If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself deserted in the tropics, you may be in a bit of a bind. With a little work, it is still possible to find water, food and shelter. It’s even a lot better If you have just only one tac light!
If you are planning on going into the tropics (rainforests, savannas or swamps) take thick trousers and long shirts. Plenty of spare socks couldn’t hurt either. You’ll likely be walking through thorny vegetation and battling bugs and leeches. In the unlikely event you become stranded, this type of clothing will become a great asset. If you are carrying an extra set of clothes while you are stranded, it couldn’t hurt to boil one set of clothes while wearing the other. This will kill fungus or bugs.
Keep to high ground and/or areas that have no sign of silt or other evidence of previous flooding. Flooding is highly possible in tropical areas. Also keep away from deadwood that could fall and injure you if a storm passes through.
If you don’t have shelter or a tac light, you can try making a platform shelter by lashing wood or bamboo together. Palm or atap leaves can be woven to create a makeshift roof. Be careful when handling bamboo as it can suddenly split and shoot splinters.
Your drinking water can be found in several places. A fast-flowing stream is an obvious source. You can also set up a trap of some kind to collect rainwater. The bases of bamboo stems sometimes have water. Water can also be found in green bamboo, coconuts (it’s actually milk), banana tree stumps, vines and large leaved plants. Don’t drink from ripe coconuts that have fallen to the ground.
If you doubt the purity of water you find, exercise caution and purify it. If you have water sterilizing tablets or iodine you can cleanse your water with those. However, you may not have these and will have to boil your water. Boil it for at least three minutes. If the water is muddy, strain it to be sure there aren’t any leeches.
You can also find food if you are deserted with basically no supplies. Bael fruit, which grows on trees 10-16 feet tall, are grey or yellow and are safe to eat. Young shoots of bamboo can be eaten raw, while the seeds can be boiled and eaten. Along the edges of the leaves are fine black hairs – don’t eat those, they’re poison. You may be lucky to find bananas or coconuts. Breadfruit is safe to eat as well; it is a large green fruit that grows on a tree with dark green leaves. Fishtail palms have a large flowering shoot, the leaves are oval-shaped, and the palm shoot contains juice. The palm cabbage is edible cooked or raw.