One thing I didn’t anticipate when planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro is that the gear would cost nearly as much as the trip itself!
Usually, Sarah and I try to be a bit frugal with our decisions, checking whether we need to get top-of-the-line items in all circumstances. (Hint: When it comes to clothing and tech, the answer is almost always yes.) But with this trip, I sense that the difference between getting passable and great gear is a little closer to the difference between life or death, so I told Sarah that I was willing to pay whatever I had to to make sure that I’d be back in one piece.
I just didn’t realize how much that cost would be.
Take a look at this checklist. It’s the guide we’re using to make sure we have everything we need for the climb. At first, it might not look like a lot, until you go into a store — in our case, Mountain Equipment Co-op — and start asking questions.
When moisture-wicking socks cost $23 a pair, I’ll leave it to your imaginations just how much it’d cost to buy anything made up of more fabric than a pair of socks (i.e. most everything else on the list!)
Some people have asked — why didn’t we just rent? But we thought about that too, and because of how moisture-wicking fabric is made, the coating that keeps you from getting soaked in sweat (something you don’t want to happen when you’re exposed to the elements in tents at sub-zero weather) does erode over time, so the only way to be certain of getting good-quality gear is to buy it new.
The small comfort I can get from all of this is that it’s a purchase I don’t see us making again anytime soon (if ever). Jackets for every seasons and reason, clothes that’re lightweight yet warm — it’s moments like these where it’s good to live in Canada, where I’m sure I’ll find a use for all of these.