The travel kit list: the best gear for rainforest hiking

It’s sure to be hot and sticky — the trick is finding kit that will keep you as comfortable as possible while also accounting for heavy rain and biting insects.

By Nora Wallaya
Published 8 Feb 2023, 17:01 GMT
Clockwise from top left: Páramo Socorro Women’s Shirt, Swarovski Optik NL Pure 8X32 Binoculars, Ariat Skyline ...

Clockwise from top left: Páramo Socorro Women’s Shirt, Swarovski Optik NL Pure 8X32 Binoculars, Ariat Skyline Summit Waterproof Boot and Osprey Sirrus 24 Hiking Backpack. 

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

1. Páramo Socorro Women’s Shirt

Designed for tropical weather, this shirt is made of fabric that distributes sweat to aid in cooling and drying. It’s UV-proof with an SPF exceeding 50, while its close weave and secured cuffs and collar protect against biting insects. Smart details include a hidden inside compartment and a chest pocket for OS maps. £65

2. Ariat Skyline Summit Waterproof Boot

These best-selling leather boots feature a shock-absorbing midsole for uneven paths, plus an ergonomic and gel-cushioned heel that will make for surer footing. Light but sturdy, they have a good degree of ankle protection, a moisture-wicking footbed and mesh inner-lining ensuring excellent breathability. £170

3. Leki Cressida FX Carbon Trekking Poles

Poles will increase your stability and endurance, test the ground before you and move dense vegetation out of the way. This folding set is made of ultra-light carbon steel, weighing just 247g per pole. They have an adjustable height, with cork handles and straps for a secure, comfortable grip. £189.99

4. Mammut Runbold Light Pants

When it comes to trousers, you’ll need to keep all skin covered up while leaving room to breathe. Stretchy and lightweight, this pair fits the bill. It’s made of easy-to-pack, water-repelling material, and it features an elasticated waist and zip pockets. Tip: pull your socks over your ankles to restrict bug access. £85

Clockwise from top left: Leki Cressida FX Carbon Trekking Poles, Montane Unisex Podium Waterproof Jacket, Petzl Actik Core Headlamp. 


Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

5. Swarovski Optik NL Pure 8X32 Binoculars

A top-of-the-range option, these binoculars pack phenomenal performance in a compact frame. They come with 8x magnification and a 492ft field of view through 32mm lenses, all weighing just 660g. The ergonomic design feels smooth and comfortable, and the image colour and clarity are infallible, even in low light. £2,070

6. Osprey Sirrus 24 Hiking Backpack

This day pack is complete with a rain cover and attachments for poles, roll mats and bottles. It has an open-mesh back, adjustable frame and shoulder padding, making for a comfortable wear over long periods, as well as sternum and hip straps. Plus, it’s made with 100% recycled materials. £145

7. Montane Unisex Podium Waterproof Jacket

This ultra-lightweight pull-on packs down into a pocket-size bag. Yet, it doesn’t sacrifice performance: its waterproofing includes fully taped seams, a storm flap and stiffened peak — protecting up to 15,000mm. The jacket is breathable, too, having been designed with trail runners in mind. £120

8. Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

Night hikes require thoughtful lighting to avoid scaring wildlife or harming sensitive eyes. This USB-rechargeable option provides plenty of power, but it can also be adjusted to reduce strength, avoid flood lighting or switch to softer red light. It weighs 88g and has an IPX4 water-resistance rating. £40

Published in the March 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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