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Indonesia Terrestrial Research Assistant Kit List


When packing you need to be thinking of the minimum amount you can take whilst remaining comfortable and safe. For Indonesia the internal flights limit can be as little as 20kg of hold luggage (please refer to the main training video for details) and 7kg of hand luggage (although we have never known them to weigh this, so please put heavy things in your hand luggage), therefore you need to aim for light, compact, durable, quick-drying and versatile equipment.

General Items

Your will be based in a rainforest and you should expect it to be very wet and muddy. We are recommending the kit below to keep you as comfortable as possible during your expedition. 

Main bag –We recommend at least 50L capacity with good back support and a waistband. Needs to fit you well and be comfortable as you may need to carry this bag on a trek lasting up to 2hrs. Holdalls/suitcases will not be permitted in the forest.

Rucksack waterproof cover & waterproof liner bag – It can rain quite heavily in Indonesia, and you will be carrying your bag to camp. These will help to keep your kit dry. The pack ideally needs to have a waterproof liner/bag into which everything is packed inside (a water-proof cover helps keep a bag looking clean, but a large garbage bag into which everything is packed and can be sealed in inside is the easiest solution for keeping everything dry)

Day bag/rucksack –20-30L. Used for your surveys to carry your water and equipment, so ensure a comfortable fit. Should also use this as your hand luggage on flights. Waterproof cover recommended & a liner bag for inside.

Waterproof plastic/zip lock bags – It rains a lot in Indonesia so these are very useful to keep the water out of your kit and clothes. You can line your rucksack with a bin/garbage bag and have smaller bags for clothes and items like your camera. Silica gel packets can help keep equipment dry.

Sleeping bag – Lightweight, 1-2 seasons. A light sleeping bag is recommended – the temperature rarely drops below about 20 degrees. You may also want to bring a sleeping bag liner as in warmer conditions these can be more comfortable and they are very light.

Hiking boots/Jungle boots or Wellington/Rubber Boots For trekking. Comfortable with good ankle support. They need to be water proof and quick drying, as the forest can be very wet and muddy. They also need to have a good grip. Walking boots are recommended, but rubber boots can also be worn.

Marine booties/Hiking sandals (with straps) – For river crossings and are essential. Must have a good grip and fit your feet well. TEVA style sandals are recommended. Dive booties will cover your feet from biting insects and mud. Flip flops are NOT suitable for river crossings

Gaitors – It can be very muddy so if you have hiking boots rather than wellies, gators are recommended. They also provide extra protection for long pants/trousers.

Towel/sarong – Quick dry travel towel or sarong, thick towels will not dry in the camps.

Water bottle/platypus – You must have the capacity to carry at least 2 litres of water with you. This can be in multiple containers if needed. A combination of leak-proof plastic bottles (total capacity 2 litres) is imperative. The ‘hydration systems’ on the market (Platypus, camelback, Ortileb) have the advantage of packing flat when not in use.

Head torch – Essential as there is no electricity at night in the forest and used for the night time surveys. Night surveys require strong headlamps. It is highly recommended that you bring a head torch that has a rechargeable lithium battery rather than single use batteries.

Spare batteries –  For head torch, camera etc. Batteries not available to buy on site. Rechargeable batteries where possible. If you are planning on bringing an external power bank, these cannot be put in your hold luggage.

Waterproof jacket – You only need a very lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho, as it is very humid. Heavyweight Gore-Tex raincoats are not recommended – they are hot and may get snagged and torn. Some people would rather not worry about trying to keep dry in the forest because it rains so much and it is almost impossible to stay dry.

Watch with alarm – To wake yourself up early for surveys. 

Small padlock for safe – Useful for locking your pack.

Notebook and pencils – Required at forest for field work and for taking notes during lecture.

Plug/socket adaptor – Please ensure you have the correct adaptor for Indonesian socket which is a European Style adaptor (2 large round prongs).


Biodegradable soaps/shampoo – Please only bring biodegradable soaps to minimise impact on the environment.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Insect repellent – Malaria and dengue do occur in SE Sulawesi. ‘Mosi-Guard’ and ‘Skin so soft’ by Avon are effective, environmentally friendly insect repellents that do not contain DEET. DEET products are not recommended so we can minimise our impact on the environment. See: www.alternativeinsectrepellent.co.uk/. You will not be able to handle any animals if you are wearing a DEET based insect repellent.

Sunblock – Factor 30, minimum, is recommended. Please ensure it is a coral friendly sunblock.

Talcum powder/antifungal powder – A small tube of anti-fungal cream and some talcum powder may help to dry feet at the end of each day and prevent any issues.

Sanitary pads/tampons – Please bring a supply even if you do not expect to use them. Tampons are not available to buy on site.

Hand sanitiser – Just a small bottle. Please use prior to meal times.

Any other toiletries you would normally use – e.g. deodorant/anti-perspirant, moisturisers.


For your expedition you should bring clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy! Synthetic (wicking) fabric is the best as it is quick drying, but cotton is kinder to the skin. Don’t forget to buy your Opwall t-shirt from here!

Lightweight long baggy trousers – 2-3 pairs. Lightweight and loose fitting, quick drying material is best. Trousers that zip off at the knee are a good idea, as they can be turned into shorts for the river crossings. Cotton trousers are not suitable for trekking, but these can be worn around camp.

Long Shorts – 2-3 pairs. Lightweight and loose fitting, quick dry is best. Must cover the knee, or stop just above. 

T-shirts/Tops – 3-5. Loose fitting is best, must cover shoulders. Quick drying material ideal or light cotton.

Long sleeved shirt – 2, lightweight, for covering up in the evenings. Essential for avoiding insect bites. Button up shirts are a good option to be worn on surveys to protect your arms.

Fleece top/Jumper/Cardigan – Not too thick. It can get cool in the evenings and when travelling on boats.

Swim suit/board shorts – Recommended for river bathing.

SocksEnough for 1-2 weeks. Hiking socks worn over cotton socks can be better for long treks. Socks need to changed each day and may take some time to dry. One pair to keep dry for sleeping in the forest.

Underwear – Enough for 2 weeks. Should be comfortable fitting. Sports bras recommended for girls.

Hat with brim – optional but recommended to protect your face from the sun, ideally would be easy to pack up in your bag.

Nightwear/Pyjamas – accommodation is shared so bring something comfortable to sleep in.

Medical Kit

Although every expedition will have its own medical supplies, and medical teams on site, you MUST carry your own personal medical kit:

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Antihistamine/hydrocortisone cream
  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Rehydration salts
  • Plasters/band aids
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Sea/travel sickness tablets
  • Swim ear or equivalent – highly recommended as you will be in and out of the water a lot
  • Prescribed medications including any malaria prophylaxis

If you normally carry an epi-pen for any allergies, it is essential that you bring at least 2 or 3 with you on expedition.

If you use an inhaler, it is essential that you bring at least 2 with you in case you misplace one.

Optional Extras

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

Bandanas or cotton handkerchiefs – 2 or 3. To be used as ‘sweat rags’ to wipe your face while on jungle walks. It is very humid and sweaty!

Camera – You will have lots of opportunities to take pictures so if you have a GoPro or waterproof camera, consider bringing this with you. Please do not bring a drone, without the correct license from the Indonesian Government you could face a penalty fine.

Indonesian phrase book or dictionaryTo learn a little bit of the local language.

Music/cards/book/travel games

Protein bars/snack bars – You may wish to bring extra snack bars or protein bars.

Tupperware – Small, to keep snacks stored safely so as not to attract any animals.

Vitamin/mineral supplements – The diet can be basic in Indonesia so these can be a good idea.

Sunglasses – A good pair are recommended to protect your eyes from the glare reflected from the water and sun.


Some spending money is needed to purchase meals during the internal travel travel period before and after the expedition. The meals you will need to purchase yourself are outlined in the internal travel package info provided to the teacher leading your group. We recommend budgeting £5-10 per meal. You may also want to bring some spending money for personal on-site optional extras. This may include snacks and souvenirs you wish to purchase from local shops when available and also to pay for any clothes washing you would like done by the local people whilst on expedition. The local Indonesian currency is Rupiah, it is a good idea to have this on site in small dominations if possible as local shops will not accept large notes. Changing money to Rupiah may be possible in your home country, if so this is recommended. If this is not possible, then you can change money at Jakarta or Makassar airport, or withdraw from ATMs whilst in Jakarta, Makassar or Kendari. Once you get to Buton there will be no way to exchange money, and no other currency is accepted other than Indonesian Rupiah.


Once you are on the expedition you will be provided with 3 meals per day. If you would like to have extra snacks outside of this you are welcome to bring snack bars or protein bars (recommended for vegetarians/vegans) with you. Every meal will include rice, as this is a staple in Indonesia. The diet is largely carbohydrate based. There is not much meat available, as this is difficult to store in the field camps. There are some bean, tofu and tempe dishes available, as well as eggs, but you may wish to bring an additional source of protein with you. There is a vegetable dish with every meal, and fruit is served when possible, but again this is difficult to store in the forest camps. In the forest camps the water is boiled over the fire in order to sterilize it for drinking. This does mean it can have a slightly smoky taste that is not to everyone’s liking, so you may wish to bring something to add some flavor, such as flavor sachets, or concentrates. However, this is optional.

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