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.

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