Do I Need Trekking Poles?

Trekking poles are an optional item when it comes to our gear list. However, trekking poles are very helpful when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. trekking poles

The purpose of using poles is two fold. One, your weight is distributed between four points of contact instead of two, easing the stress on your bones and joints  Two, your poles assist in balance, reducing the wear on your stabilizer muscles.  Studies show that the use of trekking poles can reduce the impact on your joints as much as 30%.  And anyone who has used poles knows you save a significant amount of energy as well.

Poles are most beneficial during uphill and downhill sections.  On the uphill, use your arm muscles to help you ascend.  On the downhill, use your poles to lessen the impact of each step. Most people are unfamiliar with using trekking poles unless they are backpackers who carry heavy loads.  But, it’s not difficult to learn how to use them, and it comes pretty quickly and naturally as your body figures out how to hike more efficiently.

Leki makes the best trekking poles.

Leki Trail Trekking Poles – Pair

Can You Recommend a Sleeping Bag for Climbing Kilimanjaro?

We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice. However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.


When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, one of the first questions people usually ask is,”how cold does it get?”

The highest camps that most sleep at are about 15,000 to 16,000 feet high, in the alpine desert zone.  Nightime temperatures here hover around freezing, but can easily be much colder than that, as Kilimanjaro’s weather is volatile and unpredictable.  So when choosing a sleeping bag, you want a warm, four season bag.

We recommend getting a bag with a temperature rating of 0F or warmer.  Some people tend to sleep “warm” or “cold” – meaning that some get hot at night while others, in the same conditions, get cold.  Someone who sleeps warm can use a bag with a higher temperature rating than someone who sleeps cold.  However, we recommend the warmer bags because the temperature can always be regulated by wearing less clothing while inside the bag, unzipping the bag partially or all the way, using the bag as a sheet, or not using the mummy hood.

Sleeping bags are constructed of feathers (down bag) or foam (synthetic bag).  A down bag is lighter, has a warmer warmth to weight ratio, and is more compressible, while a synthetic bag is heavier and more voluminous.  Down’s warmth efficiency comes at a price premium to synthetics.

We recommend the Mountain Hardwear Lamina -30 Sleeping Bag. High-loft synthetic insulation provides massive warmth that fights off the bitter cold of deep winter nights, and an external DWR coating helps the shell material resist moisture that’s inevitable when you’re camping in the snow. Climb inside this sleeping bag and you’ll immediately notice that you have more room to move around because Mountain Hardwear’s designers shaped this bag with the additional width you need to sleep with extra layers on–now that’s thinking.

Mountain Hardwear Lamina -30F Sleeping Bag – Regular

Mountain Hardwear Lamina -15F Sleeping Bag – Regular

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0F Sleeping Bag – Regular

 

Can You Recommend a Duffel Bag for Kilimanjaro?

We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice. However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.



While climbers are responsible for carrying a daypack during their trek, our porters will carry their other belongings from campsite to campsite.

These belongings should be stored inside a duffel bag. You want to be sure to use plastic bags to separate and waterproof your gear.

It is not necessary to purchase an expensive duffel bag for this purpose.

The Mountain Hardwear Lightweight Expedition Duffel bag is stowable, lightweight and compact. Made of highly durable nylon, this duffel has 3,150 cubic inches of space (52L), a perfect size for climbing Kilimanjaro. The duffel bag retails for $70.

Mountain Hardwear Lightweight Expedition Duffel – Small

Water Bottles Versus Water Bladders

nalgene

Climbers often carry their water in two ways – using a water bottle, such as a Nalgene, or inside a water bladder, such as a CamelBak.

There are several benefits of using a water bladder.  1) high capacity: the bladders come in various sizes which allow you to carry a large supply of water. 2) hands-free operation: all you need to do is bite down on the valve.  3) encourages consistent hydration: there is no need to stop to drink, so using a bladder increases performance because climbers consume water by consistent sipping rather than gulping periodically.

CamelBak-Hydration-Bladder

There are drawbacks to using a bladder as well. 1) inconvenient to refill: refilling the bladder requires removal of your backpack and at least partially taking out the bladder. 2) durability: bladders can leak. 3) difficulty to monitor intake/supply: because the water is out of sight, it is hard to know how much water you have consumed and how much is left, 4) hard to clean: cleaning the bladder is cumbersome. If water is left inside, mold can develop. 5) taste: bladders can make water taste like plastic.

Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle
CamelBak Antiodote Reservoir

Can You Recommend a Rain Jacket for Kilimanjaro?

Marmot Women's Precip Full Zip Jacket

We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice. However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.


All Kilimanjaro routes pass through the rainforest. Being drenched can be a real damper on the mountain, so you need a rain jacket to keep you dry when the clouds roll in.  The Marmot PreCip jacket is a waterproof, windproof, yet breathable, lightweight jacket.  The jacket has a standard fit and can be worn over a baselayer or an insulating layer.

The PreCip features an adjustable hood that tucks into the collar, pit zips to allow body moisture to escape, side pockets and an elastic drawcord hem. The Marmot PreCip rain jacket retails for $99, and can be found at REI, along with the matching Marmot PreCip rain pants.

Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket – Men’s
Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket – Women’s
Marmot PreCip Full-Zip Rain Pants – Men’s
Marmot PreCip Full-Zip Rain Pants – Women’s

Can You Recommend a Backpack for Kilimanjaro?

We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice. However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.


gregoryz30

On Kilimanjaro, you won’t need a huge backpack because our porters carry most of your gear from camp to camp. The only things you need to carry are those that you may need while on the trail. This includes extra layers of clothing, water, snacks, sunscreen, and other small items. A medium-sized pack, about 30L, is recommended.For backpacks, we like the Gregory Z 30. It is the perfect size, and sits very comfortably on your body, as all Gregory packs do. It has a mesh back panel to keep your back dry, several back and side pockets, compression straps, and is hydration bag compatible. The Gregory Z 30 Backpack retails for $139.

Gregory Z 30 Backpack – 1650-1920cu in

Can You Recommend Boots for Climbing Kilimanjaro?

We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice.  However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.


asolo

Boots used on Mount Kilimanjaro should be warm, waterproof and comfortable. And for these characteristics, we find that the Asolo TPS 520 GTX Hiking Boot is a top performer. These heavy duty boots are high cut, constructed of full grain leather, and have a breathable Gore-Tex membrane.  Many rave about the comfort of these boots, right out of the box.  However, always break in your boots before using them for extended periods of time.

These boots retail for $295.

Asolo TPS 520  Hiking Boots – Men’s