Kilimanjaro Gear Tips

On Kili you will hike through lush rainforests, brave freezing weather, and trudge over ancient volcanic scree. It is not easy, but the memories are much sweeter with the right gear. Here are a few things I found helpful.
  1. Camelbak bladder - My backpack, a Deuter ACT 32, is made to accomodate a hydration bladder. It works perfectly and leaves your hands free while hiking. (Be careful on your summit attempt, usually the tube and bite valve will freeze with the cold temperatures. Try a neoprene sleeve on the tube and sleeping with the bladder in your sleeping bag the night before)
  2. Watch with altimeter - An indulgence, but fun to keep track of your altitude. A few of my favorite pictures are just the face of my watch with the altitude showing. I have a Casio Pathfinder.
  3. Buff - Marketed as multifunction headwear, this is hat, a beanie, a neck warmer, or whatever you make of it. Makes a great gift to your guide or a porter after the climb.
  4. Camelbak Elixir - Any slow dissolve water flavoring works great. Closer to the summit water is treated and can have a peculiar taste. Having something to add flavor the water makes things more pleasant.
  5. Headlamp - This is really a must for wherever you travel, but especially helpful on the mountain. Great for use in the tent or on the final summit push. I've had great luck with all the Petzel products.
The best source for information is always your guide or travel agent. Make sure to spend time before your trip talking with them and getting all the information you feel you need. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.