Adventure Gear Reviews Hiking and Camping People

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro – Part 2

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro – Part 2

Mt Kilimanjaro, Understanding the Sleeping Giant

My journey up the slopes of the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro started with lots of reading and lots of training. The next step after working out my training regime was to start building up the kit I would take with me.

Every trekking company will give you a kit list in varying degrees of comprehensiveness and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with what you really need. Keep in mind that the porters on the mountain are restricted to carrying a maximum of 20kg so what you take with you must amount to no more than that.

I spent many hours trawling the internet looking for gear, reading reviews and recommendations trying to discern what products would suit. For the sake of ease, I’ll break down what I took with me and add my review.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Choosing the right gear is crucial to your comfort on the mountain. Photo: ©Outdoor Voyage

My Gear List Breakdown

Footwear

The North Face Hedgehog Mid GTX Hiking Boots. I wear a women’s size 11 (Euro 42) so finding footwear is a challenge. Over the years I have always owned a pair of hiking shoes by The North Face which was super comfortable and hard wearing so when I found out they did the same shoe in a boot, I jumped for joy!

The first day I put them on I went for a two-hour hike without so much as a slight aggravation, they were supremely comfortable and supported my feet and ankles well. On Kilimanjaro, I was grateful for the cushioned support on the footbed as well as the fact that the boots were flexible enough for me to walk across very uneven terrain.

The Vibram soles had excellent grip for clambering up, down and across rocks and boulders and they kept my feet warm and dry whilst providing excellent support. I bought them in January and used them for every training hike I did, including one 16km hike in torrential rain during which they kept my feet 100% dry, and they were still as supportive and comfortable eight months later when I did my trek.

I absolutely loved these boots and will definitely buy another pair as I donated the ones I used on Kilimanjaro to my trek guide who had the same size foot like me!

“By the third night of my eight-day trek, the overnight temperature dropped to -10deg C without the windchill.”

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Home for the next 8 nights. Photo: ©Joanna Limpic

Sleeping Bag

The North Face -29deg C/-20deg F Inferno. I am one of those people who feel the cold, especially when I am tired, so I wanted to make sure I was going to be warm enough at night to give myself the best chance of getting quality sleep.

By the third night of my eight-day trek, the overnight temperature dropped to -10deg C without the windchill. That night we had 60km/h winds gusting straight through camp which was situated in a little gully beside an open plateau. I was freezing!

Given that the overnight temperatures never warmed past -10, I was so glad to have the sleeping bag that I did. One doesn’t sleep that well at altitude anyway so making sure you’re not adding the discomfort of bone-chilling cold to that mix, is important.

Sleeping Mat

Sea To Summit Comfort Lite Insulated Sleeping Mat. I highly recommend it, or even the next model up, the Comfort Plus Insulated Mat. My trekking company provided me with a foam mat to sleep on.

I used the foam mat underneath my Sea to Summit mat as an essential extra layer between myself and the cold hard ground. The Sea To Summit Comfort Lite Insulated Sleeping Mat thermal mat was super-easy to blow up each evening and deflate each morning and comes with a carry bag for easy storage and transportation between camps.

“I slipped on two occasions, sliding on my derriere for a few metres before grabbing a low hanging tree branch to stop me.”

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Mt Kilimanjaro, one of the worlds largest volcanoes. Photo: © G Adventures

Clothing – Pants (Trousers)

I packed three pairs of trousers with me but in the end, I only used two – On days 1 – 3 when the weather was a little warmer, I wore Craghoppers Women’s Kiwi Trekking Trousers but for the remainder of the trek, I wore Skogstad Women’s Alva Trousers.

The Skogstad pants were ridiculously comfortable, warm and durable. On day 4 we had quite a steep downhill trek to camp and in one section, the path was steep and sandy but strewn with small rocks and stones.

I slipped on two occasions, sliding on my derriere for a few metres before grabbing a low hanging tree branch to stop me. I had scrapes and bruises on my legs but my pants were completely intact. Go figure.

Beneath my pants, I wore a pair of thermal Skogstad Women’s Hallingskarvet pants. They were super comfortable and given that I also slept in them, remarkably fresh after the fifth day.

“know that you are not invincible and be prepared for all eventualities, respect your mountain guide for they are the experts.”

Clothing – Tops

As far as tops go, for the first few days, I wore Kathmandu driMOTION t-shirts but then switched to long sleeves. A special mention must go to the Kathmandu Kangsar Women’s buzzGUARD Travel Hiking Shirt because it was unbelievably versatile. Due to being so lightweight,  it makes it easy to layer for warm and cool days and the multitude of pockets makes it really handy also, I highly recommend this shirt.

By the fourth day, I wore long sleeve thermals, Icebreaker Oasis long sleeve (which I also slept in) under my Kathmandu Altica 200 hoodie. Over the top of those, I wore a Kathmandu Women’s Hooded Down Jacket, 650 Loft Power.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Expect -10C on the mountain at night. Photo: © Outdoor VOyage

Socks

Keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable with good, worn in boots and socks like Bridgedale Outdoors Thermal liner sock (I took 3 pairs) and Kathmandu’s Merino Hike Sock and Alpine Trek Sock for over the top. I only took one of each and changed out my sock liners each day and my feet were fine.

Gloves

Take gloves – a silk or merino glove liner as well as heavy duty alpine gloves like XTM Thinsulate. Take walking poles and gaiters to keep all the dust and stones out of your boots, mine were both from Kathmandu and were excellent!

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Getting ready to head on up. Photo: © G Adventures

Essential Camp-Comfort Clothes

Make sure you take something to wear around camp at night – fleece tracksuit bottoms and a pair of sneakers are a good option, both of which I forgot and cursed myself for! You’ll need a good quality beanie, a head-torch, two 1litre Nalgene drinking bottles and a waterproof poncho or lightweight rain jacket, all of which I sourced through Anaconda and got great deals in their end of season winter sales.

“Kilimanjaro is a punish, no doubt, but worth every second of discomfort.”

Skin Protection

Remember sunscreen, a thick facial moisturiser and good quality SPF lip balm – you won’t mock this on the mountain when your face and lips are dry and cracked from the cold and wind! Most of all, remember why you’re doing it.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro
Having the right mindset is key to your success on this incredible mountain. Photo: © Joanna Limpic

“Respect her and the people who guide you to the summit and you will come away with an experience which has to be lived to be truly understood and will change you in ways you never thought possible.”

Mindset

Take your strongest, most positive mindset with you when you leave and spend time training your mind to cultivate that mindset. Don’t leave anything to chance in this regard, the mountain is really that hard and can surprise you.

Kilimanjaro is a punish, no doubt, but worth every second of discomfort. Make sure you take enough clothing to stay warm, dry and comfortable. Try out your gear before you pack it and take your favourite items for they will serve you well on the mountain.

Above all, know that you are not invincible and be prepared for all eventualities, respect your mountain guide for they are the experts.

I saw a young doctor get evacuated off the mountain in a helicopter with acute pulmonary oedema and close to death, all because he refused the advice of his guide to abort the trek and descend. He got out alive, but only just, and served as a reminder to all that this beautiful and awesome mountain is majestic but ruthless all the same.

Respect her and the people who guide you to the summit and you will come away with an experience which has to be lived to be truly understood and will change you in ways you never thought possible. You will come away with a memory to unpack and savour for years to follow.

You can read the first part to Joanna’s ‘Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro’ story, here.

Joanna Limpic

Born and raised in Zambia, Joanna’s love of adventure started early when she discovered the thrill of jumping off the roof of the family home into the swimming pool, at 8yrs of age.
Now an Australian citizen and retired from hurling her body off precarious platforms, these days you’ll find Joanna on a track somewhere in the Aussie outdoors, marvelling at the surrounds and soaking in the serenity. Oh, and climbing the odd mountain.
Joanna Limpic

Latest posts by Joanna Limpic (see all)

Follow @tyresandsoles
  • The MTB @deuter backpacks have been designed from the ground up to handle the specific needs of mountain biking such as; load carrying specifications, comfort, hydration and all-day performance on the trails. | Riders: @karen_eller_mountainbike and Tanja Hendrysiak riding the amazing trails around Lake Molveno! 💪🏼 -----
#deuterbackpack #itsgreatoutthere #traveladventure  #traveltales #outdoorlife #bicycletouring #bikinglife #mountainbiking
  • Dreamy loam is hard to beat when it comes to riding surfaces and the Aquila feels right at home digging through it! 💥 #onzatires #loam
  • Check out the full review in our bio 👍. Have you tried merino? Generally, you can get a bit smelly with synthetic fabrics whereas @monsroyale merino handles body odours very well. We experienced zero odours on the trails or in the car on the way home where it usually starts to pong. We felt as fresh as when we first pulled them on. The beauty of this is that you don't need to bring a change of clothing with you. You can hop off the bike and into the local bar or cafe without clearing the place out. | Photo: @richardmcgibbon
  • Fusing function and form, @monsroyale merino clothing is a natural, biodegradable and sustainable fibre that outperforms man-made fabrics. Mons Royale clothing is continually tested and refined to ensure it's the best match for your body and performance. | Photos: @richardmcgibbon
  • Testing the Michelin Wild Enduro tyres. Praise the knobbly gods. 🙌 These things are gripper than spider-man’s palm gunk. @michelinbicycle |  Photo: @richardmcgibbon
  • Topping up sealant made easy with these bad ass @peatysproducts tubeless valves!😍 Swipe to remove the core🔥
~
#peatysproducts #valves #yourholeisourgoal #tubeless #tubelessvalves #mtb #mtblife #stevepeat #mountainbike #roadbikes #bikeporn #trails #mtbtrails
  • For the hard-charging ladies out there...styled footwear that never disappoints on the trail. The Session Trail shoe.  #RideConcepts #RideEveryDay
-
#mountainbike #mountainbiking #mountainbiker #mtbtrail #mtblove #enduro #enduromtb #downhillmtb #mtblife #bike #freeride #dh #cycling #bikelife #ride #bikes #bikeporn #bicycle #mountain #shoes #footwear #likeagirl #ladyrippers #ladieswhoshred
  • We LOVE this photo from photographer @richardmcgibbon . This is what he gets up to on the weekends. A very familiar face at most of the MTB events in Australia, he’s a talented guy and we’re honoured to have him shoot for us. 🙌
“Lightspeed!!! After shooting for 4hrs at the @rockytrailentertainment @shimanomtb Gp I tend to start playing around with camera settings a bit and see what else I can achieve in the camera.” #MTB #mtbpictureoftheday #sportsphotographer #Sportsphotography #mtbracing #mtblife #mtbinsta #mtbdaily #cannaetakeanymorecaptain #lightspeed #zoomzoom
  • A wave of @burgtec engineering goodness. 😜 ・・・
🌊 #burgtec #beautifulthings
  • 20% Lighter than the original Zenbivy Bed and competes with the lightest blankets and mummy bags out there. Not only that, but you can take the ZENBIVY ultralight beds anywhere. All Light Beds compress to between 4 and 5L.
  • Superior fit. Rugged construction. Clean style. Welcome to the “Flow” series from Ride Concepts. An uncompromising performance shoe for all-terrain riding. #RideConcepts #RideEveryDay
.
#mountainbike #mountainbiking #mountainbiker #mtbtrail #mtblove #enduro #enduromtb #downhillmtb #mtblife #bike #freeride #dh #cycling #bikelife #ride #bikes #bikeporn #bicycle #mountain #shoes #footwear
  • Carrying everything you need for a little daytrip⁣. Check out the EVOC pack range. There’s a pack to suit every rider and every situation. 📷 @paulmasukowitz⁣

#hippackpro⁣ #evocbike⁣