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Backpack for Kilimanjaro
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gautam grover
(gg2004) - F
Backpack for Kilimanjaro on 02/10/2010 16:38:16 MST Print View

Yet another backpack question - this time from someone new to hiking, so I don't know much about what to get. I stumbled upon this forum and have found it extremely useful.

I am planning to climb Kili, but will have some porters with me. Am looking for a daypack, with the following requirements:

1. Should be able to carry enough for the day (rain gear, maybe an extra fleece, hiking poles, food, hydration pack, camera, food- nuts/bars, sunglasses and hats, toilet paper, bandanas, towel, medical kit). Planning to do some prep climbs, so ideally one with some extra space for an overnight stay (with a sleeping bag) would be nice

2. INtegrated rain cover would be nice - stops me from shelling out $25 for a cover.

3. A light pack is important - my shoulders tend to start hurting with heavy loads

4. Cost - I did find some bags on sale, but the three are very different. Would like the group's opinion on these, both in terms of right size and in general.

A. Osprey talon 33 l
B. Mammut Brava Technical 25 l
c. North Face Skarab 40 l

Will one of these fit the bill, or should I look for something different?


Christopher Kuzmich
(obchristo2) - F
Kili Backpack on 02/10/2010 21:59:19 MST Print View

Did Kili a couple years ago.

I took a 30ish Liter pack- a Gregory Ekko to be exact. If I was going to do it again, I would stay at same volume, but a lighter pack with less suspension (I use my Ekko to haul skis and climbing gear on heavy day trips).

My vote would be for the Osprey Talon. It'll fit in the overhead during you flight with your basic setup. The 40L TNF isn't carry-on size.

Have fun,

(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
not to worry on 02/10/2010 22:23:31 MST Print View

The porters are absolutely amazing! Those guys are the African equivalent of the Nepalese Sherpas for sure. All you really need is a fair sized fanny pack for rain gear, camera, snack or two, water and misc. items. The ArcTeryx larger fanny is the one I used and it was perfect. is a fantastic hike up any route.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Kili porters on 02/10/2010 22:35:10 MST Print View

Yes, the porters are some pretty tough guys. Some of the outfitter companies hire those porters, but they are poorly clothed, so they have a tougher time. Some don't have good boots, so when they hit snow it gets tense, partly because they carry such heavy loads. I had two trekking poles along, so I had better traction and balance, so I ended up kicking steps for them through the fresh snow. Of course, that depends on the route.

I carried a 2400 cubic inch pack about half full of camera gear.

Oh, yes, make sure you carry the following prescription drugs: (1) Diamox for altitude, (2) Cipro as a broad spectrum internal antibiotic, and (3) a prescription-strength painkiller.

You never know when you will get into a medical jam, and those three might be useful.

Gregg Martell
(gmartell) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Depend on giveaways on 02/11/2010 20:16:06 MST Print View

Husband and wife friends of mine climbed Kilimanjaro over the holidays last year. This was trip of a lifetime for them. If I remember correctly they summitted on New Years day. 18 porters for 4 climbers. They gave them most of their clothes as gifts to the porters when they finished the trek.

They're making a presentation in week to our Scout troop, so I'll get all the details.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
weight versus cost on 02/11/2010 21:08:00 MST Print View

If you had to pay each porter something outrageous like $250 per day, then you would be striving to cut every ounce out of the total load in order to minimize your porter bill. However, porters aren't that expensive. Most of us going to Kili have had to fly halfway around the world to get there, at moderate cost, so the need to pay an extra porter here or there is not likely to be a big deal. So, rather than take the most UL equipment, you might consider taking some "moderately light" equipment that might be more reliable in the face of adverse weather or other unforseen factors. Hey, if one extra porter gets hired, he supports his family for about a month on the pay.

When I went up Kili, I was on a trek, and the outfitter had hired all of the porters, so I didn't even know what porters were getting paid. All I know is that we were told a maximum duffle bag weight to pack for, and everything additional would have to be carried by the trekker. I had a puffy down jacket that I was not using, and when somebody else got sickly cold, the jacket got used.

OBTW, at the end of a trek, it is customary to tip your porters something. Credit cards don't work. Travelers checks don't work. They will accept US greenbacks, Euros, or maybe local Tanzanian shillings. In some cases, the porters and guides did great, so they scored some cash.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Backpack for Kilimanjaro on 02/11/2010 21:19:21 MST Print View

Wow, your "peak bagging" day pack choices are bigger than my "around the world" travel pack!

A friend of mine did Kili and swore it was his toughest hike. I suggest getting a smaller, lighter weight backpack -- something in the 15L range weighing a pound or less should more than suffice.

As for stuffing a sleeping bag for "prep climbs" -- do that with your regular backpack. Why buy a bigger pack than you really need @ Kili just for practicing at home?

Edited by ben2world on 02/11/2010 21:21:41 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Kili routes on 02/11/2010 21:49:52 MST Print View

There are a number of routes on Kili. Historically, the Marangu Route was most popular (the Coca Cola Route), but it got overused. Lately, the Machame Route is very popular with the outfitter companies, but it leads you around and the top miles are the same as the Marangu. There are some routes on the north side that are not real common. I went up the Western Breach Route. Once up the Arrow Glacier and through the Western Breach, you camp in the summit crater, which is about 500 feet below the true summit, Uhuru Point. So, summit day is only 500 feet up, and then 9000 feet down. I mention all this since I found Kili to be the easiest big peak that I have ever done. Many people going up the Marangu or Machame swear that it is the toughest peak that they had done. Go figure.

gautam grover
(gg2004) - F
Good advice, all on 02/11/2010 23:30:26 MST Print View

We plan to take the Lemosho route - a little longer, but also less traveled. Am really excited about it - good to hear some of the perspectives of the others who have done it as well.

Being new to hiking gear, its a challenge for me to figure out where to save on weight and on cost, and where to make no compromises. Have chosen some untraditional things (like the First Ascent 900 down jacket for example) that I am now testing in winter hikes.

My first prep climb will likely be Mt. Adams, so I will need to carry some overnight gear - consensus seems to be that I use the Osprey. For those who climbed Kili, was a rain cover an absolute must?