Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Dreaded Blog Entry About Gear

I want to preface this entry by saying I know nobody cares about what gear I bring on this trip. I have listened to some podcasts and read some blog entries that go on ad nauseam about gear, and it just ends up being a bunch of data I can't use. That said, however, it doesn't seem like a discussion of our trip would be complete if I didn't at least write down a list of the stuff we're planning on bringing along with us for our adventures.

I'm writing about this today because I had a low-level gear-inspired panic attack last night after I went to bed.

Here's the list that Africa Travel Resource provided to us; most of this is for the Kilimanjaro part of the journey only. Feel free to move on to the next blog entry right now if you hate reading this stuff as much as I do!
  • Soft kit bag for porters to carry my main mountain gear
  • Small (30-40 liter) backpack
  • Rain cover for small backpack
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Balaclava or woolly hat
  • Scarf or bandana
  • Sunglasses or goggles
  • Poncho (optional)
  • Hooded waterproof jacket
  • Four seasons duvet jacket
  • Warm upper body layers - 3
  • Upper body under layers - 3
  • Waterproof outer gloves
  • Thin undergloves
  • Gel-activated hand warmers - 2 (for summit push!)
  • Waterproof trousers / pants
  • Fleece trousers / pants
  • Lightweight trousers / pants - 2
  • Short trousers / pants - 2
  • Thermal under trousers / pants - 2
  • Underwear - 3
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Thick socks - 3 pair
  • Thin socks - 6 pair
  • Hiking boots
  • Spare laces
  • Trainers
  • Walking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Inflatable sleeping mat
  • Foam sleeping mat : thin
  • Foam sleeping mat : 75mm / 3"
  • Water bottles, 1 litre - 3
  • Water purification pump (optional)
  • Water purification tablets - iodine
  • Cordial or water flavouring
  • Favourite snacks
  • High-energy bars
  • Head torch
  • Spare torch batteries - 4 sets
  • Spare torch bulb - 2
  • Pocket knife
  • Plastic bags & bin liners
  • Pencil & paper for the trip log
  • Camera plus film and batteries
  • Reading material
  • Games & cards
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Lip balm
  • Ear plugs
  • Soft toilet paper - 2 rolls
  • Wet wipes
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Paperwork
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blister treatment
  • Dressings
  • Imodium or other anti-diarrhoeal tablets
  • Insect repellent containing DEET (not needed on mountain)
  • Knee supports etc.
  • Lemsip or other cold cure sachets
  • Malaria tablets
  • Oral rehydration salts / sachets
  • Painkillers
  • Sanitary Towels or similar
  • Sticking plasters : band aids
  • Sun block for skin & lips : factor 15+
  • Talcum Powder
  • Mosquito net (not needed on mountain)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Let It Snow! (I Need to Test My Gear)

It doesn't snow very often here in the South, so I was nearly giddy when I woke up this morning to see the white stuff coming down. And come down it did -- nearly five inches of it, and all wet and sloppy to boot.

And speaking of boots, wintry weather like this is perfect for checking out gear -- like my footwear and waterproof jacket. One of my biggest concerns for this trip is my new(ish) pair of boots. My old pair, while still decent, have had quite a few miles put on them (Nepal, Russia, New Zealand!), and they weigh a bleedin' ton.

So I took the plunge and bought a new pair of Tecnica boots earlier this year before Mrs. Lt. Dan and I went to Peru. They held up pretty well tromping around Machu Picchu, but I can't help but wonder how they will fare in the extremes of Tanzania. Nothing sucks more than a bad pair of footwear and no REI store within 15,000 miles.

Anyway. Today's snow gave me an opportunity to try out the Tecnicas in snow for the first time. Their Gore-Tex shell shed the moisture pretty well, and I think they'll hold up OK in Africa. On the other hand, I can't say the same for my jacket (which also is supposed to be Gore-Tex'd): it soaked clear through in a number of places. This isn't a surprise; the jacket succumbed to the rainforest of the Milford Track in New Zealand three years ago, but it was a good reminder that I've still got some work to do to get my gear up to snuff.

I'm not looking forward to accumulating all the necessary gear for this trip. We'll be spending time in the buggy heat of the Serengeti, the cold of Kilimanjaro and the tropics of Zanzibar. Seems to me like we need to pack for every conceivable climate -- and that sounds like a lot of crap to hump halfway around the planet.

And Earthquakes Too

Having a regular feed for Tanzania and Zanzibar news stories brings up all kinds of stuff. Today, we learned of an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 in western Tanzania:

Although the Kilimanjaro area is quite a distance away from the western border of Tanzania, the quake was strong enough to be felt in Arusha, a town near the mountain.

East Africa's Great Rift Valley runs along a geological fault line, but has largely escaped major quakes in recent years. Glad we don't need to be spending any time in high-rise buildings while we're there.