Water Bottles and Water Bladders on Kilimanjaro

The acclimatization process requires copious amounts of water consumption. Therefore, while climbing Kilimanjaro, it is necessary for participants to have the ability to carry lots of water. Drinking plenty of water is one of the main ways to combat altitude sickness symptoms so you definitely want to stay well hydrated throughout the climb.

Four to five liters is the daily recommended water consumption.

Our gear list includes BOTH a water bladder, such as a 3 liter CamelBak or Platypus, and a water bottle, such as a 32 oz. Nalgene. Water bladders are also known as hydration bladders or reservoirs.

A water bladder is useful for many reasons.

  • High capacity: the bladders come in various sizes which allow you to carry a large supply of water.
  • Hands-free operation: all you need to do is bite down on the valve to drink. No need to open and close anything.
  • Encourages consistent hydration: because there is no need to stop to drink, climbers can consume water by consistent sipping rather than gulping periodically.

There are drawbacks to using a bladder as well.

  • inconvenient to refill: refilling the bladder requires removal of your backpack and at least partially taking out the bladder. This can be a chore to do on a daily basis.
  • durability: bladders are made of flexible material that can be punctures and leak.
  • 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.
  • Hard to clean: cleaning the bladder is cumbersome. If water is left inside, mold can develop.
  • Plastic taste: the bladder material can get into the water, making it taste like plastic.

We also require a water bottle as well for a few reasons.

  • extra capacity: our recommended water intake is 4-5 liters. So the addition of a water bottle will add to the capacity of the water bladder for a total of four liters of water.
  • used on summit night: due to cold temperatures, a water bladder often fails due to the hose or valve freezing over. A water bottle, carried upside down in your pack, will allow for you to continue drinking (the bottom of the bottle may form ice).
  • electrolytes: we encourage the use of electrolytes during your climb. The water bottle can serve as the designated place to mix in electrolyte powder while keeping the water bladder filled with water only. This will stop the electrolyte taste from seeping into the bladder. Also, so you can prepare small amounts of electrolyte drink at a time.

NOTE: Disposable, single use plastic water bottles are not allowed on Kilimanjaro. Water needs to be carried in a reusable containers such as a Nalgene bottles or water bladder.

Nalgene water bottles can be found here.

CamelBak hydration bladders can be found here.

Platypus hydration bladders can be found here.

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