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Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro Means Finding Great Gear
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Here are a couple of suggestions for those doing some serious shopping for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. While our good friends at REI provide fine options for many of us, I've found cheaper options by going to a website called Spadout which gives you multiple sites to shop on for the same items at lower prices. Sometimes you can find a killer deal, sometimes not. My best option has been a website called The Clymb, which repeatedly sends me announcements of sales that blow the top of my head off. From a $650 down jacket that I scored for about $179 to really good camping knives for practically nothing to sports gear to technical gear, The Clymb is an amazing resource for preparing for Kili. Sierra Trading Post is another offering a wider selection, but The Clymb almost always had better pricing when the gear was available. To wit, SmartWool layering pieces which run about $90 each were about half that on The Clymb while they were still $60-70 or so on Sierra.
Another great investment- and there simply isn't a way to get them cheap- is the selection of dry bags from REI or other stores. Sea to Summit makes them. They come in different styles and colors, and their purpose is to keep your stuff completely dry in case of rain, snow, etc. For your precious warm clothing, socks, shoes and all other things that must absolutely stay dry on the mountain, you can use zip lock bags -which tear- or you can use these beauties which are tough, especially the Dry River styles. For those intrepids who also travel to the Amazon Rain Forest this is a superb investment. I mark mine with permanent markers as to their contents or you can pay a bit more for the ones that have a clear window to the contents. They come in sizes from 1 liter, small enough for your tiny camera, to 35 liters, for all your warm clothing. I pack all my stuff neatly into Eagle Creek packing cubes to keep it organized, and then slide that into a dry bag. The end product fits neatly into a big gear bag. Warning- they do get pricey, but if you are in a downpour, you will thank your lucky stars you had the foresight to buy them.
Another amazing source for gear has been TJ Maxx, where for example I found Marmot jackets for less than half price from previous season. Wicking layers from Hind, Northface and other quality providers are there in force for practically nothing so it pays to check them out. Marmot is one of the best on the market, and if you're not terribly picky about colors, you can score big time on high quality gear, which is really the point.
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is expensive enough without dropping another fortune on gear. Definitely do your research about the mountain, take the gear lists seriously and research all your options on where you can find stuff for cheap. You can save lots of money by going to The Clymb, Spadout and Sierra Trading Post. The earlier you start looking the more you will save.
E-Trip Africa runs treks year-round on Mount Kilimanjaro. Focused on providing a safe and memorable experience, they are building a reputation as one of the best on Kilimanjaro. Start planning your trek at www.etripafrica.com
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