Neil Smith

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Non-essential items that will make your Kilimanjaro hike better.

Non-essential items that will make your Kilimanjaro hike better.@& Help

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= & Experience

Many years ago, I flew out of London to climb Kilimanjaro with a couple of friends. Within an hour of landing in Tanzania I stepped out in front of a car at the airport terminal and, twenty-four hours later was back in London with a broken ankle.

This article is by Mary Gunning, a friend of mine. We worked together for several years in an outdoor shop in central Dublin called 'The Great Outdoors'. She is, among many other things; an experienced mountain leader, yoga teacher and multiple visitor to the aforementioned Kilimanjaro as a guide for Irish tour companies.

There are loads of articles about the essential things that you need to bring with you on a trip like this and those things are important. They are the substance of the cake if you like. This one is about the icing on the cake. The little things to perhaps consider bringing that make life a bit more comfortable. Mary has loads of experience on this mountain and has also learned to look both ways when crossing the road. 

 Mary Gunning  

So you’ve followed the gear list, you know exactly what you’re going to wear on summit night, you’ve got clothing, hydration & tent systems organised….. 

What next? 

These are some suggestions - that may get you thinking

Insulation for your tube on your hydration system- it buys a few more mins access to your water - every minute is worth it.

I would be remiss here if I didn’t mention that a lot of people see walking poles as a luxury, optional extra or a maybe? For me poles are a necessity. If you haven’t got them in - you should. I could write the reasons why but there’d be no room for frivolity.

Moving on!

What’s life without a bit of whimsy on the mountain….

Flavour(s) for your water - you’re going to be drinking enough of it!

Variety is the spice of life when it comes to your snacks - salty, nutty, chocolatey, fruity.

Your absolute favourites in every handful but not 20 of the one thing! & stuff that’s easy to chew at low temperatures! 

If you absolutely love your hot drinks, a small flask to have a cuppa mid hike - nice!

Headphones; A lot of people like “their” music to walk to (which is why no speakers!) and to have their special, separate summit playlist lined up - motivating stuff you love so you’re not forwarding songs / podcasts! For the flight, I use noise cancelling headphones to help switch off and, on the mountain normal in ear, wired headphones - light, simple and no need to charge.

A Swahili phrase book. Learn the local lingo and have some fun with the porters.

A mascot for your bag / tent - your company for the hike!

Everyone is different - so it’s worthwhile to go through your daily routine at home and see if there are personal niceties that bring you comfort on the move or for tent living!

Enjoy your Kilimanjaro preparation!!

Tent lamp - mine even slowly moves through colours - very relaxing ambience in the tent as you settle for the night and you’re not blinding yourself or tent buddy with the head torch you bought to light up the mountain! 

A lot of people like to bring a deck of cards, Bananagrams, books (light reading not technical or detailed!) There could be money to be made at altitude if you’re a card shark!

Some people bring downloads of movies or series that they watch - episodes rather than films; light entertainment- stuff that’s not taxing to watch. 

Some people go lightweight with all their kit & then bring an SLR camera with their favourite lenses to get “the shot” they want. Whether it’s people, night skies or plants - there are great photos to be taken on Kilimanjaro! Make sure you bring enough batteries and a big memory card!

A power bank to charge all of the above!!

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