I’ve often read and listened to partners dissuading their love ones to stay clear of hiking or mountain climbing because of the natural but tragic events like flash floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that had killed a lot of mountaineers.
Death is everywhere, accidents happens and mountain climbing is a dangerous enterprise yet that is where a mountaineers’ heart is. We don’t change our love ones, we accept them for who they are. Mind that before they became a part of our life, they were individuals on their own.
Appreciating our love ones for who they are is the most beautiful gift a child, friend or lover can give but the thought or any form of act supporting their passions and showing interest in their hobbies – that includes giving gifts, would melt their hearts like ice cream exposed to the sun.
But before buying that special gift, here are several guidelines you can consider:
1. The hiker’s preference. Ask them directly the specifications, usually mountaineers knows the specifications of the gear/s they want but if they say “bahala ka na”, ask questions anyway and listen to their answers. Just like in love, we need to give what they want not what we think they want.
2. Type of mountain he or she hikes. Again, the key is to ask them about their treks, listen to the descriptions. For sure on one of their stories they’ll share the times they’ve slipped and landed on their butts, the times when they were soaked with rain, the times when a leech got inside their boxers or the times their tummy’s went berserk due to amoeba or the times their snot went into their mouth because of the cold and snow. From these stories you’ll know what they need and what type of trail and mountain they encounter. Does he or she have any plans to trek to the base camp of Everest or any of the mountains in the himalayas? or maybe hit the loose rock infested trail of Indonesia’s Mt. Rinjani? It would be better to buy a gear that can be used for several type of climbs.
3. Budget. Mountaineering gears are expensive but local brands have become competitive in terms of durability and now the mountaineering community has a choice. However, not all gears has a local brand counterpart so mountaineers are still forced to buy branded ones either from local outlets or from overseas. And lets admit it, branded ones have their pros and cons – the technology that had been perfected for years. tested and reviewed by mountaineering hardcores.
How do we show love and appreciation? you can give the gift of love by giving the gift of life, safety and health. Here are gift ideas for your partner, friend, best friend, climb buddy, mentor or parent who can’t get enough of the outdoors especially the mountains. How authentic is this list? They came straight from the hearts of mountaineers.
Top 3 Gifts to Give a Mountaineer
When I popped the question to CLIMBER, a facebook mountaineering page and to friends in the mountaineering community, it looks like the basic needs of a mountaineer are still high on the list. So, here are their top 3 on their wish list:
There are several types of hiking shoes, they come in variety and deciding what brand, type and price can be tricky. This is one of the most critical gear a mountaineer can have so it would be better if the user is with you when you buy it. I would not suggest the usual process – buy, wrap and place it under the tree. It won’t work.
Known brands in the Philippines are Timberland, Merrel, The North Face, Columbia and Salomon among others while prices ranges from php5,000 to 8,000 but here is the lowest deal you can get, Sandugo can go as low as php2,000.
The experts advises to
“forget about looks, numerical sizes, flashy features, or even what other people recommend – unless their feet are identical to the user. The things to be considered are comfort, durability, stability, weight, warmth, and water resistance. The most important thing is to get a good fit, with a snug fit at the heel and wiggling room for your toes in front“.
An all-season tent would really be appreciated and if you have the bucks and feeling too generous then this is the ultimate gift. It would stroke your love ones’ sleep in the mountains and err his or her ego BUT would definitely punch a hole on your pocket. Price ranges from php4,000 to 57,000. That pricey? Yep.
However, Philippines only have two seasons – the wet and wild and the dry or summer which narrows the choices down. A good tent does not really equate to a pricey tent. A mountaineering enthusiast shared his know how about the subject through his article titled Buying a Tent.
Local online shops I know where you can buy branded or locally made tents and other mountaineering gears which can give you good deals are Pinoy Outdoor Gear, Brown Trekker and Xplore7107 Outdoor Gears but if you are hesitant or in a rush, good tents can also be found at Lagalag store (SM North) and Conquer (Pioneer-Boni).
Another essential for a mountaineer, maybe the first one on the list to buy if one wants to start doing mountain climbing. I for one made several mistakes when I was starting out due to lack of information or advises from experts. Well, during the 80’s any backpack will do but the recent boom and Filipino climbing mentality termed as ‘pormaneering’, the pack had become so important especially the brand.
Of course its not just because of the later but a pack designed for the mountains will give a mountaineer miles on the trail and branded ones usually had undergone trials and test for comfort and durability among others.
Known brands are Jack Wolfskin, Osprey, The North Face, Black Diamond, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, Arc’teryx among others. Locally, the most reliable yet I’ve encountered are packs by Conquer.
Prices plays at php2,000 for Conquer and php4,000 to 8,000 for other brands. I recently bought an Osprey via an online seller with an almost 40% price difference from ROX, The Fort. Should you need the contact person and number just drop me a message or check out my post here.
Compass, Map and GPS Kit
This are the most basic and are essential in a mountaineers’ pack. There had been a lot of mountain news where a mountaineer had lost his or her way and having this on a love ones’ pack could save his or her life. Make sure the manual is inside the gift box too and that the compass is designed for a mountaineer (price range: php1,500 low; php8,000 or higher).
A pocket knife or a multi-tool one is the best. You can choose from
Swiss army knife by Victorinox, Ka-Bar or other brands but make sure it can be folded. Fixed blades are also a good choice and several blade makers like the Cordilleran and other ethnic tribes in the country produces good ones. If you want one, I’m sure Sir Ramon of CLIMBER would happily direct you to his contacts (price range php600 low; php3,500 high but customized ones from the Cordillera’s would usually cost php500 to php1,000).
I don’t mean matches or lighters because both can get wet and when they are soaked with rain, they malfunction and become totally useless. Not everyone learned the basic of a scout or even if your love one was once a member of the boy/girl scout of the Philippines, not everyone can rely on their scant training especially the younger generation. A warm food during a stormy night on a mountain will warm your love ones’ heart and tummy. (price range: php 300 low; php1,000).
Water Treatment System
This is a gift of health and I was lucky to have received one this year from my very own angel, one of the best gift yet. There are a lot of choices in the market but the gift to me was Sawyer’s mini filter and I could not help but love it because it is small and very handy. Getting sick because of spring water during a multi-day trek could mean disaster for a mountaineer. Most mountaineers’ though feel that they aren’t true mountaineers if they can’t drink spring water. Let’s help change that mentality. Giving this as a gift and asking them to bring it on their hikes would eventually make them use it because it is a gift from you. You are special and so is he or she. Read my review of Sawyers’ here it might help convince you and them (price: php1,000 low; 2,500 high).
And a supply of batteries too! This saved my life literally during a trek and owning 1, 2 or 3 sets of headlamp won’t hurt. Depending on the lumen, a headlamp can be pricey however it doesn’t have to be if the user is not into trail running. Give the gift of light so your love ones will always find a way back to you. (price range: Php300 low; php8,000 high).
Send this as an e-mail so he or she will know what your heart desires.
P.S. – will surely make next years’ list better. Comments? do feel free to fill out the box below.
Photo references: google search, mine and Pinoy Outdoor Gears