One of the main doubts of my first-time clients for a trip to the Pantanal is which clothes to bring. Most bring a whole lot more than what is needed, and a lot of things just go completely unused during the trip, just making up weight on your luggage. So this blog post brings a checklist of what I recommend. Travelling light is always more comfortable and also important for our chartered flights. So here are my recommendations based on my longest itinerary, the Complete Pantanal Tour with the optional extension to the Atlantic Rainforest:
Today I have a clear preference for the thin quick dry t-shirts used originally for sports but becoming more and more popular for outdoor use. They are very light and breathable, sometimes it feels like you are not wearing a shirt at all, and you can pack quite a bunch without adding any considerable weight or space to your bag. Plus they dry very fast so it’s quick to wash them. Get the long-sleeved ones and avoid very bright colors. Since they are so light you can pack around 7 or 8 of them.
It’s also good to bring 2 quick dry breathable shirts of the kind pictured below, and carry one in your camera bag somewhere during our field trips. Here’s the explanation: although the t-shirts recommended above are great they have one drawback – because they are so thin mosquitoes sometimes can bite through them. During our Pantanal trips in the dry season mosquitoes tend to be a problem only in late afternoon, at other times they are largely absent. When and if they become a nuisance just pull over this thicker layer and you will be fine. For constant day-to-day use I find this kind of shirt much warmer though.
- JACKET AND FLEECE
Although the Pantanal is generally regarded as a warm place, it can get cold during cold fronts, with temperatures even dropping to around 10ºC sometimes! This is specially true for early season trips, so early morning boat rides can get really chilly! Pack 1 fleece and 1 good insulated jacket or warm windbreaker. For later season trips (mid-September and onwards) you might prefer a lighter windbreaker plus a fleece, if not coming to the Atlantic Rainforest as well.
- RAIN JACKET OR COAT
Early dry season, from June to early September, rains are usually completely absent from the Pantanal. In any case, you still want to bring 1 light rain jacket in any time of the year. This is specially recommended for the Atlantic Rainforest, where we will find a much more wet weather. If your warm jacket mentioned above is water resistant than you should be fine with just that, unless you are coming later in the season, then a real rain jacket or rain cover is recommended.
Any good quality light weight pants will do, specially if they dry fast. Bring 2 or 3.
During the heat of the day and/or in our hotels you might want to wear a shorts. Bring 1 or 2.
We won’t be doing any difficult trails during the trip, so most people will do perfectly fine with a normal mid hiking shoes. Prefer water resistant ones. If possible travel wearing it, so it won’t weight on your bag. Also bring 1 lighter shoe to use in the hotel or even during our boat rides or even a sandal or flip, which is great to wear at lunch break. You can also wear a sandal in the boat (even better), but then we reccommend to bring a pair of socks along for when mosquitos show up, and also for sun protection.
A regular light weight cap is the most common. Bring 2 in case you loose one. Some people prefer a booney, which offers more sun protection.
- GAITER AND BEANIE
A light neck gaiter is a must have, as it offers great protection from the sun, covering most of the face and neck, bring 2. Also bring 1 wool or fleece beanie, for the chilly early morning boat rides.
- SUN GLOVES
Bring 1 pair of sun gloves, specially for lighter skin.
- SWIM WEAR
Some of our hotels have swimming pools. If you feel like taking a dip during mid-day break, bring swim wear.