White butterfly bag

Clothing and equipment checklist

This checklist was for guidance only. The joining instructions indicated that what we took with us particularly regards clothing was entirely up to us, however it was hoped that the format of the list would assist us in making a sensible judgment based on our own experience, the depth of our pocket, the possible cost/practicability of remedying omissions in the expedition area, and the expedition’s duration.

For much of the time we were going to be living in a tropical rainforest so poncho, hammock, water bottles and mosquito net were essential. The climate was going to be hot, sticky and wet and for these sort of conditions we were advised that the standard ‘Jungle Rule’ would apply: Wear one set of clothes during the day, which will get soaked. Change into dry clothes at night and the next morning change back into your wet outfit. While in Seram we could also expect to be living in the mountains at 9000 ft. where it would be very cold, so warm clothing was also essential.

Our medical kit had to contain 3 tins of anti-fungal foot rot powder as skin disease was rife and also 1 tin of anti-louse powder. Joy oh joy – this sounds like it’s going to be great fun! 🙁

Lastly, we had to ensure that we could comfortably carry all that we decided to bring.

Photo by Kai Bansner

Casual Clothing (Travel/Social Functions)

  • 1 pair slacks/skirt
  • 1 shirt/blouse
  • 1 sweater/sweatshirt
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair shoes – plimsoles/training shoes preferable
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • Something fairly smart and lightweight, preferably a dress.
  • A sarong (useful as such or as a nightie, sheet, mat or holdall etc.)

Expedition/Project Work Clothing

  • 1 pair of walking/jungle boots (calf length, sewn in tongue/anti-leech)
  • 5 pairs woollen/cotton socks
  • 5 sets loose-fitting underwear
  • 2 pairs loose fitting cotton trousers
  • 1 belt (preferably canvas US army type)
  • 2 cotton long-sleeved shirts buttoned at collar
  • 3 T-shirts
  • 1 pair shorts
  • 1 neck scarf/sweat rag
  • 1 sun/floppy hat (wide brim)
  • 1 pair working gloves (gardening gloves, non-leather)
  • 2 x 1 litre water bottles and mug
  • Personal first aid and survival kits

Evening/Adverse Weather

  • 1 waterproof jacket/anorak with pockets
  • 1 pair plimsoles/training shoes

Sleeping Equipment (essential)

  • 1 Lightweight sleeping bag and cotton liner is recommended because you experience very hot sticky conditions at night (average temps at night being as high as 90 degrees). It should be remembered though, that cold temperatures will be experienced when camping in the mountains.

For bivouac/shelter construction. Essential for 10F tropical rainforest.

  • 1 poncho/ground sheet
  • 5 elasticated cords/bungees
  • 4 skewers/pegs
  • 1 lightweight hammock
  • 1 body size mosquito net
  • 1 karrimat (optional)

Maintenance

  • 1 good supply of toiletries (soap, razor, shampoo, tampons, toothpaste etc)
  • 2 rolls toilet paper
  • 1 boot cleaning kit/waterproofing wax
  • 2 towels
  • 1 sewing kit (needles, thread etc)
  • 3 tubes washing detergent (travel wash/cold water-type sea soap)
  • 1 large supply insect repellant
  • 1 container sunscreen cream/lotion and aftersun
  • 6 clothes pegs

Medical (store in tupperware or ziplock polythene bag)

  • 1 pack fabric elastoplasts/bandaids
  • 3 tins anti-fungal foot powder (skin disease is rife). Any other powders to help prevent skin disease are also highly recommended.
  • 1 tin anti-louse powder
  • 1 small quantity cotton wool
  • 3 months supply personal medication as prescribed by family doctor
  • 1 medium or large bandage/wound dressing
  • 1 tube antiseptic cream/powder
  • 3 safety pins
  • 1 small watertight plastic bottle of iodine/mercurochrome/betadine
  • 1 calamine lotion or caladryl cream
  • 100 paracetomol or your regular pain killer for headaches/migraine
  • 3 months supply anti-malarial pills
  • 30 4mg tabs Chloropheniramine (Piriton) from doctor (helps relieves the symptoms of a cold or allergies)
  • Plus any medication you occasionally take for e.g. hayfever, migraine, excema etc.

Survival

  • 1 survival ration for 24 hours (containing for example dextrasol/glucose)
  • 1 silva compass
  • 1 large pack puritabs for water purification
  • 2 fish hooks with line
  • 1 whistle
  • 1 parang (large knife to be purchased locally)
  • 1 candle
  • 1 small quantity of salt
  • 1 penknife with can opener/bottle opener (swiss Army type best)
  • 1 lighter/box waterproof matches

Dining

  • 1 knife, fork, spoon
  • 2 mess tins or plastic/metal plates
  • 1 tin/plastic mug

Stationary

  • 1 airmail writing pad and envelopes
  • 1 set writing implements (ballpoint pens, pencils etc. )
  • 1 logbook/diary
  • 1 set personal documents (e.g. passport, money, 2 spare passport photos)

Miscellaneous

  • 1 torch with several spare long-life batteries (preferably waterproof)
  • 1 x 10m length nylon cord for clothes line
  • 1 small ball string
  • 1 spare pair of laces
  • 1 umbrella
  • Supply of handkerchiefs
  • 1 pair sunglasses
  • 1 watch (waterproof)
  • 1 swimming costume
  • 1 recreational item (e.g. playing cards, paperback- read and pass on, mouth organ, guitar, sketch pad etc.)
  • 1 spare pair of spectacles (if worn). Spectacles are preferable to contact lenses because of the risk of eye infections.
  • Note that expensive items such as binoculars and cameras are at risk, particularly if they are not fully waterproof. Cheaper automatics or underwater cameras are probably best.

Containers

  • 1 rucksack (preferably frameless or internal frame)
  • 1 foldable holdall/travel bag with lock
  • Selection of plastic/polythene/other bags and containers with elastic bands or ziplock resealable polythene bags.

Waterproofing

  • Use strong plastic or polythene bags (secured by elastic bands) for protection of clothing, equipment, documents etc. against weather and insects. All kit should be inside at least one plastic bag.

Labelling

  • Within sensible limits, items should be marked with your name and initials. The regisitered numbers of watches, cameras etc. should be noted.

Packing

  • This should always be planned in such a way that you know exactly where everything is, and so that it is immediately available to you in the order in which you are likely to need it. When flying out to the expedition, carry all valuables plus 48 hours worth of kit in hand luggage in case main baggage gets ‘lost’ en route.