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10 Hiking Gear Hacks You Need to Know to Survive the Philippine Wilderness

Helpful tips every hiker needs to know.
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Having the right hiking gear is a no-brainer for any hiker planning to brave one of our many forest-covered mountains. But finding the right hiking gear is where the trouble is at. While most people remember to bring the typical hiking gear equipment, like a Swiss army knife and a compass, there are quite a few light and easy-to-pack essentials you need to add to your equipment list.

Here are 10 hiking gear hacks you need to know to upgrade your status from hiking rookie to hiking pro.

1| Flexible water bottle

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Everyone knows to bring a water bottle on a hike, but do you bring the right one? Your Starbucks mug won’t cut it in the wild. The best type of water bottle to bring is a flexible one like this Hydrapak Stow Bottle, which can store up to one liter of water. As you drink more water, the bottle will shrink and take up less space in your bag. It also comes in other sizes, with some holding up to eight liters of water in a flexible, foldable container.

2| Waterproof headlamp

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If you’re planning a night trek, think about trading a regular handheld torch with a headlamp. It’ll save you from the fuss of trying to hike with one hand, plus it’ll put the light directly in your line of vision. Decathlon’s Trail Running 300 Lumens Head Torch Onnight also happens to be waterproof, which will come in handy when cloudy skies are overhead.

3| Trail food

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You don’t need to be snacking on Oreos if you’re trying to lose weight by hiking. Snack on trail mix instead. They’re usually packed with fiber and nutrients, and they won’t make you feel full or heavy, making them suitable for a long hike. Healthy Options sells Clif Bar Sierra Trail Mix, which comes in the form of an energy bar that contains organic rolled oats, organic raisins, organic peanuts, organic peanut butter, and organic pumpkin seeds.

4| Mini carabiners

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You’ve probably seen this around and never knew the name of it. Well, here it is: a carabiner designed to secure things together or in place. When it comes to a piece of hiking gear you might need to rappel off a cliff, we suggest avoiding the cheapest products on Shopee. Here’s the Camcon Locking Carabiner 2-Pack on Tactical Asia, which specializes in outdoor gear.

5| Survival bracelet

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This survival accessory usually used by the military includes a chord, compass, emergency flashlight, fire starter, cutter, and whistle, all in one bracelet. This is one of these things that can rarely go wrong, so we suggest buying one at whichever market you happen upon or even on Shopee.

6| Dry bag  

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You never know when it might rain, or if your hiking path has been submerged in water. That’s why having a dry bag is might just save all your electronics and valuables. The Tactics Ultra Dry Bag is a reliable trail buddy that’s guaranteed to keep your things water- and dirt-free.    

7| Biodegradable tape

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If you ever fear getting lost in the jungles, then keep some biodegradable tape on you. You can use this to track your trail, and the best part is, the tape will decompose naturally with time. Here’s an affordable pair from Lazada.

8| Travel spice kit

If you’re not a fan of campsite food, you’re not alone. Getting away from civilization means leaving all your ingredients at home. Or does it? One hiking gear hack you can learn is to bring a small pack of spices in a Ziplock bag when you go trekking so you can spice up bland campfire meals. Keep them in small containers like the one above.

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9| Compact spork

While you’re probably assuming we suggested a spork because it takes up less room, we’re really suggesting it because it’s so much easier to clean. Chores are a bore if you’re in a campsite and your only means of washing equipment is a waterfall or a river. Keep things simple and buy a spork.

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10| Organic bug repellent

Keep the bugs, and all their potential diseases, away by bringing a compact bottle of organic bug repellent. Stick with an organic formula because remember, you’re in nature, and the chemicals of strong bug sprays could disrupt the environment. Try Alisap Organic Insect Repellent, which uses all-natural ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass essential oils.

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Did you know sunscreen on divers is connected to the bleaching of coral reefs? Let’s not let a similar thing happen to our jungles by bringing the right hiking gear.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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