African Rainforest Hunting Gear

Page Updated: Mar 2024

African rainforest hunting is no walk in the park - you will always be constantly soaking wet even when it is not actually raining. You will be valiantly trying to disconnect yourself from overgrown, razor-sharp thorny vines and vegetation in the enervating 100% humidity, 100° temperatures, while being endlessly assaulted by all kinds of biting insects - especially stinging ants, to keep up with your trackers who seem to glide effortlessly through the forest.

So how do you even vaguely keep comfortable in a rainforest, so you can concentrate on the job in hand - successfully hunting a bongo or any other forest animal?

Essential Rainforest Clothing Guidelines

What you wear on your rainforest hunt may be a case of trial and error for some individuals. Though it is advisable to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts, you just might feel so unbearably hot that you don't care about thorns and insects, opting to hunt in shorts and a T-shirt. Take both clothing options with you just in case.

As already mentioned you will be wet practically all the time - not only from the heavy rain that will fall for various lengths of time every day but from 'steamy jungle' mist, walking through soaking vegetation and forest streams, and sweating all day (and night) in the 100% humidity.

100% cotton clothing usually recommended for all other African hunting, really will not do the job in a rainforest. Cotton absorbs and retains water and sweat and takes a long time to dry and it is definitely not pleasant being wet, clammy and stinky all day. It is time to turn to high-tech clothing for jungle hunting...

Look for clothes with...

  • Moisture-wicking fabric to keep your skin as dry as possible.
  • Lightweight fabric which is breathable even in high humidity.
  • Strong fabric that can take a lot of abuse without ripping or disintegrating.
  • Insect repellent capability would be a bonus but rainforest insects often have not heard of repellents.
  • Fairly loose fitting clothing will reduce the chance of insects bites through the fabric but excessively baggy clothing will catch more easily on thorny vegetation.

Please note, this page contains affiliate links, which means Shakari Connection receives a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

Rainforest Hunting Pants

Long pants are recommended as they offer some protection against the thorns, leeches and insect bites. Duct tape can be used to securely wrap around the ends of the pants above your boots, preventing insect, particularly stinging ants access up your legs.

Avoid using a leather belt with your pants or pants with any leather trim - leather just goes mouldy and rots in the wet equatorial climate.

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The 5.11 Tactical men's pants are constructed with an ultra lightweight, high-quality polyester and cotton ripstop stretch fabric. The fabric is coated with Teflon for a protective finish that resists stain, soil and moisture without compromising breathability. They have a self-adjusting waistband and gusseted crotch provides enhanced mobility. With full-size cargo pockets with internal dividers and utility pockets at the calf. Buy Now

5.11 Tactical Men's Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants, Cargo Pockets, Action Waistband, Stone, 38W x 32L, Style 74273

These lightweight ExOfficio Nomad pants will keep you cool, dry and comfortable. They are treated with Teflon for water and stain resistance, and are moisture wicking, quick drying and offer UPF 30+ sun protection. The partial-elastic waistband moves with you during any activity. A drop-in gadget pocket and two side security zip pockets secure your belongings. Buy Now

ExOfficio Men's Sol Cool Nomad Pants - Long Length, Road, 30

This breathable rain pants are made of fully sealed waterproof fabric with mesh to improve breathability by allowing air to circulate through your clothing. They come with a fully elasticated waistband with drawstring inside, two zipped pockets, a half leg zip, to allow you to pull them on over your footwear and a velcro closure at bottom of the leg. Buy Now

33,000ft Men's Rain Pants, Waterproof Rain Over Pants, Windproof Outdoor Pants for Hiking, Fishing Army Green

Rainforest Hunting Shirts

Again, no cotton! If you opt for a regular long sleeved shirt with a buttoned front and cuffs, you may need to stick duck tape over the buttons/button holes to keep out ants and other insects. Alternatively you may want to wear a top with less insect access such as a high-tech merino T-shirt.

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This convertible zipper sleeve shirt is made of quick-drying nylon and is abrasion and stain resistant and breathable. It offers UV sun protection and comes with button-down chest pockets and a mesh lining back panel. Buy Now

TACVASEN Men's Breathable Quick Dry UV Protection Solid Convertible Long Sleeve Shirt Army Green, 2XL

You might think a soft merino garment is only for cold weather activity but it is cool in super hot conditions too. This shirt regulates temperature, is breathable and strongly moisture-wicking - quickly drying your skin after a drenching rain shower. It is also anti-bacterial, restricting the development and proliferation of bacteria and odour which all helps in a jungle. Also hypoallergenic and provides UV protection. Buy Now

Merino 365 OG Longsleeve with Thumbloops, Large, Military Green

Rainforest Hunting Jackets

You may find a jacket or poncho useful to take out with you and wear for a major downpour. Look for one that is light and packs down small. Ponchos are great for covering your daypack or any gear you have hanging on your body, however the fabric is not very breathable. Even though it is very hot in a rainforest, it is important to have something warm to put on occasionally if you get chilled after being very wet.

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This lightweight waterproof jacket has a breathable mesh fabric lining, detachable hood and velcro cuffs. It packs down small to fit in a backpack. Buy Now

Kugnala Mens Rain Jacket Waterproof Raincoat Lightweight Rain Coat Hooded Windproof Windbreaker Jackets for Men Hiking Cycling Travel Green L

This Charles River poncho is made from waterproof polyurethane bonded to a knit backing. It has heat-sealed seams and snap underarm closures. The hood has a snap fastening and drawstring at the neck. Packs into it's own storage pouch. Buy Now

Charles River Apparel mens Pacific Rain Poncho, Forest, One Size US

Rainforest Hunting Underpants

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Your usual cotton underpants when wet and sweaty will take ages to dry and can cause great discomfort when out hunting in the rainforest. Swap cotton for the super-quick drying and supportive polyester of Speedo swimming briefs. Buy Now

Speedo mens Brief Endurance+ Solid Adult Swimsuit, Navy, 40 US

Rainforest Hunting Socks

Yet again, no cotton. Always carry plenty of spare dry socks while out hunting. There is no doubt you will have wet feet for most of your hunt so you need socks that do not retain water and sweat or take a long time to dry. Lightweight Merino wool socks are the answer...

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These merino wool lightweight hiking socks have sweat-wicking ventilation bands, targeted cushioning to reduce the risk of blisters and sore feet. Buy Now

DANISH ENURANCE Premium Outdoor Hiking Socks, Merino Wool, Men & Women, 2 Pack, Black, US Women 11-13 // US Men 9.5-12.5

For extra moisture wicking, you may like to wear CoolMax Sock Liners under your merino socks.

These anti-leech socks are worn over your regular socks and tie firmly at the knee over your pants, preventing leech access to your toes and feet which are particularly popular with leeches, being warm and wet. Anti-leech socks are a must in the marshy or swampy rainforest areas where leeches proliferate in the leaf litter and on higher vegetation. Regular gaiters do not seal off your feet well enough from leeches. As an additional leech deterrent, spray insecticide on the socks. Buy Now

Anti Leech Hiking Socks Trekking Protection Free Size (White), One Size

When hunting in a rainforest, you can be 100% sure that you will be 'leeched' despite taking the best precautions. Leeches will get try to access your blood upwards from the forest floor or drop down from overhead vegetation. The only things you can do is...

  • Seal off as many access points to your body as possible with anti-leech socks, duct tape, neck buffs and tucking your shirt into your pants.
  • Apply insecticides like DEET or premethrin to clothes and skin.
  • Keep walking without stopping or leaning on anything. If you do stop for a break, try to find a dry spot in direct sunlight.
Leech Bites
  • Are painless - the leech applying a kind of 'local anaesthetic' as it bites into your skin.
  • To enhance blood flow, leeches use an anti-coagulant in the wound.
  • Once full of blood the leech will drop off.
  • Keep the bite site as clean as possible with antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
Leech Removal
  • Use your finger nail to gently dislodge the front sucker first where it is feeding, then quickly flick off the rear sucker. Be quick because the leech will try to reattach itself.
  • Other leech removal methods include directly applying salt, alcohol or a naked flame to the leech which make it instantly detach.
  • Do not pull it off as this can cause the leech to 'vomit' into the wound causing an infection worse that the bite itself.

Rainforest Hunting Footwear

High ankle boots are preferable in a rainforest so you can tuck your pants in them. Some hunters prefer low-cut training or hiking shoes - just make sure the ends of your pants are well duct-taped and you wear anti-leech socks or high gaiters. Take at least 2 pairs of boots so you can rotate them, allowing a pair to dry while wearing the others. Your feet are definitely going to get wet so look for lightweight boots with...

  • Good traction primarily in wet mud but also grip if you need to scramble over rocks and wet logs. You need large, widely spaced lugs that also shed the mud easily as you walk.
  • Maximum breathability and ventilation. Some jungle boots have vents in the instep to allow water and sweat to drain out or, if none, hot air is pushed out which may cool your feet.
  • Quick drying canvas fabric. Most military style 'jungle boots' are made of canvas with suede leather panels and trim. Having said it is ill-advised to wear leather in a rainforest, leather and canvas jungle boots have done the job for the military for decades!
  • A waterproof membrane that minimises the amount of water soaked up and retained in the shoe. However, a membrane like Goretex may mean the boots take longer to dry out.
  • Durablity with strong construction seams and lace holes - should not fall apart or tear.
  • Some kind of toe-stubbing protection.

As with all hunting footwear, make sure you break in your boots well before you leave home. Also break them for use in the wet conditions of a rainforest - you don't want to find that they shrink and are very uncomfortable or even completely useless when you get there.

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These 5.11 Tactical jungle boots feature innovative rapid-dry technology - they absorb less water and dry faster than traditional boots. They have a cupsole platform for comfort and stability, forefoot lugs, a fence-climbing toe, and oil-and slip-resistant multi-terrain tread. Buy Now

5.11 Men's Speed 3.0 Jungle Tactical Boot, Dark Coyote, 13, Regular

These jungle boots are scratch-resistant and durable with a moisture wicking lining for breathability to keep your feet cool and dry. The rubber sole has spiral lines for protection, stability and extra grip to meet the requirements in various terrain. The EVA midsole offers supportive all-day comfort, shock absorption, cushioning and arch support. Buy Now

Einplus Outdoor Men's Tactical Military Combat Ankle Boots Water Resistant Lightweight Hiking Boots Work Boots, Beige, 8.5

Foot Care In The Rainforest
  • Having constantly wet feet can lead to skin breakdown and infections.
  • Take fresh dry socks out with you and frequently change into dry socks.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly and apply preventive anti-bacterial & anti-fungal foot creams or powders.
  • Make sure your feet get aired as much as possible by wearing sandals when in camp.
  • Apply waterproof blister tape to any hot spots you discover on your feet or patches to areas that rub within your boots. More on blister prevention and treatment.

These lightweight and breathable Teva sandals provide additional coverage for protection, with quick-drying materials to keep you comfortable and are non-slip. It also features three points of adjustability for enhanced fit and comfort. Buy Now

Teva Men's M Omnium 2 Leather Fisherman Sandal, Turkish Coffee, 9

These Keen Newport sandals provide excellent support, traction, and comfort. They have a hydrophobic mesh lining, rubber outsole with compression moulded EVA midsole and footbed. Buy Now

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandals, Black, 11 US

Rainforest Hunting Hats

Some hunters find hats more trouble than they are worth in a rainforest because they are always getting knocked off or hung up on thorns. Sun protection is not a priority when you are actually in the forest but a strong, well-fitting brimmed hat will protect your head from insects and leeches dropping into your hair and getting spider webs in your face.

Also if you need to wear a head net, a brimmed hat will be needed to keep the netting off your skin.

As cotton takes a while to dry, look for a quick drying, breathable synthetic fabric hat with a brim and ventilation mesh rather than holes.

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This Tilley Endurable hat is constructed of lightweight, breathable Supplex nylon with a cooling air-flow mesh band in the crown. This hat provides excellent sun protection, ventilation and moisture management. It is resistant to water and mildew. Has a tie on chin strap. Buy Now

Tilley mens T5mo Organic Airflo Sun Hat, Olive, 7.125 US

This military style Boonie hat is made of 3-layer breathable nylon and is waterproof, windproof and has an adjustable chin strap and internal pocket. You might want to scrap the traditional branch loops in case they catch on everything and start collecting their own branches. Buy Now

Tru-Spec unisex adult H20 Proof Adjustable Boonie tru 100 cttn r s w loops, Olive Drab, One Size US

Keep mosquitos and other flying pests off your face and head with this fine mesh net which has an elastic neck for a snug fit. Designed to fit comfortably over most headwear. A safe and effective way to stay bug free and lightweight and easy to carry anywhere. Buy Now

Stansport Mosquito Head Net (709)

Rainforest Hunting Gloves

Taking strong, protective gloves is important when hunting in the rainforest. You'll be grabbing on to sharp branches and vines to steady yourself as you slip and slide through mud and wet vegetation, often not looking where you are putting your hands.

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These Mechanix Tactical Original Coyote gloves are made of durable and breathable synthetic leather. The 'TrekDry' fabric conforms to the back of your hand, creating an good fit with superior dexterity. The gloves can be secured to your belt or pack with a nylon web loop on each wrist. Buy Now

Mechanix Wear: The Original Tactical Work Gloves with Secure Fit, Flexible Grip for Multi-Purpose Use, Durable Touchscreen Safety Gloves for Men (Brown, X-Large)

These comfortable and durable bamboo gardening gloves are abrasion and puncture resistant. The bamboo fabric absorbs perspiration, is naturally very breathable and keeps your hands cool, hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Buy Now

Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Garden Gloves for Women & Men - Multi-purpose Work Gloves - Breathable and Absorbent Bamboo Garden Gloves Men and Women - Gardening Work Gloves

Rainforest Hunting Gaiters

It is preferable to wear high gaiters while hunting in a rainforest. High snake proof gaiters would be even better as there is no low season for snake activity in an equatorial climate but like most snakes anywhere, they tend to move away when they sense disturbance. Gaiters may not give protection against leeches which may find their way in through any small gaps at the top or bottom. You could wear leech socks underneath or duct tape your pants inside your socks.

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These durable, reversible TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Gaiters are lightweight, waterproof and breathable. They were tested with live rattlesnakes but probably not on the large, sluggish and heavily camouflaged Gaboon viper of the African rainforest, which has 2" long fangs. Buy Now

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters (Regular)

For more robust snake proof gaiters, the Snake Guardz Gaiters have polycarbonate and acrylic inserts which have been puncture tested. The outer material is polyester with a water resistance coating so fang venom does not soak into it. They are cool and comfortable as they allow air to circulate between your legs and the gaiters.

Rainforest Hunting Neckwear

It's important to wear something round your neck to prevent insects, such as stinging ants and leeches making their way inside your clothes. You can also pull it up over your head and ears when the insects get really bad. Using moisture wicking neckwear will keep you cooler and bandanas impregnated with insect repellent may help.

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This versatile and seamless neck buff is constructed with 100% polyester microfibre with polygiene treatment which enables the fabric to remain cleaner for longer without releasing odours often caused by the build up of bacteria. It incorporates sweat-wicking properties keeping you comfortable and dry. Buy Now

BUFF Adult CoolNet UV Neck Gaiter, Headband & Winter Neck Warmer, Ski Mask & Face Shield, Balaclava, Black & Blue, Ether Graphite, One Size

This Insect Shield brand insect repellent bandana is made of breathable cotton and polyester with the permethrin-based repellent providing protection from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other bugs for up to 70 washes. Buy Now

Insect Shield Bug and Insect Repellant Bandana, Olive, One Size

Rifle Care In The Rainforest

The African rainforest is not the best environment for a valuable and beautiful double rifle. Synthetic stocks come into there own here, not getting damaged in the wet and putting up with getting knocked about. If you do take a wooden stocked rifle...

  • Wipe it down frequently with Break Free Multi-Surface Wipes. (No longer available on Amazon). These are soft, absorbent, non-woven cloths that are pre-saturated with Break-Free CLP. They eliminate the need for messy oils, cleaners and cut cloths. The wipes clean and maintain rifles for use in all weather conditions.
  • Put electrical insulation tape over the muzzle, to keep out water and mud, etc.
  • If the rifle has a floating stock and gets very wet, check it is not touching the barrel with a bank note or piece of fishing line.
  • You don't need a big rifle scope - 1.5 magnification is enough.
  • You also won't need to carry a huge amount of ammunition with you while out hunting.

Other Useful Rainforest Hunting Gear

In no particular order, you may find the following items useful on a rainforest hunt...

  • It is essential you keep well-hydrated during your rainforest hunt. Choose a CamelBak Hydration Pack which can carry 2 litres/70 oz of water. It is very tough with minimal additional strapping or accessories to get caught up in the thorns.
    Don't forget to take a good supply of Rehydration electrolyte tablets/powders
  • Your trackers will do most of the vegetation cutting as you work your way through the forest. However, a pair of Pruning Shears maybe very useful for extricating yourself from particularly tenacious vines etc. Preferably with a belt holster which is synthetic rather than leather.
  • If you wear glasses or will be using a scope, binoculars or camera in a steamy rainforest, you will need a good quality Lens Anti-Fog Spray or wipes which prevent both glass and plastic lenses from fogging up. Even lenses which are coated may fog up or get very dirty in a rainforest.
  • If you don't usually wear glasses, it is a good idea to wear Safety Glasses to protect your eyes from insects and thorny branches that may slap you in the face. Chose clear wrap-around safety glasses with anti-fog lenses with a comfortable cushioned fit so that they stay in place on sweaty skin.
  • Take a stock of Ziploc plastic bags in a variety of sizes to keep your gear and extra clothing dry while out hunting. Also take some large, strong Trash Bags for stashing your muddy and damp hunting clothes and boots in your suitcase for the return journey.
  • The lightweight nylon Compression Dry Sack will keep all your hunting gear and changes of clothes dry and compactly stored - the air is compressed out and water can't get in.The bags have reinforced, sealed seams and the closure does not wick moisture.
  • Carry a small Personal Microfiber Towel in your pocket to mop up water and sweat. It is super-lightweight, ultra-compact, durable and fast-drying. It soaks up to four times its weight in water and wrings out almost completely dry. Comes in various sizes.
    An alternative is a Cooling Towel which when wet will allow it to activate quickly and provide 3 to 4 hours of cooling relief.
  • In the rainforest environment, minor cuts and abrasions are likely to get infected so it is important to use a Hand Sanitizer before attending to any wounds. Of course they are useful for any time you need to clean your hands while out hunting.
  • Where ever you hunt in Africa, it is always a good idea to take your own personal first aid kit, adapted to where you are hunting and length of hunt. Every good hunt outfitter should have an extensive first aid kit but you should bring your own for more minor ailments. In the rainforest, make sure you have extra amounts of waterproof plasters and tape, both antibiotic creams and antibiotic tablets, medication for skin infections like Oxistat and antihistamine cream and tablets for insect bite and sting reactions. The range of Adventure Medical Kits include and ultralight and waterproof first aid kit. It goes without saying that you take enough of your own prescription, anti-malarial medications and effective insect repellents.
  • Your rainforest hunt outfitter should provide good quality mosquito bed nets. You should ask beforehand just to be sure. Should you want to bring your own mosquito net, ask your outfitter about the method available to hang a net and size of the bed used in the camp guest accommodation.
  • Duct Tape has already been mentioned as a useful way to block insect and leech access up your pants or through your shirt button holes. Useful for any quick fixes, look for a sturdy, sticky and waterproof duct tape for the jungle.
  • Wrist Sweat Bands absorb moisture and wick it away. They will to keep your hands from becoming excessively sweaty and slippery.
  • A small Compact Umbrella for use in a downpour around camp.
  • It is easy to get lost in a rainforest so a Safety Survival Whistle and Emergency Paracord Bracelet which comes with a compass, whistle and fire starter.
  • Like the umbrella, most African hunters might find taking a Portable Fan a bit of an overkill in the hunting gear department. However, they do provide heat relief and keep mosquitos and other flying insects away in the evenings in camp.

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