Dressing for Safari
Let us begin with the hat because I believe it to be the most important item of safari gear, protecting one from the heat, the dust, the wet and the cold.
I prefer the warm weather hats made by Tilley. The specific model being the Tilley Airflo which has ventilation below the crown which makes it ideal for India. The hats are washable and come with a lifetime warranty. They are foldable and packable making them easy to travel with.
I use the size LTM5 the brim of which does not flop around or curl back when travelling in an open Gypsy. The hat also has a great chin strap and does not fly off during game drives.
The brim does not interfere with your camera which is great!
The Hat 2
There is one other hat which I use during the monsoon. This is the Seattle Sombrero from Outdoor Research. This hat is completely waterproof and my choice when I am expecting rain. Being waterproof it is rather warm and the brim flops back whilst on safari, but it your best option for a waterproof hat.
The Heat: Shirts, shorts, and unmentionables
With regard to shirts and shorts earth-coloured cotton is preferred. It dries easily and washes easily. Denim / jeans do not mix well with dust and water.
Convertible trousers are a great option as you can add on the trouser length if the weather turns cold. Importantly convertible trousers are weight savers whilst flying.
Loose fitting clothing is preferable as there can be a lot of rub and wear on safari, especially during the summer. Whilst on the subject, this is why i prefer boxers for inner wear.
The wet is relatively easy to deal with. A pair of light weight waterproof trousers is a benefit. I say light weight because the seat in front of you or the vehicle windscreen will afford some protection.
A decent rain jacket is a must as it protects phones. wallets et cetera. In a pinch it can protect equipment.
I have already mentioned the Seattle Sombrero as a monsoon hat.
Layering is the key to beating the cold. The trouser legs attached to the convertible trousers take care of your lower half.
I start with a warm waistcoat for the upper body. This is followed up with a light-weight fleece and topped off with the rain jacket.
Wooden gloves and a beanie hat or balaclava are essential supplements and do not take up much space.
Uniglo has a range of Ultra Light down outerwear, but note, this will not take kindly to the all-pervasive dust on safari.
I prefer flip flops for safari as they are easy to throw off and jump onto the seat if necessary. If it rains flip flops are the best. If cold a pair of socks complements the flip flops.
If you expect to be on foot, proper boots with ankle support, good socks and a trekking pole come highly recommended.