Thursday, January 29, 2009

camping and climbing checklist - updated 2010

by Gideon Lasco

This annotated checklist, I hope, will help everyone planning a climb. I updated this on 10/12/10 for the benefit of participants for the 2nd Mt. Apo Sembreak Climb next week.

For overnight climbs, a 40L backpack will do while multi-day trips may require larger packs; make sure to have a raincover with you to protect your pack from rain. Bring tents that would be exact for each group. Don't forget the pegs that would protect your tent from being collapsed or blown away by wind and the flysheet that will protect your tent from being rained down. A sleeping bag is not a necessity especially when the planned campsite is predictably flat; some tents may have a built-in groundsheet but bringing one is always recommended. An earthpad serves a dual purpose of scaffolding the items in your pack and providing insulation at night.

Sets of clothes: 1 set going up, 1 set in camp, 1 set going down: but actually you can just bring two sets, one going up, and the other at camp you can wear going down; just add a pajama or sweater for the camp itself if it will be cold. For multi-day, rainy climbs, you can have two sets: the wet set during climbing and dry set during camping.

Waterproofing. It is best to make sure everything, especially clothes, are protected from rain. You do not need fancy waterproof packs to achieve this; simply putting your clothes inside plastic bags can serve the purpose. However, items that are waterproof are always cool and useful; look for GORE-TEX fabric in clothes, jackets, and shoes as a mark of waterproofing. Otherwise, make you sure you bring a poncho or raincoat to protect your body in case of rain. Also, choose clothes that easily dry and does not get get heavy with rain. This is the reason why jeans are a no-no!

Cold protection. You can either go for quanity (many layers of clothes) or quality (just a few with the right fabrics and sufficient protection). Not all good fabrics vs. the cold are good against rain, however, such as jackets with goose feathers or those thick ones for winter. So in the setting of cold weather, it is best to have warm insides and a waterproof outside (a Gore-Tex jacket) to keep everything dry. Body warmers such as bonnets, gloves, socks, and thermal underwear are good items. Since tolerance to cold vary from person to person, only experience can definitively tell you how many layers you should bring for a Pulag climb. Three to four is enough on the average, though.

Thin, long-sleeved shirts or rashguards would also serve the purpose of protecting the skin vs. thorns and insects and they are worn with shirts in the same way that leggings are worn with shorts. They have the added benefit of some protection vs. the sun, although wearing sunblock (SPF > 30) is still recommended in exposed trails.

Other items you can bring is a pair of sunglasses/shades to shield your eyes from the intense sunlight at high elevations and a trekking pole (sometimes two) to assist you in steep trails. A trekking pole may not have a purpose at the start, but it could be a precious tool when you get a sprain.

Backpack / raincover
Tent / groundsheet / earthpad
Sleeping bag*
Hiking shoes / plus optional slippers/sandals
Trekking pants/light pants
Thermal/cotton/wool undershirt
Long sleeved trekking shirt
Poncho / raincoat
Extra shirts
Gloves/bonnet/thick socks
Bush hat / cap
Trekking pole*

Water. When bringing water, take the presence and interval of water sources as a guide on how much to bring. In general, 1 liter can last for two hours on mild to moderate sunlight on mild to moderate trails. So if the average interval of water sources for each climb is four hours, it is best to have at least 2-3L water in addition to what you will need in camp for cooking. A cool item is of course the hydration pack (sometimes referred to as a bladder) which can store water inside your pack; you can just sip it from a valve. Water carriers are large, compressible water containers that can act as water dispensers at campsites - and serve as an efficient way to harvest water from sources.

Trail food. It is entirely up to you what kind of trail food you want to bring. Personally, I always bring a mix of dried fruits (dried mangoes, raisins); energy bars (chocolate, oatmeal bars); the traditional gelatin (i.e. JellyAce -- but I love those with fruit bits or nata inside); and candies. Don't forget to keep track of your wrappers! Some climbers prepare their own trail food by filling Ziplocks with ChocNut, bits of Oreo and M&Ms, plus gummy bears, for their personal snack. Don't buy low-calorie stuff, though - you need the energy!

Meals. It has been mountaineering tradition to cook in camp - i.e. buy meat from the local market, rice, etcetera. However, don't feel embarrassed if you will resort to canned goods. The important thing is leaving nothing at the campsite, especially those tin cans. Cooking rice up in the mountains is just like doing it in town, but water boils faster in high altitudes so make adjustments. Pasta - or sotanghon - is advocated by some as an easier alternative to rice. Oil of course is very important and personally I always want something to spice things up like peppers or chili powder.

Stove. A majority of portable stoves in the Philippines are still butane-based although there is an emerging number of multi-fuel ones. Make sure you have enough fuel for the climb; one butane cylinder usually lasts for 1-2 meals. I usually bring 1 cylinder for each night, plus an extra. As for the stove, of course you have to bring one. Setting up a fire for cooking in campsites is not a recommended practice. Bring a ligher or matches just in case the igniter of your stove conks out.

Cooking and eating utensils. Your cooking utensils can double as your eating utensils. The higher-end ones are made of titanium although the classic Kovea cooker set is a very good deal. Bring spoons/forks/knives; they can all be combined in a camping Swiss knife so learn how to economize on space and items.

After meals. If water is limited, the utensils may be cleaned by a wet tissue/towel with alcohol. Don't leave utensils with food lest you attract mountain rats and other guests. If there is a water source, do your cleaning downstream so as not to contaminate the source.

2-3L water or liquids / hydration pack or water carriers

Trail food: could be energy bars, nuts, dried fruits
Rice / precooked/uncooked meat
Noodles / instant coffee
Oil / garlic / pepper
Portable stove and fuel
COoking/eating utensils
Spoon/fork/knife/can opener
Lighter /matches
Garbage bags/Ziplocks

Needless to say, you have to mind your personal needs even when in the mountains. First on the checklist is a trowel (though one per group will do) which you will use to dig a hole for your waste; the rest are quite self-explanatory. You may not need these during the climb itself, but at the jumpoff, a postclimb shower may be a good reward -- and something you need to sleep all the more soundly on the bus back home.

Trowel /tissue paper
Soap/ Shampoo
Toothbrush / toothpaste

This is like a PC game in real life - you can actually use cool gadgets in real life as you climb. Of course, the most basic ones are a flashlight or headlamp (go for long battery life) and a camera. Virtually everybody has a digital camera by now and of course outdoor photography is best served by a dSLR. Navigation and expedition people, on the other hand, bring GPS / altimeter watches: these are vital on explorations. Otherwise, a compass is basic. In all these, don't forget to bring extra batteries because cold temperatures drain batteries. And, if it rains, make sure you have a waterproof solution.

Flashlight / headlamps
Camera / binoculars
Cellphone / Two-way radios
GPS / altimeter watches
Compass / Topographic maps
Extra batteries / memory

I always bring a notebook with me and a pen to document the climb; but it can also be handy in emergencies. You can use ribbons to mark your path on an uncharted trail, and a whistle will spare you from the need to shout at the top of your voice. A utility rope is advised for mountains with steep trails (to assist hikers), for river crossings, and the lake. but a first aid kit is very important. If you have an existing condition like asthma, never ever forget your personal medications! And when somebody finds you unconscious, make sure a contact number (and blood type) can be found somewhere.

A swiss knife would also come in handy, for a variety of reasons. Other useful suggestions including bringing a duct tape (for sealing tents and bags) a twine (a very thin cord/rope that can be used to create instant hangers for clothes, among other uses.

Ballpen / paper/ ribbons / whistle
Lighter /matches
Insect repellant / Sunscreen or sunblock (>SPF 30)
First aid kit / Personal medications (see separate article)
Utility rope*
Multi-purpose cord / twine
Duct tape
Swiss knife
ID with emergency phone numbers and blood type

Have I missed something? Help build's articles by commenting on this post!


Anonymous said...

Hi Gideon,

how about adding a DUCT TAPE to the checklist.
this is very handy in case of emergency..

e.g.. patching torn fly sheet, can also serve as a temporary patch for small wound in case you don't have a band aid or gauze.

thanks.. =)


FERNAN said...

pag climb, I always bring BABY OIL.. effective to keep the cold out specially when hiking at higher elevations. pahid lang sa likod ok na. a good variant is baby oil plus efficascent oil.

one thing I noted is about boiling water. its true that water "should" boil faster at higher elevations (review your physics p1/t1 blah blah...) but in reality it will take longer to boil it due to cold temperature and windier condition up there. pag nagssaing, ang style ko na lang is pinapakulo muna ung tubig bago ilalagay ang bigas. try it =)

overall all nice checklist
more power to Pinoymountaineer!


Malou Constantino said...

...sarap talaga maghike kapag kumpleto dala mo... problema lang.. dami mong dala..bigat pa! hehe

...but good checklist a..talagang based on experience! ;p

Reggae Princess said...

Uhhmmm..pwede ka rin magdala ng know the female use it...use it during emergency.. sa malalaking sugat just like a band aid...and yes somtetimes we call it a band aid...instead of a sanitary napkin..

gideon said...

guys, thank you for the suggestions. @ezekiel: indeed a DUCT TAPE is a great and multi-purpose addition. as for the oil, i haven't tried it yet but maybe i should! efficascent oil can double as a muscle relaxant/topical pain reliever..

fernan, thanks also for clarifying the thing about water. oo nga naman. one thing i have to master with the outdoors is cooking -- my success rate with rice is 60% or less!

reggae princess, tnx for bringing this up. something that i would never think of! hehe

thank you for helping build the website by commenting. may our collective experiences help each other in enjoying the outdoors all the more!

jay z said...

sir gid sa rice nakita ko ung technique ni pastour emata(1st phil everest team) pinakuluan muna nya ung tubig before adding rice in a circular motion also inaalis nya din sa apoy ung rice pag kumukulo he let it settle for a few minutes before nya ibalik sa apoy hinahalo nya din and sir ang ganda ng lumalabas na result walang sunog perfecly cooked ung rice hindi din cya nahihilaw as in perfectly cooked... hope makatulong sir gid

gideon said...

thanks jay z for this tip! will try it ((

Anonymous said...

Sir Gid, it may be impt to include a bottle or a "compressable" plastic to fetch water for the camp site especially for cooking and "necessary" washing.

I agree with the trekking pole. I used to consider it fit for the adults. But having tried using one in the Akiki-Amba route to Pulag, I saved so much energy compared to my first Pulag climb.

And please,,, all climbers must bring their IT with them and the "checklist" too.

Anonymous said...

Very Informative.. nice one.. hope makasama rin ako..

- aerojazz

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very helpful article. May I also add the following for the first aid kit:

1. sanitary napkins (very useful for staunching open wounds)

2. Super Glue (temporary fix for small gashes)

As well as Swiss knife, or a multi-tool.

jmazaredo said...

Camp Fire is not recommended but also needed. What is some case you need to cook but cannot because of gas leak, stove got broke and some other instance? Of course you dont wanna die. It is not advisable but also not mandatory not to. Just practice it perfectly and in an open area not near where there are plants or trees.

This is my opinion

jmazaredo said...

And by the way LEAVE NO TRACE. Clean the area

ra said...

tsaka lubid po, ung size ng sintas, magagamit for emergencies very versatile

Anonymous said...

i highly agree with you jmazaredo. and would'nt it great to sit around a camp fire during your social nights?! :))

Anonymous said...

galing!! thank u all nasa list q na lahat ng advice nyo na dalhin .. ds is my firdt time na umakyat at sa saturday na yan!! may 1... im so xcted na tlg.. tnx guys


jotan23 said...

thanks for the post!
this is very helpful!
I have just started and would love to try climbing mountains next :)

arckthompson said...

sir gid, sama mo sa checklist of gadgetry a fully charge 6 volt lead acid battery, the one thats inside a any model of emergency lights use in home and in the building. just bring the battery only and make sure it is fully charge,and head lamp or any kind of 6 volts rated flashlight,but take note an LED type, or ( light emitting diodes )this type of bulb is a tiny one that emits a bright white light.this battery can last up to two days continiously with out turning off the switch, and it doubles as a igniter when you run out of lighter or the matches get soaking wet. the trick is to short the positive terminal of the battery to the negative terminal with fine strand of copper wire tied to dry wood or grass to start a fire. thats wind and water proof it would make fire in any condition because its a electricity at work. a good type of wire to be use as shorting wire is cellphone headset we always have one in every three climber in case of emergency just sacrifice one. also a two cellphone battery connected in series can do the trick of making fire in an emergency situation at any weather condition i've already put it to the test and it performs well. thanx hope you include my style in making fire, the techis way. tnx more power to your site keep it up .... arckthompson

ricky said...

sir gid best alternative din yung mga vacuum pack meals (royal brand : mechado, kaldereta etc)
almost same price but better than canned goods, less space din. and thanks nga po pala sir sa website mo, it's a big help for us as a starter group lalo na sa mga IT and special concerns

Anonymous said...

Galing naman! it's a completed list of Group Equipment and Personal Equipment... it's a big help to all of us to be always reminded for what we need there, new climber will learn a lot from it and experienced climber will say "Oo nga ano pwede pala yun".
I think the only thing I can add, correct me if I'm wrong (Kasi hinde naman naka indicate na checklist ng equipment di ba, hehehe palusot, pati techniques kasama na e hehehe) is the Reason why we will conquer a particular mountain... One climb, million of reasons, what's yours? Me I put my self into danger and risk, just to know who I am, whats my breaking point... and use the information in real life situation. I believed Mountain will make us better person because of the entire obstacle we will face there.

Oryol Outdoor Group, Inc. (Daet, Cams. Norte)
U.S. Naval Base, Gtmo. Bay, Cuba lets chat

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot guys for the checklist

Anonymous said...

mr. ricky, saan nakakabili ng royal brand? sorry for my ignorance. thanks.

supladito_27 said...

astig ung mga comments & suggestions etc.. really a big help & informative to beginners like us.. ;o) thanks guyz!!!

manacs said...

this is for fernan.
when i was in the early days of adventuring this kind of sports and we don't have this high tech stoves. we only got this camping gaz. (the fuel canister cost is quite expensive) we used to soak the rice for 1 hour in water before we start to cook it. i tell you this technique will save you a lot of fuel.

Anonymous said...

Cody here! most of the climbers I know don't bring water treatments. I know It's pretty expensive and rarely available in stores but its definitely a good investment and surely will save you a lot in terms of weight, survival in case you run out of water , sickness from drinking untreated water.


Anonymous said...

first aid kit with realfirst aid tools should be brought

Darth Cyphix said...


This is very helpful. Just started on climbing with my cousins and it was on Mt Daguldol in Batangas last Febuary 18-19, 2012. Before the climb I read this article and gave me a lot of insights, kahit pang starter lang yung mountain, talagang na-enjoy ko yung pag akyat, lalo na with the fact that I'm prepared for it.

In relation to the baby oil, well, its true that it will help keep you warm, it will serve as a layer that will help level down your body heat. At the same time, bring a bonnet, always remember to have something to cover your head especially on high altitude climbs, this will also help in reducing heat loss.

As to the part on cooking rice, yung sinabi nung isa to boils water before placing the rice then when it boils alisin sa apoy then stir then place back on fire, this was a technique use by Japs when preparing their rice and it will really make your rice cook much better. :)

thank you very much and God Bless

Darth Cyphix said...

sorry, kulang yung na-type ko sa post ko above.

Paragraph 2, the baby oil will act as another layer that will help lower down body heat "LOSS"

thank you... :)

Just Plunge said...

Hi, your blog site really helped me through my 1st hiking experience. Thank you!:) I put up a draft of my quick list meant specifically for women hikers and was wondering if you can help me comb through it as all I offered was amateur advice.

My site: Thanks!

novel lopena said...

sir... im aware that alot of climbers/hikers are very poor in menu planning... im one of them.
could you please set up as well menu plans here..

lalo sa mga multi day hikes


team N+J

Anonymous said...

thanks for this list. ako yung sa lighter part gamit ko lagi is zippo lighter wind proof very convenient to use

Anonymous said...

Thanks.. this helps...

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