Expedition Information

Honduras Kit List

The objective is to take the smallest amount of equipment needed to be comfortable and safe. You will need to carry your equipment and baggage on occasions and there are also maximum weight allowances which vary depending on the airline used. Always aim to buy equipment that is compact, light weight, durable, quick drying, versatile and in good repair. You may find that you have suitable gear already, so don’t feel you have to buy everything new. Shop around and price everything before purchasing anything. Some items you may be able to borrow from friends or relatives, pick up second hand, or get deals off the internet.

We have done some research and certain outlets will give you some excellent deals if you mention our name. In the UK our main contact is Nomad Travel (0207 833 4114)  for the terrestrial projects, Nomad offer discounts on both equipment and vaccinations at their clinics, for a voucher please email caroline.acton@opwall.com. Watersports Warehouse provide good deals on any marine equipment needed please email diveuk@opwall.com with Dive Voucher in the subject box and we will send you a copy. Please mention that you are joining an Operation Wallacea expedition when you contact Watersports Warehouse and you should be able to get a further discount on the published prices.

In North America Back Country Gear and US Outdoor Stores have a good selection of equipment for the forest for volunteers in the US, whilst Mountain Equipment Co-operative is the best for Canadian volunteers. Scuba Store has a good range of marine equipment with outlets in both the US and Canada.

Try out your kit in realistic circumstances if at all possible before your expedition, especially new boots which can often need time to fully mould to the shape of your feet, and even more specifically new Jungle boots which should be soaked and worn till they dry on your feet to prevent blisters whilst trekking. All baggage, clothes and kit should be clearly labelled to avoid confusion. There are many volunteers, and some may have the same or similar items to you. Valuables are very occasionally at risk. Please make sure you have insurance, record all serial numbers and keep all receipts. Remember to carry all personal documents and cash safely in a concealed money belt.
The sections below relate to equipment for terrestrial projects, marine projects, and medical kits.

Don’t forget to order your Opwall t-shirt for this years expedition!

What to take for terrestrial based projects

Hiking boots/Jungle boots. Make sure your boots have firm ankle support, a semi-flexible sole with good grips and dries relatively quickly. Jungle boots are ideal for very wet conditions, but are not comfortable for long or daily trekking. Light-weight Gore-tex (or a cheaper equivalent) boots are waterproof and dry quickly in the Honduran climate, and are a much more comfortable and sturdier alternative.

Wellington/Rubber Boots These are really useful for walking around camp and for doing short walks. The guides use them all the time even for the long treks but unless you are used to wearing Wellington boots you would be better sticking to the hiking boots for long treks and wellingtons for more local walking.

Rucksack. Please bring a 50 litre minimum pack. Lowe Alpine and Karrimor are both good makes with adjustable back systems, though other makes also have this feature, providing a more comfortable fit. Many packs on the market today are not ‘rucksacks’ but ‘travelbags’ and there is a big difference. Rucksacks are built for wearing for a longer periods, whereas travelbags are designed for carrying between bus stations and airports, decide what you want not only for now but for the future.

Waterproof plastic bags. A combination of sizes and styles are necessary to keep water out of your kit and clothes. A large gravel sack or heavy duty bin liner will act as a rucksack liner (bring spares), and Ziploc (freezer) bags are brilliant for keeping your camera, and other bits of kit dry (bring plenty). There are some very heavy duty ‘dry bags’ on the market – the choice is yours.

Plastic sack. This is useful for storing belongings at Base Camp when you head out to the satellite camps. A bin liner or empty trash bag is perfect for this and will make your walk to and from satellite camps a lot easier if you don’t need to take everything with you!

Day bag/Small rucksack. Needed for your field work for carrying water, paper, pens, binoculars, cameras etc.

Roll mat or Thermarest. Necessary for both warmth and comfort in the forest. Roll mats can be purchased cheaply, whereas Thermarests are more of an investment (be sure to buy a repair kit).

Sleeping Bag. It can get surprisingly cold at night in the forest Camps, so we recommend a 2-3 season sleeping bag for these sites, plus thermal under-wear can be useful in some of the higher elevation camps.

Water bottle/platypus, etc. A combination of leak-proof plastic bottles (total capacity 3 litres) is imperative. There are many styles to choose from – it is not necessary to get anything fancy, though if you do want to invest in one of the ‘hydration systems’ on the market (Platypus, camelback, Ortileb) they do have the advantage of packing flat when not in use. Nalgene do a heavy-duty wide mouthed bottle with a measuring gauge.

Whistle. Even if you never use it, it’s important to have a whistle with you at all times to attract attention in an emergency.

Strong Head Torch. Night-time opportunistic walks require the stronger Petzl headlamps. Please note that the ‘mini Petzl’ models are no good for spotlighting nocturnal wildlife such as snakes and amphibians, etc, but are excellent back-up torches. Don’t forget spare batteries!

Waterproofs. Rainfall is unpredictable in this part of the world, so a plastic poncho or lightweight rainjacket is invaluable. Expensive heavyweight Gore-Tex raincoats are not recommended – they are hot and may get snagged and torn.

Watch with alarm. It doesn’t have to be anything technical. A travel alarm clock will also do.

Biodegradable soap/shampoo. To minimise impact on the environment we ask all volunteers to bring ‘green’ detergents. Please bring personal soap such as lifestyles or mountain suds as unfortunately, biodegradable soap is not available in Honduras.

Insect repellent. There are mosquitoes and other biting insects that can carry disease vectors for malaria, dengue and other diseases present at the site.  In order to protect yourself you need to be covered up at all times and to apply mosquito repellents on any bare skin (eg face and hands). However, you are joining a conservation research project, which at this site involves handling or being in close proximity to amphibians.  Mosquito repellents containing deet can kill amphibians if you are handling them with hands covered in deet and since some of the species you will be encountering are Critically Endangered, we want to be sure that those participating in the surveys are not wearing deet.  There are other animal handling or close proximity projects where deet is also a major issue, so we recommend that you look for the most effective non deet mosquito repellent available in your area (see https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods and http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa011699#t=article). Many of our staff use Mosi-guard which can be bought from Amazon.

Sunblock. An essential part of any tropical expedition kit – Factor 25, minimum, is recommended.

Talcum powder/Anti Fungal Powder. Due to the humid nature of the tropics, it is imperative to take extra special care of feet and crotch areas. Regular application of talcum powder can aid drying, and anti fungal powder can help prevent and combat athletes foot/other fungal infections.

Sanitary pads/Tampons. Please bring a supply even if you do not expect to use them.

Hat or bandana. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are two potential debilitators, especially in the first few days before you have fully acclimatised. The wearing of a hat or bandanna in conjunction with regular fluid intake can make all the difference.

Small towel/sarong. Don’t bring a big thick towel as it is heavy and won’t dry quickly enough. Excellent travelpac towels (eg Lifeventure) are available, but can be pricey—a tea towel will do the job. Sarongs can double up as sheets and skirts.

Latin American/Spanish phrase book or dictionary. This is a recommendation stressed by previous volunteers. Those who brought them found them invaluable and those who didn’t sorely wished they had.

Clothing essentials: Dark colours don’t show the dirt, but they do retain more heat than light colours, so we recommend light colours, but not white. Also, a combination of natural and synthetic fibres are advisable – whereas nylon has the advantage of drying quickly it can also cause you to sweat more thus causing chaffing and heat rash. Cotton on the other hand is kind to your skin, but can take a while to dry. Both have their strengths and weaknesses – seek advice when purchasing.

We have compiled a list of what we believe to be essential items of clothing and have indicated numbers of each, based on a 2 week expedition. Clothes washing is done locally in Honduras so there may be some delays in getting your washing back and you are not able to hand wash clothes at our sites. Please adjust your clothing quantities accordingly. So if you are with us for 8 weeks you might want to take a little more underwear than recommended below.

  • Lightweight long baggy trousers (3 pairs)
  • Long shorts (1-2 pairs)
  • T-shirts (loose fitting – 4)
  • Fleece top (1)
  • Long sleeved shirt (2)
  • Thermal underwear (1 set)
  • Warm hat (it can get cold in the evenings and overnight)
  • Swim suit, bikini or shorts (1)
  • Sweat band
  • Socks (5 pairs)
  • Underwear – 2 weeks worth

Binoculars. These are really essential to see much of the wildlife in the forest. 8 X 40 are the best to bring

Camera. You will have lots of opportunities to take pictures but please bring a waterproof carrying case for the camera

Project specific equipment
Please email your project supervisor to see if they have any specific kit or equipment they wish you to bring. For example if you are doing a social science dissertation then a dictaphone or recording mini disc players can come in useful, especially if you want to get more involved with a particular project.
If you are doing a dissertation and have a laptop we would recommend bringing it with you as competition for computer time on the Base Camp computers can be fierce. Waterproof paper is very useful if you are a dissertation student.

 

What to take for Marine based projects

Dive Training Courses
All those learning to dive will need to bring a PADI Open Water manual, RDP and logbook with them. They’ll also need a form of PIC, which allows you to register your completion of the course at the end of it. You can find information on purchasing these from here.

If you want to buy these items elsewhere, please remember that the PIC is rarely included with the training materials, but it is still required. You can buy them on their own from us, but they’re £26 (or equivalent) each.

You will not be able to complete the Open Water course if you arrive on site without these items.

If you are already a qualified diver, we will require proof of your dive qualifications on site. You will also need to bring with you your completed log books, and PADI forms. We do accept non-PADI qualifications, as long as it is equivalent to or more advanced than PADI Open Water.

PADI Forms
Please bring your completed, original PADI forms with you on expedition, but you’ll need to send them beforehand to us for checking. Please find more details on the expedition document pages.

Dive equipment
All the equipment listed below is essential for diving projects. Some is available to hire on site, except for wetsuits and dive watches. If you decide to hire, budget around ($15) per day for a full set of equipment. If you plan to continue diving in the future, it might be well worth investing in your own kit.

  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
  • Regulator
  • Fins
  • Mask and snorkel

Wetsuit. We strongly recommend that you bring a wetsuit. On most days you may not need it, but on some days it can be cold, and you will be much more comfortable if you have a wetsuit. The purpose of a wetsuit is twofold, to keep you warm whilst underwater, and to protect you from marine life that may sting you. We recommend a 2-3mm thickness shortie, or full length if you are prone to the cold. On days when it is too warm for a wetsuit, a ‘rash vest’ makes a very good alternative.

Dive watch or computer. Please note, dive watches/computers are compulsory for dissertation students, recommended for longer term university research assistants and only recommended for schools or one-week research assistants if they already have one. A timing device is a requirement under PADI regulations for qualified divers and, although there will always be a divemaster with every group, as a budding scientific diver you will be required to plan your dive with your buddy which includes timing your dive and safety stop. Also when snorkelling you are limited to how long you can be in the water for at one time therefore we ask that if you have a waterproof watch or dive computer please bring it with you. If not you can buy a simple Casio W800 watch waterproof to 100m (not that you will be going any deeper than 18 metres – however they are more reliable) for approximately £15 on Amazon.

Mask and Snorkel. Limited supply available for hire.

Fins and Booties. Fins come in two varieties, full foot fins (booties not necessary), and fins with straps that require neoprene booties. It is completely down to personal preference. Limited supply of full foot fins available for hire on site.

Swimsuit.

Sunblock. Please bring plenty of waterproof sunblock SPF 25 minimum.

Sunglasses. A good pair are important to protect your eyes from the glare reflected from the water.

Torch.

Sandals or flipflops.

Hat or bandana. An important barrier against heat stroke.

Lightweight waterproof jacket. Unfortunately, it’s not always sunny, and a lightweight windcheater/waterproof jacket is invaluable for keeping you warm on boats.

Insect repellent and Skin So Soft.

Sanitary pads/Tampons.

Small Padlock for safe box.

Notebooks and pencils. A requirement for all projects – if you want to splash out, waterproof books are definitely an advantage.

Sleeping bag or sheet. If you are not going to the forest site, then a 1-2 season sleeping bag or sheet will suffice.

Clothing.

  • Lightweight long baggy trousers (2 pairs)
  • Shorts (2-3 pairs)
  • T-shirts (loose fitting – 4)
  • Warm top (1)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1)
  • Swim suit, bikini or shorts
  • Underwear

Camera.

Additional items

Dive torches. If you are an advanced diver or are planning to take your advanced training please bring two dive torches, one main torch and a smaller back up torch.

Dive knife. This is a recommended but not essential item.

Medical Kit

Although every expedition will have its own medical supplies, and medical teams on site, you MUST carry your own personal medical kit. This way you will be as self sufficient as possible, and able to treat minor scrapes and injuries yourself, which is vital when, for example, you are involved in a jungle training exercise.
The following are essential items:

  • Sunblock – SPF30 minimum and coral friendly if you are going to a marine site. Many sunblocks use chemicals which can cause corals to bleach we recommend ones containing natural sun blockers such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide instead. An example of this is Solbar Zinc Sun protection cream and can be found on Amazon
  • Insect Repellent
  • Antihistamine tablets (Piriton/Piriteze) and antihistamine cream
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Paracetomol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Rehydration salts (Dioralyte/Electrolade)
  • Alcohol swabs/antiseptic wipes
  • Elastoplast – waterproof and fabric x 4, medium size (if allergic, use micropore)
  • Iodine liquid
  • Cotton wool or gauze
  • Blister plasters
  • Crepe Bandage and safety pins

You may also wish to consider taking the following:

  • Sea sickness tablets or aquastraps/seabands
  • Sterile gauze Non-adhesive dressing, medium size (Melonin)
  • Zinc oxide tape
  • Canestan pessaries (treatment of vaginal thrush if you are prone to this)
  • Ear drops (dive projects only)
  • Vitamin supplements

Important
If you need to take prescribed medicines whilst on expedition, please bring sufficient supplies to cover your stay. For example if you are asthmatic you MUST bring you own inhalers, or if you have a history or recognized risk of going into anaphylactic shock due to an allergy, you must supply your own Epipen.
Always waterproof and clearly label drugs (with generic, rather than trade names). Occasionally there are restrictions on travelling with certain medicines. If you think this may be relevant to you, please contact your Home Office Drugs Branch (in the UK: 0207 273 3806).