Going camping, hiking or trekking in Southeast Asia? Here’s a quick guide on where to get the best equipment in Singapore, whether you’re Sunday hiker or savvy mountaineer
We’ve all, at some point in time, felt the call to the great outdoors – whether it’s climbing the mountains of Colorado or on a rugged hike in Southeast Asia. But before giving in to wanderlust of the more rugged variety, you’d do well to make preparations for your expedition – we’re talking outdoor wear, tents, sleeping bags, and more. After all, if you’re going to pursue hiking seriously, you’d do well to enter the wilderness with a little bit more than your journal and child-like sense of wonder.
More than just a tool for telling the time, the modern outdoor watch offers a suite of useful features that’ll come in handy for hikers. The brand that often comes to mind for the rugged outdoors is the Casio G-Shock series. Their more advanced models, like the Triple Sensor Mudmaster, feature a thermometer, barometer, and compass – all packed in a ridiculously large case. If its size, feature set, and $629 price tag prove a little too intimidating for you, opt for the classic G-Shock 6900. While lacking most of the complications of its more advanced cousin, this model features G-Shock’s hallmark toughness and water resistance at just $150.
Skywatches, available online.
It goes without saying that a tent is essential equipment when you’re camping. Hit up Decathlon for a wide variety of reputable Quechua tents. If it’s just you and your loved one on a casual weekend camping trip, pick up the affordable Arpenaz 2-man tent for ($30). On a longer trip with a bunch of your buddies? Spring for the Air Seconds Family inflatable tent that’ll set you back $789 – pricey certainly, but that tent offers two rooms!
A wise man once said, “Never skimp on anything that separates you from the ground”. So when you’re packing for a hike, the last thing you want is shoddy footwear with poor support. The most important thing to remember is to try before you buy. Online shops are definitely out, so pay a visit to a specialty hiking and camping store like Camper’s corner. Here, you’ll find dozens of choices ranging from ultra light trail shoes to heavy duty mountaineering boots from reputable brands like Lowa, Arc’teryx, and more.
Camper’s Corner, 51 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187969. p. 6337 4743. Open daily 11am-8pm.
After a long day’s hike, you’re going to want a cosy sleeping bag to snuggle up in. Once again, Decathlon is your best bet – the outdoor store offers a wide range of sleeping bags ideal for tropical and temperate climates. The Quechua Arpenaz 25° ($13) is perfect for camping in Singapore and warm Southeast Asian countries, while the padded Arpenaz 10° will keep you warm and snug in more temperate climates.
A sturdy jacket that protects you from the elements is one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll buy, along with your boots, so don’t skimp on this either. Since you’ll probably be spending a considerable amount on a high-quality jacket, you’ll want something guaranteed for life, or at least a few years. Patagonia offers an ‘Ironclad Guarantee’ for all its products that also covers international purchases. The brand, known for its sustainable practices, offers a comprehensive selection of jackets and outerwear for men and women suitable for a range of weather conditions. For a more detailed overview, visit our full guide to hiking clothes.
Patagonia, available online.
Want to capture that wild and wet white water rafting trip? Or snag a selfie at the peak of your latest scaled summit? You’re going to want to pack an action camera that’ll take all the abuse you subject it to, and still capture stunning photos and videos. For that, the Olympus Tough TG-Tracker is a prime pick. The device blurs the line between an action camera and compact camera, and it is built like a tank. It also offers some fun features like a compass, barometer, and thermometer, so you can capture the entirety of your outdoor experience. And if you want to review your footage on the fly, field data and images captured can be transferred and viewed on a smartphone with the Olympus Image Track smartphone app.
Harvey Norman, available online.
Whether you’re trekking up Mount Kinabalu or camping at Pulau Ubin, a torch is a must-have tool for night activities or navigation. If you want to keep things hands-free and light, spring for an affordable headlamp like the Nitecore NU20 ($59) that packs a whopping 360 lumens in a 47g package. If you prefer a hand-held unit, opt for the durable Fenix E15 ($47).
Fstop Lights, available online.
Ditch the plastic and opt for Kleen Kanteen’s line of stainless steel bottles. In addition to being darn near indestructible, the stainless steel bottles come in a variety of colours and sizes and do not impart any flavour to your drink. We suggest the wide 64oz bottles, because more water is always better than less when you’re on the trail.
Perhaps the most indispensable tool for savvy survivalists, the humble pocketknife can do anything from working with paracord, peeling fruit, and general food prep. Upgrading to a multitool will bag you some other useful features like can openers, bottle openers, corkscrews, tweezers and more – all useful tools that you won’t regret having easy access to while camping or on a hike. If you’re after a simple pocketknife, opt for a Victorinox Cadet Alox ($61.90). Want something more substantial? You really can’t go wrong with the Leatherman Wave ($180), a tried-and-tested multitool backed by Leatherman’s legendary lifetime warranty.
Hock Gift Shop, available online.
Want to get your hike on? Read our guide to Singapore’s essential hiking trails and get out there!