Each and every item on this list has been chosen to maximize your comfort and safety while hiking on the mountain. Please read through the entire list very carefully.

These items are suggestions based on the experience of past climbers. Ultimately what you bring on the trip is a personal decision so please use this list as a reference only.

If you have any questions about items on this list, or about the suitability of your own equipment, please contact us, or consult a reputable mountaineering equipment dealer.

Equipment checklist for trekking

For the head and face

  • Pile or Wool hat: Bring one that covers your ears – a balaclava type is excellent.
  • Shade Hat: Visor hats with good brims are essential for protection from the equatorial sun.
  • Sunglasses: Essential for eye protection in the tropics and at altitude. Bring a good quality pair, preferably with an IREX protection rating of 100. Attachable side shields are necessary, or bring glacier glasses.
  • Sunscreen: Bring plenty of complete sun block with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Unless you have spent time in equatorial sun you will probably underestimate the amount of sunscreen necessary, so bring a lots!. Sunscreen is difficult to find in Tanzania.
  • Lip Balm: With SPF rating of 15 or higher.
  • Bandanas: Tied around the neck, they give good sun protection. They can also be used for cleaning glasses, as washcloths, etc. and they dry very quickly.

For the upper body

  • T-Shirts: Two T-shirts that you don't mind getting dirty while on the mountain. Synthetic is best — no cotton on summit day.
  • Upper Body Layers: For climbing the mountain we recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body. Items must be made of wool, synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket or heavy wool shirt. Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp.
  • Rain Parka: Afternoon showers are common in East Africa, especially on the mountain. Bring a good parka of Gore-Tex or waterproof nylon that has been "seam sealed."
  • Wind Shirt: Optional if you have Gore-Tex rain gear, a nylon wind shell (not waterproof), roomy enough to fit comfortably over all upper body layers. Gore-Tex is good for both a wind shirt and for the rain.
  • Poncho: (Optional) Quick and handy protection for body and rucksack, but poor protection in windy rain.
  • Gloves or Mittens: Wool or pile. One pair of heavy mittens and a light pair of gloves work well.
  • Mitten Shells: One pair to go over your mittens. These are for use against the winds sometimes encountered in the crater and on the way to the summit.

For the legs

  • Quick Dry Hiking Shorts: One pair, good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain.
  • Long Underwear Bottoms: One pair, wool or synthetic.
  • Wool, Bunting or Pile Pants: One pair that fit loosely and is comfortable. These are essential to be worn over long john bottoms.
  • Rain Pants: Bring a good pair of rain pants of Gore-Tex or waterproof nylon that has been "seam sealed."
  • Wind Pants: (optional if you have Gore-Tex rain pants.) One pair, these are used often on the mountain for protection against wind. They should be breathable nylon and roomy enough to fit comfortably over wool or pile pants.
  • Tights: Lycra types are best. These are comfortable to hike in, help prevent nettle stings, provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn.
  • Undergarments: Enough for the duration of the trek.

For the feet

  • Thin Socks: Two pair of synthetic socks to wear under heavy wool socks. These help prevent blisters and keep feet dry.
  • Thick Socks: Six pair of heavy wool or synthetic socks to wear for warmth with hiking boots.
  • Hiking Boots: One pair medium weight hiking boots large enough to be comfortable when worn with one liner sock and one heavy wool or synthetic sock.
  • Gaiters: One pair of either high or low gaiters made of breathable material to keep dirt and snow out of your boots.
  • Tennis Shoes: These are to wear in camp after a day of hiking.

For sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag and Stuff Sac: On the mountain temperatures can get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit at night so bring a warm bag.
  • Sleeping pad: A closed cell foam camping mattress is OK. An inflatable Thermal Rest type is more comfortable.

For drinking

  • Water Bottle: Two, one liter wide-mouthed plastic bottles.
  • Water Treatment: This is very important. The water in East Africa is not unhealthy although its flora content is different from what you are used to. To keep your system running normally we recommend you bring two bottles of 'Potable Aqua' or 'Polar Pure' crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water. Filtration pumps are also effective, but costly and rather bulky.
  • Water Flavoring: Wyler's lemonade, Tang, Gatorade, etc. These mixes are hard to come by in Tanzania and make treated water taste much better. Suggest double bagging these.

For carrying your gear

  • Frameless Pack: A medium size comfortable pack is adequate to carry your personal gear. The pack should fit properly and have a good waist belt. Side pockets are recommended for soft packs. Personal loads with camera gear, water for the day and warm clothes are often between 18 and 25 pounds.
  • Pack Cover: Something waterproof to cover your pack when hiking in the rain. Otherwise bring a large plastic bag to line the inside.
  • Duffle Bag: Medium size with lock for mountain gear. This will go into our mountain bag that the Porters will carry.
  • Duffle Bag: Large enough to hold your non-mountain gear. This will be stored and meet you at the hotel after the climb.
  • Plastic Bags: Several, to double bag your sleeping bag and clothes on the mountain. It can rain every afternoon.

For personal health and comfort

  • Toiletries: Bring enough for the entire trip. Keep it simple and light. Few toiletries are available in Tanzania, so bring enough for all your needs.
  • Ear Plugs: To block out snoring and hut noises, to ensure a peaceful rest.
  • Flashlight and/or Headlamp: Important on summit day and just plain handy in camp. Make sure to bring plenty of batteries.
  • Pocket Knife: Simple Swiss Army type with scissors.
  • Personal First Aid and Drug Kit: Please see recommended list below.
  • Trail Munchies: Although plenty of snack food is provided, trekkers like that "taste of home" in their pack. Those who have brought them in the past tout trail munchies as an important accessory!
  • Hot Drink Mixes: We will provide plenty of coffee, cocoa and tea, but non-caffeinated drinks are not readily available here. Bring a supply of your favorite herbal teas.
  • Towel: For washing up in camp, a small one is fine, or you can use a bandana.
  • Towelettes: Such as Wash 'n Dri for general hygiene.
  • Spare Glasses: For contact wearers in dusty conditions and any eyeglass wearer while on vacation.
  • Umbrella: Very useful against rain and sun. Most guides use one.

Recommendations for your personal first aid and drug kit

We will have gauze, tape, aspirin, medicated soap, antibiotic ointment, antacid tablets, some antibiotics, pain killers, eye treatments, anaphylaxis kit, Imodium, Compazine and Diamox. Because of liability, prescription drugs will only be dispensed in emergency situations. We suggest you bring medications for the following conditions. Please discuss these with your physician or travel clinic to determine what medications are best to bring.

  • Intestinal Disorders: Medication to relieve nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and treat intestinal infections. Intestinal disorders can lead to rapid dehydration and ruin your vacation Compazine** 25 mg rectal suppositories, for severe nausea, and vomiting. Imodium to decrease diarrhea and cramping. Tetracycline**, Ciprofloxacin** or Bactrim** for intestinal infection and activated charcoal which may be an effective first stage treatment.
  • Cuts and scrapes: Cuts and abrasions can sometimes occur, it is wise to bring a supply of Band-Aids. Plaster and an antibiotic ointment. Antibaotic for Skin/Soft Tissue infections.
  • Infections: Antibiotic ointment for cuts and abrasions. Even with the best care, cuts and abrasions can sometimes become infected and require oral antibiotics Erythromycin** amoxicillin** or other antibiotic tablets for skin or soft tissue infections should be in your first aid kit. Erythromycin or amoxicillin tablets for skin or soft tissue infections.
  • Blisters: It is wise to bring your own small supply of blister treatment items to ensure that you avoid letting any blister get out of hand. Afterall, you will be walking a lot.
  • Headaches: Tylenol and/or Tylenol with codeine** to help relieve possible altitude headaches. Nothing stronger than codeine should be taken for fear of masking potential severe altitude problems while on the mountain.
  • Insomnia: Halcion** 15 mg tablets or another sleeping aid. In high altitude mountaineering restlessness is not uncommon and sleep is very important. We do not recommend using any sleeping pills above 15,000 feet.
  • High Altitude Sickness: Diamox** (acetazolamide) 250 mg tablets to be taken twice a day from 13,000 feet to the top. This drug is widely used in high altitude mountaineering to prevent altitude sickness.
  • Prescription medication that your doctor should counsel you on.

Give the Gift of Sight!

Your climb will help give the Gift of Sight to poor patients in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti Peru and Mexico! Learn how your trip can be FREE!

The charge of the bull elephant that was blocking the road while on safari, the hours of talking, listening and hiking up the ever-changing climate zones on the mountain, the shortness of breath that hit my chest when I tried to jog back to get my camera at 13,000 feet, the quiet of the day and deeper quiet of the night, the fatigue-hunger and elation of being at Uhuru Peak 19,340 feet above sea level on the roof of Africa. The Climb for Sight was an adventure of a lifetime.

Frank Villa OD