Packing to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Last updated on March 8th, 2021 at 03:49 pm

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…

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Gearing Up: The Tanzania Chronicles #2

Last updated on July 15th, 2019 at 03:22 pm

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.