How much will you carry?
Normally you will not see your backpack from the moment you hand it to the porter in the morning to at least lunchtime, and maybe not until the end of the day. It’s therefore necessary to pack everything that you may need during the day in your bag that you carry with you. Some suggestions, in no particular order:
- Waterproof Jacket & Pants
- Extra layer – you should carry one more layer (e.g. a fleece sweater) than you would be expecting to need given that days particular conditions
- Small personal first aid kit (blisters, pain killers, antihitamines, any personal medication e.g. asthma pumps)
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper & ziplock bags to bring toilet paper to camp for disposal (if you must go inbetween camps – don’t bury paper, burn paper or litter the mountain!)
- Sun screen & lip salve with SPF
- Sun glasses
- Hiking Pole(s)
- Hat (Sunhat & wool hat as appropriate)
- Buff or bandana (dust)
- Camera/iPod etc
- Hydration – e.g. camelbak &/or waterbottles min 2 litres most days for most people, more on summit night
- Passport & credit card in waterproof container e.g. ziplock plastic bag (in case of emergency evacuation)
- Personal favorite snacks, candies, sweets etc.
This is normally about 5 or 6 kilogram’s. Every person will have their own porter carrying their bag so nothing ever gets lost.
The porters are not allowed to carry more than 20kgs so please do not overfill your bags. They also carry bags on their heads, even rucksacks, so it is probably more convenient to bring a duffle bag for your gear. We will also put your bags into waterproof sacks in case of rain.
Keeping in touch with home
Your mobile phone should work all the way up the mountain (slightly dependant on which network you are using) as long as you have roaming access. Please note you cannot charge batteries anywhere on the mountain. You may need to walk a little distance to find a spot with a signal. Also, do not expect to get 3G connection, mostly you will find it is voice only.
Keeping dry and warm
There is little doubt that you will have some rain, and it is likely to be in the lower regions around the Montana or forest level. Waterproofs are necessary; remember that on the equator the rainy season is traditionally March, April, May and November.
Expect short term extreme conditions, i.e. sharp showers of rain, hot sun, gusts of wind, snow and low night temperatures. Clear nights will be colder but more beautiful, and generally the cloud builds up mid morning, only to dissipate again with the setting sun.
Above Shira Camp (day 2) you may get snow, sleet and even hail. The ground is more open and exposed so it will be important to have some dry bags for your day sack (or a cover) and all the appropriate clothing for protection against the elements. Up higher at Barafu Camp it will be colder and windier so the shell jacket is really vital; temperatures can drop dramatically, and there may be snow. Summit morning can be icy underfoot, and very cold (minus 10°C) so good boots with hats and gloves are important.
Work on a ‘wet and dry’ system so that if your T-shirt gets wet during the day, you always have a dry T-shirt and warm top to change into the moment you get to camp. This is really important for morale if nothing else. Don’t let people keep wet clothes on. It’s such an obvious point but commonly ignored.