Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Why You Should Never Over Pack for Kilimanjaro Mountain Climb

unsplash-logoAntônio Soletti

It is quite common for climbers to over pack and to bring way too much gear for the climb. You’ll want to be very selective in what you take with you. Mount Kilimanjaro porters are limited to carrying 33 lbs (15 kgs) of your personal belongings. Therefore, everything that they will carry for you between campsites should be placed inside a duffel bag. And that includes your sleeping bag. That being said, it is okay to pack the sleeping bag separately if necessary. If you plan to rent a sleeping bag, please note that the bag alone weighs 5 lbs 6 oz. and that this additional weight will count against the 33 lb limit. What’ll generally happen is porters will place both your duffel bag and sleeping bag into a large, sturdy, waterproof bag with a roll-top closure.

A word of caution: If you carry excess weight, you will be required to hire an additional porter. It is rare for climbers to require an extra porter. Only in special cases, such as for carrying extensive photography equipment, that this can be allowed. Warm sleeping bags are available for rent on location, and so are trekking poles, but you are expected to bring everything you need. Whatever extra items you won’t be using on your Mount Kilimanjaro climb, such as extra luggage, safari clothing, gear and equipment, can all be stored safely at the hotel.

Due to environmental concerns, plastic, recyclable water bottles are not allowed in the park. So, water should be carried in Nalgene bottles, water bladders, or similar devices. It is recommended that you carry 3-4 liters of water with you at all times, ideally. And please do not bring any alcohol. In fact, alcohol is illegal in the park. Just so you know… alcohol and high altitude do not mix well at all.

In case your airplane checked luggage got lost or delayed on the way to Tanzania, it is advisable that you should be prepared, by perhaps wearing or carrying on the items that are essential to your Kilimanjaro climb. Although most equipment, clothing and gear can be replaced in Tanzania prior to your climb, there’s always the odd item that you should not replace.

By wearing one complete hiking outfit on the plane, and a long sleeve shirt, hiking pants, underwear, socks and hiking boots, you will at least have climbing gear on you just in case your luggage didn’t arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport with you. Make sure you bring in your carryon baggage, the following items: backpack, waterproof jacket and pants, insulated jacket, fleece pants, snacks, toiletries, medications, camera and all paperwork. Please note that airline regulations do not allow you to carry trekking poles on the plane.

Wearing a different pair of boots on your climb will likely cause blistering, therefore, make sure you wear or carry your hiking boots, and if by any chance your baggage is lost or delayed, please make sure that you notify your tour operator on your arrival so they can assist you in assembling the necessary gear. There are a few local, independently owned rental gear shops in Moshi. Note that these shops generally carry second-hand items that may not be up to Western standards. Hence, the fit, quality or functionality of items found in local shops can’t be guaranteed.

About the Author: Anthony J. Namata is a creative travel writer who blogs at, and writes exclusively for tour operators on safari destination Tanzania. For more information on booking a Kilimanjaro climb in Tanzania, visit:

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