Beware of flash floods when you are traveling along dry watercourses, particularly in the vicinity of mountains. You should never make camp in a stream bed; while rain in the desert is scare, storms can and do produce flash flooding very quickly.
When used with reference to survival, the term tropics refers primarily to jungles, for those are the parts of the tropics that present survival problems distinctly different from those in other parts of the world.
Most stories about the animals, snakes, spiders, and nameless terrors of the jungle are pure bunk. You are probably safer from sudden death in the jungle than in most big cities. You will probably never see a poisonous snake or a large animal. What may scare you most are the howls, screams, and crashing sounds made by noisy monkeys, birds, and insects.
The real dangers of the tropics are the insects, many of which pass on diseases. Probably the worst disease is malaria, which is transmitted by the mosquito. That is why the survival kit provides a mosquito headnet. Wear this net regularly, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are the thickest; use insect repellent, wear gloves, and take Atabrine pills too. A smudge fire also helps keep mosquitoes away, especially at dawn and dusk.
There are many other insects and pests in the jungle - ticks, leeches, scorpions, centipedes, and spiders, to name just a few. Stings or bites from these insects can create infection and cause illness. Frequently check your body and your clothing for insects and get rid of them. Beware of scratches also. In the jungle even the slightest scratch can cause serious infection within hours.
As with the Arctic and the desert, clothing in the tropics serves as a protection against exposure, insects, and plant life. You should keep your sleeves rolled down and buttoned. Tuck the legs of your pants into your socks and keep your shoes on. This may help keep out unwanted insects such as ticks, leeches, and ants. Always wear full clothing in the tropics. By wearing your clothing loosely, your body will be cooler. Change your clothing as often as it is practical. Remember dirty clothes may lead to a skin infection; therefore, they should be washed daily, especially your socks.
Food and water are plentiful in the jungle. It is a proven fact that a person can survive in the jungle and actually like it, if provided with a basic knowledge of how to use the animals and other food found in the jungle. When you are selecting food in the jungle, watch the monkeys. Almost everything a monkey eats is eatable by humans. There are fish in all jungle streams. Eat only fish that have scales and look typically like a fish. Fish that have slimy skin and unusually shaped bodies are to be avoided.
Night in the jungle comes very fast. So prepare for bed early. In the jungle you need more sleep than usual to keep up your energy and strength and to maintain resistance against disease.
Try to pick a campsite on a knoll or high spot in an open place well away from swamps. You will be bothered less by mosquitoes, the ground will be dryer, and there will be more chances of a breeze. Don't build a shelter under large trees or trees with dead limbs. They may fall and wreck your camp or cause injury. Don't sleep or build a shelter under coconut trees. In the wet jungle forest, you will need shelter from the dampness. If you stay with the plane, use it for shelter. Try to make it mosquitoproof by covering the openings with netting or parachute cloth.
In mountainous jungle, the nights are cold. Get out of the wind. Make a fire a few feet from a cliff or against a log or rock pile, and build your shelter so that you get reflected heat. Arrange the reflector so that the fire doesn't blow toward you.
You may need fire for warmth, for keeping dry, for signaling, for cooking, and for purifying water. Do not build a big fire. Small fires require less fuel, are easier to control, and their heat can be concentrated. In cold weather small fires arranged in a circle are much more effective than one large fire.Continue Reading