So you're going to climb Kilimanjaro. That's so exciting! You are about to embark on one of the most mentally and physically challenging, yet somehow still absolutely amazing things that you have ever done. Maybe you're a mountain climbing pro. You have all of your own gear and you're ready to go. You might be coming to Tanzania just for Kili. One more notch in your climbing belt.
Or maybe your not. Sure you like a good hike now and again, but you've never attempted anything like this in your life. Maybe you're not even sure you're going to climb Kilimanjaro. You could find yourself in Tanzania for a whole number of reasons and perhaps climbing Kili wasn't even on your radar when you packed your bags back home.
Either way you're okay! You can rent just about anything you could possibly need from the trekking company that you choose to help you make it to the top. That being said, a few simple things can go a long way towards increasing your odds of making it, and they won't weigh down your suitcase either!
When I went to Tanzania I was not 100% positive I was going to be climbing Kili. Because of that I was so glad that there was the option to rent gear. But here are a few of the most important things I did bring from home.
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1 Hiking boots
Make sure they are good and worn in, as well as waterproof. I think ankle support is important so personally I wore boots with more support. You can rent boots just like everything else. However with something as important as your feet I would highly recommend bringing your own pair that you know fit properly.
2 Quick dry underwear
Underwear is not something you want to rent, and I was so happy I had splurged on some nice, quick drying undergarments. Climbing a mountain is not a piece of cake - you will get a little sweaty.
3 Sunglasses and Sunscreen
The sun is a lot stronger the higher you go, and it's often windy so it’s important to shield your eyes and your skin.
4 Lip Protection
With all of the wind, sun, and dry air my lips got really dry while I was climbing. My bottom lip ended up cracking and bleeding on the last day and it hurt really badly! I like to use aquaphor on my lips as a lip balm. I would also suggest bringing a lip balm with spf in it if possible.
5 Sleeping bag liner
You will probably end up renting a sleeping bag from the tour company, but I highly recommend bringing your own sleeping bag liner to go inside. You just never know how often the sleeping bags get washed...if ever.
It's also really great to have your own daypack from home that you know is comfortable and has all the compartments you want. You will not be carrying most of your gear, but you will need to have a daypack for snacks, water, sunscreen and your camera. The weather also changes constantly and so having a place to stick extra clothing is great as well. If you're in the market for a new daypack, I would recommend something like this one.
If you haven't been there before, then rest assured that Tanzania does have all the same snack food that you might have at home, but stock up before you head out for your climb. I would suggest bringing some high energy granola bars like Cliff or Luna bars to get you through the long days. Also if you cant live without sweets for the duration of the climb, make sure you bring some chocolate bars along with you!
8 Something sentimental
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the more physically and mentally challenging things you will ever experience. It is a very emotional experience and many people like to bring something sentimental to leave or take a picture with at the top of Uhuru peak. I brought along a picture of my family and a bracelet my boyfriend had given me to leave at the top of Kilimanjaro. Even though I didn’t make it to the very top because of altitude sickeness, my climbing partners made sure that I was there in spirit by bringing my bracelet up to the top for me.
Did you bring all of your own gear or did you rent? What were your must have things for making it to the top? Leave a comment below and let us know!