Day hiking is supposed to be fun. And part of the fun is a light pack for easy walking but at the same time we don’t want to go unprepared (and compromise our safety). I know, packing can be overwhelming and often times you won’t really know where to start. Sometimes we get tempted to just shove in our bags whatever we think is important. I’ve been hiking since 2014, had a few #EPicFail moments and I surely learned a lot from my experiences – some of it are just hilarious that my hike buddies still tease me about it.
Also, I didn’t purchase all these in one go. That would break the wallet. After my first hike, I thought I’d like to do more hikes and camping so little by little I started to build my ‘Day Hike and Camping Gear.’
Note: I have separate list for my camping packing list (which will be posted soon).
Here is my take on the essential things to bring for your next day hike in the Philippines.
Before we begin, let’s talk about our hiking outfits. 3-inch heels, latex mini skirt, a fishnet halter top, and a vest made out of raw meat. You’re welcome! 😉
Wait! No, don’t do that.
Whenever I go hiking, I choose to be comfortable while walking on muddy-grassland of the mountains, so I wear clothes that are light and stretchable for me to walk on the trail easily.
Tops: Short or long sleeve moisture-wicking shirt. Preferably, drifit/100% polyester shirts for faster evaporation of sweat from the body.
Bottom: I opt for leggings as it’s stretchy enough to bend with you as you climb up steps or over rocks and a trekking shorts on top of it to cover your
For the men, most of my hike buds (at least 5/6 of them) prefer to wear hiking shorts than cargo pants and basketball shorts.
- A pair of arm warmers to protect the skin from UV radiation.
- A multi-functional tube bandana. I usually bring two. One, I wear around my neck so my nape won’t get dark (Eww!) from too much sun exposure and so I can pull it up easily when I need to cover my mouth and nose. Two, around my wrist to wipe my sweat with. I don’t carry a face towel around as I hike – you always have to be empty-handed.
- Sunglasses. No need to go blind while out on the trail. You might already have one laying around. If you don’t, there are less expensive ones compared to Oakley and Julmo. I was able to get a polarized sunglasses for ₱70 ($1.34) in Divisoria (here in Manila, it’s a haven for bargain hunters). What’s that? Polarized lenses are designed to filter out reflected light and reduce glare.
***TIP: Avoid wearing a shirt made of cotton fabrics – once damp, it stays damp, sucking away body heat. Avoid wearing denim pants as it will just make your trek harder, and it will become heavy when it gets wet (and it dries slowly). You don’t want to freeze your butt off, literally and figuratively.
I opt for the most comfortable shoes and sandals to avoid unexpected injuries during the hike. If you have a limited budget, you can buy cheaper versions of any hiking essentials, but the shoes are the ones where you’ll have to invest in. I had a mishap during one of my early climbs because I chose a cheaper pair. The outer sole of my right shoe came off. Good thing I brought my Sandugo slippers and used it on our descent. Hey, at least I learned, right? 😛
What I look for in hiking shoes:
Comfort: We all have feet shape differently. It’s best to have your foot’s length, width and arch length measured. You may buy them online but I’d suggest to go to a store and try them on first.
Water Resistant: To prevent outside moisture from entering the shoe while venting out the moisture inside (your sweat).
Grip: Rubber soles with an aggressive lug pattern that provides grip through varying surfaces and conditions.
****TIP: Break your shoes in before your first trip and take them on test drives! Too many sore-footed hikers overlook this important step. And choose hiking socks that match your feet.
One of the most important parts of packing is choosing the right backpack so that you are comfortable and the burden doesn’t load too much on your back. You’re going to need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing for those longer hikes, and choosing the right one that feels good and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. If it’s your first time, you don’t have to go out of your way to buy one. Most backpacks nowadays are tough. But be sure to check the zippers and straps. You definitely don’t want to carry all your stuff in your hands while you’re scrambling up rocks, right? If you plan to do more hiking, you might want to invest in one that is made specially for it.
This is what I look for in a backpack:
- Weight: preferably 22-25 liters, just enough to store valuables and extra set of clothes
- Ventilated tensioned mesh backpanel so it wouldn’t stick on your back.
- One with bearing hip belt to keep it stable and not put too much weight on your back.
- An integrated raincover to protect your backpack from rain, dust and/or some other conditions that may pose before you while on the trail. So you don’t have to buy a separate one.
FOOD & HYDRATION
Water: This is essential and my day hike packing list always includes at least two liters to make sure I have enough supply for the whole day. I have a reusable water bottle instead of single-use plastics. I sometimes use my hydration bladder (Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir 3 Liters) if the hike is expected to be more than 6 hours.
Trail food: As we scale the summit, we may feel tired and hungry so I always carry with me tons of trail food as to avoid being a hangry hiker. It can be anything actually as long as it’s easy to carry like mixed nuts, chocolates (nope, Nutella doesn’t count. Leave that jar at home 😛 ), fiber bars, or anything that gives you energy while hiking. My personal favorites are Jelly Ace and trail mix. I always carry a little more to share with my hike buddies.
Lunch: A gathering for campers, called “socials,” usually happens at the summit. Whenever we hike, we usually stay in one place to relax, share meals, and pretty much just to enjoy the stunning view. We bring canned goods or anything that’s ready-to-eat or require minimal preparation (and cleanup).
Salt: Specially, during a long day hike. Low levels of sodium (lost in sweat) can cause sometimes-fatal hyponatremia. I carry around 6 sachets whenever I run marathons (42 km/26.21 miles) and I can attest that it works. Where to get them? At Mcdonald’s, where else? Just ask nicely. 😛 Salt can cause dehydration so be sure to drink water when you consume a sachet.
EMERGENCY & FIRST AID
You don’t have to bring your medicine cabinet just a small, waterproof container to hold supplies and medications will do.
Medications: antihistamine (for allergic reactions), ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacid, and drugs you need if you have a medical condition
First aid kit: adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream, alcohol or/and alcohol swabs, bandage wrap, gauze and tape, gloves, tweezers
Whistle: If you get into a situation where you need some help, that whistle will be much louder than your voice when you are yelling.
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
Knife or a multi-tool: Going into unknown conditions, you need to be prepared for anything you might come across. Instead of jamming your pack full of things you might not need, you can pick up a lightweight tools for just a couple of ounces and eliminate a bunch of redundant gear.
There are tons of knives or multi-tools out there but what I carry are: Leatherman Skeletool CX (for day hike) and Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool (for camping). I also carry my single-bladed Zombie Karambit (by the way, anything double-bladed is prohibited in the Philippines).
Portable Cultery Set: Most Filipinos are Koboy (a person who is not fussy and are adaptable to everything) and sometimes we don’t mind eating with our hands in fact, it’s a thing here and we call it Kamayan. When hiking though, we aren’t aware of what we’ve touched and we have limited water supply to wash our hands with. I was able to get this cultery set in a department store. I like it because it’s light and has a pouch. Avoid using disposable plastics when you can.
Mini Carabiner: A carabiner has so many uses. After your hike, you can use it to attach your hiking shoes on your backpack. I was able to get this carabiner clip locally for only P350 ($6.69) and use it not just for hiking or camping. I also carry a Paracord bracelet (attach it to my backpack) – once unraveled you can use the rope for whatever purpose. These ones, I made myself.
Headlamp or flashlight: Just in case there is an extended, unplanned delay at least you have something to use when it gets dark. I prefer one that’s not ‘rechargeable’ so you can easily replace the batteries once it is depleted of power. To be honest, I’m not fussy when it comes to brands. I’m more focused on the quality. My marathon training usually starts at 4:00 AM and used 2 headlamps from well-known companies in the past but I find GearLight’s Headlamp to be better when it comes to durability and function. Downside? It can be a bit heavy.
Plastic bags/ziplock: Dispose your garbage properly. Carry out what was carried in (that means trash, food, and yep, used toilet paper). You can also use it to store your soiled clothes.
CLOTHES & TOILETRIES
Near the mountains (at least, those that I’ve hiked), there are sari-sari stores/establishments that has paid toilets/bathrooms and they don’t usually exceed ₱50 ($1). You can take a bath after a long day trek (or if you’re in Batangas, stop at any restaurants for Bulalo).
Extra set of clothes: A change of fresh clothes after you clean up. You can bring any comfy clothes and doesn’t have to be drifit since you’re done hiking. You may even dress like Lady Gaga if you like (I wouldn’t mind wearing this). I usually just bring a shirt and shorts so it’s not bulky. Don’t forget to bring extra underwear!
Shameless plug: I will be opening an online shop that sells custom designed travel shirts (with a twist). Just like the picture I posted above. 🙂
***TIP: Learning how to ‘army roll’ your clothes can maximize your packing space. There are tons of videos available on Youtube.
Quick-Drying Towel: A microfiber towel is better than cotton. I’m a fan of Towelite Sports Towel because it’s highly absorbent, very soft on the skin and it is one of the thinnest towels available in the market. I don’t think this brand is available outside of the Philippines but you can click the link and read the description. Try to compare it with what’s in your local sports store.
Travel-size toiletries: Shampoo, soap, deodorant, toilet paper, wet wipes, tooth paste, and a tooth brush. Tissues/toiler paper has pocket packs available in your local grocery/supermarkets.
***TIP: I use those tiny shampoo bottles that I got when I checked-in in a hotel. What? I paid for it. 😀
Slippers (or sandals): After a long day of hiking, nothing feels better than letting your sore feet out of those cast-like shoes. I like one that is ‘hike-able’ and easy to slip on just like what I bought from Sandugo.
Jacket: Weather can be bipolar here in the Philippines, it’ll be bright and sunny in the morning but there are times it’ll start to rain. For first-timers, if you have a have a decent wind breaker that’ll will do but if you plan to do more hiking in the future, you might want to get something that’s lightweight. I always carry a packable hooded jacket that I found in Uniqlo.
CAMERAS & GADGETS
Gadgets are heavy so I try to keep it minimal as much as possible.
Action Camera: There are already tons of GoPro versions that were released but nothing beats HERO4. Mine has been with me since 2015 and have used it underwater and even used it for filming with my drone during an excruciating weather. If you’re planning to buy one but on a budget. GoPro Hero4 is the chose.
Cellphone: The most obvious use of a cell phone on the trail is to call for help if you get into trouble. Also, your smartphone can substitute for an emergency flashlight in case you don’t make it back before dark (but I suggest not to do that, bring a headlight instead). And of course, taking pictures!
Powerbank: Taking pictures using your phone will drain the battery and we don’t want that, right? I personally use Anker PowerCore as it has 10000mAh capacity, it is light and small (you can put it in your pocket). And don’t forget your cord.
Be sure to bring any identification with you and store them in any waterproof container or ziplock.
Photo ID: As long as it has your picture and your name. Anything that will help identify you in case of emergency. I have a metal tag made by RoadID for my Fitbit and Garmin watches that contain information such as my complete name, blood type and emergency contact person. Yes, they ship worldwide!
Cash: Most of my day hikes, I’ve only spent more or less ₱1000 ($19.18) that covers my bus fare (from and to Manila), taxi/jeepney fare (from and to my home), bathroom fee, registration fee, tip for the guide, and food (after the hike). Oh, and break your money into smaller bills.
FOR TRAVELERS VISITING THE PHILIPPINES
A copy of your passport: The page that has your photo and full name on it. If you’re staying in a hotel, keep your original in a safe. If it’s a hostel/airbnb, secure your bag with a travel lock.
Travel insurance: My travel insurance, World Nomads covers a range of adventure activities including hiking, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
- Be sure to inform someone (that’s not in the group) of your itinerary. Even at this age, I still inform my parents (especially, my travel-weary mom) of my agenda. You don’t have to bombard them with text, just as long as they know your whereabouts, activities involved and who you are with (and if possible, their contact number).
- Always check the weather forecast before heading out. This is important in determining what gear you need to bring, like a rain jacket, sunscreen, extra water or warmer clothing. Also, if you feel like it isn’t safe to go hiking, don’t go. Even seasoned mountaineers do this. There were incidents of hiking-related deaths here in the Philippines and 5/15 of it are due to inclement weather according to PinoyMountaineer.Com.
- Don’t hike alone, unless you’re an experienced hiker. Sure, it may sound astig and liberating but what if you get injured, get lost, or attacked by an animal/human? The decision is up to you. Besides, who’s going to take your picture? 😛
- Some mountains, you are required to hire a guide (a local). How much you tip depends on you and the service you felt you got. Most of them are nice and takes awesome pictures.
- And most importantly, LEAVE NO TRACE: Dispose your trash properly, don’t pick flowers or rocks and take it with you as a souvenir. And please don’t vandalize, or write words on trees and rock formations. Nobody cares if “Polly was here!”
So there you have it, my packing list for your Philippine day hike adventure. I hope this helps you to prepare for your next climb.
Have you tried hiking? How was the experience? Is there more that you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything!
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