Trip to Kilimanjaro - September 2003
Let's talk about equipment

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One of the "worries" I had before I went on this trip was the equipment. Did I have warm enough clothes for the summit night, would I stay warm in the sleeping bag, would I get blisters from my hiking boots and so on? Here is a list of some of the equipment that I brought along with a few comments when it comes to the advantages /disadvantages:

Clothing

 

Trekking boots

My poor boots after days on the mountainI went for a couple of boots of the brand Crispi (www.crispi.it). I had planned to walk in sneakers for the first couple of days but I was so comfortable in the boots so I walked in them all the way up and all the way down. Remember to try to get them dry them when you get to the camp site. Mine got a bit damp in the end and I think this caused that I got a bit cold on the toes on the summit night..

Trekking pants

It can be pretty windy on the mountain so it is nice to have a pair of good trekking pants. I bought a Fjällräven pants called Vidde (in the G-1000 series, more info can be found on www.fjallraven.se/). I really enjoyed these pants while walking on the mountain. Due to the G-1000 stuff these pants are quite rigid to start with. But if you wash them a few times they become softer and breathe better.

Shell layer

I brought along a Norrøna Gore-Tex jacket (Trollveggen) and a pair of Gore-Tex pants (also Trollveggen). You can read more about the Norwegian bran Norrøna on www.norrona.no. I brought out the jacket on day 3 when we moved out of the Shira camp. It was windy and it was nice to have a layer as protection against the wind.

Warm underwear

To protect myself on the summit night I went for 2 layers of underwear. First I had a string t-shirt from Brynje (www.brynje.no) and then a wool underwear of the Norwegian brand Devold (www.devold.no/). The Devold series is called Aquaduct® and this underwear kept me nice and warm on the summit night…but it has to be said that we didn’t really get that cold weather. Our guide said that it was -10 degrees but I think it was a bit warmer. Underneath the Devold underwear pants I had wool boxer shorts from Brynje .

Balaclava

A balaclava is nice to have…I used it both in the sleeping bag to keep heat from escaping through my head AND I used it on the summit night to keep warm. I bought a balaclava from the Norwegian brand Brynje (www.brynje.no).

Protection from the rain

We went on the mountain during the “dry season” and I was hoping that we would avoid rain. And we were lucky and we didn’t get any rain at all. But I did bring along a rain poncho to protect my upper body and daypack against the rain.

Gaiters

I bought a pair of cotton gaiters from Norrøna (www.norrona.no) but I could have left these at home because I didn’t use them at all. Sure, it could have protected my boots against the volcanic dust/ash on the mountain but I never did wear them.

Socks

Always an interesting question. Do try the socks out at home before you set of to Kilimanjaro and try them out in similar terrain. I brought along 4 pairs of thick woollen socks of different quality and different length. I was hoping to be able to dry them at the camp sites but we didn’t get much chance to do that. But 4 pairs were just enough.

Fleece pants

I bought a pair of thin and light fleece pants called Juvaas from Norrøna (www.norrona.no) to keep me warm on the summit night. And it worked great with the Devold wool underwear and the Norrøna Gore-Tex layer on top. I stayed very warm all night long and I got too warm when the sun came up. So be prepared to remove some layers as the sun rises..

Fleece top

I brought along a thin Niki fleece top and I used this quite a lot both when I was walking and at the camp sites. Fleece is a great material. First of all it is very light, it is very comfortable and it keeps you warm. Don't leave home without a thin sweater like this. I even used it while we were at the hotel in the evening as seen on the picture.

Gloves

Gloves is of course an important issue. I brought along some thin cross-country ski gloves from Lillsport that I used together with my walking poles. It kept the hands warm and protected them from the strong sun. On the summit night I had fleece mittens combined with Gore-Tex shell mittens from Norrøna (www.norrona.no). The fleece mittens did get a bit moist during the night but I stayed warm in them all night long.

Warm hat

On the summit night I wore the balaclava (more info above) from Brynje and in addition to this I wore a winter hat of the brand Bula.

Super underwear

I bought a long sleeved top and a pair of pants of a sports underwear called Bavac (www.bavac.no/). I used this in the sleeping bag as a pair of pajamas and it kept me nice and warm…and it was very, very comfortable to wear :-) I also used the top on one of the days when we were walking and it kept me warm.

Warm sweater

I decided to go for the natural option to keep me warm on the summit night so I choose to bring a thick woollen sweater to keep me warm.

Hat

I wore the hat more or less the whole timeIt is important to bring along a wide brimmed hat on the trip. The sun is strong and the radiation can be pretty intense. I didn’t want to spend too much money on this because I’m probably not going to wear it that often. So I ended up buying a fishing hat very cheap. But it got the job done and I wore it all the time.

Convertible pants

I brought along a pair of thin Nike pants that could be converted into shorts. But I only wore this on the first day…after that I moved over to my trekking pants (Fjällräven).

Sneakers

I was planning to wear a couple of Nike sneakers to start with. But I was very comfortable in my trekking boots. But it was nice to have the sneakers when we came to the camps :-)

Thin jacket / west

I brought along a think Nike jacket and a thin Nike west. It was nice to have these as wind breakers on the first couple of days and when we were descending.

T-shirts / tops

I had two Nike t-shirts of a Drifit material and a long sleeved top of the same stuff.

Shorts

I brought along a couple of light shorts but I didn’t use them. It was quite windy and the sun was strong so I was comfortable with my trousers on.

 

 

Equipment

 

Sleeping bag

I bought a new sleeping bag in connection with my trip because I didn’t want to freeze :-) I bought a bag of the Norwegian brand Ajungilak (www.ajungilak.no/) and it is called Kompakt 2000 and has a comfort temperature down to -10 degrees Celsius. I also bought a silk inner bag of the same brand to keep my bag a bit clean and to make it even warmer. And it worked out pretty good…I didn’t freeze while I was on the trip. I also brought along a Ajungilak pillow..it was almost like being at home :-)

Sleeping mat

I had a self inflatable sleeping mat of the brand Ajungilak that I brought along. I think it is much more comfortable to sleep on this compared to the thin foam sleeping mats.

Head lamp

I borrowed a Petzl (www.petzl.com) head lamp from a friend of mine and it was great. It made going to the toilet, brushing my teeth, writing in my journal etc so much easier. This was the kind were you can have the battery pack in the pocket to keep them warm and I didn’t have any problems shining bright on the summit night. Don’t leave home without it :-) I also brought along a Maglite but I never used it. Don’t forget to bring along extra batteries.

Walking poles

I’m not a big fan of walking poles but it was really nice to have this on the Kilimanjaro. Just remember to try them out before you leave home…I got a bit sore in the shoulders from using them all day long. I bought a pair of the brand Komperdell.

Water bottles

It is important to drink lots of water while you are on the mountain to prevent altitude problems. I had a 2 liter Platypus water “tank” and a 1 liter aluminum bottle (Laken) that I used on a daily basis. I also brought along a little backpack that I could wear under my jacket on the summit night. This backpack contained the Platypus water “tank” and kept it from freezing. We all had these Platypus bags by the way and we all agreed that it is a great product when you go hiking.

Towel

I bought a Lifeadventure Trek Towel that I brought along. It was light, small and good enough. I didn’t use the towel all that much on the trip.

Duffel bag/day pack

I brought along a US military duffel bag to carry all my equipment. It was just big enough for all my stuff. The only problem was that it only opened in the one end…so it was hard to find stuff at the bottom. So I would recommend that you use a bag with a zipper along the side of the bag. My day pack was a 30 liter Bergans of Norway. It had just enough room for all the water, the lunch pack, camera and some clothing.

Sun glasses

I wear glasses already so I bought some clip-on pair of glasses. And it was useful to have this because the sun was strong.

Camera

I brought along my Canon Powershot S30 camera and I also had 2 extra batteries. I turned of the screen during the trip to save battery and I didn’t have any problems with taking as many shots as I wanted. I came home with about 215 pictures. I had extra compact flas cards with me as well and a small tripod.

Misc

Swiss army knife, stuff to fix the sleeping mat, journal and pen, duck tape

 

 

“Medicines”

 

Mosquito spray

Not very useful on the mountain itself. But when you get back down again it is useful to have some “protection” against the blood suckers :-) I used Autan.

Malaria pills

Once you are on the mountain you are out of range of the malaria mosquito. But remember you are normally in the danger zone before you start trekking and after you are done. I went for Malarone which is the “new” pill, not that many side effects and it is ridiculous expensive. I paid about 100 US dollars for 24 pills.

Headache pills

If you live at sea level like me there is a chance that you can experience some altitude problems. I brought along some paracet pills to kill head aches.

Lemsip

I also brought along some Lemsip Cold + Flu which turned out to be quite smart. When we started walking I did start developing a cold or something like that and it was nice to have this medicine at hand.

Strepsils

Same as above…as I developed my cold it was nice to have something to suck on at night to prevent me from coughing and keeping my tent mate awake.

Diamox

Diamox can be used to prevent altitude sickness. I brought along 100 pills (250 mg each). I shared this with the other members in the party. Ready more in the diary about our experience with the Diamox.

Water purification pills

I brought along some Micropur by Katadyn but I never did use them. All the water that we drank was boiled so it was clean enough.

Sun cream

The equatorial sun is extremely strong at least for a fair skinned Norwegian like me. And remember that there are different qualities of creams…I went for a brand called Vichy with SPF 30. And don’t forget to have something to protect your lips as well.

Ear plugs

It was said that it was useful to bring this along since porters can be pretty loud at night. I didn’t really have a problem with this and I didn’t use them.

Toilet paper

Very useful to bring along :-) On the different camp sites there are something that resembles squatting toilets and on some lunch stops you can also find these toilets. We were also offered toilet paper by our tour guide Marangu hotel on the mountain.

Wet wipes

I’m not going to go into details on this…but when you stay in a tent for about a week it is nice to be possible to clean yourself a little bit with wet wipes.

Wet wipes for glasses

It was very dusty on the mountain and my glasses got dirty pretty fast. It was nice to have wet wipes for the glasses to be able to enjoy the nice view

Nose spray

It is important to not have a blocked nose when you are walking. I brought along the nose spray just in case.

Tooth brush/paste/floss

I brought along the tooth brush, my favorite tooth paste and floss to be able to keep up my dental hygiene on the mountain J

Sports tape/Compeed

An easy way to avoid blisters. We would tape our heels and big toes to avoid any problems. But I did bring some Compeed just as a backup but I didn’t use it.

Antibac

It is not always possible to wash yourself after you have been to the toilet. Due to this I brought along a liquid that we used on our hands to kill all the germs.

Band aid

Useful to bring along just in case.

 

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