Training for Your Trek
You will want to allow at least 3 months of training before your trek. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to increase aerobic capacity, strengthen your muscles and decrease body fat.
Get your feet used to long periods of walking, start with a few hours and increase up to 7 – 9 hours walking, include hills and uneven terrain. The muscles used to climb up and down are very different from flat even roads. Remember to carry your day pack so that you get familiar with the weight of it on your shoulders for long day treks. There’s no need to rush, take it easy, stop for breaks, have fun instead of feeling like it’s a daily burden and you will enjoy it much more.
Altitude training will not acclimatize your body for the trip, but a useful tool to learn how your body reacts to higher altitudes.
Hiking at Altitude
Always remember to maintain a slow, steady speed from the start to the end (your guide/s will keep you at a safe pace). Going at a slower pace allows the body to acclimatize while hiking. Those who start too fast will have problems later up the mountain as the body will be over-exerted. It is the same rule for short or long routes.
- Breath through your nose only, for the first two days
- After 15,000feet, breathe through your mouth in a controlled, deep, regular pattern
- Hard sweets and menthol lozenges can help keep your throat moist and sinuses clear
- Listen to what your body is telling you and watch out for fellow climbers who might be overexerting themselves
- Take each day as it comes, your aim should be to reach the next campsite feeling fit and ready for the next day – not your goal of summiting
- Read about Acute Mountain Sickness
Drink little and often, have some energy bars or your favourite snacks (don’t forget to offer your guides they would appreciate your kindness).
Listen to your guide/s they are all very experienced and know what they are talking about, there is no ‘I’ in team and it’s very much a team effort. Their aim is for you to enjoy and summit.
Kilimanjaro Packing List
NOTE: As of 1st June 2019, plastic bags of any kind will not be permitted in Tanzania. This includes;
- Shopping bags/ grocery/ duty-free bags
- Ziploc bags
- Garbage bags
Instead of plastic bags, use dry bags, reusable bags and a rain cover (day pack). If you arrive with any plastic bags in your carry-on or checked luggage, (remove them before checking in). DON’T risk a heavy fine.
- The porters will carry your backpack or duffel with all your gear. You just carry a day pack with the things you require for each day.
- The pack that the porters carry on Kilimanjaro is limited to 15kgs (35lbs). Overweight or extra luggage will require an extra porter at 15$/day, so weigh your luggage ahead of time.
- You may want to bring some older items of warm clothing as gifts for your guides and porters.
The following packing list is just a guideline for your reference. Everything is optional for you to choose from.
- In your day pack – water, sunscreen, lip balm, snacks, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, waterproof jacket and trousers, and any other item you think you might require during the day because you may not see the porters until you arrive at the campsite. Ask your guide for advice on what to pack if you are unsure, as you don’t want to have a heavy load.
- It’s best to leave all unnecessary valuables and jewellery at home.
- Print a copy of your reservation and put it inside your checked baggage for identification purposes while you are travelling.
- Bring double extra sets of batteries as the cold weather may shorten their lifespan.
- Carry critical trekking gear as hand luggage in case of delayed or lost baggage. i.e. walking boots
- Bring money for tipping your guides and porters with you on the mountain, (USA dollars)
As with all hiking and camping adventures, you will want to dress in layers – to be able to take an outer layer off when you get too hot…..or add an extra layer if you get cold. Your inner layer should be of wicking material (not cotton), next layer should be insulating and warm, and the top layer should be waterproof but breathable. You will need clothes for hiking during the day, lounging in the evening and for sleeping. Layers are very important as temperatures can vary greatly.
Your clothing should be lightweight, breathable, hand-washable and quick drying, preferably moisture-wicking and cotton free.
Wrap clothing in dry bags.
Expect temperatures to be 80-900F and humid at the bottom, and below freezing on the summit. It can also be very chilly at night even at lower elevations.
- Long trousers (zip off legs can be useful)
- Shorts, mid to long length
- Short and long sleeved shirts
- Sweater, jacket, windbreaker
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Sun hat with brim and chin strap
COLD WEATHER CLOTHING
- Down jacket for temperatures below freezing or chilly winds
- Fleece or wool sweater
- Fleece trousers
- Long thermal underwear
- Gloves – one thin pair and one thick waterproof pair for layering
- Wool or pile hat
- Balaclava or neck gaiter
- Hand and foot warmers (chemical activate)
Be sure to break in your boots before the hike
- Hiking boots, preferably warm, waterproof and good ankle support – not too light or too heavy
- Easy slip on/off footwear for campsite
- Hiking socks suitable warm and cold weather
- Sock liners to wick away moisture
- Sleeping bag (100F or colder is recommended)
- Sleeping bag liner
- Small camp pillow or you can use your jacket!
- A ground mat
- Large duffel bag or backpack with rain cover, for porters to carry your belongings (80ltrs +)
- Back pack with rain cover, for your daily use
- Compression bag, dry bag, dirty laundry bag
- Money belt /security pouch
- Make sure all your luggage has your contact information inside it
Store electronics in a dry bag. Set the local date and time on your cameras
- Cell phone and charging plug
- Head-torch, flashlight and extra batteries
- Camera/video camera, memory disks, batteries and charging plug
- Game consoles/iPod, batteries and charging plug
- Soap, shampoo and conditioner
- Hairbrush/comb and hair ties/bands
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand sanitizer, deodorant, body/hand cream
- Sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen
- Toilet paper, handkerchiefs and hand wipes
- Small towel and washcloth
- Shaving equipment
- Nail clippers, nail file
- Sewing kit
- Cosmetics/feminine products
You really only need one first aid kit in your group, so coordinate with your travel companions (for minor injuries only) as your guide will have a full and expansive first aid kit with him.
- Prescription drugs
- Malaria pills
- Ibuprofen, aspirin, headex, antihistamines
- Band aids, disinfectant wipes, antiseptic cream, antibiotic cream
- Vitamins, throat lozenges
- Gauze bandages and tape
- Diarrhoea medication (imodium or equivalent)
- Diamox for altitude (talk to your doctor)
- Ginger and Ginkgo can be helpful for stomach upsets
- Trekking poles
- Pocket knife (remember to pack in hold baggage NOT hand luggage)
- Notebook, pens, pencils, envelopes for tipping
- Books, crossword puzzles, playing cards
- Energy bars, hard sweets, snacks, comfort foods
- Duct tape
- Carabiners for attaching items to your day pack
- Banner/flag/sentimental item for photos
- 2-3 water bottles and/or a camelbak
- Fill your water bottles for your first days trek, after that the cook supplies you with freshly treated boiled water.
- On cold days keep your water bottles inside your jacket or wrapped well and blow air back into your camelbak to prevent the water in the tube freezing.
- Use Gatorade or similar to help with hydration and taste.
- For easy, ID write your name on all your water containers.
HINTS FOR SUMMIT DAY
A few more hints for summit day
- Keep your camera and water bottle inside your jacket
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when sun comes out. PLEASE remember to look after your lips
- Keep drinking little and often
- Wear layers that you can remove easily and won’t be embarrassed to be seen in