What Does It Take to Climb Kilimanjaro?
We’ve talked about building mental and physical strength, but there’s a larger than expected amount of gear aka “kit” that’s required in order to be able to physically perform in the various environments plus some other items that serve no purpose other than to increase one’s comfort level. Let’s face it, we all like being comfortable, particularly when we can find someone else who wants to bear the weight. In Tanzania, it’s against the law to climb Kilimanjaro without the use of guides and porters, so being the law abiding citizen that I am coupled with the fact that I’m providing a job for someone, I’m happy to only have to carry a 20ish pound day pack myself.
So what goes into the day pack? -Only whatever I’ll need for that day. 2-3 liters of water, snacks, camera, rain jacket and pants, an additional layer in case it gets cold, sunglasses, a change of socks, and of course anything I couldn’t live without if it got lost/dropped/wet (passport, cash, small electronics, journal, the American Express card – I never leave home without it). Doesn’t sound too bad; hmm, wonder if I should get paid for product placements?
So what do the porters carry? -Everything else. Several of them will be tasked with hauling the group stuff – food, cooking equipment and dining utensils, a mess tent, tents for all of the trekkers, a bathroom tent (after hearing the hold-your-nose stories of the public long-drop outhouses this is awesome!), plus the medical and safety supplies.
Another porter will be tasked with carrying my personal stuff, and honestly I’m glad they are limited to 33 lbs / 15 kg (I don’t want anyone to get hurt). This includes my sleeping kit (bag, liner, mattresses – my super smart and savvy guide recommended bringing two), toiletries, extra clothes, cold weather gear, extra snacks, a full-sized cardboard cutout of an angry lion (which makes for a great gag when you place it in front of someone’s tent for them to wake up to), replacement batteries, and anything I don’t want/need to carry myself that day.
Wow, it doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, once you multiply it by two of us, start resourcing it, and then figure out how to fit it into luggage to bring overseas, it adds up quickly. Of course we still need to leave room for safari items plus the gifts we’re bringing for our guides and for World Vision. If anyone is reading along with the purpose of planning their own trip, I have the list of items (mostly populated with brand names and weight) that we’re bringing along in a spreadsheet – just let me know, and I can send it to you.