What’s in My Bag: Kilimanjaro Edition

Packing. Ugh. For as much as I love to travel, I do not love to pack.

And I have a confession to make, I’m a recovering over-packer. For ages I over-packed for every trip, a flaw that I blame on my years in Girls Scouts where the motto was, “Always Prepared.”

My ass. “Always Prepared” means having absolutely everything you might need. It means over-packing.

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But I’m in recovery. I’m working a program to implement innumerable rounds of packing edits. Now I hem and haw over whether I really need that extra sweater or scarf. That forth pair of shoes. (The answer is almost always a big fat N.O.)

So the thought of packing for this little week-long hike up Mount Kilimanjaro made me nervous. Over-packing was simply not an option.

On the mountain there are porters that carry most of the gear – tents, food, cooking and medical supplies and up to 35lbs of my shit. Anything over 35lbs goes on my back and I have to carry it the entire 20,000-ish feet up and back.



And this mountain is particularly tricky to pack for because you pass through so many different climates along the way. Base camp at Moshi is a hot 80 degrees while the summit can hit -20 degrees. In between you pass through rain forests, alpine deserts and bushlands.

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I’m told that you’re constantly taking layers on and off as the terrain and climate changes. So, you need clothing for just about every temperature and environment on earth.

This is not good for an over-packer. But, I edited and re-edited the shit out of what I’m bringing and landed with an amount of stuff that I’m pretty comfortable and confident with; my duffle bag (for the porters) is 30lbs and my day pack is 14lbs, plus water.

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So here is just what is in my bag – in super speedy video form and detail below. (I should note that I’ll be spending several days before the climb in Dubai and several days after in Zanzibar – awesome, but an added element to packing puzzle.)

In My Cross-Body



Copies Vital Docs & Itineraries


ATM Card, Credit Card, Cash



Immunization Records

Pens and a Pencil (do pens write at altitude?)

Gadgets and Tech


Canon Rebel T3

Battery Charger and Extra Batteries

Extra SD Cards

Lens Cloth

Multi-outlet Splitter

Multi-USB Splitter

Universal Adaptor

Headlamp & a million Extra Batteries

iPhone & Charger


Solio Solar Charger

Canon PowerShot S100 & Charger

Mophie powerstation

What to Wear


Long Sleeve Shirt x2

Short Sleeve Shirt x1

Tank Tops x3

Athletic Pants x4

Underwear x9

Sports Bars x3

PJ’s x1

Shorts x1

Fleece lined Pants x1

*Not pictured but supremely important: Oregon Ducks Tee. Duh.



North Face Shell with Down Lining

North Face Fleece Jacket

Down Vest

Hurricane Rain Pants

Running Zip-ups x2

For the Extremities


Tennis Shoes

Hiking Boots

Bucketfeet Flip Flops

Hiking Socks x4

Warm Socks for Camp x2

Ducks Hat

Snow Gloves

Nike Dry Fit Gloves

Cold Weather Beanie



Trail Essentials


Sleeping Bag and Compression Sack

Quick Dry Towels

Sea to Summit Bag Liner

Deuter Daypack

Nalgene Water-bottle

Duffle Bag

Stuff Sacks (assorted sizes)

Stuff Sack Pillow

First Aid and Health


Ben’s Bug Spray

Sunscreen Spray

Anti-Malarial Meds

Anti-Altitude Sickness Meds




Pepto Tablets

Safety Pins

Emergency Light


Extra Boot Laces




Hand Warmers

After Bite Gel




Dry Shampoo

Extra Bobbi Oins & Hair Ties

Eye Shadow, Concealer, Pocket Mirror


Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Face Lotion

Shampoo & Conditioner

Face Wash


Wilderness Wash

Wilderness Wipes (who needs a shower?)

Face Wipes


Aroamas in Dream

Perfume in a Travalo

Eye Drops

Nail Polish

Glasses, Contacts & Extra Contacts

Snacks and Gifts

(Apparently at high altitude you lose your appetite & it’s suggested to bring junk food so you’ll actually eat something. Also candy is great to bring as a present to porters and kids you meet in villages early on in the trek)


Hershey’s Bars

Snickers Bars

Sport Beans

Swedish Fish

Haribo Gummy Bear


Cliff Bars

Kind Bars

Fun Sized Candy

Clothes for Dubai and Zanzibar


Swimsuit & Cover Up

Maxi Dress

Light Cardigan

Jean Shorts

Not Sports Bra

Tank Top x2

So there you have it, every damn thing that’s in my bag!

4 thoughts on “What’s in My Bag: Kilimanjaro Edition

  • Bea Annal

    will I be able to follow your trip? You are so good at this and I love reading about your travels. Have a wonderful time Kelly. Truly the trip of a lifetime.

  • Annie B

    When will the post-trip write-up arrive? DID THEY MAKE IT TO THE TOP????

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