The List


 I’m a minimalist at heart and my philosophy for packing is, “never bring more luggage than you can manage on your own”.   And on this trip, we know we have weight limits as well.  The Agency will only let your porter carry 30 lbs for you before you are required to hire an additional porter.  I honestly do not know if I will meet the weight limits at this point or if I will be contributing to the Tanzanian economy by hiring another porter.

 When it came to the prep work for packing for Kilimanjaro, Kerry and I compiled lists – from the Agency, from the internet, from books.   What we ended up with was a list of a total of 165 different items.  165 things to stress out about because I need to buy them most likely.  165 items that I need to stop and think about what type to purchase or count how many I will need.   165 different little “thingys” I need to gather and sort into logical groups.  165 things to pack orderly so I can actually find them when I need them.  165 items.  The number just blows me away.

 So I categorized and sorted, and got a better handle on my list.  My categories:

  • 30 of those items are small toiletries that will fit into a few ditty bags.
  • 27 are medicines and items in the first aid kit which are pretty compact.
  • 18 are documentation (ID, documents, copies, and money) and entertainment
  • 8 are food items
  • 37 items are Equipment
  • 45 items are clothing – if you count each sock, and each pair of pants

Then, for each item on the list I asked myself this question, “if the airline losses your bags, do you really need this?”  If the answer was “yes” (like my hiking boots) then the item was marked either “wear” or “carry-on”.  If I felt I could do without or rent the equipment or replace it in town, then it was marked “checked”.  Of course, whenever I re-read my list I want to put more and more into my carry-on.  But I am getting ahead of myself.


I hike in a mid weight pair of Lowa’s.  I’ve owned them for about 2 years and they fit my foot to a tee.  I have never experienced a blister in these boots – not even on our 22 mile roundtrip trek up Mt. Whitney in one day.  Kerry feels the same about her Asolo’s. 

I have 2 day packs, a 24 ltr Osprey and a 36 ltr Gregory.  I really like my Osprey, but it just was not big enough once I put a 3 liter water pouch in the interior sleeve.   We tried on a lot of daypacks, and our biggest suggestion is to try on everything.  Even styles within brands will fit differently.  And play with all the adjustment straps so that the pack feels balanced.  We both landed on Gregory’s.

I purchased a small Osprey water pouch (camelback) because it has a spine that facilitates getting it in and out of the pack.  The downside is that I think it also takes up more space than other designs.  It is the one piece of equipment that I have had epic “human error” failures.  Three liters of water dripping down my back because I didn’t get the cap on quite right.  Three liters of water on my closet carpeting because I set the pack down on an unsecured valve.  Yikes…

I needed to purchase a 650- 800 down fill expedition jacket for the summit.    Believe it or not, after 10 years in Texas, I’ve never needed a jacket quite that warm.  Kerry did not have one either.  I swear I have read 100 reviews, looked at dozens of web sites that rate gear, tried on at least 10 of the brands.  I ordered one jacket online, only to return it.  At one point I had 7 different jackets on my wish list.  Kerry ended up with a Patagonia and I ended up with an Arc’teryx. 

So that is just 4 items out of 37 – and that doesn’t include clothing.  There are a lot of choices out there for most of the gear.  Loads of flashlight brands to choose from, also sleeping bag liners, gaiters, headlamps, pillows, pocket knives, sunglasses, trekking poles… even down to your favorite brand of water bottle.   Daunting.  If I had started this blog earlier, I could have walked you through my daily decision dilemma. 

If you have any questions about what we landed on as far as equipment, we would be glad to answer specifics.  Same for Clothing.  I don’t think I will go into the daily decision dilemma about the “Go Girl”.  I’ll just let all you internet savvy readers go look that one up on your own.  And no, we did not choose to purchase this particular item.  Let me just say that I didn’t know things like this even existed.

While we have landed on most of the gear, even today we are having more daily decision dilemmas.   How much memory do you need for the camera? What should our training schedule should look like the week before the hike…. Do we keep up the same routine, or back off like you would for a long race?  Do we bulk up this week or just stick to a healthy diet?  How do you stay regular on a long trip? (oh, did I mention that Kerry and I are both past age 40?) 

That’s it for today’s post.  I’ll be back soon to let you know if we made any more decisions. 

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