What I packed for trekking Kilimanjaro in October

This is the exact list of items I packed for my most recent Kilimanjaro trek as a tour manager for The Different Travel Company for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich on the Rongai route (12th – 21st October 2013).

Clothes and shoes:
Scarpa leather hiking boots
4x pairs trek socks (mainly Bridgedale)
1x Compression/flight socks
1x Thermal top (pyjamas)
1x Thermal bottoms (pyjamas)
TNF Boulder Penelope shirt
Trespass lightweight trek trousers
Rab Power Stretch pants
1x Altura L/S merino base layer
1x Odlo Ninja base layer
1x Striders Edge L/S full zip hoody
1x Mountain Hardwear waterproof jacket
1x Rab Neutrino Plus down jacket
1x Rab Generator primaloft jacket
1x Marmot PreCip waterproof full-zip pants
1x Trilby hat
1x Warm hat
1x Buff
1x Mittens
1x Liner gloves
1x Fingerless gloves
10x underwear
2x Shock Absorber Sports bras
Cheap emergency poncho
Work t-shirt
Sandals for Moshi
2x Dresses for Moshi
1x Pashmina
First Aid Kit:Dramamine anti-nausea medication
Sterile gloves
Antiseptic wipes
Wound dressings
Blister plasters
Antiseptic cream
Antihistamine cream
Antimalarial medication
Zinc oxide tape
Throat lozenges
Micropore tape
Tiger balm
Ibuprofen gel
Mouth ulcer gel
Off! insect repellent
Pack of kleenex
Food/Drink:2x Supreme Protein cookies n cream
Powerbar protein plus vanilla
Berry flavour Zero tablets
4x army ration ‘cherry beverage powder’
2x Asda fizzy cherry cola bottles
1x bag Milky Way Magic Stars
1x berry and cherry dried fruit
6x Mr Kipling lemon slices
Biox Aqua tablets and Steripen
1l Sigg bottle with thermal cover
Camelbak 2l
750ml water bottle
Miscellaneous:Plastic bags of various sizes
Paperwork / work manuals / Kili book
Cash and cards
Passport & copy
2x Pens
Gaffa tape roll
2x Karabiners
6x Hand warmers
1x Padlock
Toiletries:Travel size sun screen
Body spray
Panty liners
Travel sized shampoo
Travel shower gel
Antiperspirant deodorant
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Baby wipes
Hand sanitizer
Toilet paper (1.5 rolls)
Nappy bags
3x hair bands / 1x headband
Electronics:Camera, spare batteries & battery Charger
Video camera
Chest mount for GoPro
2x GoPro
Mobile phone x2 and charge wire
New Trent portable battery pack
Petzl Tikka 2 head torch
2x spare head torch batteries
Spare LED torch
Luggage:Mountain Warehouse 100l Wet & Dry bag
Small holdall for gear to leave in Moshi
35 litre Berghaus daypack
2x Exped waterproof dry bags
Sleeping:Rab Expedition 1000 sleeping bag
Snugpak Thermalon sleeping bag liner
Ear plugs and eye mask
Thermarest 40th Anniversary Edition

1393096_10151611049186467_122651395_nObviously many of the items above include things I only used in Moshi or while travelling. My final kit bag for the mountain weighed just under 10kg and there are a few things I didn’t end up using that probably account for 750g:
The protein bars, dried fruit, one pack of the fizzy cherry cola bottles and most of the Magic Stars.

For this particular trip the only thing I wish I had brought was a few more packs of beverage powder. The purification that our porters use to sterilise our water is very chemical-tasting and I didn’t have quite enough to mask the taste. Keeping hydrated is so important and being put off the taste of water is not ideal.

Outfit of the day – Kilimanjaro Summit Night!

Here is what I wore on summit night, Kilimanjaro, Friday May 31st 2013.  The conditions from 4,600m (Barafu Camp) to summit were very windy, snow underfoot and approximately -22C with wind chill. I was toasty warm all the way up, and sweltering all the way down!DSCF9806


I really like Kilimanjaro

Towering above the landscape at a mighty 5,895m (19,340ft), Mount Kilimanjaro is a majestic sight and trekking to the top of this snow-capped stratovolcano is on the bucket list of many adventurous people.

Today approximately 25,000 people per year attempt to reach the summit, Uhuru Peak, and amongst these trekkers are men and women, young and old from all over the world and with thousands of different reasons why they want to attempt the summit. They may be mountaineers ticking off Kilimanjaro as one of their Seven Summits expeditions, they may be mothers whose children have left home and they want to challenge themselves or they may be enthusiastic fundraisers raising money for a good cause at home; whatever the reason that brought them to Tanzania, they all share the aim of getting to the top.

While you are trekking Kilimanjaro you become part of a family with your local guides, staff and fellow trekkers and bond with each other. In this unusual and extreme environment, where etiquette goes out of the window and bodily functions becomes an encouraged topic of discussion at mealtimes, you forget your day-to-day worries and concentrate on being part of a team and trying to reach the top.

Each morning you eat a huge hearty breakfast, refill your water bottles, pack your rucksacks and get out onto the trail without knowing exactly what delights are waiting for you. Sometimes it is the smallest things like a dramatic view of the summit from camp, or the moment the sun peeks out from behind the clouds when you’re starting to feel cold. Other times it can be something as simple as being served your favourite meal at dinner time after a long day trekking!

One of the most fascinating things about Kilimanjaro is the range of eco-zones you pass through on your journey to the top; from verdant jungle to barren moonscapes and the arctic glacier strewn summit which feels a thousand miles from Africa, let alone being the roof of the continent! The going can be tough, with parts of the trail being steep or featuring exhausting scree slopes or areas with huge boulders to scramble over but every challenge you confront rewards you with a feeling of achievement and renewed enthusiasm to test yourself further.

It goes without saying that the highlight of trekking Kilimanjaro is reaching the summit. The feeling of elation and happiness is beyond belief and is incredibly difficult to describe. It overwhelms you, intoxicates you and is a feeling you are unlikely to find replicated in any other life experience outside the mountaineering world. However, for me Kilimanjaro is more than that. It’s the smile someone gives you when they see you struggling; it’s the words of encouragement that help you take that next step and it’s the person who shares their last piece of chocolate with you because they can see you need it which make the experience so special.

Getting to the top is just the icing on the cake.

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