If you’re about to go on a splurge to buy those new hiking stuff before your first ever climb, just don’t, at least for the moment. Read this first, and save those cents for more memories than excess baggage!
- A new backpack. Believe me when I say, you don’t need one just yet. Unless of course you plan to hibernate in the wilderness for the next 5 to 10 years. Five years ago when I ventured into hiking, I bought a new NF flight series 40li backpack even if I have a 30 li daypack on its peak of functioning. I bet this daypack could withstand the rigours of hiking for another five years. Now I have problems disposing these bags. I couldn’t sell it simply because I built hiking memories with those bags.
- That cool belt bag or fashionable mountaineers’ sling bag. A neatly packed and organize backpack is all you need. It prevents you from bringing in too many blings, like 3 cellphones and music players. Someone lost a sling bag one time and he ran amok because every gadget he has including his wallet and IDs, were stuff inside that bag. I ‘ve got 2 belt bags ever since and none of them I found use for hiking.
- Waterproof trekking shoes. Kalokohan. There’s no such thing as waterproof shoes. Everything gets wet when its raining up there or whenever you traverse rivers or plunge into a foot deep mud. Most of the veteran hikers I knew rely on their first reliable shoes they got way back their noob years. Get one comfy hiking shoes from ukay ukay instead. Ditch the porma.
- A thick jacket , for freezing temperatures. My waterloo, cause I’m phobic to cold temperatures. But I learned that in the Philippines, we rarely have freezing temperatures (5 deg C at lowest in my experience) . Packing an inch thick jacket occupies half of your backpack’s space. Get a thin ,well insulated fleece instead and pair it with an easily rolled externals. Then thicken your skin, like those water buffaloes.
- New white trekking dri fits. Ever wonder why hikers almost always wear the same strikingly familiar trek shirts every time they hike? Yes, those pictures don’t lie. Hikers assign their trek shirts early on their hiking career. They tend stick to that shirt for the rest of their extended hiking adolescence. New shirts get dirtied easiest. And you’re not hiking for fashion.
- Cool new shades, for the sun. Sun my ass. Except of course if your hiking the desert or going through an African safari, you need those over sized Raybans and Oakleys. No, in tropical rain forest here, you’d be under tree shades most of the time and, rain, on some other occasions. Wait till you cross rivers and streams. Tie those Oakleys tightly or the rushing waters will say thank you. I suggest you buy those 50 bucks, single use spyders if you insist. You’ll find no use for it after your trek.
- Hiker’s patched polo shirt. Nah, I said ditch the japorms dude. You only wear those during ‘socialising’ events of bored hikers. Our tropical rainforest is happy to cut those sleeves on so you’d scream in agonizing loss for all its worth. Use armbands instead of long sleeves if you’re afraid of those crawling insects and leeches. It’s a lot less humid than polos too! And yes the patch? Come-on, who cares, the trees?
- Henna tattoo, body piercings. No offense meant, but wanna go tribal while climbing? I suggest you live with our brothers in the uplands first. That way you’ll learn why such cultural highlights deserves more respect from us than a fashionable hiking show-ups. Besides, I don’t think those will pass on as hiking camouflaged nor it will protect your skin from glazing sun or torrential rains.
- Cookset, and butane burners. Not on your first hike I should say. You’ gotta learn how to use those firsts before you buy one. It’s really a group equipment and unless you plan to hike solo all your life, then you don’t need it yet! Borrow one first!
- The last but in my opinion, the most overrated- A new DigiCam, or worst a DSLR! Unless you wanna be serious about outdoor photography the very first day you go hiking, leave your DSLRS at home. Bring a decent point and shoot first. I lived with a 2.5 MP Powershot A20 for 5 years.Got my best photos with this cam. Remember those new digicams or DSLRS needs extreme care outdoors and if you’re a newbie still learning the ropes of hiking, chances are you’d destroy those new stuff out of sheer stupidity. Yes, stupidity. So yeah, leave those at home for now!
That’s it! Any fierce objections??!!!