What kind of duffel bag do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?
To climb Kilimanjaro, you will need two bags – a daypack (or backpack) and a duffel bag. Climbers are responsible for carrying only what they might need in their backpack during the hikes between camps. All the other belongings (sleeping bag, toiletries, extra clothing) should be stored inside a duffel bag which our porters will carry from campsite to campsite.
The biggest decision when it comes to the duffel bag is the capacity. You want to make sure you can fit all of your gear inside. This includes the sleeping bag, which usually takes up the most space. The duffel bag capacity we suggest is between 70 to 90 liters of space.
This is admittedly a wide range but it depends on the amount of gear that each individual client brings.
While some experienced minimalist backpackers easily fit everything into a 50 liter bag, others struggle even with a 90 liter bag. We feel that a 70 liter duffel should work for nearly everyone, but if you are going out to purchase a bag, err on the side of a larger duffel bag. Just remember that although there is no volume limit on what our porters will carry, there is a strict weight limit of 15 kilograms, which amounts to about 33 pounds.
So which duffel bags do we like the most?
Patagonia and The North Face both make really nice duffel bags in several sizes that we like a lot. They are extremely tough, very water-resistant, and can be worn as a backpack which is especially convenient when traveling.
Patagonia Black Hole 70L Duffel Bag
The 70 liter Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag is a high capacity, highly weather resistant bag that will satisfy all your needs. The top flap contains a pair of zip mesh pockets. Compression straps in the main compartment cinch down your gear for stability. Finally, the padded, reinforced bottom adds strong protection to the abrasion prone area.
The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag retails for $160.
The North Face Base Camp 95L Duffel
The North Face Base Camp Duffel is an all time favorite for many travelling backpackers. It’s made from a durable laminate material. It has a zippered compartment that allows you to separate wet clothes, dirty shoes or extra gear without sacrificing volume. The main compartment has a zippered mesh pocket and the end cap has a mesh sleeve pocket for additional organization.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel has a 95 liter capacity and retails for $150.
Mountainsmith Travel Trunk Duffel
If the two bags above seem too pricey, do not fret. It is not required to purchase an expensive duffel bag for climbing Kilimanjaro. Shoulder straps and waterproof material are luxuries but not necessary. Because we will put your duffel bag inside our larger waterproof bag it will be protected.
A simple duffel bag like the large 97 liter Mountainsmith Travel Trunk Duffel, which retails for about $60, will work.
If that’s still too much, you could find cheap bags elsewhere. Amazon has many 50L-90L duffel bags that are priced just around $30. They may not be the most durable, but they only need to hold up for the week or so you will be on the mountain. If you have little use for a good but large duffel bag beyond the Kilimanjaro trek, it may not be prudent to spend so much.
You can find all your outdoor gear at these preferred retailers: