1. Every single camp is cold
Hot tip (pun intended): If you bring along a hot water bottle, your crew will fill it for you before bedtime!
2. You find it hard to sleep
Avoid sleeping pills
Warning: You may get some wild, vivid dreams on Kilimanjaro! This is a side effect of sleeping at high altitude.
3. Your skin and lips take a beating
The importance of protecting your lips
Look after your skin
Top tip: Regularly apply SPF lip balm on summit day to prevent painful lips the next day.
4. You need to pee all the time
Toilet tents and rock toilets
Advice for women
Leave no trace
Visit the toilet tent just before heading to bed
Top tip: Always go to the toilet before heading to bed, even if you don’t feel like it’s needed.
5. The water in your hydration pack freezes on summit day
My CamelBak holds three litres of water. This is the recommended amount of water that you should drink per day (at least). Having it stored all in one place meant that I could easily monitor how much I was drinking in a day. I also didn’t need to fuss with multiple water bottles. It’s so convenient. I could drink water whilst walking – no slipping my backpack down an arm to find my bottle, or asking a friend to retrieve it for me. I’m also pretty sure I would’ve drunk a lot less water if I’d just had water bottles given the extra hassle. The easy accessibility of the hose and its mouthpiece makes you so much more inclined to take a sip or two of water whenever the thought pops into your head.
When your hydration pack freezes
How to carry your water bottle on summit night
Top tip: On summit day, keep your water bottle in a thermal sock inside of your bag, as this keeps the water from freezing.
6. You feel ‘off’ when high up the mountain
Feeling iffy versus altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro
Prepare yourself mentally
Top tip: Prepare yourself mentally before the climb that you won't feel your best near the summit.