If you are planning an exotic adventure, Mt. Kilimanjaro (a mighty 5895m above sea level, situated in North Tanzania), is the highest peak in Africa and may be one of the finest trekking peaks in the world.
Most climbers take 5-7 days to reach Uhuru Peak and use the opportunity to spend some time experiencing Africa.
Most routes up the mountain (apart from the Marangu route) will involve camping. If you use a company offering a package for flights and the climb, they will often offer you the use of a good quality tent and the help of Sherpas for getting your kit up to the higher camps.
You will be expected to carry your own 25-35 l bag during the days, with any extra kit being carried by the Sherpas. As with any expedition, having the right kit is essential and will be the difference between a comfortable trip or a very unpleasant experience.
What should I take?
If you take your own tent, it will need to be able to deal with heavy storms, rocky ground, and potentially very cold temperatures. Something like the Kangri would be perfect to ensure a good night’s sleep.
You are going to want a decent mat to sleep on. Something with good thermal properties will during cold nights further up the route, but also comfortable enough for a whole weeks camping. Something like the Airo 180 would be anideal lightweight option, or a Dirtbag if you can spare the extra weight.
A down fill provides the best warmth/weight ratio with excellent compressibility for a small pack size. However, you must ensure to keep it dry (packing it into a dry bag during the day is probably safest) When down gets wet, it loses all thermal efficiency.
You are going to be trekking from bushland/rainforest conditions lower down all the way up to alpine desert/arctic conditions at the top and so picking the right bag can be tricky. At the high camps, you want to have something with a comfort temperature rating down to about –10°C. Something like the Pipedream 600 or Skyehigh 900 bags is a good option. A liner is a good addition if you are an especially cold sleeper and to keep your sleeping bag smelling fresh for longer. Our Masson liner is composed of polyester and excellent value or our Mantua silk liner offers ultimate comfort.
At camp, there are going to be a few other things you will need. A lamp, such as a Lampray, for in your tent at night will be essential, especially for leaving early on summit day when you will need to get ready in the dark. The Lampray will also charge your phone or camera from its built-in USB port, so you don't miss out on any of those picture moments!
You will also need a bright headtorch for getting around camp at night and essential for that pre-dawn summit day on the slopes of Kibo. We sell a range of torches; the Gamma II and Qark are great choices.
Remember not to forget those spare batteries for your head torch or you will be spending a lot of time in the dark!
Having the right clothing is very important for the trek to keep you comfortable at all times throughout the varies climates you will travel through. A crucial part of this is going to be your boots: They need to be sturdy with good ankle support. A waterproof membrane (such as Gore Tex or similar) will keep your feet dry in wetter weather. Make sure you have worn in the boots before you get there, and bring some blister plasters just in case.
You will want sweat-wicking base layers/t-shirts such as those from our Kepler merino range. You will want 2 - 3 of these so opting for one of our bundles may be a good choice.
A good quality fleece, some comfortable and lightweight walking trousers, such as our Chilkoot, and an insulated down jacket, such as our Filo. A good jacket will be important to keep you warm at higher altitudes but also at camp in the evening as something comfortable and insulating to slip on.
Some comfortable underwear (our Kepler underwear will leave you pretty smug) is essential as well as some good quality walking socks such as our Trekkers or Heavy Weight Trekkers. Some Long Johns and thermal gloves will be handy for higher up on the mountain and the cold summit day.
Food & Drink
On most trips you will be provided with food and hot drinks at camp but you will need a good water flask or hydration bladder throughout the day. You will be losing water just from breathing at altitude and sweating plenty whilst climbing, so staying hydrated is essential. Severe dehydration can help bring on Acute Mountain Sickness which in some cases will be enough to force you to descend to lower heights. It is worth taking some water purifying tablets with you to clean water, it won't taste great but at least it will be clean and the last thing you want on the mountain is a bad tummy!
Little Essential Extras
Other items you don’t want to forget:
Towel – our Osmo is an uber lightweight option but not one for walking around in!
Basic toiletries (including loo roll)
High factor sun cream/chapstick (our Pro Balm lip balm is ace)
Sunglasses with good UV protection – our Krugers will do the trick
Gaiters (at certain times of year the dust can get everywhere).
A good quality pair of trekking poles, our CarbonLites are an excellent compact, lightweight option.
You will need to talk to your doctor prior to leaving about Malaria tablets and other vaccinations you might need and he will start you on a course of medication. You will need to carry certificates of these vaccinations along with your visas and other travel documents.
Thinking carefully about what kit you are going to take will make your trip way more comfortable and ultimately increase your chances of making it to the summit! On the other hand, if you take the wrong gear, you could potentially put yourself in danger on the mountain and ruin what should be a fantastic experience.