What gear do I need to carry on my Kilimanjaro climb?
Carrying the right amount of luggage is an important matter on a serious climb such as Kilimanjaro. The best news for climbers is that our tough, hardworking porters will carry most of your gear, and when you arrive at each day’s camp, your luggage will already be waiting for you. These amazing guys clean the campsite every day, packing up all the equipment – including your gear – and reaching the following camp before you. All you need to take care of is your daypack, making sure you have everything you need until you reach camp at the end of the day, as you will not be able to access your main luggage during the day’s climb.
Surprisingly, perhaps, porters prefer duffel bags over backpacks and climbers are asked to limit the weight of their duffel bag to a maximum of 15kg. As for daypacks, these should weigh no more than 6kg and a daypack of 30 litres’ capacity should easily be enough. To keep the weight of the daypack to a minimum, you should only pack what is absolutely necessary. This will vary a bit from day to day, as the temperatures change with altitude: there’s no point in having extra warm clothes in your daypack on the lower slopes, is there?
You have to pack up your daypack each day, and to put your other gear into the duffel bag. A top tip is to ensure your stuff goes into waterproof bags inside your duffel bag and daypack.
What do you need in your daypack?
First of all, taking into account the specific zone you will be climbing in for that day, you should consider the need for any extra clothes you might require. (Remember, it gets cooler as you ascend.) Waterproof clothing is an essential, as weather is unpredictable on Kilimanjaro. Being prepared for all weather types is the key. Here’s what you might need:
1. Sunglasses or goggles
2.Buff or neck gaiter (optional)
3. Woolen hat, for warmth
4.Soft-shell jacket, or fleech
5. Breathable waterproof jacket, with hood
6. Gloves, thin pair
7. Breathable waterproof pants (trousers)
8. Trekking poles (optional)
Secondly, climbers must ensure they have a sufficient amount of water and carry a few snacks for extra energy on the climb.
9. Water bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz.)
10. Water bladder (Camelbak type, 3 liters)
11. Snacks: lightweight, high in calories, and giving high energy
12.Electrolytes, in powder or tablet format (optional)
Thirdly, your daypack should contain those few essentials which might be needed during the day’s climb. Most important are any medications that you usually take. Other sundry items are listed below:
13. Camera (and spare batteries)
14. Lip balm
16. Hand sanitizer
17. Toilet paper
18. First aid kit
19. Assorted bags
Packing your daypack properly, when space is at a premium, is important. You don’t want to be rummaging around looking for some small item when you are halfway up the mountain, so the key is to ‘compartmentalize.’ What does that mean? Well, use waterproof – preferably zip-lock – bags and separate your stuff out into them, making it easier to find items. Put similar items in each bag: perhaps medicines, sunscreen, lip balm etc in one bag, and snacks in another
How you pack is almost as important as what you pack. Keep your daypack balanced, as too much weight on one side or the other can cause strain and injury. Heavier items should be packed at the bottom, not the top, of your pack; compression straps should be used where available, as these stop items shifting around while you walk.