In the below section Dave details what he packed for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. You may have other items not listed here, or feel it unnecessary to bring some of the items mentioned below. The below lists and information are listed to be used as guides.
For a climb like this one, you will need waterproof gear, and warm gear. If you already do not have any of the below items you will want to consider purchasing them.
Waterproof gear is a must. This applies to your clothes, shoes, and backpacks. Buy breathable gear. Non-breathable waterproof clothes are very annoying as they are not breathable and as a consequence you sweat profusely and end up becoming wet anyway, especially when hiking and undergoing strenuous activity. Shell pants and a shell jacket are a must. Waterproof shoes can be purchased. If they are waterproof you will have no problem.
Bring a waterproof backpack. I sprayed about 3 bottles of waterproofing spray onto mine before I left, and despite the terrible rain, the inside of my pack stayed dry along with all its contents. An excellent way to ensure some of your smaller contents stay perfectly dry is to bring about 8 to 9 gallon size Ziploc bags as well as some smaller Ziplocs. These handled the rain perfectly and I saved valuable gear from getting wet, such as my camera, passport, gloves etc.
Aside from your waterproof outside layers, bring layers of fleece. All my inside layers were fleece. DO NOT BRING COTTON. It will get wet and never dry on the mountain and you will be cold. At least with fleece if it gets cold, it still retains its warmth.
All food, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and other assorted gear was packed and carried for us. Because I was traveling around eastern Africa for 3 weeks before the climb and for some time after, I did not bring a sleeping bag or pad. I rented these items from Mountain Madness.
Waterproof items more than heavy warm items were very important at the lower elevations where it rained more. At the higher elevations the fleece and other warmth became of utmost importance. The coldest night was Crater Camp where it was –5 degrees Farenheight.
Here is what I packed for warmth. Note: I get very cold very easily. I have a –45 degree sleeping bag with 800+ fill down (not used on this particular trip), but I use this bag where most people use +10 degree bags!
1 base layer fleece
1 expedition layer fleece
1 vest layer fleece
1 vest layer down
1 outside layer fleece/windproof
1 shell breathable waterproof jacket
1 base layer fleece pants
2 expedition layer fleece pants
1 breathable waterproof shell pants
Miscellaneous Gear for Warmth
1 pair waterproof mid weight hiking shoes
1 base layer fleece socks
1 expedition thick layer fleece socks
1 pair waterproof gloves with inside liner for warmth
1 baklava (covering for the head – only the eyes and nose show)
For me, the baklava and gloves were some of the most important items I had. My fingers and head get extremely cold very easily and both of these items protected me very well from the sub zero temperatures at the higher elevations.
Keep in mind that this gear is not cheap. Wait for sales on fleece. Review the “travel supply” companies listed on Dave’s Travel Corner under the links section for more information.
There are several items I wish I had but did not. One was a thick down jacket that extended down past the waist. This would have been ideal to put on after hiking to camp. Down is great for keeping you warm after you stop hiking. Another would have been a change of base layer socks.
Fleece or Down?
On a wet trip like this we recommend fleece. Take a large down jacket with you if you have one, but only use it once you are in the security of the campsite, unless it is not raining.
(1) Backpack about 5500 cubic inches
(2) Trekking poles (a must!!!) These were great on the downhill sections.
(1) Cheap sunglasses
(2) water bottles – Use Nalgene water bottles or something equivalent. The main point is that they are made of hard plastic. They may be thrown about so they need to be able to take some abuse. They also can be filled with boiled water and then put into your sleeping bag on the cold nights. Thin plastic will not stand up to the boiling water and it will melt. Water was high priority on this hike. Have water with you at all times and drink even if you are not thirsty. I was drinking 8 to 10 liters of water per day. That is a lot of water! If you are not on Diamox you want to drink a lot of water.
1 head lamp (this was extremely useful for walking around the camp sites at night)
First Aid Kit
Advil (great for the headaches)
A prescription of Codeine and Tylenol combination (this will help all ailments – up to a point!)
Diamox assuming you have tested it on your self previously and you know you are not allergic to it