No matter how you slice it, a trek up Kilimanjaro isn’t exactly a luxurious experience. You’ll be sleeping in tents, braving the cold, and pushing yourself past the point you likely thought possible…and of course there aren’t any mountaintop spa retreats along the trail.
But there are ways you can make your trip a little more comfortable (not to mention beautiful). With just a little prep-work, you can “hack” Kili in more ways than one!
Choose a Headlamp with a Red-Light Setting
Nights on the mountain are dark, without any of the background light pollution city-dwellers are used to. That’s why a headlamp is absolutely necessary for getting to and from your tent in the middle of the night, digging through the depths of your duffel, and making sure you don’t trip over a sleeping tent-mate.
But the night will be calmer—and more magical—if you choose a headlamp with a red-light setting. Flipping it to this in the middle of the night is less likely to wake a tentmate, and your eyes will have an easier time adjusting (so you won’t spend the first minute outside your tent just blinking and shivering).
Headlamp with red LED light
There aren’t outlets on the mountain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your tent into a relaxing, softly-lit retreat at the end of the day.
Simply wrap your headlamp around your full water bottle (with the lamp facing into the bottle) and turn it on; the water inside will spread the light around the entire area.
Bonus: the light will take on the hue of the water bottle you wrap it around, giving your tent serious ambience!
Carry a Bathroom Prep-Kit
We recommend that all our trekkers carry a roll of toilet paper for possible on-trail pit stops, but it won’t do them much good if a sudden downpour turns it into a soggy mess.
If you stick a roll of TP and a to-go sized bottle of hand sanitizer in one of the Ziploc bags you’ll already be bringing with you on the trail, though, you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice
Use Your Hand-Warmers More Effectively
Many trekkers pack hand-warmers for emergencies, but never crack into them, since they can be almost TOO effective.
But stick a pair into your boots as you’re getting going in the morning, and another in your gloves, and once you put them on (after removing the hand-warmers), they’ll be toasty-warm (and your hands and feet won’t start sweating profusely with the first step you take!).
Never Underestimate the Power of Duct Tape
It can add grip to a slippery trekking pole, patch up a tear in your rain-gear without sacrificing waterproofness, and even work as makeshift moleskin, preventing blisters on your heels.
As one of our well-traveled trekkers likes to put it: “if you can’t fix it with duct tape, you’re not using enough duct-tape.”
Not working? Just add more duct tape.