What Equipment do I Need to Climb Kilimanjaro?
At 5,895 metres, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and a popular challenge for climbers of all levels. In order to climb this challenge successfully, you will need to have the right equipment. The right kit should ensure you are safe, comfortable and prepared for the unpredictable conditions found on the mountain.
To make sure your gear is suitable for the diverse weather, terrain and altitude changes of Kilimanjaro, consider the following essentials:
A necessary part of any climb is warm, waterproof layers of clothing. The unpredictability of the mountain environment means that you may be exposed to very cold or hot temperatures and wet weather. You will want to protect yourself from the elements by packing a few base and mid-layer items. This could include fleeces, base layers and different types of jackets.
Also consider a sturdy set of waterproof trousers and a wide-brimmed hat in order to protect yourself from the sun. Invest in a few pairs of good quality, lightweight and moisture wicking socks to keep your feet comfortable. One or two pairs of comfortable trekking shoes are essential in order to ensure your feet are protected throughout the climb.
A sleeping tent and enough sleeping bags to keep you warm (keeping in mind the temperature can drop to below 0 degrees Celsius at night) is essential. Include a few sleeping mats as well, to provide comfort and insulation from the ground. Make sure your tent is waterproof and light enough to carry with you.
Pack a head torch for nighttime climbs or camps. This will help you see your surroundings when the sun sets.
A good quality and adjustable walking pole or sticks are essential to provide you with the right balance and stability on the terrain. Scrambling is often necessary on Kilimanjaro, and the right shoes and gloves can help to provide traction when scrambling over rocks. A pair of good quality, comfortable shoes is a must.
Food and Drink
It is essential to pack enough nourishing food and drink for the duration of the climb. Consider taking items with a long shelf life such as granola bars or dried fruit to give you that much needed energy boost. You will want to include some sugary snacks or drinks too for when you feel a sugar dip. Don’t forget to pack a thermos with you again for the evening chill. It can also be useful to include vitamin supplements too.
You will need a basic first aid kit that includes blister kits, sunscreen, lip balm, a roll of medical tape, bandages, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory medicine, in order to manage any injuries or illnesses when on the summit. As well as this, you should have a map, a compass, and a few survival tools such as a knife, fire-starting materials and a whistle.
Finally, a GPRS device is invaluable, if you find yourself in an emergency situation such as getting lost. An adjustable backpack is also a great item to have for packing all of your equipment. This will also help your stability when walking on the terrain.
Ensuring You Are Prepared
Overall, the preparations for an ascent up Kilimanjaro should not be taken lightly. Although the list of equipment can be long and expensive, it is necessary in order to keep you safe and comfortable during the climb. By investing in the correct and suitable kit, you will be able to maximize your comfort and increase your chances of reaching the summit.
Making Sure Your Kit is Comfortable and of Good Quality
Make sure your garments are of good quality and constructed with special treatments to help you regulate your body temperature. If a piece of clothing is uncomfortable, try to buy another one that will keep you breathing and snug. Pay attention to fit, materials, zips and seams.
A good quality sleeping bag is essential to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep in the evening. Pick one that is suitable for the extreme temperature changes expected in Kilimanjaro, using synthetic insulation and an adjustable drawstring hood.
No one wants to carry around a heavy rucksack the whole way. Make sure your rucksack is lightweight and fitted with a shock-absorbing suspender system for when you are scrambling over terrain. A rucksack with plenty of compartments will also help you to organize your gear and remember where everything is when you need it.
Protecting Your Self from Injury
As well as the physical exhaustion from carrying all of your kit, Kilimanjaro also presents many potential risks, such as fatigue-related injuries and the altitude effects of high altitude sickness. Take the time to fit yourself with climbing gloves and boots. Not only will they make your journey more comfortable, they will also protect you from slipping and losing balance. Boots should be lightweight and waterproof, but also durable and protective.
When carrying heavy items, repack your load as much as possible in order to reduce the pressure on your body. Adjusting the straps of your rucksack can also help you to distribute the weight, distributing it evenly across all areas of your body. Finally, aiming to maintain a steady pace per day will ensure you are not over or under exerting for the entire climb.
Making Sure Your First Aid Kit Contains What You Need
When packing a first aid kit, the most important considerations are what to include and what kind of treatments will be available. Make sure to pack bandages, disinfectants, pain relievers, scissors, medications and anything else that may be necessary. Specifics, such as altitude sickness medication, will also be important for higher mountain locations.
Check that your kit also contains items for minor injuries such as blisters, frostbite, dizziness and nausea, along with more serious conditions including chest pain, seizures and heart attacks. These items might be something like cold packs, medical tape, gauze and cleaning cloths.
For more severe conditions, it can be worth contacting a medical professional to discuss any pre-existing illnesses or conditions and how these may affect your climb. A doctor may also be able to equip you with any specialist items you may need, such as altitude sickness medication or an emergency contact card.
Preparing for the Unexpected
Kilimanjaro is an unpredictable mountain and you should be prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you research the best weather and temperature conditions for your specific time of year, taking into account the unpredictable changes in weather. Furthermore, familiarize yourself with the route and terrain, so that you have a clearer idea of what trekking is involved.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you bring enough supplie s and equipment to keep you healthy, safe and comfortable. Investing in the right gear beforehand will ensure your climb is a success, and that you can enjoy the beautiful views from the summit.