There are plenty of things you know to bring to Kili (like your coat and hiking boots), and a bunch of things we’ll tell you to bring that you might not have thought of (like waterproof mitten shells), but there are a few little things that you’ll tuck into your bags, not thinking much of them until halfway up the mountain, when that pack of your favorite kind of chewing gum suddenly seems like THE thing that’s keeping you going.
So when you’re packing your bags, don’t forget to bring the items that helped the Thomson trekking staff make it to the top:
Ear Plugs: The further you get up the mountain, the more you’ll value a good night’s sleep. But the changing temperatures, terrain, and the unfamiliar setting (no matter how comfortable we make our tents, it’s never as easy to sleep away from home!) sometimes make it difficult to stay well-rested on Kili.
That’s why you need a good pair of ear plugs. As Rachel notes, the tents are warm and dry, “but they’re not sound-proofed. You’ll still hear your neighbors moving around, the porters setting up or breaking down camp, and people unzipping tents to go to the bathroom in the night.”
A good pair of ear plugs tunes all that out, though, and putting them in helped Rachel mentally get into “sleep mode.”
Body Wipes: Thomson adds all kinds of comforts for guests trekking Kili, but we can’t bring just anything up the mountain. Hot water to rinse off in the mornings? We’re on it. A full-on shower stall? That’s gonna have to wait until you return to civilization.
So in the meantime, bring your body wipes. For Michael, these were “the best alternative to a shower” on the mountain, and he noted that “getting semi-clean always makes you feel more comfortable.”
Speaking of staying clean, make sure you pack your…
Extra Hiking Socks: There’s nothing as satisfying as peeling off your shoes and socks at the end of the day…especially if they’re getting a little damp from all the climbing effort.
Not having to put them back on the next morning? That’s the sort of thing that can make all the difference on the mountain. Of all the things Katie packed on her trek, a pair of hiking socks for each day was the one she was “beyond happy” to have.
But no two trekkers are the same. That’s why Paul recommends…
Sock Liners: Rather than bulk up his bag with multiple pairs of hiking socks, Paul preferred a pair of thin liner socks per day, and just a few pairs of hiking socks (which he’d change every 3-4 days) worn on top of them.
While Katie can’t get on board the liner-sock train, since they “make her feet slip around too much,” Paul loved them for blister prevention. To him, they’re “worth their weight in gold.”
Reasonable people can disagree on which sock option they’d prefer, but all the trekkers in the Thomson office thought you should pack one item:
Ziploc Bags: You’ll be sweating on your way up the mountain, and by the end of your trek, that shirt from day 1 might be smelling a little ripe (let’s not even THINK about the socks). So pack several Ziploc bags (or other sealable sandwich bags) to quarantine stinky, sweaty items once you’ve let them dry out.
And make sure to cover your nose when you crack ‘em open back home!
Chocolate: After a hard day of hiking, you deserve a little treat. More importantly, it can be hard to maintain your appetite at altitude, even though you’ll be burning through thousands more calories daily than you do back home.
So pack something especially tasty to stoke your appetite, like chocolate, a favorite junk-food snack, or for Paul (our resident Brit), Kendal Mint Cake, a “brick of sugar” which he justifies by noting that “the minty flavor is refreshing, and Sir Edmund Hilary took it to the summit of Everest.”
That’s good enough for us!