A First-time Hiker’s Guide to the Mountains

All your bags are packed, but are you ready to go?

The dream is to wake up to a view as magnificent as this every day. Unfortunately, not a lot of people are lucky enough to live this close to the mountains. So, we settle for short-term expeditions to take us away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Getting to this first-class view is no first-class experience. Just take it from Darryl Garcia, Rodolf Karlmark Malaluan, and Michael Gabriel—three of the eight Geography majors and mountaineers behind Banayad Outdoors. We visited their shop near Maginhawa and these  mountaineer-entrepreneurs were more than eager to accommodate us for a few minutes to share tips for first-time hikers.

Their first advice is to make an effort to #Wellnessize yourself. To Wellnessize is to take small steps to wellness. Like a car, your body needs to get tuned up before blazing away. “We start doing regular cardio exercises at least 2 weeks before our scheduled hike. This prepares the limbs for all the climbing and helps manage our pacing. We usually workout individually but if our schedules permit, we jog together because it’s just more fun that way,” narrates Michael. 

Aside from preparing the body, you also have to prepare your mind. Rodolf’s advice is to “research so you can be smart about the trip. Learn what challenges the previous hikers experienced in the trail and make sure you’re prepared for it.”

Hiking can sometimes put you in uncomfortable situations,” admits Darryl. “One way to be comfortable during the trek is to wear light clothes and to carry a relatively light bag.” Bring only the most important things such as food, cooking tools, and camping equipment. Pack medical items appropriate for the journey and those that you personally know how to use. Basic first-aid essentials are adhesive bandages, ibuprofen, antibiotics, sterile gauze and alcohol. Any unnecessary load should be left behind.

The long-time hikers put a big no-no on wearing untested or newly-opened box of shoes. “Your feet will look good on the photos but they won’t feel good throughout the entire hike,” Darryl warns.

They encourage the first-time hikers to start early. “The goal is to reach the summit. First-timers would definitely want to get a photo with the clouds on their feet and the sky in the background. You need daylight if you want to capture this moment,” says Michael.

Of course, you would not want anything to spoil your first hike. “Take notice of the weather forecast. If there’s a chance for rain, cancel the trip as water will make the ground loose and slippery,” says Rodolf.

Finally, they encourage every hiker to show nature some love by leaving no trace. Gather all your trash as you break camp, put them in a bag, and carry them with you on your way back. In this way, you will enable other people to experience the beauty of Mother Nature for many more years to come.