On your way to the Roof of Africa you don’t want to carry unnecessary ballast. While porters carry your food, your tent and other equipment, you will have to carry your own day pack. Admittedly, compared to what the porters heft up the mountain, your day pack is rather negligible. But schlepping up what you don’t need is still out of the question.
This applies to electronics in particular. You might be tempted to invest in gadget after gadget, seeing that climbing Kili is a once in a lifetime experience for many and you don’t want to be stingy. But what do you really need?
Your mobile phone
Whether you’re planning to text your friends and family about your progress and send pictures of every second rock you pass, or you’re actually looking forward to not being reachable for a full week – taking your phone is a good idea. You can use it as clock and alarm clock. Even though your camp manager will wake you in the morning, you will want to know what time it is when you wake up at the crack of dawn. Even if you bring a proper camera, it is nice to have your phone handy for snapshots along the way.
Surprisingly, you will even have reception here and there along the way. When you arrive at camp and want to send a quick message, follow the porters. They know by which tree or rock you have the best reception. In higher altitude your battery will drain quickly due to the lower temperatures. Don’t be surprised if your battery is down after bopping about in the cold, searching for signal.
Bringing your phone to take snapshots is one thing. Bringing a camera is another. The advantages are clear: high-resolution pictures of your amazing adventures. But keep in mind: many DSLR cameras are heavy. You will have to carry it in your day pack, all the way to the top. And by that we mean to the very top! You can’t leave any valuables at basecamp when you embark on your summit attempt. This means, you have to carry your camera during summit night, even if you may not be able to use it – seeing it will be a tough call to simply put one foot in front of the other, never mind taking pictures. To limit the camera’s weight, consider carefully, if you want to carry extra lenses or limit yourself to one general lens.
Make sure you bring a dust-proof bag for your camera. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dusty affair on many stretches; especially on your way down, you will walk through loose gravel, whirling up enough dust to cloud your lens completely.
Always carry spare batteries close to your body or wrap them up in socks to keep them warm.
Spare batteries are one thing but consider bringing a mobile powerbank as well. You can either charge it before your climb or get a solar powerbank and tie it to the outside of your day pack – it will charge during your hike for the day. Powerbanks are useful to charge your phone battery as even the strongest phone won’t last a full six days. Definitely bring a powerbank if you’re planning to listen to music on your phone.
Limiting your electronics to these three basic items, you will make sure to not carry what you don’t need up the highest mountain in Africa. Before you head out, have a look at more insider’s tips that will get you to the top.