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Gear List for One-day Hikes/Backpacking in Taiwan

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: June 30, 2022
Speaking of hiking or backpacking gear in Taiwan, those questions might pop up: What should I bring? Do I need to prepare different equipment to accommodate the terrain and weather conditions? What is the essential gear to go hiking in Taiwan? Do I need to wear bulky rain boots to hit the trail?
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan: wearing rain boots on the trails and crossing the river
In this post, I will share my experience and what I've learned from the past few years doing solo hikes, group hikes, and multi-day hikes in Taiwan.
The first post is my gear list of one-day hikes, and I'll leave a PDF checklist download for those who need it.
Please note that I am not affiliated with any company mentioned in this post so far. I bought all the products out of my own pocket. I have had a positive experience using them, so I share them here. But I also welcome further cooperation with brands that I like.

Table of Contents:

Terrains in Taiwan That Make Hiking Different/Difficult

Hiking in Taiwan can be like walking in the jungles,
Shizhu Piton, Wuming Piton, Fengtou Piton East Peak and Mt. Jiulong
or racing in the mud,
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan: wearing rain boots on the trails and crossing the river
or swimming in the bamboo sea,
Mt. Pingyan and Mt. Duojiatun hike with pine needles and seeing Mt. Snow in Taiwan
or tripping in the tree roots,
WuTong Trail
or wandering in the beautiful cedar woods,
Wufeng Skyline Trails: Mt. Egongji, Mt. Egongji Northeast Peak and Mt. Niaozui
or crawling under the fallen big trees,
Smangus-tree-cemetery
or hike in the deep snow,
Sign of Mt. Kilai 奇萊主峰, 3,605 m (11,827 ft) was frozen. The cold weather increases the challenging. Photo by Acer Lee.
Mt. Kilai Main Peak, 3,605m. Photo by Acer Lee
or just taking endless steps to the top, especially the stone steps at Yangmingshan National Parks...
07 Take the same trail back to Jiufeng
You get the idea.
We have all kinds of terrains and vegetation ranging from low altitudes to high mountains. So, most of the time, it’s difficult to tell people new to Taiwan’s mountains what the average trail terrains are like in a few words.

The List of My Essentials for the One-day Hikes

Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
You can save this list for reference.
You can download the PDF file by clicking here.

Backpack and Rain Cover

My current backpack for one-day hikes is a 34L one (Gregory Amber 34.) For most day hikes in Taiwan, 34L might be too big, but I sometimes carry a big water bladder to do weight training. I like this one’s adjustable back length. The hip belts naturally fit my body, making it comfortable on the trails.
To keep stuff dry when it rains, I use a big stuff sack (20L) to put my spare shirt, pants, socks, stove, etc., in it. I also use smaller ones to keep my other stuff dry. In addition, some hikers buy heavy-duty plastic bags or garbage bag as a waterproof pack liner.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Whether rainy or not, I always put on a rain cover for my backpack. Of course, the rain cover can’t keep my backpack totally dry when it rains. But, it can keep some bugs like leeches from smuggling back home with me most of the time.
Mt. Baigu - 100 Peaks hike in Taiwan: a challenging hike to enjoy the rugged terrains and beautiful views
Also, the bright color of the rain cover can help people see me when I need to be rescued if things happen.
Dahun Mountain and Lidong Mountain in Hsinchu

Vital Medical Information

Please write down the following information on a piece of paper, and tuck it with your ID card, in case you need medical attention.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan

Navigation Tools and Offline Taiwan Maps

Hiking Logger for iOS

Hiking Logger is a paid app only available for iPhone or iPad. It’s easy to use and intuitive.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Screenshot of Hking Logger
If you want to use this app in Taiwan, please download offline maps from MOI.OSM – Taiwan TOPO on your phone, so you can check or track your hike on this app offline.

OruxMaps for Android

For Android users, OruxMaps works excellently. This is also a paid app. You also need to download offline maps from MOI.OSM – Taiwan TOPO on your android phone.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Screenshot of Oruxmaps

PeakFinder

PeakFinder is not a navigation app, but it helps you know the names of the mountains around you. I purchased this app, but it's a one-time payment.
This app is one of my favorite apps other than Hiking Logger. It can recognize most of the peaks I see on the trails in Taiwan. It's so great to know what mountains you are looking at. Highly recommend this app.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Screenshot of PeakFinder

Clothing

First, please DO NOT wear cotton t-shirts and jeans to go hiking. Those fabrics don't dry fast and are not ideal on the trails.

Shirts

It's a no-brainer to decide on your clothing based on the weather. In summer, we wear lightweight shirts and shorts. In winter, we wear layers and fleece pants. However, we need to consider the terrains and vegetation.
My favorite fabric for hiking shirts is wool, especially Merino wool. The biggest reason is it does not smell at all, especially during the humid summer of Taiwan.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
The red top is my wool shirt, Icebreaker. My favorite guide, Acer, was watching me brewing coffee.
However, it's not as durable as synthetic shirts, and they are easy to get ripped on the rough terrains in Taiwan. Therefore, I will research the trails I will take to decide what I will wear.
For rough terrains with bamboo woods, I will choose synthetic shirts. My latest favorite is Takoda’s woman long sleep t-shirt, a Taiwanese brand.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
What I Like about Takoda's Shirt:
  1. It's made from recycled plastic bottles.
  2. It dries fast and doesn’t smell.
  3. Some shirts can stick on your skin after sweating, but this one doesn’t stick on my skin when I take it off.
  4. The shirts fit my body well.

Pants: Summer and Winter

I have two pairs of pants, Haglöfs and Fjällräven, Swedish brands.
My Haglöfs one has been with me since 2017 and is a little thicker. So, I mostly wear it in cold weather. But, it's very durable because it sustained the fall I had during my Tonghou River hike. It was intact, not even a rip.
Tonghou River source hike: a great trail to embrace the hot summer in Taiwan
My Haglöfs survived my fall at Tonghou River without any scracth.
As to my Fjällräven pants, it's thin, light, and durable. When I just bought this pair and wore it to do Badaoer hike, I accidentally (stupidly) poked my thigh with the trekking pole. It hurt like crazy, but there wasn't a scratch on my pants. But please don't test your pants like this.
Mt. Badaoer, Mt. Meilu and Mt. Gaoyao in Wulai Taiwan
My friend and I at Mt. Badaoer with my Fjällräven pants.

Rain Jacket

I just bought Patagonia’s jacket. There are other lighter options, but this one is durable to combat the thick bamboo woods in Taiwan.

Rain Pants

I wear Decathlon’s rain pants, and this pair has been with me for the past five years. The hems are already ripped, but it still works well for me on the trails. I'm very impressed by its durability based on its price.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan: wearing rain boots on the trails and crossing the river
My Decathlon's rain pants

Footwear: The Notorious Rain Boots

Most Asked Question about Wearing Rain Boots: Ankle Support

I got asked a lot about how to support my ankles in the rain boots. I wear ankle braces and put two layers of insoles in the rain boots. Here's a video of how I wear rain boots for hiking.
The rain boots are cheap, less than US$15 per pair, but it costs much more to make wearing them ready to hit the trails.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan: wearing rain boots on the trails and crossing the river
This boy has hiked more 100 Peaks than I have. He wears rain boots on the trails, too.

Insoles

I have flatfoot (Pes Planus). As a result, my feet don't have enough arch to support my body. This has caused issues with my poor knees and hip. Sometimes, the joints of my feet hurt after hikes.
I've tried several insoles in the past 5+ years, from cheap to expensive ones. Have I found the best ones yet? Nope, I'm still searching. Some insoles are at least 10+ times more costly than rain boots. I'm going to try the customized insoles to help my flatfoot.
So, you might be wondering why I still wear rain boots on the trails. It's so easy to clean up the rain boots after the muddy trails, and it's relatively easy to walk on the muddy and slippery trails.
100 Peaks in Taiwan: Mt. Liushun and Qicai Lake, 100 km hike, day 4
Cooling down my sore feet in the icy cold water. You might be able to tell I have flatfoot.
I'm trying out Striding Steps' customed-made insoles, a Taiwan based company that is specialed in customed-made insoles. I'll update how they are later.

Hiking boots

I’ve worn several pairs of hiking boots, Scarpa is the best one I've ever had so far. The insoles are comfortable compared to others.
I’ve tried this pair on slippery trails, and I’m impressed by the performance of its outsoles to help me handle slippery terrains.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
It's also important to tie the laces of hiking boots properly. I found this video and it makes a huge difference to reduce the pressure points on my ankles.

The Wet Stone Steps with Moss

My friend and I did a hike at Yangmingshan National Park in June 2022. He wore rain boots, and I wore hiking boots. When we were descending the endless stone steps covered with moss, I slowed down and tried very hard not to fall. Two hikers before me had slipped, which was scary. My friend said it’s better to wear rain boots to hike at Yangmingshan, and he isn’t wrong.
wet-stone-steps
You'll see many wet stone steps at Yangmingshan National Park.
Sometimes, I must give up comfort and choose rain boots. Or I will choose rain boots if I know I have to cross the streams or rivers several times.
Please note that there are no boots or even rain boots that can help us totally combat the tricky slippery terrains in Taiwan. I still slip and fall while wearing rain boots on the trails, but I can tell the friction between wearing rain boots and hiking boots.
Wearing rain boots doesn't exempt you from the sticky situation, but it will be easier to clean up the mess.

What I Eat on the Trails: Taiwanese Style

There are many convenience stores and vendors in Taiwan, and we can get food and snacks easily in the cities. But those in the following are my favorites.

Fantuan 飯糰

This is one of the most popular breakfasts, and you can find vendors almost everywhere in Taiwan. Whether you are vegetarian or carnivore, you can find the ones you want.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Fantuan bought from the street vendor (left) and the convenience store (right)
The basic fillings are fried bread sticks, dried radish, and pickled mustard green. You can choose other fillings like sausage, tuna, or other vegetarian ingredients you like. The vendors will wrap those fillings with sticky rice or black rice. Then you have a cheap and very fulfilling lunch for your hike.

Hoya Vegan Jerky and Bars

Hoya vegan jerkies are my latest favorite trail snacks. The texture of the vegan jerky is like real meat! I'm so surprised, and it tastes soooo good. Whether you are a vegetarian/vegan or eat meat like me, I highly recommend this.
vegan-trail-food

Electrolyte Effervescent Tablets

I used to eat salt when I sweated a lot on the trails. Later, I thought I needed something more efficient that could help me recover fast. I tried those tablets, and they work well. You can find those tablets at PX Mart in Taiwan.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan

My Hydration System:

I have water bottles, a water bladder with a hose, and soft water bottles. Now, I bring a water bottle and several soft water bottles for my drinking water.
When I first started hiking, I used a water bladder with a hose, and I drank a lot of water in the hot summer. Drinking from the water bladder is easy, but it is difficult to ration how much water I drink. I could drink as much as 3L back then.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
In the past two years, I've switched to using a water bottle (700 ml) and several water soft bottles to refill my water bottle.
I don't drink that much water on the trails in summer now, about 1.5L. But I will consume a large amount of water after hiking till my urine is clear after hikes.
One of the reasons is I try to intake less water on the trails to prevent electrolyte loss and muscle cramping.
However, I'm not a doctor. Please check on your doctor for advice about how much you should drink when hiking.

What’s in My First-aid Kit

My medicine:
Asthma inhaler, Loperamide 止瀉藥, eye lotion 眼藥水, normal saline 生理食鹽水, paracetamol 普拿疼, Antihistamines (Benadryl) 抗組織胺, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen) 非類固醇消炎藥, Chlorzoxazone 肌肉鬆弛劑, Topical corticosteroid cream 類固醇藥膏, betadine 優碘, etc.
Besides band-aids (regular and waterproof ones), gauze swabs, adhesive bandages, etc., I also put silicone tape. The silicone tape works well on the hotspots on my feet.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
I also put a tick remover and a safety pin just in case I need to use the pin to pick something up from the wounds.
Also, my personal hygienic products.

Other Items Worth Mentioning

Must Have: Gloves

I always pack a pair of gloves in my backpack when hiking. It's not because of the cold weather but because volunteers/hikers set up many ropes. There are many steep slopes on the trails in Taiwan. Sometimes, those can be very long, like the 30-meter descending at Wuliaojian.
Wuliaojian Knife Ridge Hike in Taiwan
Wuliaojian
I try to avoid grabbing ropes on the trails, but often time it's inevitable.
Before you grab the ropes, please make sure those ropes are safe to use. We don't know how long those ropes have been there and whether they still can hold up our weights.
Watch out the worn out rope inside the cave
Please check the ropes before you grab them.

Hat

I used to wear a cap, but the scorching sun and constant rain in Taiwan made it difficult to protect my neck. So, I switch to Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero Rain Hat.

Other Headwear

Buff Neckwear (or something similar) is my favorite headwear on the trails. I tried to hike without wearing a buff on the trails before. I was surprised by how much my head could sweat.
Mt. Baigu - 100 Peaks hike in Taiwan: a challenging hike to enjoy the rugged terrains and beautiful views
I can't hike without a headwear on the trails.
Also, wearing a buff helps cover up my messy hair after hiking. It also helps cover up the smell of my hair.

Helmet

I wear a Decathlon SIMOND helmet when doing river tracing or climbing, like Wuliaojian. I wear this helmet for some 100 peaks trails with the potential of falling rocks.
Wuliaojian Knife Ridge Hike in Taiwan

Swiss Knife

Mine is the Classic SD, a small one with a pair of small scissors, a blade, a screwdriver, tweezers, etc.

3M Scotch Tape 130DC

LOHAS guides recommend this one. They have met hikers whose boot outsoles were falling apart (yes, that happens often). They used this tape to temporarily secure the boots till the hikers finished the hike. However, the safest way to prevent wearing the wrong shoes is to check before heading to the trail.

Gimbal: DJI

I use this gimbal when I have time to take time-lapse videos.
Day-hike gear list in Taiwan
Those are my essentials to bring for day hikes. I also welcome sponsorships from those companies I mentioned here.

😃

Packing my backpack for the hike is a never-ending process to learn. Therefore, the items on my gear list are constantly evolving. I'll update my gear list when I have significant changes.
What is your list of essentials to bring for day hikes? Or any suggestion for me to pack in my backpack? Please feel free to share this with me. I would love to hear from you.

Related Posts:

On Taiwan Hikes

Things You Need to Know Before Hiking in Taiwan
Four Ways to Hike in Taiwan
What to Do When You Get Lost on the Trails in Taiwan
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