Countdown to Kili: The Shopping List

You will recall that I bought the hiking boots for our Kili trip the other day. One thing off the list. And yes, I am wearing them now, as I sit here typing, and happy to report no blisters yet. Although that could be due to the fact that I haven’t actually walked much in them yet.

The rest of the Kilimanjaro packing list is a bit intimidating to me. I don’t particularly like shopping (let’s pause briefly to hear loud protestations from Noisette in the background about where the hell then all our money is going) and I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, which is not a good combination. While shopping for shoes I actually looked around in the store and saw a Columbia jacket that might work. With something like 20 pockets and 30 layers and a virtual guarantee that it would keep me warm. Except then I also looked at pants to go with the jacket. Which is when I had the brilliant idea that instead of getting 30 layers of pants as well, I could just get ski pants and bingo, I’d have the new ski/snowboarding outfit I am really due for, in the event that we will move back to a place that has both snow and mountains to ski in. But you know what drives me crazy? Just as much here in South Africa as in the U.S.? Nothing matches! I won’t bore you with the details of me trying out all the different non-matching combinations, or the silent debate within my head that it will matter not one teensy bit to me after day one what color pants I’ve got tucked in my bag, but let’s just say I walked out of that store without anything but the boots.

And socks. I did buy the socks. Thick ones, thin ones, and in between ones. Mainly because I had to try on a pair for the boots, and oooooh… they were absolutely amazing. I didn’t want to take them off again.One has an L on it for left, the other an R, which right there told me they were very sophisticated socks. I’ve never owned such cool socks in my life. But something tells me I’m going to need all the help I can get to make it up that mountain. If it comes in the form of fancy socks, that’s the least I can invest in.

When I got home, overwhelmed with the need to still shop for so many other items on my list, I remembered that we had this box tucked away in the garage somewhere, the victim of packing confusion when leaving the U.S. over which items should be put in storage and which items should be shipped (and, I might add, also the victim of Costco overkill by my dear husband):


Clearly, this box of hand warmers was meant to be stored and not dragged to Africa. But now I’m very happy to have it. You might recall that I only fear two things in life: Great heights, and being cold. Well, my hand warmers will conquer the latter. It will be the one item in my duffel back that the Kilimanjaro packing list didn’t mention.

I’ll probably pack the entire box.

Just for good measure, here is the Kilimanjaro packing list, cobbled together from conversations with previous hikers. I’m always amazed at what good information I can find in a pinch on my own blog, so this will be a good place to keep it safe:

Kilimanjaro Packing List
  • Boots – leather, no expensive Gore-Tex necessary; make sure two fingers fit down the back)
  • Socks – worth the investment, best get 1 pair of light, 2 pairs of medium, and 1 pair of thick, Falke is a good brand; in addition, get thin liners to wear underneath, helps against blisters
  • First layer clothing – set of long johns and long-sleeve shirt, thin material
  • Second layer clothing – polartec weight 300
  • Top layer clothing – wind/water proof pants and jacket shell including hood, or get a combined jacket with a zip-in liner made of 300 polartec
  • Synthetic shirts (both long and short sleeve) and shorts
  • Hiking pants
  • Warm beanie hat
  • Sun hat
  • Good sun glasses
  • Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Water bottle(s) or camelback
  • Mosquito spray
  • Game (or other powdered drink)
  • Trail snacks/chocolate
  • Thin gloves
  • Ski gloves/mittens
  • Shoes for camp
  • Good sleeping bag with hood (down preferable, 10 degrees F rating)
  • Self-inflatable mattress
  • Duffel bag everything fits in for porters, 15 kg max.
  • Day pack
  • Poncho or large plastic trash bags to protect against rain or rain poncho
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Walking sticks (optional)
  • Water purification tablets?
  • First aid kit – blister bandages, band-aids, ace-wraps, burn shield, safety pins, small pair of scissors, pain killers, antihistamine, hydrocortizone ointment, bactroban ointment, Immodium, Drammamine, Diamox (see below), eye drops, anti-malarial prophylaxis if needed, prescription medicines)
  • Check with doctor whether Diamox (for altitude sickness) recommended, might want to test at home for side effects
  • Malaria medication (not sure if needed)
  • Walk in your boots if they are new
  • Daily walks recommended


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