Multi-Day Hike in the Philippines: How I Lighten My Backpack

Mt. Apo

My 13 Kg load to Camp Gudi-Gudi.

“Bug-at kaayo!” That’s usually my clamor every time I have a 3 days trek… I wanted to utilize the porter or champa sa tent and all, but I wanted to be a self-contained hiker (except for the foods, yea? haha) and not to let someone bring my stuff for me… but I can’t do it. I still utilize the help of the porter for at least 2kgs – 3kgs of my stuff (that’s the toiletries and or my tent). At least I am trying *taps myself* and that’s okay.

@Mt. Talinis via Totoy Dalaga

Hiking in the Philippines: Porter

Imagine how these bag straps hurt. 

Hiking in the Philippines: Porter

@Kalatungan – Lumpanag Wiji via Pangantucan – 500/15kgs, +100 for every additional kilo

Hiking in the Philippines: Porter


@Mt. Pulag – Php100/KG. These porters can carry up to 40KG/day. I’m in awe.

@Mt. Apo via Digos – 500/15kgs, +100 for every additional kilo up to 20kgs load.

I am just amazed and grateful for how these people can afford and can carry other people’s stuff for a living. I hope one of these days the PH Mountain Climbing/Climbers Community will have a program to honor these folks. I am not sure how they budget the service fees that are being paid to them–a decent living, but I hope that it’s enough for their family to feed. I hope it’s all worth it. Since this is already part of the LGU tourism and these trails are already fully established, the fees might have also been regulated.

I could still remember our first hiking in Cebu at Osmena Peak traverse to Kawasan Falls in 2015. It was fun but my gears weren’t. I brought 1 backpack and 1 duffle bag. I know, I know, there’s always a first time. Jesse kept on teasing me and Kris that our backpacks look like we’re going to school since we brought our Jansport bags.

Osmena Peak

@Osmena Peak traverse to Kawasan Falls || How about a knitted sweatshirt, a duffle bag and a backpack on a 7-hour trek? 😀  

In 2016, I asked for Top’s Habagat’s Sigbin backpack… I still didn’t know how to pack. I didn’t attend any BMC yet, so the whole time, I was packing it wrong. I put the heavy load at the bottom part of the bag, I didn’t repack my tent. I was consuming 2L of water and Gatorade for a day hike. And I just put everything that I want to bring.

Habagat Sigbin Backpack

After a year, I  actually bought a new one because I wasn’t permitted to go with my friends at Mt. Talinis. I was also hoping that one of those days, I can also go with the multi-day hike events and also that’s a reminder that Papa didn’t allow me to climb (because he already did on January 1, 2020!). Imagine the ‘suya’ that I felt while I was in Marapipi Island, and my friends were in Mt. Taliiiiinis. Uuugh! ‘Sige lang, bag-o man ko bag’, *and comforted myself* ug naa kos Sambawan Island sad. Fair square.



Up until now, I am still not spared from being vexed by most of my guy friends because I have a heavier backpack than theirs. I usually have anxiety a night before major hikes as I always feel cold even in the office, so I need to spare myself from hypothermia. I don’t want to get hungry at night. I don’t want to poop at the campsite. I TEND TO OVERPACK, and yes I overpack.

BMC: Where How to Pack a Backpack was discussed. I wasn’t there, that’s why on my first major hike, I didn’t arrange my baggage well.

The Anatomy of Columbia Trail Pursuit 40L: I bought this because of its minimalist design. One thing that I do not like on this backpack is, it has very few pockets yet I compromise on that. Well, it only has 3 outside pockets. I love how I can make this bag looks smaller when I have to just go anywhere and how I can expand it every time I have a 2-3 day hike. + The bag itself doesn’t have a lot of pads on its frame and straps, maybe that’s the reason why it’s only 3 lbs.

  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Water repellant.
  • A rain cover is included.
  • Ventilation SystemThe back frame looks like an egg tray shaped and through that it’s still breathable.
  • Lumbar Pad: None
  • Hip belt: Not as bulks as the other bags.
  • Shoulder straps: Not padded.
  • Hip Pouch: That’s why I have 3 outside pockets. 🙂
  • Accessories pouch: The very visible pocket.
  • No lower compartment.
  • Water bottle pocket: Yes, two.
  • Top lid, yes…
  • Straps and all the straps: Yes

Mt. Talinis

Here are some rules that my friends keep on telling me how to arrange my load to lighten its weight:

  • The heavy gears should be at the top and close to my back.

  • The lighter gears should be at the bottom and or farther from the back.

  • Most frequent gear, first aid/medicines & candies should be on my accessories pouch and at the top.

  • Less used items/Light – Bottom part to the middle part.

I might have followed the rule above, but I still have this tendency to overpack.

I am not an expert when it comes to packing, my gears aren’t ultralight, but here’s how I usually pack my load for a multi-day hike in an established trail in the Philippines:

Bottom part: 

  1. Sleeping bag – Nature Hike – .788 Kg
  2. Ridge 1 Tent & groundsheet – 1.5 Kg(I usually sleep out when my friends have a tarp, but I still don’t have the courage to buy a freestanding tent. It’s hard to change stuff especially when it’s your period week, or just to freshen things up. I am still considering though.).
  3. 1 (2 pcs) Columbia Interchange
    • If it’s not this gear, I usually bring  1jacket, 1 fleece long sleeves, and 1 rain jacket.

Middle part:

  1. Clothes (2 leggings, 3 shirts, 1 cycling shorts, 1 long sleeves, sarong & undies) –
    1. For my 3 days hike, I usually have 3 leggings and 3 light-weight, dri-fit, spandex or nylon t-shirts because I don’t like smelly, messy and damped clothes. I still bring 1 very light-weight cotton shirt. Nothin’ compares how the cotton gives you comfort every after the hike. This actually the heaviest factor. For 
    2. I usually bring 3 socks with me – 1 as an extra if it will rain and 1 for the night time.
    3. 2 arm sleeves
  2. Extra plastic bags
  3. Plasticware, cup, spoon & fork – I have my own plasticware since I don’t have a cook set to eat on.
  4. Toiletries pouch (cologne, rub, petroleum jelly, lotion & sunblock, body wash & shampoo, pads, tissue, underarm spray, alcohol, mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrush, tissue, etc) and first aid kit  = 1.5 kg – 2 kgs. There’s no shortcut to practice proper hygiene, folks. 🙂
  5. 2L Gatorade on the hydration compartment.

Top part:

  1. Slippers
  2. Poncho

Accessories Pouch:

  1. Headband
  2. Socks
  3. Jellyace
  4. Headlamp
  5. Bonnet
  6. Arm sleeves
  7. Powerbank
  8. Poncho-(I seldom use this since I also bring a rain jacket–if it rains, it rains… that’s why I bring extra stuff with me).

Side pockets:

  1. 1L Nalgene bottle – I seldom drink water from the mountains… as I don’t have a purifier right now and I am scared that when I get home, I might get an amoeba. When I do, I just make sure that everyone drinks from that water source too. 🙂 
  2. 500 ml plastic bottle – for Gatorade
  3. Tent poles and pegs.
  4. P.S. I don’t bring a trekking pole, because I might leave that anywhere, so I am just using any sturdy stick/a sturdy branch that I can find along the trail.

@ Mt. Talinis via Totoy Dalaga -Overpacked, yes! Mt. Talinis changed the way I packed my stuff and my pacing.



I still don’t consider myself as a self-contained hiker as I don’t bring raw food & cook set and a shovel since I usually hike with my friends or with organized events that already include meals. For now, I leave the cook set & shovel to my companions. 😀 *Cheers!*


What do you think I am doing wrong? Any ideas and suggestions on how to lighten your load? I wanna hear stories and horrors from the porters and veteran mountaineers on how they pack their backpacks for the expedition or long hikes. Let me know!

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