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When I was looking up what to pack for the Amazon rainforest while planning my trip there, I was quite underwhelmed by the amount of practical packing information available on the internet. Now that I’ve been, here’s everything you need to know about what to pack for the Amazon Rainforest!
I visited the rainforest during the dry season and did not experience any rain during my week-long adventure. This may have played a part in the amount of mosquitoes I had to deal with (not nearly as many as I expected), so keep that in mind. I also wore hiking shoes the whole week and did not use the rain boots provided by the lodge because I wanted to be comfortable and knew my feet would get sore in non-supportive rain boots.
Pants to Wear in the Amazon
The number one rule of clothing in the rainforest is to wear lightweight, loose materials with long sleeves and pants. This is to protect your skin from insects, jungle critters, and the harsh sunlight. The Amazon sits very close to the equator, so the sun’s UV rays are particularly strong here and it is easy to get sunburned.
Prana Halle Pants
I purchased two styles of hiking pants for the Amazon and ended up liking one brand much more than the other. All of my internet research told me that the Prana Halle pant was the best choice, so I took two pairs with me – a regular and a convertible style (where the bottom half of the pants zip off).
Overall, these pants were great! The material was thick enough to offer protection from snagging branches and insects, yet light enough to not make me feel too hot. The one minor issue I had with them was that the waistband began to dig in after wearing them for a few hours. The waistband is a regular zipper and button style which may not be an issue for some people but did bother me. For reference, I’m a US size 14 Everything else about the Prana Halle pants for the rainforest was great, though! They are a bit pricey, but I do feel that the quality was good enough that they would last for a long time.
North Face Aphrodite Pants
The pants I preferred for the rainforest were the North Face Aphrodite 2.0 which were less expensive than the Prana Halle. These ones were a bit looser through the leg and had an elastic waistband with a string to tie, which I found to be much more comfortable for hours of hiking and sitting on a boat. They were not nearly as baggy in person as they are in the photo! I ordered the tan/khaki color which was easy to match with all my tops. I even wore these pants while taking an impromptu swim in the Panacocha River and they dried VERY quickly and were completely comfortable after getting wet.
Best Tops for the Rainforest
I took a combination of long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops to the Amazon and liked both. The long-sleeved shirts definitely protected me from the sun on days spent out in the boat or among the treetops in the canopy observation tower. For days spent hiking through more dense jungle, I opted for short-sleeve tops with bug spray. This may go against traditional advice but it was what I found most comfortable and practical.
I found the Smartwool Merino tops to be the perfect shirts for the rainforest! They are made of wool, but not the itchy sweater type of wool. This wool blend is lightweight and feels like an athletic style top. It’s quick drying and helps regulate your body temperature.
What really sets Smartwool apart from regular athletic shirts is its capability to wick away sweat and prevent it from causing odor! In the 90 degree jungle with 90% humidity, sweat is a major concern. After hiking all day and being absolutely drenched in sweat, I did not smell like it. After changing clothes at the end of the day, my Smartwool clothes did not even have a hint of the horrible sweat smell! Even after coming home from my trip, nothing in my bag smelled like sweat or BO. It was amazing, considering there were times when my shirts were literally soaked in sweat during our hikes. This alone makes the price of the Smartwool pieces worth it, in my opinion. They come in several cute colors, too, making it easy to mix-and-match with your hiking pants. I bought the lavender and the jade green.
What Else to Bring to the Amazon
I purchased the Keen Terradora hiking shoes, which worked perfectly for the rainforest. They are waterproof and oh-so-comfy! I have a confession to make: I totally dropped the ball on breaking in these brand new shoes before I wore them hiking for miles in the rainforest with no shoe alternatives. Looking back, that was probably not a smart decision. But it was totally fine because these hiking shoes were amazing. I didn’t get a single blister the entire week, which is some sort of miracle because I get blisters wearing my everyday flip flops.
I’m not done raving about Smartwool products yet! I also wore strictly Smartwool socks and they helped keep my feet comfy during miles of hiking. I purchased the ones that go a few inches above the ankle in order to protect my ankles from ants and other creepy-crawlies on the jungle floor. Smartwool also makes moisture-wicking sports bras and underwear that are a great investment.
I wasn’t going to take any chances when it came to bug bites, so I bought some of the strongest stuff the market. This 98% DEET bug spray came in a convenient 3oz size (so I could take it in my carry-on backpack) and didn’t have a strong odor. It worked great because I left the rainforest without a single bug bite!
Binoculars were a last minute addition to my travel bag, but I’m so glad I decided to bring a pair! These Occer binoculars increased my wildlife spotting abilities tenfold. I would have completely missed the only sloth I found without these, and would not have been able to see the bright colors of the parrots and macaws. This style of binoculars were very lightweight and compact, and were easy to carry around on my neck all day.
I opted to bring a backpack as my sole piece of luggage for the Amazon, and it was a great choice. I love the Osprey Porter 46 because it unzips all the way around like a suitcase does, so you can open it up and see everything that’s inside! This made looking for a certain piece of clothing easy and also helped me stay organized during my trip without fully unpacking everything. The 46 size was perfect for my 10 day trip to two climates – I had to pack for cold mountains and the hot jungle, city sightseeing and outdoor hiking. I was able to fit all my gear and the souvenirs I bought inside this backpack.
A good water bottle is an absolute must-have for any outdoor activity, but especially hiking! Because you will be sweating a lot in the jungle, your body needs to replenish its water so you don’t become dehydrated. I brought this Platypus collapsible water bottle which holds 1 liter of water and collapses to be completely flat when it’s empty. This was super helpful for saving space in my bag when traveling. The Platypus water bottles are BPA free and the “spout” is very easy to drink from. It also features a carabiner-style clip which I attached to the lanyard of my binoculars when it was empty for hands-free carrying.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small commission after any purchases made via these links, which keeps this site running. Thank you for your support! Every product I linked on this page I purchased myself and used on my trip.