Hiking is one of the best free things you can do for yourself! Most hiking places in Malaysia don’t require an entrance fee. Best of all, each has their own unique routes that provide different levels of challenge. If you’re a beginner like me, here’s some hiking essentials for beginners that you need to bring on a hike.
Hiking Essentials for Beginners
Most hikers get up early to go to their hiking spot to prevent sun damage and avoid the crowd. This habit is cool for most people.
Unfortunately, if you’re not an early bird like me, then it’s essential to have sunblock. The second best habit to have when you’re going hiking.
Even when the weather seems cloudy, don’t take your chances. Weather in Malaysia can still be unpredictable. It can be cloudy at first hour then before you know it, sun comes blazing to roast everyone.
I had my fair share of experience in my Bukit Gasing hiking where we got out a different exit. So, we had to detour to get back to where we parked our car.
The route was basically on the road side and you guessed it. There’s no shelter from the sun. There’s trees here and there to provide a pit stop. That’s it. The rest of the journey is going to set your hair ablaze.
That’s why this is a hiking essentials that you need to get. Always apply sunscreen! Focus on the face and don’t forget the back of your neck!
2. Insect Repellent
The forest is where insects live. So, we’re pretty much visiting their home. Whilst we’re hiking, they probably see us as walking food and won’t hesitate to sink a bite on us.
So, insect deterrent is another hiking essentials to bring along. Spray the first layer before heading in.
Make sure all your exposed skin area is well coated. Reapply the sprays when necessary.
Once you stop to catch your breath, you may notice that there’s mosquitoes flying around trying to look for a feng shui spot to bite. At least, this is what happened in the previous hike. Hence, spray yourself with the insect repellent again.
There’s natural types of repellent and DEET types. There’s an argument around that chemicals like DEET are harmful, hence most choose the pricier option of organic and natural repellent such as lemon grass based sprays.
I don’t particularly have a preference. Just need one that works.
It may be particularly helpful to wear long pants and sleeved shirts to prevent mosquito bites. There are a lot of breathable versions of hiking attire now.
So, go shop a little and get the comfy wear for your hike! Polyester fabric seems to be the best option as it dries faster than cotton ones.
Try not to go for the cotton-based shirt considering that it will absorb the moisture which traps more sweat as time goes and makes you smell unpleasant as well.
3. Wet Tissue
No doubt, we will all sweat like never before. Other than splashing water on our face which is not really recommended, we can wipe them off with a cool wet tissue or wet wipes.
Get rid of the sweat and refresh your skin. The cooling sensation after is a bliss. Best of all, it removes the uncomfortable feeling of stickiness from the sweat. This is usually done at the end of the hike.
Wet tissue is what I see a convenient hiking essentials that is always available in my car. Can’t go anywhere without it. So, it just happen to be convenient for me to tag it along my hiking journey.
Some people bring a towel along as well to wipe their sweat. That’s fine too!
Bringing sanitizer around is a pretty common thing to do now. So, there’s no reason not to bring that along on a hike too.
When you touch weird things from the ground, sanitize your hands before touching anything else. It’s a good habit to practice.
It’s also useful to cleanse any cut areas before putting on a bandaid.
5. Drinking Water
One of the most important hiking essentials to bring is water. On our previous hike, we actually bought those 600 ml plastic water bottles and carried them by hand.
It’s quite a hassle to hold on to the water bottle as we move. So, it’s probably best to get those collapsible or foldable water bottles that you can stuff into the bag.
Some of them have a straw that you can pull out to have a drink without taking out the water bottle. Now, that’s super convenient!
One should not go hiking without breakfast. We all need the energy to kick start the day. This is even more true when you’re going for high-energy activities such as hiking.
In case you’re the type that don’t actually eat breakfast, then bring some snack up to enjoy! When I say snack, it’s more to those handheld sized snacks.
It can be tiring to be sweating and making our way up the hill. Hence, it’s gonna be cool to have something that we can munch on to energize ourselves.
A nice chocolate bar can go a long way!
However, do weight carefully on the snack to bring. Because, at the end of the hike it’s usually near brunch time.
So, eat well and eat sparingly so that you can enjoy the main meal later! It beats the purpose of hiking when we’re doing it for a healthy lifestyle and not doing the same on our diet as well.
Be considerate and do not litter. In some forest, there’s monkeys as well. So, be aware when you’re snacking.
Keep the packaging in an air tight seal like a zipper bag. That will keep any curious animals from sniffing the trails of the food that you are probably leaving behind without knowing.
Discard properly into the garbage bin once you’ve got back into civilization.
7. Hiking Shoes
Proper footwear is a very important thing when it comes to safety. The terrains can be sloppy so don’t wear something like slippers where you might just slipped off it. One of the important hiking essentials is actually getting a hiking shoes or boots.
Instead, a proper hiking shoe will help you better to hike successfully. Depending on the terrain, a normal sports shoes will do fine as well.
A hiking shoe is also tougher and can last longer on difficult terrains. It might be slightly pricier on the cost but it’s a well investment as it is said to last longer than sports shoes.
Try to avoid sports shoes that has padding at the base. These usually will come off first. Instead, pick those shoes that has a whole foam block for the sole. These typically lasts longer.
8. Breathable Clothing
When it comes to hiking, breathable clothing is essential. You want something that cools you off quick especially under the hot weather of Malaysia.
The humid condition inside the forest or hiking trail will surely make anyone sweat a lot. So, you don’t want cotton clothing that basically traps sweat and keeps you warm.
Polyester is the best material for breathable clothing. It dries quick and keeps you cool. Hands down to that.
Also, wear long pants. There are breathable pants too that sticks close to your skin. It has to be long to provide protection against insects.
9. Power Bank
One of the experiences I had last time was that I’m too into taking photos that my phone battery ran out. I had to turn it off to save power just in case I needed it to order a Grab or pizza.
So, bring a fully charged power bank along. This is one of the hiking essentials as we are all connected by technology. Can’t imagine a life without it.
While we’re in the forest, it’s always handy to provide ease of heart to make sure that our communication devices are well-charged and won’t let us down in times of need.
It’s useful just to turn on Google maps and know where you are. In our previous adventure at Gasing Hill, we had to rely on it to find the entrance where we parked the car. What a life saver!
Again, stick to hiking areas near the city. Don’t go for spots that are more into the rural side where you can’t get any phone signal at all.
It may feel exciting to explore new hiking areas. Some might even be thrilled to explore like Dora.
However, don’t rely on that only one friend that knows how to navigate around. Because in case that person disappears for some reason, you’ll know what’s up if you watched enough horror movies.
Make sure you yourself knows how to find your way out too. Hiking is fun and so it is with the geography knowledge that goes hand in hand with it.
10. Band Aid
You probably ask why we need a band aid. Other than for obvious reasons of taking care of minor scratches, band aid also works well to prevent blisters.
When you’re moving up and down the hill as you hike in your shoes, especially the new ones, it might as well be a starting process for blisters.
Blister is absolutely not comfy and a humble band aid would probably help you feel better for the rest of the hike.
Most hiking trails in Malaysia are safe especially those you can actually find on Google maps. So, there’s actually not that necessary to bring a box of first aid kit on your hike.
However, if you can spare the time and weight, then why not? Better be safe than sorry. With that, also study some first aid knowledge.
These hiking essentials are what came to me from my experience. I am by far not a super expert when it comes to hiking. But, it should be enough to let you hike comfortably just to connect with nature.
I don’t advise going hiking in a place less known or somewhere that you’ve never heard of before. Don’t go alone or if you have to, leave messages everywhere telling where you’re going.
Having said that, try to have fun hiking! Do let me know that one thing you always bring that no one else does to a hike in the comments below!
Valerie, Lifestyle Blogger
Valerie is a Malaysia blogger living in the city of KL. Join her adventure as she explores the fun and delightful things in this busy city!
Follow her @valerie.seow on Instagram.