From sturdy tents to a versatile cook set, here are the bare essentials you need to make the most of the Philippine outdoors
The Philippines is in no short supply of wild spaces. From lofty peaks to pristine beaches, the country affords a plethora of options for adventure travelers. And while there is much to be said about doing things upon whim, it’s undeniable how the proper implements can make the experience so much better.
Here are 5 basic gears you need for spending time in the Philippine wilderness.
Spending the night in the Philippine mountains is an experience one shouldn’t miss, for (personally) no beachside dawn or country sunrise could ever rival a morning in the mountains. To fully enjoy the experience, you must bring a suitable shelter with you. Some opt for hammocks and tarps because they weigh significantly less than tents, but the latter is still advisable for maximum protection.
One thing you have to know about tents is that they’re not all created equal. A beach tent would only bring you woe if you take them up a mountain like Mt. Pulag – Luzon’s highest peak and one of the country’s most unforgiving. BaseKamp’s Ridge 2 is a nice option for a tent. It could fit three people comfortably while remaining relatively lighter than most tents. The tent is built with a snap-on mechanism, so setting it up is easy. Plus, the aluminum poles are durable and light. It also comes with a flysheet that you could attach directly to the poles even without the inner tent – serving like a sturdier tarp. Because of this, the Ridge 2 is also perfect for the beach and for “glamping.”
Even in the summer, rains can make an impromptu appearance. One moment, the sky’s all blue and brilliant; the next, you’re scrambling for cover as it starts to drizzle. So avoid getting bogged down by the weather and by your wet equipment by bringing rain gear.
Since you’d want to keep your hands free as much as possible, an umbrella is not really suitable to bring in the wild. The best option would be a poncho. It’s lightweight, barely takes up any space in your pack, and easy to wear. Some ponchos, like BaseKamp’s, are built well enough to double as an emergency shelter.
Just because you’re spending the night in the wild doesn’t mean you have to forage for food, or settle for canned goods and instant noodles. You can make like a wilderness chef by bringing a compact stove and cook set with you. Not only will you be able to prepare meals, you’d also minimize your impact by not having to create a bonfire just to cook.
Kovea Dual Flame stove only weighs 23 grams and has excellent thermal efficiency because of its double circle of flame. Pair it with a Max Sun Premium Butane to avoid unexpected compression and leaks in high elevation. For cook sets, the Fire Maple Feast 3 is highly recommended. It comes with two pots and a fry pan made from hard anodized aluminum, plus two PP bowls, a scoop and a cleaning sponge. Believe it or not, these three items had been used to cook crispy pata (deep-fried pork trotters or knuckles) and adobo up in the mountains. With the right gear, you can have a fiesta up there.
Of course, you mustn’t forget to bring water when camping. Options for carrying drinks range from hydration packs to the usual water bottles. Nalgene is a popular brand known for virtually unbreakable water bottles. Some of their products are also glow-in-the-dark, which prove handy come nighttime. Another product is Corksicle – a stainless steel insulated water canteen that could keep drinks cool for up to 25 hours! Nothing like ice cold water to keep you going. And oh, it also keeps hot drinks for up to 12 hours. Awesome, since coffee tastes better up in the mountains.
Bear in mind, though, that it really doesn’t matter how you carry drinks. What matters is you’ve brought enough of it to keep you hydrated. As you know, water is essential for survival – we can last three days without food, but not without water.
“A mountaineer is no better than his feet,” wrote Margaret Craven in Walk Gently This Good Earth. And for a country like the Philippines, whose terrain is so varied and unpredictable, having the right shoes could spell the difference between having a great time and going home with mangled toes.
For quality hiking footwear, homegrown brand Sandugo is a great choice. Their sandals and shoes are not only suitable for the Philippine outdoors, but are also very affordable. The Eiger, for example, is great for river trekking. A number of mountains in the country requires crossing rivers and waterways, making the Eiger perfect. Its open mesh and synthetic uppers make for supreme breathability. It also dries quickly because it has some sort of drainage system right on its soles. No more wrinkly feet!
All the items mentioned above are available at BaseKamp – a local retailer of quality outdoor gears. They carry both local and international brands like Deuter, Amihan, and Sandugo. They have branches in Trinoma, Ali Mall, Robinsons Galleria, Glorietta 3, Fairview Terraces, Market Market, Starmall Alabang, Isetann Recto, Ligaya, Gaisano Mall Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.
By Celine Reyes
Photos by Jed Rosella