Knowing what to wear in a tropical rainforest can be tricky. Do you pack your normal travel gear and hope for the best? Or is it worth investing in jungle clothes that are made for the tropics? 

In this post, I’ll share my pick of the best tropical rainforest clothing that will keep you comfortable, fashionable and stylish while jungle trekking in places like the Amazon rainforest or Costa Rican jungles

Long-sleeved tops

Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts or tops are the first item in this list of jungle clothes for a reason! Rainforests and jungles are full of creepy crawlies and mosquitos that would love to prey on your arms. Sleeves will not only provide a protective barrier for these biting insects but also keep the sun’s rays from burning your skin.

Choose long-sleeved tops made of cotton or other lightweight and fast-drying fabrics for the most comfort. You’re bound to sweat, so this will keep you as cool as possible while still providing plenty of protection. 

Very thin button-down shirts worn over a tank top will also keep you cool, but do bear in mind that some insects can bite through thin fabric so many not protect you as much as you need.

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Nosilife Erin Long Sleeved Top – this long-sleeved top is easily one of my favourite things to wear in the jungle. As well as the odour and moisture control, the Nosilife technology keeps biting insects away.
  • Craghoppers Nosilife Pro III Long Sleeved Shirt – this button-down shirt for ladies in a slim fit style protects you from burns and bugs thanks to the UV protection and insect repellant technologies built into the fabric.

My top picks for gents:

  • Craghoppers Nosilife Bayame Long Sleeved Top – these long-sleeved tops from Craghoppers are lightweight and slightly stretchy to keep you cool and protected from biting insects in the jungle.
  • Ayacucho Equator II Shirt – this button-down shirt from Cotswold Outdoor features anti-mosquito technology, as well as breathable, quick-drying material, perfect to wear in the rainforest.
Photo of a lady looking out towards rainforest

Light sweaters or cardigans

It may sound crazy to include warm items like sweaters in a list of jungle trekking clothes, but it can actually get cold in the jungle, especially at high altitudes. The cloud forests in Costa Rica are a great example of this, as I could happily wear four layers to maintain a comfortable temperature. 

Even if you travel to more equatorial places where the humidity and heat can be unbearable, taking thin hoodies or sweaters that you can layer up is a really good idea. Wearing a light sweater or cardigan over a tank top in the evenings after a cold shower will keep your arms and shoulders protected from biting insects too. 

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Nilo Hooded Top – this handy hooded top is the perfect way to cover up in the evening. The insect-repellant technology protects against biting insects too.
  • Craghoppers Sydney Crew – this stylish crew top is soft and stretchy, but cool enough for the hot rainforest climate thanks to the moisture-wicking properties. 

My top picks for gents:

  • Craghoppers Nosilife Tilpa Hooded Jacket – this hoodie is lightweight enough to keep you cool in the most tropical climates, whilst also reducing the likelihood of being bitten by insects.
  • Nosilife Alba Jacket – this lightweight zip-through jacket features moisture control and insect-repellent technology to make it perfect for covering up on cooler evenings in hot weather climates.
Man wearing hoodie in the jungle

Raincoats

Raincoats are an absolute must in the rainforest. It’s in the name after all! Though it sounds obvious, make sure you buy a waterproof jacket. Some coats are described as showerproof, which means water may still seep in through the seams, leaving you a little soggy. It’s also best to find a lightweight, breathable raincoat that will keep you cool during a humid downpour, and then easily stuff into your backpack once it’s over. 

It may be tempting to choose a raincoat with a funky pattern or bright colours, but insects are attracted to these colours so it may not be a good idea. Muted colours like greens and beiges are best.

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Toscana Jacket – this breathable, lightweight and completely waterproof jacket from Craghoppers features a large hood to keep you really dry!
  • Regatta Pack It Jacket – this raincoat for women is perfect to wear in the jungle, thanks to its breathable, waterproof material that packs down small after the heaviest downpour. 

My top picks for gents:

  • Craghoppers Notus Jacket – this lightweight jacket is made of waterproof material, designed to pack small when you don’t need it.
  • Regatta Pack It Jacket – this super lightweight rain jacket is totally waterproof, perfect for both light showers and heavy downpours. It comes with a small stuff sack so you can keep it handy at all times. 

Long trousers/pants

For the same reason that long-sleeved tops are must-have clothes to wear in the rainforest, long trousers or pants will protect your legs from insect bites as well as creepy crawlies on the ground. Cropped trousers or shorts are pretty pointless, as it really is best to protect your whole leg. 

Choose lightweight materials that keep your legs cool, dry quickly and wick away sweat. Loose-fitting is best, as anything too tight like leggings will make you too hot. If you’re worried about insects climbing inside of your trousers, you can always tuck them into your socks. 

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Clara II Trousers – I love my Clara trousers! The ever so slight bootcut style is much more flattering than traditional walking trousers, and these have the added benefit of being really cool and insect-repellant. 
  • Craghoppers Nosilife Pro II Trousers – these straight leg travel trousers are just what you need for the rainforest. They’re lightweight, feature moisture control and insect repellent properties for protection in all climates. 

My top picks for gents:

  • Nosilife Branco Trousers – The Nosilife technology in these comfortable walking trousers will keep your legs protected from the jungle critters, while the light material also controls moisture.
  • Ayacucho Camps Bay Trousers – these trousers are made from natural Tencel fibres, making them a really sustainable choice without compromising on quality. They’re lightweight, moisture-regulating and antibacterial to control odours too. 

For the full run-down of Craghoppers’ range of insect repellent clothing, Nosilife, read my full review!

Waterproof Trousers (Optional)

We had heard that waterproof trousers would be useful, but in reality, we found our trousers didn’t get that wet, even in the heaviest of downpours. That said, if you still feel the need to take waterproof trousers, you will probably get away with a single pair.

My top picks for ladies:

My top picks for gents:

Hiking Boots

A trip to the rainforest or jungle will usually involve long walks and hikes along uneven terrain. It’s therefore important to pack a pair of sturdy hiking boots that are comfortable and will support your feet. 

Make sure you buy a pair well in advance of your trip, giving you time to wear them in. After all, the last thing you want is a set of painful blisters the first time you wear them in the jungle! It’s still a good idea to take blister plasters with you to keep you comfortable.

My top picks for ladies:

  • Salado Mid Boot – these boots from Craghoppers are worth their weight in gold. With Nosilife technology and a crawl guard to fight against insects, they’re really comfortable too.
  • Keen Targhee III Waterproof Shoes – these walking shoes are perfect for all terrains and climates thanks to the waterproof exterior and breathable mesh lining. 

My top picks for gents:

  • Salado Mid Boot – these hiking boots are both waterproof and comfortable, with an aqua dry membrane and moulded footbed. The Nosilife technology keeps insects away too.
  • Merrells Moab 2 Ventilator Shoes – these breathable hiking shoes from Merrells are really comfortable and breathable, whilst still providing sturdiness and support to protect your feet on tracks and trails. 

Comfortable Shoes

When you aren’t trekking through a jungle or hiking through the rainforest, it’s good to have a pair of comfortable shoes to give your feet a rest from stiff hiking boots. When you’re travelling, going for dinner at your hotel or visiting tourist attractions outside of the jungle, they will come in incredibly handy. 

My top picks for ladies:

  • Allbirds Mizzles – these weather repellent shoes are super comfortable and feature a water-resistant coating called Puddle Guard to keep your feet dry in wet weather. With a Merino wool insole, your feet can get quite warm though in the rainforest! Based in the UK? Click here! 
  • Allbirds Tree Runners – Allbirds’ signature sneakers are ideal for everyday use. Widely hailed as the most comfortable shoes in the world, the tree fibres in the material will keep your feet cool and breezy in even the hottest climates. Based in the UK? Click here! 

My top picks for gents:

  • Allbirds Mizzles – Mizzles were made for wet weather, making them ideal for wearing in a downpour in the rainforest. Though your feet may get a little sweaty thanks to the wool insides, it’s a small price to pay for comfort! Based in the UK? Click here!
  • Allbirds Tree Runners – These light and breezy sneakers are made with Eucalyptus tree fibres and recycled plastic bottles, making them sustainable and a great investment. Better yet, they’re incredibly comfortable and the perfect travel shoes. Based in the UK? Click here!
Long trousers and comfortable shoes in the jungle

For my honest review of Allbirds Mizzless, have a read of my Allbirds review next.

Socks

Socks are essential clothes for trekking in the jungle, and while it is possible to wear normal socks, it’s best to pick up a few pairs that are made especially for hiking. This will mean that they’re long enough for your trousers to tuck into, to protect your legs from climbing insects and leeches. Your ankles are one of the most common areas for insect bites, so do be prepared to cover them up.

Look out for socks made from merino wool or a vegan alternative to provide a comfortable barrier between your feet and stiff shoes. These materials are also great at regulating temperature so your feet won’t get too sweaty. 

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Nosilife Socks – this twin pack of Nosilife socks are comfortable enough to wear in hiking boots, but have the added benefit of Craghoppers’ insect-repellent technology built into the fibres
  • Craghoppers Heat Regulating Travel Socks – these socks are designed to keep your feet cool in all conditions, and with a padded heel, toe and sole they provide extra comfort too

My top picks for gents:

Pyjamas

Make sure to pack a light cotton long-sleeved top and bottoms to wear in bed at night. After all, mosquitoes are most active at night! Despite the heat, you’ll still be comfortable in pyjamas if they’re designed to keep you cool, whilst protecting you from biting insects. 

My top picks for ladies:

  • Craghoppers Kayla Long Sleeved Top – this super lightweight long-sleeved top is a great option to wear at night. It wicks away moisture to keep you cool and protects against insects too.
  • Craghoppers Carmen Joggers – not strictly pyjamas bottoms, but these joggers from Craghoppers kept me comfy and protected in bed, even in the most tropical conditions of Costa Rica.

My top picks for gents:

Light Scarf

A large light scarf will have many uses while jungle trekking. As well as protecting your neck from the sun and mosquitoes during the day, you can also unfold the scarf to cover your shoulders, wear as a sarong or use as a blanket when travelling or in buildings with super-strong air conditioning.

My top picks:

  • Nosilife Florie Scarf – this super lightweight scarf from Craghoppers features their famous insect-repellent and moisture control technologies – perfect for tropical climates!
  • Nosilife Tube Scarf – while this scarf can’t be unravelled to form a blanket or sarong, it will certainly protect your neck from biting insects whilst wicking moisture away, keeping you cool.

Sun Hat

Sun hats are essential clothes for the rainforest. One with a wide brim will protect your eyes and head from the sun, while a waterproof baseball cap will do this and more. If your raincoat doesn’t have a hood, or you simply don’t want to wear it up all the time, a cap will keep the water out of your face during rainstorms. 

My top picks:

  • Nosilife Ultimate Hat – with a full face mesh to keep the insects away, and a wide brim to protect your face from the sun, this isn’t called the ultimate hat for nothing! 
  • Nosilife Pria Hat – for a sun hat that offers insect protection without the face mesh, try this one from Craghoppers. The moisture-wicking fabric will keep you cool in the hottest temperatures.
  • Ayacucho Quint Anti Mosquito Hat – this baseball cap is made from lightweight supplex material that dries really quickly, and protects from mosquitos!

Accessories

Now we’ve covered the best tropical rainforest clothing, let’s look at other essential accessories to pack in your luggage. 

Backpack

A day pack is an essential piece of rainforest kit to store all of your valuables in while jungle trekking. In a day pack, you can store your sunscreen, sunglasses, camera equipment, water bottle, insect repellent – basically everything you’ll need for a day in the jungle! 

Opt for a waterproof backpack to keep your valuables dry and protected from the rain and humidity. 

My top picks:

  • Kiwi Pro Rucksack – this 15L rucksack is perfect for a long day in the rainforest, thanks to its water-resistant material, multiple pockets and a hydration system to keep you hydrated on the go.
  • Osprey Daylite Travel Rucksack – this lightweight day pack has plenty of space to fit everything you’ll need for the day, though you’ll need to buy a rain cover if you need it to be waterproof. 
Lady wearing backpack and button down shirt in the rainforest

Mosquito Repellent 

Even with long sleeves and trousers, it’s best to wear insect repellent on exposed skin. Those critters will always find somewhere to bite if you don’t!

There are lots of different mosquito and insect repellent products available, but it’s widely said that those containing DEET are most effective in tropical areas. However, some research suggests that DEET can be harmful to those with sensitive skin, so it’s best to do our own research first. 

My top picks:

  • Repel Plant-Based Insect Repellent – this DEET-free insect repellent has a pleasant lemon and eucalyptus scent and can repel mosquitos for up to 6 hours. The formula isn’t greasy or sticky, so the only reason you’ll know you’re wearing it is the lack of bites!
  • Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil – this famous bath oil wasn’t designed to be a mosquito repellent, but huge numbers of people across the world swear by it! It has a lovely fresh smell and though it doesn’t last as long as other dedicated repellents, it’s worth it for the benefits it gives your skin. 

Insect Bite Remedies

No matter how much you prepare, a couple of insect bites are inevitable. With that in mind, it’s best to pack a few bite remedies to help alleviate any itchiness and swelling. 

My top picks:

  • Dr Pawpaw Soothing Balm – I swear by my Dr Pawpaw when I have bites. It’s a multi-purpose soothing balm made with real pawpaw extracts and can be used to relieve sunburn as well as stop itching. Even better? It’s cruelty-free and vegan too!
  • After Bite – this insect bite treatment provides instant itch-free relief from bites. It can sting a bit when you apply it, but it’s worth it to stop the itch.

Reusable Water Bottle

With the humidity and heat in tropical rainforests, it’s critical to stay hydrated while you’re out and about. Avoid buying bottled water to reduce your plastic consumption, as most eco-friendly lodges should provide free filtered water on tap for you to fill up your reusable bottle with.

There are plenty of water bottles available, but try one with a specially designed filter to make sure you have access to clean water no matter where you are. This means you can fill up from the tap or any source of freshwater (not salty!) and drink it safely. 

My top picks:

  • Water-to-go bottle – the replaceable filters used in Water to go bottles mean you can have safe drinking water wherever you travel. It removes 99.99% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-saltwater source. Use the code WBT15 for 15% off! 

Read my review of Water To Go’s filter bottles to find out if it’s right for you.

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So there we have it! Packing jungle wear clothing for your next trip will be a breeze with this list of essential items and outfits. 

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