost certain that you will only get a signal in Miri.

Expedition Health Care

Medical facilities are generally considered to be good in Malaysia but it is unlikely that facilities will be comparable to UK standards unless they are in a large city such as Kuala Lumpur.

Recommended immunisations are important to consider for all travel to South East Asia. For detailed vaccination advice, please consult your own GP and the excellent NHS web site ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx

As a minimum you should be up to date with all vaccinations required for normal life in the UK. Hepatitus A and Tetanus are usually advised. Sometimes advised are typhoid, diphtheria, tuberculosis, rabies, hepatitis B, and Japanese encephalitis.

The risk of rabies is small (the villagers say it is not present in their dogs) and the cost of the vaccination relatively high, so a personal decision is required here, as with Jap encephalitis. Rabies is however always fatal once symptoms develop and the vaccine does not provide complete immunity; it will buy added time to extract to a suitable medical facility.

Malaria is endemic in Sarawak and the risk is considered relatively high. It is recommended that a suitable anti-malarial is taken. Please consult your GP on this. If you plan to use an anti- malarial that you have not used before, it is also recommended that a trial course be taken to prevent any adverse side effects spoiling your trip. The mosquito count in this forest is relatively small compared to some areas and we will take added malarial precautions with the use of insect repellent and mosquito nets.

Medical support network:

Expedition first-aid cover will be provided by the Wild Human team, who have been trained in expedition first aid and ‘Advanced Medicine for Remote Foreign Travel’ by Wilderness Medical Trainingand Wilderness Emergency Medical Techniciancertificates byWEMSI. They also hold HSE recognised first aid certificates.

The expedition will carry a very comprehensive medical first aid pack. Throughout the expedition we will have a ‘reasonably’ reliable communications system and will be in ‘reasonable’ proximity to medical care.

Insurance:

You must have adequate travel insurance to join this expedition. Please make sure that your policy covers the type of activities that we will be partaking in; specifically small boat travel and hiking in remote areas. We will ask for your policy details prior to departure.

Travel documents and visas:

You will require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your intended departure date to be granted entry into Malaysia and proof of your return journey (airline ticket). Nationals from all EU countries and New Zealand do not need to arrange visas in advance to visit Malaysia. You will be granted an initial 90 days visa stamp on entry to Malaysia, free of charge.

Please note:

It is advisable to make copies of the relevant pages of your passport, your flight tickets, your traveller’s cheque receipt slips (very hard to cash in Miri, especially during the weekend) and your travel insurance policy in case the originals get lost.

Keep one set of copies with you, one set in your luggage and leave one set with a friend or family member at home. If possible, scan these documents, and email them to yourself, using an email address with sufficient memory storage.

Physical Conditioning:

You need to be in reasonable shape. Anyone who is seriously overweight or has limited flexibility will discover some real handicaps due to the nature of sleeping in hammocks and the challenging nature of the mountainous terrain we will be travelling through. Attitude is everything. If you really want to be there, have the temperament to attend to fussy little details, and are prepared to deal with temporary discomfort at times, you will enjoy the jungle for its energy and wonder.

Prior to the trip we recommend that you begin a light aerobic fitness-training regime, working out at least three times a week. If possible, some light strength training for the major muscle groups in the legs would be a bonus, as our trek will require a certain level of leg strength. A few moderate hill walks with a pack would be ideal training.

This will greatly improve your enjoyment of the course. If you are in any doubt about your ability to cope with a cardiovascular workout program, please consult your GP.

Baggage Security:

With regards to flying with a rucksack, I just make sure that all of the bags straps are pulled tight and tucked it. If you are worried about your packing being damaged, then you could buy a flight bag to put your rucksack into. The draw-back is the extra expense, but the pros are as follows – A single padlock (on the flight bag) seals your whole rucksack & all it’s pockets (make sure you buy one in which the zips cannot be pulled apart even while the two zips are locked together; this is possible on many designs!); all the straps on the rucksack are safely packed away. It’s very common for rucksack straps to get caught on something & tear off while the baggage handlers are moving it around. They also fold up to a very small size for easy storage.

It is fine to travel with cutting tools in your main pack providing they are stored securely in a bag (not strapped onto) and that they are not readily accessible. Prior to the expedition we will mail you a letter, so that if challenged, you should not be viewed as being in ‘possession of an offensive weapon in a public place’, and that the you are carrying greenwood working tools (axe / knife / crooked knife) for ‘environmental / hobby’ purposes (as per Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988). You should also have your receipt of payment or briefing pack for the expedition, to prove your reason for carrying these tools is legitimate.

Spending money:

You will have no need for spending money in the jungle, but please some cash for shopping and beers in Miri and there will be some wonderful Penan crafts for sale while at the village. You will eat well in Miri for less than £2 / meal.

The exchange rate is roughly £1 = 5 MYR (Malaysian Ringgits), for current exchange rates visit

www.xe.com

Major credit and debit cards, including the Visa Cash Passport Card, are widely accepted in Malaysia. You can also access your bank account using ATMs, which are ubiquitous.

Time difference and jet lag:

GMT +8

Hung-over (surely not), sleep-deprived, run down or just plain worn out before you begin your travel, chances are greater that you will be more susceptible to jet lag.

Although jet lag cannot be cured, there are some tips that may help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Consider the following before, during or after your next scheduled air flight:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine just before and during your flight. Both alcohol and caffeine have diuretic properties, which means that they cause you to lose water and make you dehydrated. Also, alcohol causes drowsiness and can contribute to the sluggish feeling experienced by many travellers.
  • Reset your watch to the time zone that you are travelling to. This lets you start thinking according to your arrival destination’s local time before you even arrive.
  • Create as dark an environment on the plane as possible. Bright lights have a strong effect on a person’s body clock. Use eyeshades and earplugs to help block out the in- flight distractions and convince your body that it is dark. Closing the window shade and turning off the overhead cabin lights may also help. Sleep on the plane if your flight has an early morning arrival time.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. If you experience mild swelling, it will help to have loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • Get adequate rest before your flight. By starting your trip well rested, you will not be playing as much “catch-up” when you arrive at your destination. Likewise, when you return, try to schedule a day of rest before returning to work.
  • Walk around and do isometric exercises (simply contract and relax as many muscle groups as possible while seated) while in flight. This will improve your circulation, helping promote an increased level of alertness and reduce the chance of swelling in other body regions.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking lots of water and juices will help you to stay well hydrated.
  • If possible, try to wait until the local bedtime to sleep. You will sleep better and be less likely to suffer insomnia than if you take a nap upon arriving. A daytime flight may help 
since nighttime flights may exacerbate jet lag.
  • Power: 
Plugs in Miri are the same as the UK, so no adaptors required. There are a few generators in the village but use will be very limited. We suggest you aim to be non-power dependent. Fuel is expensive and hard to come by for the Penan and with the warm climate, modern batteries should hold their charge well. If in doubt, bring spares.

 

Expedition Travel & Transport How to get there: 
Flights to Miri, Malaysia are NOT included in the cost of the course – you will need to book your own flights independently. 
I would recommend folks get the flight that lands at 12.40, so that would be flying out of Heathrow at 10am on the 15th and arriving in Miri at 12.40pm on the 16th – we start in the late afternoon of the 16th. Coming in a day or so early is very beneficial to getting over jet-lag and getting used to the heat and humidity.

The Expedition Assembly Point: 
We will meet everyone at a specified guesthouse in Miri at 16:00 on the 16th March 2019.
We will be staying at Dillenia.

Late arrivals: 
Please inform Ben asap on email or via sms – contact details on booking

Responsible tourism and recycling on expedition:

  • We will not be burning or burying plastics on expedition, tins will be burned, crushed and binned. All tins and plastic waste will be carried out where possible.
  • We recommend that you use re-chargeable batteries.

Carbon Neutrality:

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and through flying to overseas destinations we are contributing to the problem of climate change.

Climate Care is an organisation that invests in projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. The first two displace fossil fuels in the energy generation mix and the latter absorb carbon dioxide.

For example, through every hour in a Boeing 747 you personally contribute an equivalent of 123 kg Of C02 to the atmosphere, which would cost £ 0:80 to offset. If you would like to take part in this scheme and work out your carbon deficit, please contact –

Climate Care, 58 Church Way, Oxford OX4 4EF.
Tel: 01865-777770. Email: mail@co2.org. Website: www.co2.org.

Recommended Reading

To help get you in the correct mind set for the expedition, we would recommend that you read some of the following books –

  • Jungle Travel and Survival by John Walden. The best all round jungle survival book. John Walden is a physician with extensive experience in the Amazon basin.
  • The Wayfinders by Wade Davis. An anthropologist’s musings about vanishing indigenous cultures and their different ontological perspectives.
  • Stranger in the Forest by Eric Hansen. An account of the author’s 7 month, 4000km long journey on foot through Borneo in the 1980’s in which he used primarily Penan guides. A fascinating story as well as containing extensive descriptions of the Penan and their vanishing nomadic lifestyle.
  • A Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates. An account of jungle exploration in the mid 19th Bates was accompanied by A. R. Wallace, famous for his contributions to the Darwinian Theory of Evolution author of the book below
  • The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russell Wallace. Includes descriptions of 19th Century travel in Sarawak, of the flora and fauna and local people of the region. A classic.

 

Check out this wonderful documentary by Ross Harrison- ‘Sunset over Selungo’ filmed at Long Kerong in 2014 to see what village life is like 

 

I learned how much of what we think to be necessary is superfluous; I learned how few things are essential and how essential those things really are.Bernard Fergusson, Beyond the Chindwin: An Account of Number Five Column of the Wingate Expedition into Burma 1943

Those engaged in their first jungleexpeditioninevitably lament having brought too many superfluous items and repeatedly vow never to return to the jungle so overburdened in future. This Kit List has been assembled with more than a decade of jungle expedition experience, if its not on the list, you don’t need it. Aim to have your bag (without your wet kit and boots) weigh 10kg.

The items to concentrate your funds on are your Hammock/Tarp, your Boots and your Rucksack; the quality of these items will have the greatest impact on your comfort and wellbeing.

 

DAY TIME CLOTHING
One pair of Walking trousers (no zip off legs)Most good summer weight walking trousers will suffice, Craghoppers Nosilife Simba Trousers are excellent value for money (£25 on amazon at time of writing) and feature a diamond gusseted crotch which makes hiking in wet trousers much easier.

 

Avoid dark colours as mosquitos appear to hone in on darker objects, avoid bright primary colours as it attracts the attention of hornets and other insects. Light earthy colours are ideal.

 

Treat with Permethrin before you depart

 

 

Long sleeve shirt

(loose fitting, long enough to tuck into trousers)

Most poly/cotton long sleeve adventure shirts will suffice, a light but dense weave helps keep mosquitos from biting through.

‘Craghoppers Nosilife long sleeved shirt’ is proven and good value for money.

 

Avoid dark colours as mosquitos appear to hone in on darker objects, avoid bright primary colours as it attracts the attention of hornets and other insects. Light earthy colours are ideal.

 

Treat with Permethrin before you depart

Two pairs of summer weight walking socksBridgedale ‘CoolFusion Trailblaze’ and ‘woolfusion ultra lightweight’are very popular, choice between the two depends on which fits in your boots better, the former is thicker than the latter.
Thin Lycra shorts (Plain without reinforced gusset)

Or

Ultralight running shorts

Lightweight lycra shorts or ultralight running shorts with the brief cut out will help prevent the crotch soreness that sometimes comes of walking in wet clothing in the heat. Marks & Spencer ‘Autograph Microskin trunks’ are easily available, if you have large thighs however you might want to seek out knee length alternative.
Lycra Sports Bra

(no metal underwire)

‘Shock absorbers’ brand are popular
Boonie hatLots of available choices but all much the same, the fashion is for a short stubby brim but we recommend a full brim to protect from sunburn when on boats. They also work well with a head net (optional)
Nylon beltAny type so long as it’s comfortable under your pack waist strap and doesn’t rub anywhere
 

Boots

 

(Get purpose designed jungle boots, they need to drain water quickly, waterproof boots will ruin your feet)

 

It’s extremely important that you have proper jungle boots that fit well and are broken in before departure.

 

The Lowa elite jungle boot is a very good option.

 

The Salomon Jungle Ultra a new boot for 2016, yet to determine how durable these are but so far they have exceeded expectations. Light, comfortable, fast draining, if you have wide feet they may be too narrow.

 

The Altberg  Jungle boot Classic/Microlite is manufactured in the UK and the easiest to source. The Classics feature an excellent Panama sole pattern but are heavy and the heel is tall, so avoid if you roll you ankles easily. The Microlite is lighter and more stable, but offers less grip in mud and river beds.

 

The Rocky S2V Enhanced Jungle boot an excellent Jungle boot, often very hard to source, will have to ship from the US, but check the website to see if they have stock in your size.

 

Both Altama and Wellco in the US also make a good jungle boot, available cheaply and easily  but their unusual shape means they wont suit many people. The regular fit is very long and narrow, available in wide and extra wide, be sure to try these on as it can take a few pairs to figure out what size you take (also note these are sized on the American system, check with vendor)

Hydrophobic insolesReplace the innersoles that came with your boots with ones that wont absorb water, it really helps keep your feet from rotting, Superfeet are good, but avoid Sorbothane.

The ‘LOWA Summer Footbed’ is a good budget option and Altberg stock a good option.

 

NIGHT TIME CLOTHING

One pair Light weight cotton trousersAny lightweight small pack size cotton trousers will suffice, something comfortable with a drawstring waist, cotton pyjamas are perfect, but try to pick a style that you will be happy wearing as day clothes for relaxing and traveling in
One Light weight cotton shirtAny lightweight small pack size cotton shirt will suffice, something comfortable with chest pockets for your earplugs etc, cotton pyjamas are perfect, but try to pick a style that you will be happy wearing as day clothes for relaxing and traveling in
Comfortable socksWe like to carry the same type as our walking socks for no other reason than it means we can use them as walking socks if we have to, these night socks are filled with antifungal powder for sleeping in.
Lightweight non water absorbing camp shoesThe Vivo ‘Stealth’, ‘Ultra’ or ‘Primus’ are perfect, but very expensive, the latter can be used if your boots crap-out. Crocs will also work (you can buy knock-offs up to size 45 in Miri for about £4) but be mindful of how bulky they are.

 

Equipment you need to bring

 

Rucksack 50-70ltrAny well designed, robust pack that will comfortably carry in excess of 15kgs, I highly recommend a pack design that transfers most of the weight to your hips.

 

Must have room to accommodate not only your personal equipment but also your food and water.

 

Avoid excessive padding which absorbs and holds water, making the pack heavier the wetter it gets.

 

Avoid packs which are wider than your shoulders or taller than the base of your skull.

 

Avoid bright primary colours, you’ll attract the interest of bugs.

Large waterproof dry bagA single dry bag that is moderately light weight and a little larger (especially in width) than the inside of your pack. You do not want a heavyweight canoe sack but also consider avoiding some ultralight drybags that are prone to being punctured easily. A valve or other method of removing excess air from inside is often convenient provided it is not prone to failure.
Waterproof dry bagsUse colour coded dry bags to keep personal kit segregated dry and  for ease of identification.
Sleeping bagA lightweight warm weather, synthetic fill, rectangular cut sleeping bag or over quilt with foot pocket. A snugpak jungle bag works well.
HammockPlease give a lot of consideration to your choice hammock, it will become the sanctuary of your sanity. This is not the place to skimp and we assure you that you’ll appreciate the comfortable, dry night of rest safe from incessant insects long after you’ve forgotten the initial price.

 

Must have an integral mosquito net.

 

UKHammocks, Hennessy Hammocks and Warbonnet outdoors offer excellent jungle expedition hammocks; avoid DDHammocks and Snugpak, they are cheap for a reason.

 

Treat your hammock with permethrin before you depart.

 

Custom built Jungle Hammocks with included Tarps can be made available for rent (£50 for the duration of the expedition) if you don’t foresee getting much use from a jungle hammock post expedition. If you wish to rent a hammock/tarp please notify us in advance, payment in country in cash (Pounds sterling or equivalent in Euros) along with a £50 refundable deposit when returned undamaged.

TarpA large silnylon tarp is recommended, you’ll need space to both hang your hammock and conduct your personal admin beneath it during torrential downpours. Most good hammock manufacturers will be able to supply you with a suitable tarp, but be aware that Hennessy Hammocks standard tarps are too small and you should upgrade to the hex model.

 

Make sure your hammock fits with ample space beneath the tarp before you leave. It is highly recommended that you closely inspect the seams to ensure they are totally sealed, use ‘Seamgrip’ or silicone to seal any exposed seams.

 

Test by filling it with water over a bath/shower tray like a sack and watching to see if water beads appear at the seams, the ridgeline seam especially.  A glue gun stick and lighter can be useful for quick repairs.

Water containersAim to carry 3lt minimum, split over two containers or more.

 

If you prefer hydration bladders the following is a recommended arrangement: ‘Source Hydration WLPS 3L’ in combination with a separate ‘Source Hydration Liquitainer 2lt’ and ‘Source Universal Tube Adapter’.  This will allow you to collect and treat your water in a separate 2lt bag and transfer it to the bladder in your pack without having to open the pack and remove it, very convenient and bombproof.

 

If you prefer hard containers the Nalgene Oasis Canteen is perfect, carry at least 2

Water purification

(Essential that you get this right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase a box of OASIS Water Purification Tablets (50)

You may also bring alternative water purification methods if you like but be aware that filters are prone to clogging, if you use one be sure it is capable of removing viruses, not just bacteria and protozoa. Don’t bring a UV treatment system, they are not reliable in the jungle. I personally like to kill everything with iodine, but unfortunately my favourite system ‘Polar Pure’ is no longer manufactured. (try contacting polar pure though, they still have stock 😉

 

Tincture of Iodine is available cheaply in all the chemists in Miri.

 

If you have the money, the MSR Guardian is worth the investment, make sure you have a spares kit for maintenance of the unit.

Metal Spoon and mugI’m sure you have a favourite.
Billy can or mess tinAbout 1lt capacity, to cook for one person, you can omit this item if you metal mug is large enough to cook in. Don’t go expensive, these can be purchased in Miri at a low cost.
Pocket Knife or multitoolA stainless steel folding knife, with a reliable locking mechanism, avoid wooden handles they will swell and warp.

A ‘Leatherman wave’ is ideal.

Sharpening stoneSmall sharpening stone, the ‘Fällkniven DC4’ is ideal.
X 3 LightersAt least three TORJET or BIC J39 (pizo ignition) lighters, last longer than most in the jungle, cheap too.
CompassSilva compass or the like, Type 4, Ranger or Expedition models. Placed inside the compass pocket on the front of the shirt and attached by a length of cord.
WhistleTo hang around your neck, the ‘Acme Tornado 636 Whistle’ is a long standing favorite.
Waterproof note book and pencilAnything by ‘Rite in the rain’ is ideal
10 meters of paracord550 paracord comes in many colours
LED Head torchPetzl tikka or alike are perfect, make sure you have a set of spare batteries
Admin bagA small bum bag or similar to organise your small items and keep essentials such as medical kit, head torch to hand when in your hammock or away from your rucksack. The Maxpedition proteus is popular, the Snugpak Responsepak is a significantly cheaper copy which should last till the end of the trip though. Alternatively, use the a side pocket (rocket pouch) with straps as a lightweight rucksack.
Quick drying Towel‘PVA shammy’ (not leather shammy) , sold for cleaning cars, get the largest size you can find. Ultralight and the only towel which doesn’t smell like something died in it after a week in the jungle.
CameraBring something totally waterproof or bring a Pelicase to keep it in and plenty of silica desiccants to keep it from fogging up; even then it may still die, the jungle spirits hate cameras.

Bring plenty of spare batteries and a spare memory card.

MP3 playerFor the night is dark and full of ter.. I mean long, jungle nights are long (18:00 to 06:00) bring music and consider a couple of audio books.
Work glovesLight synthetic work gloves, something like the ‘Contour Avenger work glove’ is perfect
Small dry bag half filled with antifungal powderA small roll top dry bag large enough to insert your foot into massage with the powder contained therein, fill with an antifungal powder like mycil

or better still make some jungle balls! assembly instructions will be sent.

Insect repellentAim for 50% Deet products. Store safely as this will react with various items of clothing, plastic and defiantly eat through your dry bags. I tap my lids on with insulating tape when traveling.
SoapCut down to fit in a film container or a concentrated liquid soap (Dr Bronners is good) Avoid scented.
Exfoliating gloveGreat for washing in rivers and ensuring you don’t lose your soap, available in boots and most supermarkets
Toothbrush/toothpaste Personal Choice but in a small tube.
Alcohol gelAlcohol hand sanitizing gel, get one with a cap that won’t leak
EarplugsThe industrial type attached together by a cord
Needle and threadFor repairing torn clothing – a glovers needle and dental floss is ideal.
Duct tapeWrap duct tape around your water bottle or some other item so it’s available when you need it.
Sun tan lotionSmall tube high factor, mainly for river days. Buy in-country.
Fire LightersStrips of rubber inner tube, go to your local bike shop and ask for all his scraps!
Admin matThin foam sit mat or cut down camp mat to stand on outside your hammock to avoid muddy feet whilst changing. Some packs have a removable foam pad inside that can be used for this purpose.

 

Personal Medical Kit – important, you will need all these items

Pack in a tough waterproof ziplock style bag

 

AntihistaminesWe like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) as it also makes you sleepy, convenient since your usually taking it because your mosquito bites are keeping you awake. Do not take in the morning.

 

Antifungal creamLamasil cream is by far the best
Hydrocortisone cream To treat bites
Antibiotic powderPrescription only, but pretty much essential.

Bizarrely its frequently available on amazon.com and e-bay – search for Banocin or Polysporin powder.

Melonin Non-adherent dressings5cm² and 10cm²
Paracetamol 300mg tablets
Ibuprofen500mg tablets
CompeedBlister pads
Oral rehydrationDioralyte sachets or electrolyte tablets (use each morning)
C.A.T. Tourniquet – Must have on you at all timesTo tape to your parang sheath
Large cohesive bandage4.5m x 10cm, Equine vet wrap
Tweezers‘Uncle Bills Sliver grippers’ are good
Tegaderm filmWaterproof dressings, a few sizes or a roll to be cut to size.
Steri-strips6mm Two packets
Betadine Povidone Iodine liquid SolutionSmall bottle (iodine is also available cheaply in Miri, but will make you wince.)
Tincture of BenzoinAlso known as Friars Balsam, use as a glue to stick wound dressings.
Aloe-vera gel sachetsFor burns
Leukosilk Fabric TapeFor taping down dressings
Personal medication

 

 Camp comforts:

 

Whilst not absolutely essential the following items offer significant comfort and convenience for very little weight/space, they have been developed the jungle by us and produced by Mat at UKhammocks.co.uk on request:

 

Jungle Chair

EDC Hammock

Netted Clothes Storage Bag

DO I NEED PRIOR EXPERIENCE? Not at all! If you enjoy being outdoors and are keen to learn – we will welcome your company. Although previous camping experience can be an advantage on the Expeditions, it is not essential. Some of our more advanced courses do have pre-requisites; please see course details.

CAN I ATTEND ON MY OWN? Yes! Our bushcraft courses are aimed at private individuals who have a passion to learn. Although some people attend in pairs or small groups, the vast majority of our groups are made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

WHAT ABOUT BAD WEATHER? Courses will run in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Bad weather makes learning the skills more challenging and harder to master, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of ability and a greater sense of achievement.

SANITATION & HYGIENE – Courses are run from an expedition-style base camp, this means that our toilet facilities are screened, covered latrines. We have used this system for the past 16 years of our teaching experience and find it to be the cleanest, most environmentally friendly and hygienic system. It is an essential part of wilderness living and you will be given clear instruction about latrine construction, considerations for wilderness travel and base camp life, and a few simple protocols about hygienic use upon arrival to base camp.

CAN I ATTEND FROM CONTINENTAL EUROPE AND BEYOND? Yes! We would ask that you find out if you require any special Visas for the country you will be travelling to.

WHERE CAN I STAY BEFORE/AFTER MY COURSE? Please contact us and we will be able to give you some recommendations for places to stay and things to do

WHAT WILL I BE EATING? All meals are cooked on site. Food preparation and cooking will be a joint effort, involving both students and staff. All of our full time staff al hold ‘food handling and hygiene’ certificates. All our courses and expeditions are fully catered, however you may be required to cook for yourself or in groups on occasion, forming part of the educational aspects of the course (please see individual course page for further information).  Course participants are usually pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the food and meals we provide, however please remember that this is an expedition style base camp and therefore has inherent limitations with regards to producing meals to cater for individual tastes. Whilst we are proud of the tasty, nutritious meals we produce with basic amenities, but our focus is to educate, not to compete with restaurants. There will always be a brew pot on the go and a biscuit box available, so that students are free to make tea and coffee at any time.

We are happy to cater for medical intolerance’s, allergies and for vegetarian diets, but please let us know when you place your booking. However, we do not cater for preferences or mild intolerance’s.  If you are in doubt then do contact us to discuss options. If you have very specific requirements or very serious allergies then you may be asked to bring your own food and cooking equipment so please inquire about this before booking on-line.

ARE THE COURSES TOUGH? Our Expeditions should be viewed as being a wilderness education experience and not as an ordinary holiday. They are educational courses, but just as importantly, they are a ‘hands on’ experience and at times can be quite challenging. Due to the nature of the location and the course content, you will be expected to take short hikes over uneven terrain, therefore a good level of fitness is required – on occasion you will be wet, muddy, tired, too hot, too cold, frustrated and exhilarated!

IS IT SAFE? “Adventure is a romantic name for trouble…” At Wild Human the opposite is true, as you will get the opportunity to learn wilderness living skills in a safe and controlled environment, where making mistakes will not put you in danger. However you must come in the knowledge that no outdoor activity is entirely without risk, as you may be using sharp tools or walking across uneven terrain. Accidents can happen. We advise you take out adequate adventure travel insurance for the duration of your course or expedition.

ALCOHOL? – Alcohol is strictly forbidden on all our courses, due to the obvious health and safety risks. Alcohol and cutting tools don’t mix! However, it is not unusual for students to get together at the end of a course for a well-earned pint.

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