Guest Post: Outsidepursuits.com
If you’re planning on enjoying an organized trip to a tropical country like Vietnam or Colombia, you will have plenty of opportunities to view some of the most bio-diverse regions in the world with unique forests and scenery.
A fantastic way to explore these rich landscapes is by hiking along established trails through the jungle and up mountains.
If you have a free day in Hoi An, Vietnam, for example, you’re within a short bus ride or drive from 3 fantastic hiking destinations. You can reach the Marble Mountains by taking a bus toward Da Nang. A hike up the paths of Mount Thuy enables you to see stunning panoramic views and hidden Buddhist sanctuaries. The Ba Na Hills are also close to Hoi An. There you get views of the Truong Son Mountains and the East Sea. Or trek into the nearby tropical jungle and see lush plant life and waterfalls on a hike guided by locals.
Wherever you go, if you’re trekking through hot and humid environments you’re not accustomed to, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and pack a backpack filled with anything you might need during the day.
Make five lists
Before you begin to push clothes into your backpack, create these lists. Because you’re planning to hike through fascinating but potentially rough terrain in hot and humid conditions, you need your backpack to be light, but equipped. Here are 5 lists to help you plan accordingly.
Food & Drinks
You might think you’re wearing all the clothes you need. However, if you’re headed into the mountains, you’ll find the temperatures drop as you ascend. For example, the Ba Na Hills are 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Hoi An. And during the rainy season, you will easily get caught in a downpour. When planning your hike, research the local weather forecast for your destination. If it’s significantly cooler, maybe take a sweater in your pack. If it’s wet, a light raincoat.
This depends upon what kind of hike you plan, but you’ll certainly want to take your camera and any related equipment. You may also need a compass, and a map never hurt anyone. In the tropics, bug spray is always a good idea.
Sunscreen is essential in sunny places. In the mountains, you won’t be as shaded from the tropical sun as you are in town or in the jungle. Baby wipes come in handy too.
What’s essential depends upon you, your hiking crew, and the location. In some countries, foreigners are obliged to carry their passport for identification purposes. If you’re renting a vehicle and driving to the trail head, you’ll need your driver’s license. If someone in your group suffers from a medical condition, ensure you take any necessary medications along. An EpiPen is essential for anyone with allergies.
Food & drinks
Hydration is essential in hot and humid climates. Make sure you take bottled water (the more, the merrier!). Your crew will definitely want snacks, and you might not want to trust the street vendors or restaurants away from the main tourist hot spots.
Organize your gear
Once you’ve made your lists, lay the items you need across a flat surface. For a day excursion, you don’t need to carry a great deal, so use an appropriate backpack for the planned hike. Clear your backpack and think about which items will go where.
While you pack, double-check that you're not missing anything or packing any item twice. Lastly, there's an important order to packing things right.
-Heavy items first
Pack heavy things first. These go in the bottom of your backpack distribute them evenly for better balance and less back strain.
-Frequently used items
The items you might need quickly, such as bug spray, need to be on top or in a convenient side pocket. Emergency medical equipment or medication must be easily accessible. You’ll probably want to conveniently arrange the water and snacks. Your camera is best hung from a strap around your neck so you can photograph those tropical birds without the hindrance of unpacking your bag first. (The wildlife won’t wait on your convenience!)
...time to hike through the jungle!
Now that you’ve crossed off everything on your list, you’re ready to hike. The tropics are truly amazing, and we hope you enjoy your hike through the wilderness or up a mountain!
🌍 For trip ideas and group excursions, check out FTLO's upcoming trips to Morocco, Colombia, South Africa, Vietnam, Lapland and more!