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Necessary Packing List for Mount Tambora

All the essentials you need

What you bring to a hike can either be a waste of space or a lifesaver - pack too much and you'll struggle with the weight; pack too little and you could be dangerously unprepared. 

After conquering Mount Tambora ourselves, we managed to sieve out the most necessary items for the climb and made some mental notes to help future travellers going for the trip. Read on to find out more!

1. Good shoes

While good trekking shoes are not necessary, make sure your shoes are well cushioned and that the soles are completely intact. The descent involves a lot of sliding and the friction can cause your soles to wear out easily.

2. Day pack

For the hike itself, you can leave your baggage in Rik's guesthouse and just bring a decent-sized bag with whatever's listed below. Make sure it's sturdy though, and it'll be even better if it's waterproof (just in case in rains).

3. Water bottle with a minimum capacity of 1L

Photo credit: averie woodard on Unsplash

There are only 3 water stops along the way, so having a minimum of 1L ensures that you don't have to ration your water throughout the climb. Hydration is key in any kind of activity!

4. Long sleeves and long pants

While these aren't necessary for the first half of the climb, they are important in the second half as they will protect you from stinging nettles that grow like pesky weeds along the path. The plants are not poisonous, but one sting alone can give you an uncomfortable burning sensation for 15-20 minutes. 

Having long sleeves throughout your climb will also protect you from scratches and abrasions from surrounding trees and shrubs!

5. Extra layers of clothes

It starts to get cold towards the middle of the climb, especially towards the summit. Expect 5 to 10 degrees celsius weather with wind chills. The best option would be an inner-wear that's of fleece material and a sturdy windbreaker. 

6. Plastic bag for your trash

You can just have one for your group. Please respect the mountain and keep your trash with you until you reach the guesthouse again!

7. Leech socks (for rainy season)

Though there aren't any leeches during the dry season, they are aplenty when the rain hits. These pesky little buggers aren't poisonous but they can be annoying when they're all over you; if you don't have leech socks, a pair of good quality leggings (like Lululemons) will do the job.

8. Head torch

The summit climb starts at 2am when it's pitch dark, and there are no other sources of light on the mountain. Bring extra batteries too - they saved my life when my head torch ran out of juice in the middle of my summit climb.

9. Gloves

I personally found them to be very useful when I grabbed onto trees for support or when I needed to use 4 limbs to ease any impact on my knees. They protect you from splinters too.

10. Wet wipes

Biodegradable wet wipes, available in camping stores

These come in handy when you can't wash your hands or when you need to clean up after *ahem* your number twos. We recommend biodegradable ones, but if you can't find any, use sparingly and do not throw them out on the mountain!

11. Snacks

The summit climb starts at 2am and you'll have a bowl of noodles to gear you up for the journey, but this will be the last meal you'll have before you hit the summit and climb back down to position 3. That's roughly 10 hours without a proper meal and the porter's biscuits can run out at the summit, so we suggest having some back-up snacks if you tend to get hungry easily.

12. Personal medication

While the porters will have a basic first aid kit for cuts and abrasions, you should bring your personal medication up in case they don't have specifically what you need. Examples are oral medication, cortisone cream (for rashes), and knee/ankle guards if you need the extra support. 

Missing items? No worries.

If you don't have some of the items listed above, ask Rik at the guesthouse and he will provide them to you accordingly. Be it beanies, head torches, hiking sticks or extra jackets, just give him a heads up before your hike. Otherwise, go as light as possible and have a breezy hike!

Afterword: This article was written by Jin, who hadn't climbed a mountain since she was 12 years old. She can positively say that climbing Mount Tambora was her greatest feat of 2019.

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