Essential Kit: Top 3

[kit]: Definition #7: Chiefly British. a costume or outfit of clothing, or piece of equipment especially for a specific purpose.

Leading a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute field trip into the Darien with essential kit: boots (in this case US army issue), waterproof notebook (in the hip bag), machete (borrowed by my companion there, as it's more useful than a rifle, actually, in the jungle).

Leading a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute field trip into the Darien with essential kit: boots (in this case US army issue), waterproof notebook (in the hip bag), machete (borrowed by my companion there, as it's more useful than a rifle, actually, in the jungle).

I am a great believer in having the right kit for the job. You won’t see me in a singlet in the jungle...you may see me in one in a boxing ring. My top 3 kit picks aren't expensive, only essential. 

1. Good jungle boots. Not wellington boots, not sandals, not trail runners. Boots. We track a lot of kilometers selecting and surveying sites in remote places. Boots; they live a hard life: they get soaked, then often bake dry. They have to be strong enough to protect your feet and ankles but not so heavy as to drag you down. They have to have good grip for walking down muddy slopes. They have to be comfortable in a hot climate.

I can recommend two types.

One is the good old US army jungle boot with a Panama sole. Problem with these is you have to look after them. I would alway carry boot polish to stop them splitting.

I have now found what I consider to be the best Jungle boot made yet.It is very light, very tough, dries quickly, doesn’t smell and is incredibly comfortable. Salomon Jungle Forces Ultra. Brilliant boot. Picture below.

These have been abused in the jungles of Panama and Central Africa for well over a year.

These have been abused in the jungles of Panama and Central Africa for well over a year.

2. Rite in the Rain notebooks. Everyone on our staff uses them. They are indestructible. They   come in sketch style. We order so many they asked us to appear in an ad once upon a time...

3. A machete. Or several. You need specific machetes for specific tasks: cutting your way through spikes understory, cutting away fallen branches, splitting firewood, cutting picnic sandwiches.

What kit is essential to your job?

Searching for an eco-lodge site near Piñas Bay, Panama. Local machete, army boots. 

Searching for an eco-lodge site near Piñas Bay, Panama. Local machete, army boots.