Gear List

What to take to backpack the Amazon, and hang out in Peruvian Cities:


-Internal frame pack

-Snake boots (Mine are Rocky16″ pro-lights.)

-Camera, plus extra battery and memory card

-Hiking pants (I have both ripstop nylon ones, and Khakis)

-Long sleeve non-cotton shirts, light weight for hking

-roughly 10 pairs of underoos

-5 t-shirts


-Hammock (I found the Henessey Scout to be the best option)

-first aid (see below first aid list)


-sports bras

-Water bottle

-Head Lamp


-Sleeping bag


-Spanish dictionary

-Book to enjoy on long river rides

-pocket knives

-wool and nylon socks (4-5 pairs of each)

-host family gifts!

-cliff/luna bars and seitan (I’m vegetarian so this is a staple of my ravel gear.)

-Platypus/camelback aka a Water bladder and pack

-art supplies!

-silica indicating gel packs

-dry sacks

-water filters (I’m taking a katadyn, and a UV light filter, and iodine tablets. taking no chances!)

City Things:

-5 tank tops

-1 dress maybe…

-1 skirt

-2 pairs of shorts

-a sweatshirt

-flippy floppies (may take some easy slip on shoes instead, like toms)



-day bag (this is built into my pack)

-tp (can be a rarity I’ve been told)

-3 face towels

-maybe laundry detergent (shouldn’t be hard to find there)

-1 nicer top

-swim suit

First aid kit:


-feminine hygiene supplies (You can find them down there, but we’re all picky, and no one wants to find them selves in a jungle unprepared. I’m taking a months worth.)

-Icy hot patches

-band aids

-blister kit

-bug spray (As much as I must fight the instincts of my hippie parents, this needs to be high in deet!)

-snake bite kit


-triple antibiotic ointment (I’m told you can find singular antibiotic ointment in Peru.)

-anti-itch cream/spray



-chap stick

-baby wipes




-alcohol swabs

-gauze tape



I can’t bring more than 50lbs to meet flight weight regulations, and don’t want a heavy pack, but I also want to be prepared for everything! It’s going to be a pretty physically extreme trip, and the fewer pains imposing on that the better!

First Aid Supplies

First Aid Supplies

Some Gear

Some Gear


Planning and Preparing for the Amazon!

How did a young artist and Museum Studies grad student find herself wondering the Amazon?

Around January Campbell invited me to join him on his upcoming expedition to the Amazon! As a self declared animal enthusiast and scientific illustrator I leaped at the chance.¬† Campbell was sure to thoroughly explain to me that it was not an easy trip to make. I am likely to experience attack from all sorts of bugs, potentially be bit by a snake or two, face general unsettle from local food and water, become accustomed to little sleep, and endure some intense hiking. It took me a few days to think over if I was up to this challenge, but the ending consensus was that I’d always regret if I didn’t take the opportunity.

So I peeled my Mardi Gras induced fried New Orleans food filled self off my couch, and began to plan. This trip will involve me being able to be quite independent, and in great shape. So I began Shaun T’s Insanity high cardio work out, working out 6 days a week for two months. (I finished about a month ago and still go to the gym 5 days a week to do light cardio, and high reps of weight lifting to keep my immune system up, and muscle strength for backpacking.) I also began Rosetta Stone for Latin American Spanish. (I am already fluent in French, and quite well traveled, without this base I would have hesitated a lot more before considering this trip.) Having several e-mail conversations and Skype chats with Campbell we devised a gear list, and plan of all that needed to be done.¬† In preparation I have:

-Gotten emergency evacuation insurance

-Began anti-malaria tablets (Mefloquin aka Larium)

-Gotten all my immunizations

-Gotten penicillin prescribed to kill off anything I might face

-Made sure my insurance would cover me out of country

-Met with Spanish speaking friends to increase my knowledge

-Bought a plane ticket (These don’t come cheap, be ready to spend 800-1,400 depending on the time of year)

-WORKED AND WORKED AND WORKED all the hours I could at my two jobs to earn the money to go

Over all the trip will cost between 3,000 and 4,000, which isn’t a high cost for a six week stay, plus gear. I will be there from June 8th till July 16th. Starting in Iquitos, and traveling via boat to more remote communities.


So what can an artist do in the Amazon?!

Initially we planned for me to draw the local animals and plants, and that my final drawings would be used on Marketing items like poster, and t-shirts to fund raise for CACE (Center for Amazon Community Ecology). As Campbell spoke more to Peruvian liaisons  we brainstormed a new project for me. The communities we are staying in are homes to some wonderful women weavers. They use plant fibers to weave baskets, belts, guitar straps, and some other beautiful functional objects. The literacy rate in some of these villages is low, and so a guide that would help explain sustainable harvest of plants, and create some continuity in product quality that was mostly comprised of pictures, seemed like a very necessary object. Eventually it is the hope that a line of Fair Trade can be established for these woven goods.

What will I do with these images?

Outside of making the booklet the images are going to be shared with the Chicago Field Museum, in hopes that through our collaboration we can create a larger database of plant species, and have a broader understanding of how the people in these remote villages create various dyes. I will also create a few large scale drawings of what I see down there, and put it all together to create my Masters Thesis Exhibition, to be displayed in May of 2014. We may still use some of the images for t-shirts and post cards and such.

It’s about less than 2 weeks out now and I feel like I’m at the top of a roller coaster waiting to drop. Both excited and reasonably scared. Getting on the plane is always the most frightening part, cause there’s no turning back after that. Being as well prepared as I can will certainly help.

This is a map of the Amazon River drainage bas...

This is a map of the Amazon River drainage basin with the Ucayali River highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Iquitos Peru is in North Eastern Peru.