Feb 18, 2011

My "To Bring" List for a Dayhike Climb

Once you become a dayhiker, you will never go back to being a camper… for me at least. As defined before in my previous post, a dayhike for me is climbing a mountain not intending to spend the night (or sleep) in the campsite.

Almost all of my climbs I preferred to do on a dayhike. Not only does it spare me the trouble of bringing too much load for camping, it also rids the environment of that unwanted prolonged alien presence. Dayhike climbing is an excellent training for endurance.

notorious for sleeping on trail: Mt. Lobo, Bakun - mother of all dayhikes for me

Since dayhiking is not new to me, a religion in fact… I prepared a list of my most important “what-to-bring”s in a climb.

1. Survival

I have been to situations where it became a matter of life and death (or almost) for me. We learn with experience, and from that, I value these things as my most… I repeat the MOST important items in my daypack.I sometimes get nightmares from these. Mostly from the headlamp.... starting trek at dusk without any torch.

my poncho as jacket

 Poncho or raincoat – it can not only protect you from getting wet (which may lead to hypothermia), it can also double as a jacket in cold temperature. You can also use this as emergency shelter if need arises. During overnight campings this doubles as thermal sheet for me.

Headlamp – I have read somewhere that torch or light is sometimes more important than food and water during survival situations. This I proved true during my Mt. Isarog disaster. I wanted nothing more than light during that cold, dark and scary night while sleeping on the trail with the howling winds and the cruel storm. Do remember to bring extra battery on multi-day climbs, and be sure to take out those batteries from the gadget when not in use, and put it somewhere warm. Batteries tend to drain out faster in cold temperatures.

lighters are handy for bonfires, but be careful to put it out afterwards

Lighter/Firestarter - Always bring a lighter with a mini LED to double as torch in case your headlamp's batteries wear out (served me well during Mt. Kalatungan climb). Also there are firestarter blocks available at hardware stores. You can use this to create smoke signals when you get lost deep in the forest, just be careful not to create forest fire.

don't stare too much, k?
First Aid Kit - Never underestimate a mountain. No matter how easy the trek is based on what you’ve researched, certain unforeseen situations can make it more than a major climb. In most of my hikes, it is a given situation that I almost always develop fever upon reaching the summit. I attribute this to the sweat, strain and exhaustion as one climbs up, and the subsequent long rest once you reach the summit (natutuyuan ng pawis ika nga). So it is a must for me to bring antipyretics like Biogesic and any other equivalent. Also included in my basic first aid kit are as follow:

  • meds: antihistamine, mefenamic acid, loperamide, penicillin, amoxicillin
  • wound cleaners: betadine, alcohol, cotton buds
  • inhalers: white flower
  • muscle pain relief: salonpas
  • bandages and plasters
  • snake bite kit

Some even bring Epi-pen, and the list doesn't stop there. You can customize your own first aid kit, curtailing it to your personal needs. I hope there is a bottled antivenin which we could bring along in the kit.

Whistle -  Most old school groups still require their members to bring whistles. As a freelance newbie then, I firmly believe in the effectiveness of using a whistle in getting myself rescued if I got lost. But.... A bit BUT. This is not a fact in most cases. Sound can sometimes be unreliable and misleading if used in locating a lost person in the jungle. There were cases when I tried to "sound-locate" my buddy, it almost made me go down the ridge instead of going up, as I have heard her voice down below. I haven't realized that it's the wind carried her voice down. Also, it could disturb creatures in the forest so be mindful when using this item.

my beloved compass
Compass - I do not claim expertise in compass reading, land navigation and orientation. But it is important for me to do bearings before climbing a mountain if without local guide (sometimes with guide even). Bearing is done by taking note of your position in relation to your destination. At least that's how I define it, lols. It can help me a lot whenever I get lost. I also playfully print out terrain maps of the surrounding mountain ranges and do peak-pointing with the ones in the map in relation to what's in the scenery whenever I am at the summit with 360 degrees view.

groundsheets are really great for siesta, but even without... i'll sleep on the ground
Ground sheet - This is mainly used to protect tents from the ground. In most cases during a dayhike climb, I bring this to be used as a resting spot, or it can double as shelter in times of needs. A few small ropes here and there, you've got yourself a nice little A-type tent. Or you could choose to just roll it around yourself. Lols. This can also be used *knock on wood* in retrieval of injured climb colleagues or.....cadavers. *chilling gust of wind*

Emergency Blanket
– Also called all-space blankets, this thin aluminum-like sheet helps contain your body heat making it an effective item against cold and even hypothermia. I always buy Cochlan’s for php150.00 each.

Mirror – This serves double purpose…. Vanity and signaling when lost. I haven’t tried it but I think this can also be used to start a fire using intense heat of the sun. Or was that a glass piece? Hmmmm.

2. Nutrition

hopia and aligue pasta: not exactly the pair you would want to eat in a climb
Hikers need enough energy to last the whole climb so it is important to pay attention to what you eat. You should know the eating pattern that you are most comfortable with.

mt. Timbak 2009: Me heavy brekkie! @ Andok's Session Road

 Breakfast – We all know that breakfast can make or break anyone’s day. This holds the same with climbing. On the climbing day, I eat the heaviest during breakfast. Rice is a basic staple, with eggs and some coffee at times.

MREs: expensive alternative to packed lunch (that's my blue Orikaso!)
group packed lunch

Mt. Maculot 2010: Valentine lunch

Lunch – Packed lunch is the easiest way of nourishing one during the climb. Although most prefer to bring extra load of the cookset, butane, and stove, I like to bring packed lunch during the climb, which ranges from heavy rice meal (multi-day climbs) or just sandwiches or any alternatives that are not as heavy as rice.

chocolate cake for trailfood... anyone?

 Trail foods – GORP which stands for “good ole raisins and peanuts” is the traditional mix of trail foods since time immemorial. I have seen tweaking of this old stuff, some even makes GORP malt energy balls. During my newbie years, I abide by the books of bringing dried fruits, chocolates, and peanuts as trail snack. Nowadays, I thrive on salty bites like potato chips, nachos, almonds/cashews. I get my sweet fix from choco chip cookies, choco-filled biscuits, and other goodies I might find in store in the jumpoff. Some hardcore climbers bring energy bars and trail mix bars.

3. Hydration

As same with everything, your hydration can make or break a climb. Choose your drink combination well.

take it easy on water

Water – It is important to keep yourself hydrated during the climb, but you need to check the amount of water you are drinking. Too much liquid intake can cause you the discomfort of a full bladder which you need to empty from time to time. I have experienced drinking almost 2L of water and not taking a leak in my climb. This is not advisable. I became bloated, my body retaining water. As a result, my toes were bloated too! And it made a super snug fit in my shoes that it caused me discomfort and blisters. It is also recommended that you have a streamer, in which allows you to control your water intake through the sipping hose.

Gatorade – We lose electrolytes/body salts through sweating. Water alone cannot compensate for this loss, so it is important that we have drinks that can replenish our electrolytes.

Energy drinks – Like water, Gatorade is not enough to give us that much needed strength and endurance in a climb. So whenever I anticipate a hard trek, I always bring energy drinks like Cobra and Bacchus. I like Bacchus because of Taurine, a known substance to give energy. However, I don’t recommend Cobra that much. There are side effects after two hours of intake, which usually entails doubling your exhaustion and sleepiness.

4. Vanity

When we climb, we sometimes leave our vanity behind. But, when we get back down, we shouldn't forget to pick it up again.

washup @ terraza verde

 Clothes – We sweat, we get dirty, and we stink after a climb. Who doesn’t? Before going home, it is customary rather than mandatory (in cases that I sometimes don’t) to wash ourselves clean after the climb. I bring change clothes that are light. When the dayhike climb is not a traverse, I usually leave these in houses at the jumpoff, to cut down the load (yep I am that lazy nowadays). Usually a pair of undies, shirt, jogging pants or shorts and my Aquazorb towelette will do.

Toiletries – powder, cologne, comb, toothbrush… shampoo and soap I always buy from a nearby store at the washup station

Mt. Arayat 2008: Ok now stop staring!
me on slippers during trek: paa ng mountain guide

Extra slippers – This may come in handy whenever your footwear takes a break. It did during my Mt. Arayat traverse climb where I lost my new pair of Merrell shoes at that darn White Rock. I used flipflops all the way down to the Juan Bano trail. Plus this can give relief to your tired feet… you can wear this on your way home.

leg support for sprained knees before climbing Mt. Apo
Body support – I am a person with weak nerves. Never a climb pass that I don’t experience weak knees and ankle. This is due to the high amount of uric acid that my body has retained and stored in my joints. To address this problem, I bought a leg, knee and ankle support. I bring only what I think I will need depending on the trail class and climb difficulty. If uncertain? I bring them all. Lols.

i gotta sunshine on a cloudy day....

Umbrella – During my newbie years I show contempt to those hiking under an umbrella. I always think… whatta wuzz. Experience taught me better. During hikes on open trails in the heat of the afternoon, it is really best to be under an umbrella. Intense heat adds to the exhaustion, and who wouldn’t want to be spared of that extra factor contributing to energy drain? Using an umbrella is just a climbing strategy.

Nailcutters and tweezers – Who would want to climb with ingrown toe nails? Sometimes at the onset of the climb we don’t know we have one… until our toes receive batteries during the climb. It is best to bring a light nailcutter to relieve ourselves with that discomfort brought about by disfigured toenails. Another is when we accidentally grab a thorny part of a plant! Ouch! This is the time for the handy tweezer to pull out little thorns. Also, tweezers can be used to remove that icky parasitic “limatiks”….which habitually go for the eyes.

Sewing kit
– Not everyone brings this, but with me this is a must especially when I am wearing my favorite shorts from ukay-ukay… which constantly slits itself at the crotch.

5. Gadgets

We should never go without one…

Cellphone – one of the most important tool for survival. It is advisable to be minimalist and leave your iPhone and all that apps at home. Flashy gadgets can become a hot item to the eyes of the locals, and this might endanger your life more than save it. All you need is a good phone that can send and receive text messages, and one that can make a call.

precious moment captured: dozing off in a banca with sunset background

Camera – Of course… how else can you brag about that hardcore trail, or that beautiful sight you beheld, or that rare flora and fauna find you’ve got. This item captures everything and encapsulates your memories of the climb. Over time though, when one frequents a certain mountain more often than desired, this item loses its utility. In my experience, when I climb a mountain more than 3 times, I lose that desire to document, and I just savor the moment and the view.

All the time I bring my not so minimalist phone which can double as camera (3MP), MP3, and notebook for my itinerary (text reader).

Have I forgotten anything? 

Any more you could add?

Please do share.....

(Photocredit: I got it all mixed up with mine so if you recognize your photo here please PM me so I can give proper credit)


  1. Great list, I also bring sunblock and umbrella, yep kahit sa bundok :)

  2. you're right claire, sunblock is really a must for every climber!

    in my case, i don't use it since i don't feel comfortable with the sticky feeling. i am yet to meet my soulmate sunblock. lols. Do you have any recommendations, something that is not sticky, waterproof, and does not sting when comes in contact with the eyes?

  3. Knife? Now that I have a solo tent, I'd carry that in the day pack as well, 1.5kg, tops. I linked on FB ha?

  4. THnx for dropping by Sir Cecil

    I kinda unintentionally left knife out. Might edit this, but I don't have a quality knife, just blades from a small utility "knife".

    I knew a climber who do bring a dome tent too. With a tent in the pack, I can imagine that you feel really secured during any climb, dayhike or overnight.

    I want to get my hands on a bivy sack as well.

  5. I really don't know much about other brands because I have always used Nivea brand, one for the face and anther for the body, nothing especial really, nakasanayan lang :)