You are only required to carry items from your gear list that you may need prior to reaching your next campsite. Our porters will carry everything else for you. A small to medium sized backpack, with a volume capacity of up to 2000 cu in (30 liters), is appropriate.
Climbers are expected to prepare their own daypacks (or backpacks) and to place all other items into a duffel bag for the porters. As far as what goes into the daypack, it depends on what you may need during the day.
The general rule is only carry what you can reasonably be expected to need. For instance, you do not need to carry cold weather gear in the rainforest. Likewise you will not need bug spray at high elevations.
What Gear Goes into my Day Pack?
Below we will discuss what we recommend you carry in your daypack.
In this example, we assume you are already wearing a complete trekking outfit which includes a cap or brimmed hat, shirt, underwear, hiking pants, socks and boots.
First, in our day pack we will need extra layers of clothing and clothing accessories to deal with the variable weather. That means sunglasses for eye protection, jackets and pants for wind, cold and rain protection, and a hat and gloves for warmth.
- Sunglasses or Goggles
- Buff or Neck Gaiter (optional)
- Knit Hat, for warmth
- Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
- Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
- Gloves, thin
- Waterproof Pants, breathable
- Trekking poles (optional)
Trekking poles are optional, but recommended, especially for the summit.
Next, climbers should carry a good supply of water and a few snacks.
- Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz.)
- Water Bladder (Camelbak type, 3 liters)
- Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
- Electrolytes, powder or tablets (optional)
Last are the miscellaneous but very important items like sunscreen, toilet paper and a first aid kit. If you take medications, you want to carry those with you as well.
- Camera, with extra batteries (optional)
- Lip Balm
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet Paper
- First Aid Kit
- Assorted Bags
The above listed items make a good foundation of what you will need to carry. However, it may change depending on other factors, such as how long it will take to reach camp, the terrain, the weather conditions, and your personal situation.
Always consult your guide if you are unsure of what you need.
How Should I Pack My Day Pack?
To pack efficiently, don’t randomly drop items into your backpack where they are unsecured and could fall out or get lost. Use assorted plastic bags, dry bags or stuff sacks to separate items methodically, based on categories. For example, small bottles such as prescriptions, sunscreen, lip balm and hand sanitizer can be placed together in a zip-lock bag. Same with snacks. Clothing accessories such as hats, gloves and neck gaiters can be put into a stuff stack.
It is good practice to have a balanced load.
Heavier items, like water bottles, should be placed close to the midpoint of your back to keep your center of gravity in-line with your spine. Placing heavy items off center will cause you to tilt forward, back, or to the side. If your 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.
What Gear Goes Into My Duffel Bag?
All your gear that is not in your day pack goes into your duffel bag.
The porters will carry the duffel bag between campsites. 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.
The weight limit of the duffel bag is 15 kgs.
This is regulated by the Kilimanjaro park authorities. Use plastic bags or dry bags to separate and water proof your gear. Note that it is acceptable to use a backpack instead of a duffel bag. However, since porters bundle the bag with other items and carry the load on their heads, a duffel bag is preferred.