Peru Kit List - Operation Wallacea

Expedition Information

Peru 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 contacts are: Nomad Travel (0207 833 4114), and Travel with Care (01980 626 361). Nomad offer discounts on both equipment and vaccinations at their clinics, for a voucher please email In North America Back Country Gear and US Outdoor Stores have a good selection of equipment.

Try out your kit in realistic circumstances if at all possible before your expedition, especially new wellington boots which can often take some getting used to, and can give you blisters if you are not comfortable with them. All baggage, clothes and kit should be clearly labelled to avoid confusion. There are many volunteers on the projects, 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.

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

Wellington/Rubber Boots. Wellington or rubber boots are essential, we work in a flooded forest so this will provide you with the best waterproof protection against the vegetation and fauna that you will encounter in Peru. You do not need to bring hiking boots as well.

Rucksack/Travelbag. It is important to have a well built and sturdy bag for carrying your clothes and belongings. Since you will not be trekking for long distances with all of your equipment, it is not essential that you have a rucksack, although some people may find them more convenient.

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

Water bottle/platypus, etc. A combination of leak-proof plastic bottles (at least a total capacity 2 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.

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 LED and ‘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!

Teva type/reef sandals or flip-flops. These are a necessity. After a long day’s hiking you will want to let your feet breathe. It is best to bring flip-flops made of a ‘wipe-clean’ material rather than fabric ones, as these dry out quickly and are easy to keep clean.

Waterproofs. Rainfall is unpredictable in this part of the world, so a plastic poncho or lightweight rain jacket 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, just something to wake you up for the early morning surveys.

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.

Biodegradable soap/shampoo/washing liquid. To minimise impact on the environment we ask all volunteers to bring ‘green’ detergents. Please bring personal soap such as Lifeventures or Dr Bronner’s castille soap. These types of soaps are multi-purpose so can be used for clothes also.  If you would rather bring separate shampoo and clothes washing liquid a bottle of Ecover (or similar) clothes washing liquid can be useful. Unfortunately, biodegradable soap is very hard to get hold of in Peru.

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 it makes sense to look for the most effective non deet repellent available for when you are involved in animal handling or close proximity projects (see and Many of our staff use Mosi-guard which can be bought from Amazon.

Sunblock. An essential part of any tropical expedition kit – Factor 30 minimum, is recommended. (Not available to buy in Peru).

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.

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 (e.g. Lifeventure) are available, but can be pricey—a sarong will do the job. Sarongs can also double up as sheets and skirts.

Light blanket/Thin Sleeping Bag Although sleeping sheets are provided (those that cover your mattress), you should take a light cover such as a sleeping bag liner, or old sheet or duvet cover with you in case you are cold at night (this is unlikely as it tends to stay fairly warm during the nights in this part of Peru, but it is nice to have something to pull over you).

Latin American/Spanish phrase book or dictionary. This can be an invaluable addition to your kit list. The expeditions will be run in English but many staff are Spanish speaking so learning the basics will definitely add to your experience.

Binoculars (8×42 recommended)

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. Clothing should be loose for both comfort in the heat and also to act as an extra barrier against biting insects.

  • Lightweight long baggy trousers (2 pairs)
  • T-shirts (loose fitting – 5-6)
  • Fleece top (1)
  • Long sleeved, loose shirt (2)
  • Shorts (2 pairs)
  • Sweat band
  • Socks (8 pairs)
  • Knickers/underpants (5 pairs)
  • Bras (2-3)
  • Swim wear (most of the hotel accommodation we use in Iquitos have swimming pools, however no swimming is permitted once on the expedition site)

Project specific equipment. Please email your project supervisor to see if they have any specific kit or equipment they wish you to bring. Digital cameras and dictaphones can come in useful, especially if you want to get more involved with a particular project. We will only provide the basic survey equipment, so if you have decided your project requires something more technical, please be sure to bring it out with you.

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. The following are essential items:

  • Rehydration salts (Dioralyte/Electrolade) – Essential!
  • Sun cream (SPF 30+)
  • Insect repellent (DEET-based repellents are not recommended, due to their impact on the environment)
  • Antihistamine tablets (Piriton/Piriteze) and antihistamine cream
  • Hydrocortisone/bite relief cream
  • Imodium and Senokot (for opposite problems)
  • Paracetomol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Alcohol swabs/antiseptic wipes
  • Elastoplast – waterproof and fabric x 4, medium size (if allergic, use micropore)
  • Blister plasters
  • Sanitary towels/tampons
  • Canestan pessaries (treatment of vaginal thrush if you are prone to this)

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).