Once you’ve booked your tour to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, it’s time to start thinking about the practicalities of your walking holiday. One aspect you’ll need to consider carefully is what you pack and how you transport it.To help you out, here’s a brief guide to some of the essential equipment you’ll need for the climb, as well as some packing tips to make the process as easy as possible.Essentials to bring
It goes without saying that comfy, worn-in walking boots are a must when you’re tackling a challenging trek like the Kilimanjaro climb. The last thing you want is to have blisters before the first day is over.As luggage can get lost, make sure you wear your boots, rather than packing them. You may also want to take any other essential gear that’s small enough in your hand baggage, rather than checking it into the hold.
High-quality socks are also a must – a top tip is to wear liner socks underneath a thick pair of hiking socks, as this can help prevent you from developing blisters on your climb.
Sticking with the clothing theme, you should also bring thermal underwear and plenty of garments that you can layer – while you might get warm while you’re walking, temperatures can plummet after nightfall and you’ll be glad of extra layers.
Breathable waterproof outerwear, as well as a thick jacket, are also strongly recommended for any Kilimanjaro summit attempt. Don’t get too carried away by filling your bag with clothes, though, as you’ll need to leave enough room for a four-season sleeping bag and a sleeping mat (thermarests are among the most comfy and compact options).
The above is far from an exhaustive list of what you’ll need on a Kilimanjaro climb – your tour operator will provide you with a full list of what you will require while you’re on the mountain before you travel. However, here are just some of the extras you’ll want to pop in your backpack:
• A torch (flashlight) for use around your campsites and also on the day you make your summit attempt – don’t forget spare batteries and bulbs!
• Personal first aid kit with plenty of plasters and blister kits in it.
• Sunglasses for use as you climb higher and the UV glare becomes more intense.
• Non-disposable water bottles are essential as these reduce litter on the mountain. Make sure yours are rated for use in below freezing temperatures too.
• Water purification tablets are another vital thing to pack, as you’ll need to purify all the water you drink while you’re completing the trek.
• Trekking poles are very useful when going up and downhill. You don’t necessarily need to buy your own, though, as they are available for hire in Moshi ahead of your climb.
Packing for the climb
You may imagine that once you’ve squeezed everything into your bag and checked it in, your packing will be done for the trip. However, it’s more than likely that you’ll be spending a longer time in Tanzania than just what you’ve allowed for the Kilimanjaro climb, which means you’ll have extra gear you don’t need when you’re on the mountain.
As your main bags (you’ll have a day rucksack that you take yourself) are carried up the peak by porters, there is a weight restriction of 15 kg on all luggage that goes with you on the trail. This means you’ll need to pack an extra, smaller kitbag that can be used while you’re walking. It’s worth noting that it needs to be soft, as the porters will put several bags in a heavy-duty outer bag to make it easier to transport.
Don’t worry about the items that you leave behind, as there are storage facilities in Moshi where you can keep your gear until you return from reaching Kilimanjaro’s summit.
Matt Cook enjoys travelling and cycling which helps in his role of eCommerce Manager for Adventure Travel company Explore.