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The Mountains are calling and I must go

Over the next few weeks I will be discussing the various aspects of planning, shopping, training and getting the most out of your planned trip to Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp…or even better, both!



In this post I will speak about the gear needed to go to Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp and explain the Layering principle.

One similarity between the trek up Kilimanjaro and the trek to Everest Base Camp is the equipment you will take with.

Other similarities:

  • You are ascending to a similar altitude and can expect the same temperatures

  • You are doing the same activity so the clothing will be similar

  • Your duffel with most your kit is carried by porters or yaks (Nepal)

  • You carry a daypack containing snacks, sunblock, wind jacket and water

  • Trekking poles are a good idea for both trips

  • Life is too short for a sub-standard sleeping bag, daypack or boots

Some differences

  • Kili has mud and dust, Base Camp trek has dust

  • On the Base Camp trek you can buy a lot of your kit in Kathmandu, but your programme on Kili does not give much time to shop, albeit sparse

  • You can buy bottled water, beer, soft drinks all along the Base Camp trail

  • There is no Butter Chicken Masala from the Kathmandu Shankar Hotel on Kilimanjaro :-(


Helpful Hints when purchasing gear for your trek

  • Prepare for the worst weather

  • Keep your personal budget in mind

  • You always get what you pay for

  • Be considerate with weight allowances, for both the airline and the porters/yaks

  • When buying equipment and clothing, you always get what you pay for

  • Keep in mind, both trips can throw a wide range of weather conditions at you throughout your time on the trek

Your expedition Vocab

Here are some words you’ll encounter on your equipment buying expeditions that may sound foreign, but are really simple:

Wicking: This means the fabric doesn’t absorb moisture (your sweat). Instead it passes the moisture on and encourages evaporation. Remember, being dry means being warm.

Breathable: Certain fabrics are able to allow moisture to pass through it as water vapour, but not in liquid form. So your outer jacket would protect you from rain or snow while allowing your sweat to evaporate and not build up inside.

Layering: Is a method of using a limited amount of clothing to be comfortable in the greatest range of weather conditions. For a number of reasons, you cannot take an entire wardrobe with you even if your bank account and porter team allowed it.

By alternating the limited items of clothing you have on the mountain you should be able to be dress for humid rain forest as well as bundle up sufficiently when the mercury plummets higher up the hill.

There are three basic layers you should know about:

Base Layer

This layer’s job is to manage your body temperature.

This layer of clothing is closest to your skin, which are lightweight shirts and thermal underwear

Insulation Layer

This layer is there to retain the body heat you give off

This layer is made up of light and heavy weight fleeces and down jackets and trousers

Outer Shell / Weatherproof Layer

This is the outer-most layer and your ultimate protection against the elements

Shell jackets and pants are windproof, waterproof and keep your dry and let the other layers below it do their jobs


By creating different combinations of the jackets and pants you have with you, you will be able to cater for a wide variety temperatures and weather conditions.

  • When flying to both Kili and EBC I know we will be landing in warm and humid conditions so I'll just have a T shirt and trekking trousers on.

  • As the trip progresses, the temperature will drop so add layers

  • Walking uphill can make you perspire so remove layers accordingly

The next post will contain a comprehensive equipment and packing list so you can download it, print it and use it when shopping and packing.

Please feel free to ask me any questions or request topics for the blog via the CONTACT page.

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