May 072015

Our brand new Ultimate Kilimanjaro guide uniforms are in for the upcoming season. And they look amazing. We provide our staff with high quality technical gear so they stay warm, dry and comfortable while on expeditions. By wearing the uniforms, they are very visible and identifiable on the mountain by our customers and their peers.

Below is a photo of our branded technical tee shirt, fleece hat, trucker cap, softshell jacket, fleece jacket and rain jacket. By Mountain Hardwear.

Oct 312009

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


Aug 222009

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

May 112008

On Kilimanjaro, most of your personal gear will be carried by hardworking porters.  As climbers begin their trek in the morning, the porters stay behind to break down the tents and clean the campsite.  Then, the porters proceed ahead of the climbers at a faster rate, beating the climbers to the next campsite to set up, prepare meals and boil water.  Therefore, climbers will often not see their porters again until they have reached their overnight destination and thus will not have access to the gear that the porters have transported until then.


Climbers are expected to prepare their own day packs and to place all other items into a duffel bag for the porters.  As far as what goes into the day pack, it depends on what you may need during the day.  This typically includes rain gear, some extra layers of clothing in case the temperature drops, and clothing accessories.  Additionally, climbers should carry sunscreen, insect repellent (at lower altitudes), first aid kit, toilet paper, snacks and water.  The general rule is only carry what reasonably can be expected to be needed.  For instance, you do not need to carry fleece, insulated jackets, and gloves in the rainforest.  The sleeping bag and pad should not be carried, and probably would not fit, in your day pack.

To pack your day pack efficiently, you should use plastic bags or dry bags to separate items based on categories.  For example, small bottles such as prescriptions, sunscreen, lip balm and hand sanitizer should be secured in a zip-lock type bag.  Extra layers of clothing should also be put into larger bags.  Paperwork, such as your passport and insurance documents into another bag.  Heavier items should be placed close to the midpoint of your back to keep your center of gravity in-line with your spine.  Placing heavy items near the top, bottom, left, right or rear of your day pack will cause you to lean forward, back, or to the side.  If your day pack has compression straps, tighten them so that your items do not move around as you walk.  Lastly, be consistent as to where you store your items (main compartment, side pockets, pant pockets, etc.), so that you do not fumble for your items when needed.  A medium sized backpack, with the capacity of  about 1,800 cubic inches (30 liters), is appropriate.

Sea to Summit eVac Dry Sack

Gregory Z30 Pack

Feb 012008

It is said that the trek from the gate to the peak of Kilimanjaro is like walking from the equator to Antarctica. The temperatures you may encounter on Mount Kilimanjaro can be over 100 degrees to well below zero. Therefore, it is important for all climbers to understand how to best dress to cope with the mountain weather. By following the provided gear list, you already have everything you need to stay comfortable and warm.

Layering is a systematic, logical approach to wearing multiple layers of clothing. The advantages of layering are that it is versatile (a climber can add or remove layers to adapt to changing weather, activity level and body temperature), thermally efficient (multiple thinner layers are warmer than an equal thickness single layer), and space efficient (takes up less space in your backpack).

You should follow the layering principle when you suit up for Kilimanjaro. Technical clothing can be categorized into the following types of layers: base layer, mid layer, and outer shell.

mountainhardwearbase Base Layer

A base layer is moisture-wicking item that is worn against the skin. By moving sweat away from your body, the base layer should keep you dry and provide some insulation. They are available in different thicknesses, although light-weight is recommended for its versatility over medium-, heavy-, and expedition-weight clothing. Base layers can be worn alone in warm weather, and can be doubled-up (worn on top of one another) during cold weather.Several types of fabric or blends of fabric are used to construct base layers, including silk, wool, and polypropylene, which are usually sold under registered trademarks by outdoor gear companies.

Cotton is not a good base layer material! It does not have any moisture-wicking properties, does not dry quickly, and will actually increase your heat loss when wet.

  • 2 – Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 1 – Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 1 – Long Underwear (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
  • 3 – Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
  • 1 – Bandana (optional)
  • 1 – Balaclava
  • 3 – Sock liners, tight, thin, synthetic, worn underneath to prevent blisters
  • 1 – Gloves, light, thin, synthetic, worn underneath for added warmth (optional)
  • 1 – Arm Warmers, synthetic (optional)

mthw_om2731_union_08 Mid Layer

The primary purpose of a mid layer is to provide warmth. Therefore, while searching for mid layers, you should look for those that have good insulating qualtities. Insulation is best created by materials that trap tiny air pockets, or dead air, between you and the elements. Wool or synthetic fabrics can be used as a mid layer in cool weather. However, for cold conditions, use fleece, down or heavier synthetics.

Fleece provides good insulation because it is relatively thin, fast-drying, comfortable, and light-weight, but lacks wind protection. Down is the most efficient insulating material, with respect to its warmth per ounce ratio, but loses its insulating qualities when wet. It is very compressible for packing, but bulky when worn. Therefore, select lightweight down products when used as a mid layer. Synthetic insulated jackets are not as warm or light as down, but they function even when wet.

  • 1 – Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
  • 1 – Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
  • 1 – Fleece Pants
  • 3 – Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
  • 2 – Hiking Pants* (convertible to shorts recommended)
  • 1 – Shorts* (optional) *considered mid layers simply because they are worn on top of the base layer (underwear).


Outer Layer

The outer layer is designed to provide protection from the wind, rain and snow. Some outer layers have built in insulation, but I recommend obtaining each layer separately for greater versatility.

  • 1 – Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
  • 1 – Waterproof Pants, breathable (side-zipper recommended)
  • 1 – Knit Hat, for warmth
  • 1 – Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
  • 1 – Gaiters, waterproof (optional)
  • 1 – Hiking Boots, waterproof, broken-in, with spare laces
  • 1 – Gym shoes, to wear at camp
  • 1 – Gloves (waterproof recommended)

With the above listed gear, you should be able to withstand whatever weather conditions Mount Kilimanjaro has in store for you. It is important that you be cognizant of changing conditions as you hike and adapt accordingly (unzip/shed layers before you sweat, zip up/add layers before you get cold, wear waterproof gear before you get wet, etc.)

Nov 012007


As long as you get name brand gear, the specific brand doesn’t matter much. Patagonia, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, REI, Arcteryx, Marmot, etc. all make high quality clothing. The brand you pick is up to you and your personal preference.

The most important items in your gear bag are: 1) waterproof gear, 2) boots and 3) sleeping bag. Don’t skimp on these.