Monday, June 17, 2013

What to Bring to Kilimanjaro / check list

When I was leaving for the trek, I didn't know what to bring and I looked all over for some advice and only found snippets here and there. So I thought I'd post what I took for anyone considering doing this fantastic voyage. Everything I've noted (aside from the fuzzy scarf) were things that I used. I would bring this exact list if I went again.

Kilimanjaro Trek

Kilimanjaro Trek from polyvore

1 - Camping gear Expedition Sleeping Bag (We had old down ones that actually worked fine. Though it gets below freezing at night, so make sure they are at least down.) /  Large Duffel (On typical KMJ expeditions, you separate your stuff into day pack and camp. Your sleeping bag, thermal stuff and high-altitude gear goes into the duffel and the porters carry it from camp to camp. It's kind of lame as far as self-sufficiency goes, but it's part of the structure of the mountain's business.) / wipes (No bath for a week, yes. But you can swab off every night with wipes and it is not a problem.) / toilet paper (Have to bring your own TP, take the cardboard holder out and smash them down to save space.) / plastic bags 1 gallon and sandwich (very handy for wet gear, dirty, gear, trash, etc.)

2 - Day PackTraverse 30 Pack  (Make sure your backpack has a waist strap, save your shoulders, and enough room for your day supplies including rain jacket and pants) / camelbak (My friends opted not to bring theirs because water in the tube freezes when you get up on the mountain. For me though, it was one of my best pieces of equipment. I stayed really hydrated the entire time so almost no headaches. It was easy to drink every few steps, rather than having to stop, get out the bottle, unscrew bottle, drink, put it back in pack. You can just walk and drink, I attribute this to my excellent health. Blowing the freezing water back into the warmed tank on your back is not too difficult either. Some people insulated their water tubes.) / Nalgene Water Bottle  (for extra 1.5 - 2 liters per day and boiled water at higher camps. W made insulation cases for the bottles, luckily it wasn't quite that cold.) /  Clif Shot (a couple energy bars) / SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen Lotion  (especially on the summit ) / SPF  lip balm  / camera (I highly recommend carrying a point and shoot and not an SLR. I missed a lot of photo opts because I couldn't break out the heavy camera. Luckily we had some P&S and some SLRs in our group, so we got a lot of different pictures and video.)  /  notebook & pen  (The ideas, insights, memories you have once you get down cannot compare at all with your impressions during the climb.) /  Headlamp (For safety, and for the summit morning) / Rain Gear (the weather is so unpredictable, it could rain at any time so need to keep the rain jacket and pants in the daypack) rain jacket (make sure to have a waterproof jacket with a hood.) / rain pants (It's best to have the pants that zip on from the side so you don't have to take off your shoes to put them on, might have to gear up mid-trail.) Kilimanjaro Map (to follow along is fun.) / Hiking poles (the screw to lengthen kind so they pack away easily, they are great for the downhill, but not 100% necessary) / ipod (On the final summit trek, it's really nice to zone out to music while you climb) / deodorant

3 - Day wear - tshirt or tank top (for the hot days, some people had wool light-weight hiking shirts that don't smell as much.) / long sleeve shirt (any light-weight button up) / Mountain Hardwear hiking pants (I seriously lucked out. I got these at a thrift store a week before I left as an alternative to jeans. These pants are magical.They were cool during the early sweltering days of the climb and somehow also warm when we got up to the cold and rainy rocks) / Merrell Waterproof Hiking Boots (be sure to spray waterproof your shoes before you go. There is always a high chance of rain. And break in your shoes so you don't get blisters.) / sunglasses / hat (Really necessary!) / REI wool socks (I asked for wool socks for xmas, so I got a lot of different pairs REI, LLBean, Smartwool, while they all did their job, interestingly the REI brand were the warmest.) / heavy duty scarf  (for dust, sweat, snot, rag, sun-shade, etc) / First aid kit (the guides have one, but it's useful.) / diamox  (note at bottom)

4 - Thermal layerDown jacket or vest (I borrowed a friend's vest and it was perfect for keeping warm, but not too hot) /  Patagonia expedition weight pants / Patagonia Women's Merino Midweight shirt / fleece or some kind or hoodie  / scarf  (*This is definitely not necessary, but it's so soft.)

5 - Summit attempt - Patagonia Merino Balaclava / neck warmer Liner gloves /  The North Face Gloves /  HotHands Hand Warmers Bulk Pack  (I'm always cold; these saved the day. I put them all in my sleeping bag. I put them in my pants and in my jacket. They need oxygen to warm, so they didn't work great in the shoes/ But I was able to put them in my gloves and take them out to change my whole body temperature.

6 - Enjoy Tanzania - Stoney Tangawizi (They have the best ginger ale, wish we had that stuff in the US.)

* Diamox - You will definitely experience some effects from the altitude, most frequently headache. If things get really serious, decreased brain function, disorientation, and edema, be very aware of yourself and your friends. Your best defense is tons of water, eating lots, and listening to your body. Many people take diamox prescribed by a doctor to help prevent altitude sickness. I would say it is very good to have on hand. But contrary to what everyone is saying, you may not need it. I was led to believe that you just can't make it up the mountain without it, but people do it in the Himalaya every day. Don't feel pressured to over medicate. You don't really need to start taking it far in advance. The side effects can be pretty frustrating: knife jabbing sensations in your limbs, numbness, decreased alertness, and frequent bathroom runs. Use it only when symptoms become a major distraction.)