5 Essentials for Birding in the Tropics

When you want to add exotic birds to your life list, pack light.

Here are a few of our favorite new items to help keep you going while you traverse beaches and rainforest trails in the tropics.

(Note: Our reviewers field test everything that we feature, and we never get paid to endorse any product.)

Osprey’s Meridian 60L bag ($350) is ideal for international birding: The carry-on comes with a detachable daypack, fits a week’s worth of clothes, and has hardy wheels that handle rugged terrain with ease. When the going gets tough, hidden straps transform it into a backpack.


The new Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America ($21) is worth the extra pound it'll add to your luggage. Packed with more than 800 species accounts, illustrations, interesting and useful info about behavior, and range maps, it's simply the best guide out there for Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.​



Worry about finding rare birds, not the state of your drinking water. Whether you’re filling up at a river or tap, remove viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals with Grayl’s Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle ($60). Simply fill, press down the filter, and drink. The replaceable cartridge is good for 300 uses, and you can feel good knowing that your water is clean and that you're helping to cut down on plastic bottle waste that hurts seabirds.



Hunter’s Tour Short Rain Boots ($94) are sturdy, stylish, and foldable, taking up minimal luggage space. These waterproof kicks keep feet completely dry while splashing through shallow puddles and muck, and have good grip on wet surfaces. 



Keep harsh rays and pests at bay with ExOfficio’s Bugs Away Adventure Hat ($45). It's light and versatile, with a wide, foldable brim, clip-on strap, and quick-drying mesh lining. We didn't detect an odor from the Insect Shield repellant, which is good for 70 washings—but the bugs seemingly did, as they kept clear.