I’ve already posted about the Bike Essentials that everyone should check out when they’re about to start biking. Now that I’ve had a few mountains under my belt, I’ve decided to make a little infographic about hiking! Because I’ve only ever done dayhikes, the items listed are those I’ve had some experience with. For overnight hikes, I might make separate post for that once I’ve actually done one. So for now, here’s the EVERY-DAY-HIKE carry list!
1. Hydration – Just like in biking, hydration always comes first! Hell, I’ve seen some trail runners go up mountains carrying nothing but their water bottles and hydration vests. Now, you may not be as cool as them, but you’re going to need to hydrate as much as possible especially in the bald mountains like Mt. Batulao. As a rule of thumb, most hikers recommend carrying at least 2 liters of water for a dayhike. Of course, this varies depending on your preference and also if the mountain you’re climbing has water sources along the trail. For those with sensitive stomachs and find water sources on a mountain questionable, there are water purification pills available in stores. As for me, I carry at least 3 liters for every climb because I’m a heavy drinker and I sweat like a sinner in church when climbing even the slightest incline.
2. Nutrition – Food! Remember that not all mountain tops will have stores that sell food readily, so bring your own meals. For mountain climbing, there are usually two categories for nutrition: trail food and packed meals.
- Trail food is, duh, food you eat along the trail. For these, I suggest easy-to-eat snacks like protein bars, trail mix, or jelly ace. Make sure that they have some sugar and carbs to give you energy for those ascents.
- Packed meals are the food you eat when you arrive at the campsite, summit, or any designated spot for a long period of rest. Whenever I hike, we almost always eat our packed meals at the summit, i.e. about halfway through the climb. For these, I recommend canned goods or prepared food like sandwiches. Personally, I always bring just one thing: Tuna Paella. A couple of cans are always in my bag. Easy open, easy consume. Don’t forget to bring your utensils!
3. Illumination – Now you may be asking, why would you need to carry a light when doing a dayhike? Well, smartass, because sometimes your dayhike starts out really early as well! I’ve had a couple of hikes that started way before the sun even started to rise. And trust me, sharing a single light amongst a group of 5 or more people is very hard. So as much as possible, bring your own. A pocket flashlight will do; a headlamp is even better because you get to use both your hands to scramble up the trail. Sometimes you might also do a side trip to a nearby cave, and this is where the headlamp shines (pun intended). Aside from these, I also carry some of my bicycle lights in my bag for sun-less hikes because they blink a bright, red light and make me more visible to my hike-mates. There’s no limit to the amount of illumination you can bring and if you want to shine so bright the sun is ashamed to rise and be, go ahead.
4. Sun Protection – I don’t usually bother with these because I am a sun-baby. I love the heat on my skin and the UV rays scorching me. But for all of you pabebe hikers, don’t forget to bring appropriate protection. Arm sleeves and leggings to avoid a tan; even better if they have SPF features like some rashguards. But for the minimalist hiker, a simple hat, a pair of shades, and suncreen will do the trick. I’ve even seen some hikers climbing up a mountain while holding up an umbrella. Whatever works, bruh.
5. Cold Protection & Insulation – Now these are the climbs I have a little problem with. I easily get chilly so I always carry around a jacket and an extra pair of clothes. When it comes to cold temperatures, the best way to be comfy is to layer up yourself like an onion. Thick socks, gloves, and bonnets are essential in some mountains where the breeze is freezing at the summit. Remember to protect your extremities like fingers and feet. But even if you think you can take the cold, it’s best to carry an extra pair of clothes to change into after your climb.
6. Rain Protection – Mother nature is oft times unpredictable, so it pays to be prepared. I always carry a foldable umbrella in my bag as well as my water-resistant jacket. It’s best to also have a rain cover for your bag. Don’t forget to carry a few plastic bags for your wet gear and also a separate plastic bag for your wrappers and food waste.
7.Emergency Kit – To be honest, I don’t really carry these things because I’m a risk-taker and….. who am I kidding, I’m just too lazy to put these in my bag. I’m careful anyways, but to be safe, I recommend carrying a small kit just for emergencies. This should contain a first-aid kit, or at the very least some anti-septic and bandages. Aside from first aid, it’s also wise to carry things for gear repair like some rope/twine, a knife, and duct tape. There are paracord bracelets for sale in many outdoor stores. These are really handy as they can be unwound into a long piece of strong rope. These may not be used in every hike, but just follow the condom principle: I’d rather have one and not need it, than need it and not have one.
8. Toiletries – The basics. Toilet paper, wet wipes, tooth paste, tooth brush, and some face towels. Depending on your destination, there will sometimes be side trips that lead to swimming, so it’s always handy to have a towel. Often times after the climb, there will be places where you can rinse off and take a bath, so you may also carry soap and shampoo. I suggest getting those all-in-one body, hair, and face bath gels because they’re more portable. No need to bring all your eskinol, face scrubs, loofahs, and pumice stones. This is just a mountain, not a fashion show.
9. Hiking Bag – Of course, where are you gonna put all of these things!? Personally, I’d suggest a 40 liter bag because naturally, I’d be carrying more stuff in overnight hikes and I don’t want to keep on changing bags, so 40L would be just right for dayhikes and overnights. As much as possible, get one that is water-resistant and comes with a rain cover. There are so many options in the market right now, with bags offering lots of features. I’m no expert, but just choose those that you think would be beneficial to you. We’re all different so get one that suits and fits you. Finally, I suggest asking for the warranty on the bag before sealing the deal. Some brands are better than others in that they offer a lifetime warranty on their bags. So don’t forget to ask if you’re having doubts. A hiking bag is always a good investment so don’t think of cutting corners. It’s gonna carry you and your gear up mountains so it should always be your biggest and most important purchase!
I know this list isn’t that complete, but these are the things I’ve found enough to carry me through multiple summits. And let me remind everyone that the most important thing to carry on a hike isn’t any type of gear, but your common sense. Don’t forget to use it on the mountains. As you climb more, you’ll develop your “mountain skills” and those experiences will make you see the world in a different view. Just don’t forget to respect everyone; the people, the places, nature, everything else. Leave no trace. Bring down what you bring up.
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time, eat nothing but grass…..or however that quote goes.
I like to think that in every mountain I conquer, I become a better person. Who I was climbing up is different from who I am climbing down. I have really fallen in love with the beauty of mountaineering and I would advise any of you who haven’t tried it to take the climb. Push the boundaries of your comfort zones and maybe you too will feel the pleasure of learning to be comfy several hundred meters above sea level.
Like Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”