Borneo Kit Tips

Kit required for the jungle is geared to keep you protected from the elements while providing as much airy comfort as possible. Sometimes it is quite the balancing act, but the key is to select clothing material that is breathable and doesn’t hold a smell. 

What sort of luggage can I bring to Borneo?

  • Pack as light as you can: the jungle is hot and humid and the route is hilly
  • Good quality dry bags are essential – ensure everything is in dry bags - it will rain (probably a lot!). You can also use a rain cover for your bag.
  • We recommend using soft trekking backs instead of hard suitcases or roller boards. For holidays where you are on the move a soft duffle and a day pack will be your best combination. If you are traveling on one of our luxury holidays, bring whatever luggage suits you best.
  • Any mountain travel will require a rucksack for your porter.

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What activity you partake in will drive what type of luggage you should bring. A daypack is always handy for excursions.

What clothes are recommended for the jungle?

In general, clothing for your Borneo holiday depends vastly on what you will be doing from day to day. If your itinerary involves mainly boat travel or river cruises, then a few lightweight, long-sleeved clothing with good sun protection will be all you need. If you will be joining us in Penan or trekking and sleeping in hammocks and local houses, you will want to have dry bags and a wet/dry system. A wet/dry system is a clothing system that enables you to get wet during your travel by day, and have a cleaner, dry pair of clothing for the evenings. The object is to keep your clothing as dry as possible, so your system should include materials that are quick drying and moisture-wicking.

  • For women, a sarong is very useful for bathing and walking down to the shower/river or just for wearing in the evenings. You must wear something so cover up while bathing. Sarongs also make good, light blankets.
  • Take seamless socks – due to the wet environment you tend to get blisters around the seams
  • Stick to putting your wet clothes back on in the morning – don’t give in and put a dry set on, you will regret this in the evening! Have a change of dedicated dry clothing for camp.
  • Shorts are fine for the day, and most of the Penan people wear shorts but trousers do give you more protection from spiky branches, insects, and leeches. Avoid cotton, choose trekking pants or shorts that are designed to dry quickly and not rub.
  • Running/sports tops are good for your day clothes – you need something that has the best chance of drying doesn’t hold too much moisture. Avoid cotton. Instead, choose quick-drying synthetic materials.
  • One set of day trousers is fine (for a 6 day) trip, but take two tops – they do get pretty wet and damp. This does depend on your preferences, but remember you don’t want any extra weight!
  • Wear tight cycling shorts under your shorts/trousers – good/essential leech protection
  • Don’t forget leech socks – you can buy these in Borneo for about 20 MYR (about £4). These are recommended for people trekking the Penan area or other mountain treks in Sabah. They are not required for Mount Kinabalu or jungle wildlife safaris.
  • Adidas Kampung shoes (shown in the photo below) are essential; other shoes won’t grip enough as it is very slippery and will get too waterlogged and heavy. You can buy these in Borneo for about 6-10 MYR (about £1.20 - £2). Wear these in around the city/your hotel before leaving to minimise your chances of getting blisters. These shoes do not give you much/any ankle support: consider wearing a supportive bandage.
  • Sandals that allow you to wear socks with them are an excellent choice for around camp. You want your feet to breathe after a long day trekking, but you will need to wear socks to protect yourself from insects.
  • For mountain trekking, we recommend wearing a proper hiking boot. Ensure that the boot is well broken-in prior to your holiday
  • If you are traveling to Penan then lightweight shoes or Tevas are a fine choice. If your trip entails mostly safari, then lightweight outdoor shoes are perfect
  • For river safaris and places such as Sepilok, sandals are a great option.

        

Will I need to bring a sleeping bag to the jungle?

  • A sleeping bag liner is recommended: it can get cold at night, particularly when sleeping in hammocks. Liners come in silk, cotton, or fleece. Most people opt for the cotton version.
  • A light-weight sleeping back is recommended for many mountain journeys you may be taking.
  • For reserves, homestays, and lodges bedding is provided. More basic camps such as Lupa Masa require you to bring your own. We will send you a personalized packing list for your trip to ensure you have what you need.

Is there electricity in the jungle?

  • A watch with a light and alarm is extremely useful.
  • Most lodges will have access to power and Borneo uses a 240v G plug type.
  • There is nowhere to charge electrical items in safari reserves or remote jungle villages and camps; consider taking a spare camera battery or a portable charge pack. Keep your phone on airplane mode with your location services off if you prefer to use your phone as a camera. This will help preserve battery life.
  • Keeping your electronics protected from the humidity is essential while traveling in the jungle. Consider investing in a stout phone case built for harsh environments or leave electronics stowed away in dry bags.  

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Jungle camps are quite basic, often without a stable source of power. However, most lodges have electricity you can use to charge your devices.

Are there any items I need for food and drink while trekking in Borneo?

  • Take some snacks/energy bars with you – these can be bought in Miri
  •  AquaPure traveller water bottles are strongly recommended: there are enough streams along the way for you to fill up when you run out, so this really cuts down the amount of water you have to carry. When camping in the jungle you will always be staying by a river or stream, all the villages are very close to a river.
  • A backcountry water filter is also recommended if you don’t use a self-filtering bottle.
  • In more developed areas filling up from the tap is ok, although the water has a chlorinated taste.

Miscellaneous items:

  • Take a plastic bag for all your rubbish: any rubbish you have needs to be taken back to Miri with you and disposed of there. 
  • If you have space you may want to take a book about the birds or animals of Borneo – you will hear so many noises but sometimes you can’t see the animals; your guides will be able to tell you the name to look them up.
  • A full-size and face-size quick dry towel to mop up sweat and wash up.
  • A basic first aid kit with any additional medication you may require. Please check with your health professional.