Sleeping Bag: Nights in Rwenzori are very cold and any investment in a quality sleeping bag is worth it. Given the altitude at which you will have to use the bag. The best design and shape to use is the mummy shape that fits the contours of the human body – and therefore provides better insulation.
Day bag (backpack): As you scale the Rwenzori, you will be carrying your day bag by yourself. In your day bag, you will be carrying important, personal and breakable items such as cameras. It is important to choose a lightweight backpack since any extra weight is a huge deal on the long hikes. Your bag should have a rain cover, a side mesh for your water bottle as well as compression straps to reduce the weight strain on your back.
Trekking Pants: You will need to bring 1 or 2 pairs of trekking trousers to use as you climb up the mountain. If you prefer wearing shorts, you could carry some zip-off trekking pants that you can easily convert into shorts.
While you could choose to wear your jeans, we advise you not to. This is because jeans can easily soak up a lot of water and take much longer to dry – which can become a burden when it rains as you trek.
Several pairs of socks: To climb Rwenzori, you also need to pack socks – and lots of them. With the daily hikes taking an average of 6 hours, a change of sock will be welcome on each subsequent day. Warm but breathable socks are recommended. The other way you might need the extra socks is for the very cold nights farther up as you approach the summits. The number of socks pairs will vary from person to person, but carrying enough pairs is always a good choice.
Poncho: A poncho provides the best rain cover for you and the day bag you are carrying. It works so well because it is very light, waterproof and can easily be folded away into a tiny package without needing to dry off.
A poncho doesn’t offer any insulation and you shouldn’t regard it as part of the layers meant to keep you warm through the hike.
Walking Boots: Since climbing Rwenzori is done on foot, it is best to invest in the most suitable pair of climbing shoes/boots, because those are your way of getting up there. You should choose shoes that are sturdy and very comfortable for you. Any little doubts about a pair of shoes will spoil your whole journey, especially when the shoes are either not tight enough or very tight.
Ankle Gaiters: Going through the muddy scapes, crossing rivers and streams is all part of hiking the Rwenzori, therefore; will need a good pair of ankle gaiters to keep the mud and the water away from your shoes. Climbing with wet shoes is not something you would want to attempt.
Insect Repellant: While you might already have done your malaria vaccination and you are not at the risk of catching it, we still recommend that you carry insect repellant that contains high percentages of DEET. This is because mosquito bites are painful and uncomfortable.
Besides the mosquitoes, there are other insects as well and insect repellants will keep them at bay. As you climb higher and the temperatures drop, the insects will become less and less, but the low ranges are very rich with insects.
Sunscreen: You will need to protect your skin from the Ultra Violet rays of the sun as you hike during the day. It is recommended that you carry sunscreen that is sweat-resistant since the active hike will make you sweat.
Head-lamp: There is no electricity on Mount Rwenzori and a torch or headlamp will be your source of light for the nights. While you can carry a hand torch, a headlamp is better recommended – because it leaves your hands free. This is especially important for the hikes to the summits that start late in the night. To choose a headlamp, you should consider the light/brightness quality that can go at least 70 meters, the headlamp’s battery life and how much it weighs. A fair balance of these three characteristics should give you a good headlamp.
Ice Axe: This is for climbing Mount Stanley and baker – on which a trail to the peaks goes through the snow. An ice axe is the perfect snow/ice hiking tool to help you both as you ascend and as you descend. Ice axes can be rented before the start of the hike, however avid mountain climbers carry theirs because they are used to them.