8 Things to Pack on a Korean Hike

Korean Hiking
We hike on a regular basis here in Korea. Slowly but surely learning the ins and outs of hiking in Korea. If you want to fit right in on a hike in Korea, than you will want to follow this packing guide to hike like (or pretty close to) the locals!

The following list has the essentials we take on our day hikes throughout the national parks in Korea. We promise, that if you go hiking with the following list, not only will you have a good time, but locals will somehow be even friendlier than imaginable and offer you food, and drinks throughout the hike! Just look at the results!

Hiking in Korea

1) Makgeolli!

This is a must! Locals love taking breaks and sipping on some makgeolli.

Pro Tip
It is rude in Korean culture to not accept a drink offered to you by an elder. If you are offered to have drink on the hike do it! Any maybe you will make a friend! 

2) Tin Cup

You can find these cute tin cups that have a clip to attach to your backpack. This is convenient cup is for makgeolli and water! People also use these cups to share their goodies.

3) Sitting Mats or Teenie Tiny Hiking Chairs

These are great for longer hikes to just pop a squat when your dogs are starting to bark. You can find these inexpensive at discount stores and Daiso! Since they are small, they are lightweight and easy to fit into your backpack!

4) Wet Wipes

These are so you don’t have to lose a sock on your hike when nature calls! You should actually carry these everywhere with you seeing how some places do not have TP!!! 

5) Band Aids

This sounds like a no brainer, or overly cautious. Either way, we never have bandages on hand and we really could have used it on our last hike! We slipped on some wet leaves and skinned our elbows! Oops!

6) Snacks

Get some kimbap, biscuits, and cookies to enjoy while you sip on some makgeolli. You will see how dedicated some people are at the top of a mountain with a five-course meal!  

7) Water

Duh…but you cannot forget this especially if you are drinking makgeolli! You have to stay hydrated. 

8) Sun Screen

If you forgot your sunscreen you can find it at about any store here since Koreans do not want the sun to touch their skin! You will be getting some strange stares here if you get a sunburn!


You may show up to a hike and feel completely underdressed. Don’t feel bad if you show up to a hike wearing gym shorts, tank top, and tennis shoes! Locals like to wear all the professional gear, even on a two-hour hike. You may get gawked at being underdressed to their standards, but this is something you just have to own up to, unless you are willing to spend some serious cash on the expensive gear to fit in.

Leave the hiking sticks at home! You really do not need them and they just get in the way. Do not feel unprepared for the hike without these, because many people will have them. You may find yourself wondering why they actually have them at times like us.

So other than the expensive professional outfits we are telling you to leave behind, the rest of these tips will help the locals realize this isn’t your first rodeo!

HIking in Korea

Take these items if you want to make some friends and meet great locals while hiking! Just remember to smile and say Anyeounghaseyo and you will have a great hike! Happy Hiking everyone.

See the hikes we have enjoyed in Korea here.

Hiking in Bukhansan

Hiking in Mudeungsan

Hiking in Gyeryongsan

Hiking in Seoraksan

Hiking in Mokpo

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About the Author

Megan Indoe

I am a traveling crazy cat lady who takes every opportunity to pet the random cats I find across the world on our adventures. I quit my job to follow our dreams of traveling the world and making our own rules along the way.

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  • This post is spot-on! I’ve been on about four hikes since moving this side of the world and we learn’t what to take and what to leave. I love the sense of community when hiking and meeting locals. On numerous occasions we have been offered food from chopped carrots, apples to biscuits. It’s great when you have something to return. Great blog 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Nadia! It is really awesome how friendly they are and how much they bring on these hikes. They are super hospitable to other hikers and it has really made me enjoy hiking here so much!

  • Makgeolli and gimbap is the perfect mid-hike snack! That will sometimes distract the neon-clothed locals from your “half-naked” body 🙂 Last time I went hiking, I got some pretty funny looks for wearing shorts, even thought it was about 85 degrees plus humidity! Ahhh Korean hiking. Glad you enjoy it.

    • Haha that is too funny. We get stared at a lot, and they will try to warn us that we are not well equipped for the hike since we don’t bring nearly as much as they do. But Makgeolli is the great equalizer!

  • I’m surprised you didn’t include the Portlandia video on “getting the gear” before going for a run. That was how I felt when you mentioned ditching the hiking sticks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worried for dudes’ health when seeing them stumble around at the top of a mountain.

    Feel free to come on down to Yeosu and we’ll show you some mountains. I love reading your stuff.

  • Solid advice! It took me a minute to realize on my first hike why others on the trail were stopping and pointing to my bare arms. One lady was even nice enough to put bug spray on me! haha.
    I love the camaraderie that comes with hiking in Korea. It feels like when you’re on the trail, everyone is one big family! 😀

  • I’m hoping to get more into hiking once the weather is a bit cooler so this post is great for beginners like me. Also, I wish I liked kimbap. I hate seaweed so I’ll probably just have to pack a sandwich instead.

    • It is definitely getting too hot, we didn’t think about that when we wrote this article. We just did a hike, luckily it was super windy, but we don’t think know if we will do anymore until the winter. Sometimes were not feeling the kimbob either and we go with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which we have discovered might be the best thing to go with makgeolli. That and these like vanilla mint crackers we find at the random hiking stores.

  • I love the tin cups! I definitely need to get myself a set before I head home.
    Also, you just gotta love how Koreans go all out with their hiking gear. It’s half the fun for me!

  • Though I’m not of the hiking variety, I have been on a couple just because I wanted to say I saw the view and conquered it, and because it’s a super Korean thing to do. But, if I were a hiking type I’d definitely appreciate this list. I actually especially love the hiking gear fashion show that takes place on the mountain. It kills me, and since I work up in Suraksan in Seoul I usually take the train home with a ton of models after their hikes. And last, you can never have too much makkoli no matter the occassion. Tis my Korean beverage of choice 🙂

    • Hey Danielle! We also love the hiking fashion show! Haha sometimes going on a hike is a great excuse to enjoy makgeolli earlier in the day than you should be drinking (like 11 am)! Haha It’s also my favorite drink in Korea! Thanks for your sharing on our blog! 🙂

  • I love how it is also common to see the Koreans breaking for the lunch and drinking soju in the middle of the day.

    • I know! And Korean hikers are so friendly and willing to share all the snacks and booze they hauled up the mountain!

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  • Kim Sell

    Trekking poles, not hiking sticks, are important gear. Use them correctly and you will use them on every hike, or walk, you take. It also helps knees, hips, and backs to go longer and stronger.