Tag Archives: Deuter

Trekking in Malaysian rainforest

I have been trekking in few Malaysian jungles. Not as often as many hardcores that already conquered several mountains, and many had successfully did Trans Titiwangsa, which is considered as the toughest trek in Peninsular Malaysia.

I usually go for photography. Any place that is beautiful & worth the journey. Several day trekking like Air Terjun Pelangi in Sungai Lembing, 5 hours trekking deep inside Ulu Dong jungle in Raub, 18 hours continuous walk at Nuang in Selangor & recently 6 hours of tough journey to Buaya Sangkut in Endau-Rompin Johor.

Compared to few volcanoes I had climbed in Indonesia, these journey in Malaysian jungles are tougher & more physical.

Gears for local trekking are so different than what we can find from online stores or every where else in the world.

  1. About the shoes, forget about brand like Adidas, Nike, Timberland or that kind of brand….they are lousy in Malaysian jungle. Can consider Teva sandals, but the champion for wet, hot & humid Malaysian jungle is that al-cheapo rubber shoes, which is normally used by rubber tapper. It cost no more than RM8 but can do more than any super expensive brand one can find in super exclusive outdoor shops……including my RM299 Teva sandal! If you wish to buy sandal, make sure you buy the one with front cover or else your feet will get caught under covered branch or tree.
  2. Leech or better called as ‘pacat’ locally is the natural blood sucker when travel in tropical rainforest. It is good to wear leech sock or fine office sock. Sport sock is not suitable because pacat can still penetrate. Example of the suitable leech sock is available here.
  3. For trouser, wear long trouser or 3/4 guys unless you don’t mind pacat climb to your private part. Thin & easy to dry material is preferred. I saw quite a number of experienced trekkers wearing tights. They said it is thin, breathable& easy to dry. I normally wear my quick dry track bottom or 3/4.
  4. Wear quick dry t-shirt is the best. Tuck-in please. Bright colour is preferred for various reasons. You can be seen from far & somehow insects don’t like bright colour. They love black shirt.
  5. Wear head cover. Again bright colour quick dry material is preferred. I usually use buff to cover my head. You don’t really need to be scared of sun because you’ll rarely see them.
  6. Bag….this is super important. Use suitable bag for long haul journey or else you’ll injure your body. Use real outdoor bag. Not camera bag! Regardless how great the advertisement is! I never come across any suitable camera bag for trekking including my RM1000 f-stopgear Tilopa!
  7. Torch light, matches, fly sheet, rope, knife or small machette are super important.
  8. GPS or compass is also important.

Always think safety whenever you go into deep jungle. Anything can happen. Always go with buddy or friends.

Also make sure you dispose all rubbish especially plastics, bottle etc well. Bring them out from the jungle. Do not put any food unattended. There are flies, ants and even big animals that love those free meals.

f-stop Tilopa & a rainforest adventure

Brought my f-stop Tilopa to Endau-Rompin tropical rainforest via Peta in Kahang, Johor. I stuffed my Nikon D3, Nikon D300s, Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8, Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR & Nikkor 105mm f2.8 VR. I also packed Nikon SB-800 flashlite and a Feisol carbon fibre tripod attached with Markins M20 ballhead. Apart from camera gears, I also brought few pairs of dry cloths, a Coleman weather-lite two-man tent, sleeping mat & another Deuter daypack for my water bladder & some food.

Everything was over 25kg!

Tilopa did not perform well. It was not ergonomic enough to carry all the load. Again I blame on its poor waist support & shoulder straps. The load was not resting on my waist but instead on my shoulders…..and it was indeed painful. I can carry all those load for about 2-3 hours. Then every step became too painful to bear. The straps to hold sleeping mats, tripod & tent were also not strong enough & I have to tighten them once a while.

I don’t think I’ll use Tilopa again unless for a short simple outing that requires me to bring the same setup but not that tough.

A proper outdoor bag like Deuter is better for such trip. And I may just use its internal compartment unit together with my Deuter Quantum 55+10L.

Ideal bag for outdoor photography

I love photographing beautiful & scenic not-for-usual-tourist kind of places. Been to few jungles & mountains, locally or in Indonesia. Been searching for the perfect bag for ages. I already have a lot of camera bags. All of them are Lowepro. From Nova 4, Off-trail II (sold), Computrekker AW (sold), Inversion 200AW, Computrekker Plus AW, Top-loader 75AW and Primus AW. My favorite at the moment is the Primus but it is not ergonomic & killing my back for a long hiking. For someone with prolapsed disc, this is not good. During the last outdoor adventure up to more than 2000m high Mount Rinjani, I can’t simply carry my own bag, the Primus. I had to rely on the porter to carry all my bags. But I soon discovered than carrying heavier loads with my Deuter Quantum 55-10L, a proper backpack for hiking, seems ‘lighter’ than the Primus. Therefore I believe that a suitable bag matters.

Since then I have been searching for a suitable solutions for such activity. These are few possible solutions:

  1. Use my Deuter Quantum plus Lowepro Toploader (over my chest) – Cons: I find it difficult to descend with huge bag on my chest. It was difficult to see my own step. And the number of lenses able to be carried is limited & I need to use pouches for each lens & put them inside my Quantum. Pro: Easy access to my camera (and one lens) – therefore more picture or else, I will just use my P&S.
  2. Buy Domke inserts & put it into my Deuter Futura 35L. I’ll put the rest of the stuff like cloth, jacket etc on top of the camera. Cons: It will be a nightmare to remove the camera from the bag during the hiking. Meaning less picture from the DSLR. This combo is just meant to carry the camera & lenses from point A to point B.
  3. f-stop bags!! Just found out about this bag & its extraordinary Internal-Camera-Unit (ICU). The ICU serves as paddings for the camera & lenses, and the best thing is that it has special access to all the camera & accessories. However I still need to put down the bag to get the camera. So, I can take out the camera but it won’t be handy. And the major cons is the price! A Tilopa + ICU = USD290. And the courier charge from US to Malaysia using UPS is another USD280!! More pictures of f-stop gears’ products available here.

    (source: http://www.fstopgear.com/now/media/gallery/66-action-shots/139-gerd-riegers-tilopa-setup-20080612)

So for now, I may have to choose Option #1 as I don’t have to spend anymore $$. I just need to descend slowly.

2009-06-13 12-06-04

Me with the toploader when climbing Mount Nuang in Selangor.

Note (June 2010): I have bought more bags including f-stopgear Tilopa which had cost me RM1000 with the internal compartment unit but it is not suitable for deep tropical jungle trekking. Now testing the ThinTank Photo waist bags solution.