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The Tips Page

    Here you'll find useful tips I personally apply and use when I'm in the jungle . Some of the tips here  are originally my own, which I have observed and noted, and some were learnt from other people. Hope you will pass on the information presented here so that more can enjoy the outdoors more. 


    -    Try to avoid cotton at all costs. Cotton is fine for walking in the city, but in the jungle, where it rains and  where humidity is  98 % almost all the time, you'll have problems putting dry clothes on. Try to bring and wear synthetics, such as nylon, polyester or wool clothing while trekking as well as while in camp. They will absorb less moisture and dry quickly. Don't believe me? Check out clothes worn by sportsmen ( those who sweat buckets) and see what they're made of. I usually wear imitation football jerseys with a single layer nylon trek bottom while trekking. Bathe in them after the long day, hang them up to dry, and they'll be dry and smelling nice by morning.

    -    Bring a sarong along. It is not only useful as a clothe piece, but can also be your changing room, fly swatter , blanket , towel, pillow, emergency stretcher, etc, etc, etc.    

    -    If you think your boots are giving you blisters, try wearing two pairs of socks. One pair should be thin and slippery, maybe like those worn to the office. Wear it under a  thicker pair of socks, which will provide the cushioning. The two socks will slip between them, and save your feet from blisters. I have tried them, and they sometimes work. 

    -    Bring  a warm hat. Most people don't realize that about 70 % of the heat lost by the body is from the head. If your toes are cold, wear a warm hat.

    -    In cold weather, bring many layers of warm clothes, not one thick jacket. This way, you can remove / add on layers depending on the temperature. My typical cold weather clothing consists of :(upper body) one polyester long sleeved shirt, one Polartec 200 bipolar fleece (as an insulator), and an al-cheapo tightly woven nylon shell (as a wind shell). For my legs, it is usually a pair of tights (insulation) and a nylon pant over it.

    -    Sleeping bags don't have to be thick, if you sleep with your warm clothes on. Many people I noticed, take off their jackets as they slip into their sleeping bags. 

    -    Keep some kind of jacket near the top of your pack, incase you get chilly during that lunch break, or when waiting for your turn .

    -    Avoid bringing big thick towels, as you won't be bathing much. I just bring  a small hand towel, which is just about enough to dry myself. Those who're really into saving weight can consider using the sarong as a towel. The same goes to toiletries. Put shampoo into 35 mm film containers, and cut soap bars into smaller chunks. Share toothpaste and  mirrors.  

    -    If you are using leather boots, make sure that you take good care of them. Make sure you apply some leather preserver/waterproofer/mink oil  after every time you wash your boots. You should also wash your boots after every backpacking trips, as the soil found here in Malaysia can sometimes be slightly acidic and   will spoil your boots if left  on too long. 


    -    Always bring an umbrella, if you're expecting rain !! Don't bother with rain coats, because you'll get wet with sweat anyway if you wear it during hiking. An umbrella sure helps a lot when you're in camp. It is also more comfortable to sit under an umbrella, while waiting for the rain to stop. Try it.

    -    If you're bringing water containers for water for the peak, consider getting yourself a MSR Dromedary bag. It is a waterproof Cordura bag, and is sort of indestructible. They come in different capacities . When not in use, they just roll up and take almost no weight and space.

    -    The first thing you should do when you reach camp is to set up your tent/flysheet. Resist the temptation to take  a dip or cook first. Ever noticed how it conveniently rains  just as you've laid all your dry clothes and emptied your bag's contents  or when you're halfway through your instant noodles..........

    -    Sleeping under a flysheet is better than sleeping under a tent. Tents are heavy, expensive, claustrophobic, sometimes hot , difficult to get in and out of, and you can't cook in them . Instead, buy some lightweight waterproof nylon or PE , sew the corners and attach 4 grommets  on each side. Rig it up in the usual "A" way, and you should have a fairly comfortable place to spend the night. Don't pitch it too high up, because if it rains, the rain water will splash under the flysheet . 

    -    Always bring   a clothesline .The next thing to do after pitching up your flysheet is to tie the clothes line, and announce it to everyone . Make sure it is not too close to where you'll be hanging around, otherwise you'll be mingling with allsorts of weird and scary insects . Some people just LOVE to hang their clothes on the guy lines holding up the flysheet. When the weather is fine, well, fine..... But if it happens to rain in the middle of the night, the clothes will absorb  water, get heavy, and together with some wind, rip the grommets off your flysheet . Imagine waking up at 3 am , in a storm ,with the flysheet flapping away like a loose sail..... seen that, done that.  

    -    Rafia string is one of the most useful things to bring camping, and you should at least have a few meters spare for emergency uses. It's cheap, light, and damn useful, but make sure you carry the used rafia back out. I have seen too many places littered with used rafia, all waiting to catch your leg and make you trip. It also looks horrible too. I personally don't use rafia, because even though they're cheap, they still cost money, and the tendency to litter the campground with them is quite high. Instead, I buy nylon cord, about 3 mm dia. Cut them in various lengths, say 5 pcs of 3 m , 4 pcs of 6 m , etc. Dump them in a stuff sack together with some stronger rope, about 6-8 mm maybe, and that's probably all you need to rig up your fly sheet, tie up the clothes line, and for emergency uses.  They're more expensive than rafia, but they last much longer, and you'll sometimes appreciate the added strength they offer . Plus, because they cost much more, you won't be leaving them after using them. Try to get bright colors, so that you don't trip or cut your neck when they're tied up.

    -   Use a  hydration bladder to hydrate yourself instead of using  a water bottle. Water bottles are hard to access, and have covers which can be lost easily. By using  a hydration bag, you'll find it easier to hydrate yourself while trekking. Just fill it up and place it under the top cover of your bag.  The only problem is that you'll have a tough time cleaning the mold from the inside of the bag if you put other liquids than plain water in the bag.

    -    Trekking poles are very useful. They help you keep your balance, help you cross rivers, give some extra push when climbing steep slopes, saves some of your knees on the way down and can be used to push foliage/unwanted things . They can also be used to rig up you fly sheet. However, not many people use trekking poles, and if you use them, people will sometimes give you that " This guy must be joking....There's no snow here" look. Just bear it........  


    -    Bring light food which is high in energy. Go for grains like rice, wheat and oats. Try not to bring instant food, as most of them are loaded with preservatives and after a few mouthfuls,  might not taste too good. Eggs, bread, cheese, mayonnaise, keropok ikan, instant cucur udang or instant pancakes, sup pucuk, sambal ikan bilis (cooked at home) and serunding are just a few examples.

    -    No matter how much food you bring, always have at least 3 packets of Maggie mee. 

    -    While trekking, it is not advisable to stop and cook lunch, instead cook what you intend to have for lunch in the morning, before you break camp. Another option is to bring biscuits or granola bars. 

    -    Always bring your OWN food. Never let your friends carry your food, especially your snacks, which you intend to eat along the trail.

    -    Try to avoid drinking tea and coffee , because both are diuretics and make you loose more water from the body. Instead, go for Milo or Horlicks, which have more nutrition in them. While trekking, adding powdered glucose or other powdered flavored drinks to plain water is much better than drinking plain water. Better still, drink sports drinks like 100 Plus or Isomax.   

   -    I believe the river water in Malaysia is safe to drink, well at least , around the mountains . I have never seen anyone filter or treat their drinking water. I myself have been drinking water straight from the rivers ever since I began climbing, and so far nothing bad has happened.......yet


    -    I used to trek without any training, and it is possible to accomplish the journey, but you might suffer more than you should. After a few mountains, I tried training prior to the trip and it really helped a lot. I didn't feel so tired at the end of the day, I didn't have that stiff leg - duck kind of walk the next few days. You don't have to spend hours a day training, just 45 minutes (minimum) of some aerobic activity (e.g. jogging, swimming or cycling) is enough. But you have to do it not less than 3 times a week. Slowly build up your stamina and fitness, don't jump right into it.  Make sure you have proper shoes , as they might cause knee, ankle, tendon or ligament problems. A heart rate monitor is the best tool to help you train effectively, as sometimes you go jogging for 3 hours, but only spend 30 minutes in your effective heart rate zone. If you want to train effectively, you should know your effective heart rate zone, which is explained below.
    To calculate your effective heart rate zone, you have to multiply your max heart rate with the range you want to train in (refer table below). The two numbers are your upper and lower limit, i.e. the range which your heart should be beating per minute . To calculate you max heart rate, take 220 minus your age  An easier way would be to use an online heart rate calculator, which is available at the bottom of this page -
        My weekly schedule would be jogging (about 8-12 km) on Mondays and Wednesdays, with some light activity ( rock climbing / fishing) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays would be an off day or maybe I'd go cycling. Saturday or Sunday would be  a long  training such as a 4-6 hour hike or bike ride. If you're planning to climb  a mountain, trekking with a heavy backpack would be beneficial.
        Since moving to Langkawi , I haven't been able to adhere to my normal training schedule, something which I really regret. 

The below paragraphs are taken from ""

"Heart rate and exercise

There is a direct correlation between your effort and your heart rate. As you exercise harder, your heart rate will increase in an almost direct proportion to your exertion intensity. As you slow down, your heart rate will drop.
    Your resting heart rate is a excellent indicator of health and can be tracked on a daily basis. The onset of a common cold or overtraining will raise your resting heart rate. If your fitness level increase your resting heart rate will also indicate this by decreasing.
    Knowing which heart rate zone you're in will make your workouts more efficient. In addition, you may find that you're working too hard for the goal you want to achieve. Many people exercise to hard when all they want to do is lose weight. They should be in Zone 2 or Zone 3, but they're obviously much higher during their workouts. This puts them at a much greater risk of injury which can deter them from exercising again.
    People also take their pulse at their wrist to measure their heart rate, which is a highly inaccurate way to measure heart rate. Using a heart rate monitor is the most accurate way to tell which zone you're in at any time during a workout.

Zone Zone name % of Max HR Benefit
1 Low intensity 50%-60% Good for beginners, builds cardio foundation
2 Weight control 60%-70% Easy, burns lots of fat, good for recovery
3 Aerobic 70%-80% Improves cardio strength
4 Anaerobic 80%-90% Improves endurance
5 Maximal 90%-100% Improves athletic performance


    Heart rate and health

You can use your heart rate monitor for relaxation as well as for exercise. Deep breathing exercises and resting lower your heart rate significantly.
    One of the best indicators of health is tracking your resting heart rate. This is taken just as you wake up  and are still lying in bed. As your fitness level increases, your resting heart rate will go down. Many people measure their resting heart rate every day to see how they're doing. If you're overtraining , your resting heart rate will jump up a few beats per minute and you know to take it easy that day.
    Another measure of health is your recovery heart rate. This is best measured after the same type of workout under the same conditions. As your fitness level increases, your recovery rate will also increase because your body is getting used to that workout. It is important to compare equivalent exercises and to keep the measurements as consistent to each other as possible
. "

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