Theres one issue nowadays in the field of hiking or any outdoor sport for that matter-that is the brandtology. Or the love and hate of an imported outdoor brand.
Theres a lot of people outthere who are either brand hater or brand ambassador. If you are brand hater, you always have this comment " Ganda nga ng mga gamit , weak naman, ang bagal naman, or kung ano ano pang negative comments " on the other hand there's also people who loves to brag the brand they carry " look I got this new tnf jacket, Mh pants and shirts, New osprey packs, etc, you know what I mean.
If your just scaling some minor mountains in calabarzon area, or some major ones in benguet. You will encounter some people who just love to stare on what brands youre using and will also try hard to notice if your strong or weak or if your a fast walker or just fast talker. I don't understand if they just envy you because you can afford to buy branded gears or just pure sick brand haters.
Im guilty of this one as well, Im not brand hater. Im just a brand lover. I just want my gear to be durable, to stand the test of weather and the elements. The product that will still performed during the coldest night with fiercing winds into the scorching sun and brutal trail.
I just want my shoes to carry me troughout the climb, one that doesn't give me anxiety if im going to slip or not if i put my whole weight on the slippery rocks , roots and leaves. One that can still be in one piece even though I put in in deep ankle mud.
I want my jacket to keep me warm and dry during the intense rain in the deepest jungle.
I want my tent to shelter me from the storm and cold in the highest peak of the mountains and give me a good night sleep.
I want my pack to carry everything I need troughout the days of hiking , and have the strength to carry all my gear and supplies.
If my gears do what it was design to do of course Im happy. If they are not, I will look for something else to do the job.
In my climb in Mindanao, those brands dont matter. What really matter is that if your gear works in the toughest terrain and weather. The guides, local mountaineer, porters was not concious and doesnt give a damn if they are wearing the latest vaporwick shirt from north face, doesn't give a shit if they carrying an osprey or mountain hardwear packs and doesn't really care if you sleep in your cozy north face or msr tent. What they really care about is that if you know how to respect people and their beliefs. If you know how to talk and to take care of you companion.
These mountain people might not the money to buy the latest and brightest gear available. However, they have been in the mountain long enough to know what works and whats not and they have survived and still enjoy the climb and the journey even though they are not a walking fashion outdoor shop.
However, If you climb Mt pulag, You will see its like a outdoor fashion show. You can see a lot of different brands locals and imported. You'll see the difference from a real outdoor person to the weekend warrior and mountaineer wanna be. You'll see a lot of people checking cautiosly each and every one gear and You will see a lot of the north face, mountain hardwear, osprey, marmot, mammut, arteryx, black diamond, outdoor research, conquer, habagat, lagalag, tinguian , silangan, trek, and many many more..
As long as your gear works and your comfortable using it , its fine. If you can afford imported brand and will not break your budget you can go for the brand you love. After all, the mountains doesnt give a damn what brand you carry. What really matters is that your gear is up to the challenge on what ever the mother natures will throw at you.