Equipment and Supplies

based on the (comfortably-warm) environment of South-East Asia.
This page doubles as a checklist for my own trips and as an answer to my friends' question: What shall I bring for the trip ?
You can read it in two ways:
1) What have I forgotten ?
2) So many things... what can I leave at home ?



If going on an urban adventure, your clothing is defined by the occassion. In Thailand, it's safe to follow American rules. More laid-back countries could tolerate sarongs and batik shirts, but when you're a foreigner or a big-city-guy, people more and more expect you to dress like the other people who come from the big city. When deciding on your dress, it's good to know how hard the aircon will cool the place down. As a rule of thumb: The higher the social status of the people, the colder the place. Temperatures range from 18 to 28 degrees C.

With my website being not too much about urban adventures, let's come back to the jungle:
The convenient thing about South-East Asia outdoors is the warm weather. Based on the weather, no clothes are necessary but I personally still prefer to wear some. Things to consider when selecting your dress: For outdoor activities, I mostly wear a baseball hat, net-T-shirt, synthetic shorts, and good-quality flip-flops (thongs, slippers). If I get wet, I'm dry again half an hour later.
In my luggage, I carry another one or two pairs of shorts, a synthetic T, a cotton T, a tank top. Sometimes, I bring a backup pair of flip-flops.
If it's terribly hot, I wear the cotton T and pour water over it. If it's raining and cool, I wear only shorts. If this disturbs the people, I wear the synthetic T. To bed, I wear dry shorts (and use the blanket that is listed further down). The remaining dry stuff, I use as a pillow.
If I expect higher altitudes and civilized places along my route, I include a pair of slacks, light and fast-drying. Blue jeans I consider of little use unless the ultimate protection is required, let's say for sliding down rocks in waterfalls. Wet jeans take ages to dry, and are really heavy.
Sports shoes can be useful to avoid injury to the feet, when wading in water. They can as well be used for climbing in dry environment, but they get slippery in the wet. It is often safer to take them off and climb barefoot, where you get better grip and a feel for how slippery the ground is. A good substitute for sneakers are Teva-style trecking sandals.
All over the region, you will find people wearing flip-flops, today my preferred footwear for most activities. They take a bit of time getting accustomed to, but give it a try.

Medical Kit

Have to admit, most of the stuff in my medical kit I've never used (like that cool snakebite treatment kit). Items I did use:
Tweezers, gas lighter, small scissors, band-aid, gel against swelling, tablets against diarrhoea, emergency-cash.
It's adviced to carry all sorts of things but this weighs you down a lot. I limit it to 500g, while now and then I adjust the mix according to what I most likely need.


In Thailand, it's not so easy to find a place where no food can be bought. However, such places do exist. When exploring these, you have to bring food that keeps your performance up (don't skip meals). Here's what I tried so far on my expeditions:
Rice in bamboo, sticky rice and vermented meat, Chinese cakes (mooncake and the like), sandwiches, canned fish, instant noodles (can be eaten dry from the pack, but drink lots of water), dried fruits, bisquits, choclate spread or peanut butter to dip the bisquits, choclate bars.
An excellent alternative to locally-made food are the US-made MREs (by The Wornick Company). Army rations are sold in Bangkok army shops (try Tang Marines at Chatuchak Market) and prices are reasonable (THB 100..120 for one). They taste a bit strange, but surely beat above-mentioned alternatives. MREs come with a chemical heater, so it's possible to have a hot meal without bringing a kitchen along.
Bottled water as well as water from fast-flowing mountain streams, waterfalls and springs gave me no trouble. Sometimes I used tablets to desinfect water from streams. Instant-drink powder with vitamins or Pandan concentrate can provide some variety to the watery taste.


Now here comes all the other stuff that I carry to be prepared for the unexpected:

Packing your stuff

The most universal way to pack stuff is a rucksack. However, it's not the perfect solution: Heavy rucksacks are tough to carry around, give you a sweaty back, are mostly not protecting your stuff from water, are easily ripped open with a knife and are then expensive to replace. I was looking for alternatives: Today, I use an expensive Ortlieb handlebar bag on my bicycle, while I put a plastic box on the rear rack.
For hiking along or climbing through waterfalls, I use an Ortlieb rucksack. Expensive again, but really watertight.
For kayaking, I rely on locally-made dry bags. They are not completely dry, so I repack sensitive items in TupperWare.

I'm not yet perfectly happy with above, so if you know better ways to carry stuff about, drop me a line.