A jungle adventure in a 4WD vehicle is a fun outdoor activity but you need to take some necessary precautions. For example, you can’t just head off to any jungle as some locations are off limits to the public.
Outdoor camping enthusiast Thomas Foo, 60, shares some tips for thrill seekers who want to experience an off-roading adventure on a 4WD vehicle.
Foo has gone on camping trips since he was 10. And for the past 30 years, he has been going on 4WD expeditions both locally and abroad. Here are some of his tips:
1. Inform the Forestry Department and local police in the area
Many Malaysians think this is not necessary. The fact is, this is perhaps one of the most important steps to do and it could save your life should you ever need help.
Always remember to inform the authorities – as well as close friends and family – which part of the jungle you intend to go and for how long.
2. Wear – and bring along – appropriate attire
What you wear is important in ensuring that you will be safe, secure and comfortable in the woods. But you would be surprised to know that some Malaysians actually go jungle trekking wearing inappropriate outfits like skirts and slippers!
Use common sense when it comes to clothing: Hiking boots with socks, long pants and light-coloured shirts would be your best choices.
You can also bring a hat.
3. Bring basic items and equipment
Before you head off into the wilderness, pack these things in your bag: A torchlight, headlamp, mosquito repellent and mobile phone, as well as a powerbank or two. You might not get cellular reception if you’re going deep in the jungle, but it is still a good idea to have the phone with you at all times.
You will also need towels, matches or lighters, a tent and sleeping bags, some basic cooking equipment (pots, pans) and a utility knife. You could also add a blanket, a foldable table and stools to the list.
If you’re not camping with a 4WD vehicle, then you would need to carry all these yourself so make sure you don’t bring unnecessary things.
4. Food/survival rations
Don’t just bring instant noodles to eat at camp. You can have a balanced diet even out in the jungle so bring along canned goods like sardines, tuna and beans, rice (if you decide to bring a pot or pan), bread, tea and coffee, and individual juice boxes.
Pack some emergency rations as well like energy bars, biscuits, trail mix and chocolates. Medicine is important too like over-the-counter fever tablets, diarrhoea relief pills, anti-histamines, antiseptic cream, medicated plasters and rehydration salts.
Of course, water is a MUST. Bring sufficient water for the duration of your stay. For a day, you would need 1.5l of water per person so make sure you calculate how much to bring before leaving home.
Additionally, you can bring water purification tablets to purify water collected from the river or any other natural water source.
5. Before you go
If you’re camping with your 4WD, you need to get the vehicle serviced before your trip. Check that the vehicle is in good condition and that everything is working properly. Also, bring basic spares like engine oil, fluids (for brakes and power steering clutch), a fan belt and recovery equipment. If you want to bring more items, ask your mechanic for his recommendations.
Where to go
If you are new to 4WD camping, there are several camp sites you can go to in the Klang Valley like Hulu Langat, Janda Baik, Ulu Selangor, Sepang and Ulu Kelang in Selangor, and Bukit Segar (Cheras) in Kuala Lumpur.
Some campsites are run by private owners. For a fee, you can pitch your tents there and use the shower and toilet facilities. Some even prepare a trail for a short trek around the campsite such as Broga Hill (Semenyih) and Templer Park (Rawang) in Selangor.
You can also visit orang asli villages in places like Raub (Pahang), and Tanjung Malim (Perak) to see how they go about their daily lives. If you decide to visit, pay your respects to the Tok Batin (leader) first to let them know your intentions – don’t just go snooping around the village uninvited!
Foo stresses that how well you prepare for the trip determines how much you will enjoy the experience. “If you fail to plan, your (camping) plan will fail!” he says.
“With jungle camping, urbanites will be transported from a concrete jungle to the real deal. When you sleep in the jungle, you feel fully recharged as it is an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Camping in the wild beats shopping. It gives you joy and also encourages family bonding, too,” he adds.
Foo welcomes questions on camping and 4WD excursions. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.