Pack It Up, Pack It In: The Tanzania Chronicles #4

All the gear that Casey and Sarah are taking on their Kilimanjaro trek
After 3 or 4 trips to Mountain Equipment Co-op and one of the biggest holes ever seen in their wallets, Casey and Sarah have everything they could likely ever need to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro…

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said that the amount of gear we’d gotten for this trip is utterly ridiculous.

But it’s like I was telling a friend while enjoying a walk in the sunshine on Tuesday — you can’t put a price on safety or survival. Being a mountain climbing novice, if an expert tells me that I need something, I am not about to argue!

But part of packing for a trip like this is finding balance. Having a few weeks off from one’s regular life is an opportunity to do things they’ve always wanted to do — relax; write stories; catch up on some reading… you’ll have more free time than you might be used to!

But you’ll also only have so much of your stuff! Especially on a trip like this, I need to make more room for essentials and keep the luxuries to a minimum. (However, please believe that Sakshi and Trevor are going to get their butt handed to them in board games if I have anything to say about it!) It’s good that they already supplied us with packing lists; otherwise I wouldn’t know what the heck I was doing and you’d hear stories of me on the top of Kilimanjaro suffering from hypothermia or something! Usually I pack like this:

…but this time there’s been no time for fun cartoons or lengthy lists. No… this time, it’s all about seeing how much I can fit in that bag (making sure that it ends up being under 15 kg) and learning to live with less (one could also learn a thing or two from the process that my friends Trevor and Sakshi used to pack for a six-month trip.

I’m sure there’s a life lesson in here somewhere….

–case p.

Gearing Up: The Tanzania Chronicles #2

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!)

$23.50 for two socks. Something about this just seems so WRONG.

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.

Alas.

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.

–case p.