The Clothes to Bring on the Inca Trail

machu-picchu-packing-listThe Incas were highly-organised and created many paths throughout the Andes, which network they named Qhapaq Ñan. The most famous stretch is Camino Inca – the Inca Trail. The vast majority of people accomplish this trek in four days, walking for between six and nine hours a day for the first three days and around two hours on the final day. After passing sparse alpine meadows, dense, damp tropical jungle and freezing mountain passes, the trek ends at the magnificent Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. You could alternate from perspiring in a jungle to getting caught in a shower of rain to braving a freak snowstorm. If you were to ever undertake this most memorable journey, what clothes should you bring?

The key is to have clothes for all the conditions you may encounter, ranging from the intensely hot equatorial sun to cold mountain nights, while minimising weight. Hence you should make like an onion and dress in layers rather than one thick woolly pully. An example configuration is zip-off trousers, a fleece jacket and a T-shirt. Warm clothing for nights is essential. Most clothes can be purchased in most Peruvian cities that see many tourists, including fine and cheap alpaca jumpers. Warm and inexpensive locally-made hand-woven mitts can be bought in Cuzco.

You will want a hat not only to protect you from the sun during the day but also for when you sleep, to preserve your precious bodily heat. Ideally, it should cover your neck. Thermal underwear is a must-have. You will need six T-shirts – one for each day and two in case you get wet. You should have two pairs of lightweight long trousers, one short- and one long-sleeved shirt and a pair of shorts. If you intend to swim at the hot pools of the town of Aguas Calientes, pack a swimsuit. Towels can be hired. Let us not forget the underwear.

Walking so much, footwear is critical. It should be sufficiently sturdy to withstand the trek – you do not want it to fall apart. Boots should be comfortable and lightweight and provide good ankle support. Do not rush out to buy new boots, because worn-in boots are more comfortable. Given the near-inevitability of rain, waterproofing may be worthwhile. Somehow, porters get by with old shoes with holes that appear to offer little in the way of support or grip, but you are not likely to exhibit so much endurance.

Cotton is to be avoided as it absorbs perspiration, hindering evaporation and so remaining damp. Cotton socks for one are to be shunned rudely. If socks contain the Coolmax brand of polyester, nylon or Merino wool, they will have wicking properties, aiding evaporation. Liner socks are an option.

There is usually some rain on the trail throughout the year, and you do not want to be hiking for hours in wet clothing. If you can ignore the fact that you think you look silly, a poncho is ideal. A cagoule will keep you dry – but not your daypack. Cheap, throwaway ponchos that cover everything including your daypack can be acquired in Cuzco for about one dollar. Some people go so far as to take waterproof trousers, but a poncho covers most of your legs.

It is best to not wear clothes that are brightly coloured or sport logos, as this marks you out as a tourist. Cuzco and the Inca Trail are tourist-friendly, but you would still prefer not to attract that sort of attention.

You will sustain karmic benefit if you bring clothing that is used to the point of being worn out, as it can be donated to the guides and porters. Examples include outerwear, gloves and mittens, socks, pile clothing, tops and bottoms, long underwear and even gaiters.

And finally, do not forget the shades.

Click here for a complete Packing List for the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

machu-picchu-trek-inca-trailMachu Picchu is an incredible archaeological site. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted as a finalist in the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Inca site is thought to have been built in the mid 15th Century as an estate to the Inca emperor at that time.

The site was abandoned by the Incas about a century later due to the Spanish Conquest, and only later discovered by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911.

Since then Machu Picchu has received world prominence and is visited by 100,000s of tourists every year – so many that the Peruvian government have implemented regulations that restrict access to 2,500 visitors a day.

There are a number of trails to Machu Picchu. The most popular and famous is the Classic Inca Trail that lasts between two days at the shortest to five days at the longest. Permits on the Classic Inca trail are limited to 500 a day (half of which are taken by guides and porters who support trekkers).

Alternative routes to Machu Picchu are fast becoming popular though. The Salkantay is probably the second most popular trail, that also offers trekkers the opportunity to intersect and join up with the Classic trail. The Salkantay typically takes six to seven days.

The Lares and the Vilcabamba are less popular routes, but just as authentic. In fact the latter is the route taken to the real ‘Lost City of the Incas’, Vilcabamba.

Lares provides trekkers with a great opportunity to see local Andean communities that have managed to maintain the authenticity of their ancient cultures.

Once at Machu Picchu you might want to consider climbing Huayna Picchu, the large mountain behind the ruins, that provides an incredible view over the city and the Sacred Valley below. The climb is steep and tough, but totally doable. Make sure to get permits early for this opportunity as there are only 400 available per day.

Here are various trails available for the Machu Picchu Trek or click here for detailed information on the region.

Kilimanjaro Gear – everything that you need to take in one place

kilimanjaro-gearThis segment covers what type of gear you need to bring on your Kilimanjaro adventure, Tanzania entry requirements passport & visa, vaccinations and immunizations, plus travel insurance.

You may bring personal gear or you can buy or rent from the many tour operators in Moshi and Arusha. Communal equipment like tents, food, cooking items, etc. are usually provided by tour operators.

Below is a gear list of necessary items you need to bring, as well as some optional stuff that you can carry on your Kilimanjaro trekking adventures.

See this in-depth article for a complete Kilimanjaro packing list.

Technical Clothing

1. Water-resistant Jacket with hood
2. Insulated Jacket
3. Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
4. Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
5. Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
6. Rainproof Pants, breathable, side-zipper suggested
7. Mountaineering Pants (adaptable to shorts suggested)
8. Fleece Pants
9. Shorts (non-compulsory)
10. Long Underwear Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
11. Sport Bra (women)


1. Brimmed Hat, for sun guard
2. Knit Hat, for warmness
3. Balaclava, for face coverage (non-compulsory)
4. Bandana (non-compulsory)


1. Gloves, warm (water-resistant suggested)
2. Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (non-compulsory)


1. Hiking Boots, warm, water-resistant, broken-in, with spare laces
2. Gym Shoes, to wear at camp site (non-compulsory)Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
3. Sock Liners, tight, thin, synthetic, worn under socks to prevent blisters (non-compulsory)
4. Gaiters, waterproof (non-compulsory)


1. Sunglasses or Goggles
2. Backpack Cover, waterproof (non-compulsory)
3. Poncho, during rainy season (non-compulsory)
4. Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz. recommended)
5. Water Bladder, Camelbak type (recommended)
6. Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (non-compulsory)
7. Pee Bottle, to avoid leaving tent at night (recommended)
8. Stuff Sacks or Plastic Bags, various sizes, to keep gear dry and separate


1. Sleeping Bag, warm, four seasons
2. Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth (non-compulsory)
3. Trekking Poles (recommended)
4. Head lamp, with extra batteries
5. Duffel bag, for porters to carry your equipment
6. Daypack, for you to carry your personal gear


1. Toiletries
2. Medications – aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen
3. Sunscreen
4. Lip Balm
5. Insect Repellent, containing DEET
6. First Aid Kit
7. Hand Sanitizer
8. Toilet Paper
9. Wet Wipes (recommended)
10. Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
11. Pencil and Notebook, miniature, for trip log (optional)
12. Camera, with extra batteries (optional) – I suggest taking a GoPro, as you can connect it to your head or body to have your hands-free and it is super light, not to mention amazing. Check out these GoPro Kilimanjaro videos.


1. Trip Receipt
2. Passport
3. Visa (available at JRO)
4. Immunization Papers
5. Insurance Documents

I always advise shopping online for all of your gear needs because prices tend to be lower online. A frequent error made by trekkers is over-packing, try stay as light as possible for Mount Kilimanjaro.

See these online retailers and recommendation stores:

Mountain Hardwear, Kilimanjaro kit reviews and recommendations

Insurance for Climbing Kilimanjaro

insurance-kilimanjaroClimbing Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience. But because Kili’s summit sits at 5,895 meters, risks associated with trekking the mountain are pretty high. For this reason alone you should definitely consider getting Kilimanjaro travel insurance. In this short article I have outlined what thing you need to look for in an insurance providers. You can read a much more detailed article on travel insurance for Kilimanjaro here – Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance

The biggest risk you face is altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness. This occurs when you go to altitude too fast, and can be fatal. The incidence of altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro is rather high as the ascent profile is rapid and doesn’t give much time for acclimatization.

The type of insurance coverage that you need for Kili needs to cover you for trekking or hiking up to 6,000 meters. If it doesn’t cover you up to this altitude you will need to shop around for other providers who can help with a policy that does.

Three key things on the policy to look out for, over and above cover for trekking up to 6,000 meters are:

1. Emergency evacuation and medical cover: Should anything thing go wrong whilst on the mountain or indeed abroad in Tanzania, you will want to ensure that you policy covers you for emergency evacuation and medical cover. There is usually an excess on this and you may need to keep hospital receipts to prove the costs of treatment / emergency services

2. Theft: Theft is an obvious concern. You will be carry lots of valuable items, including your trekking clothing, a sleeping bag and audio visual equipment. Tanzania is a developing country where theft is a high possibility. Make sure you policy covers theft, loss and damage to baggage. The latter is a possibility in terms of baggage getting lost or damaged on your flight to or from Tanzania

3. Delay, interruptions, cancellation and financial default: Flight delays and interruptions are a common problem when travelling. This can inadvertently set back your trekking tour and cost you money. Moreover, flight cancellation or indeed tour cancellation due to illness ect does sometimes occur. Make sure that you are financially covered for these issues under your travel insurance policy. Finally, tour operator default occasionally happens – ensure your policy includes cover for this.

The UK post office has interesting information on travel insurance, as does – see here

But in terms of an authoritative resource on travel insurance for Kilimanjaro I suggest reading this guys in-depth article:

As always be safe and have fun!

Go Green Ideas Made Simple

go-green-ideasSo you are looking to improve your environmental credentials as an organisation but need some useful and practical go green ideas to get your started.

Well you have come to the right place.

In this article I have outline ten go green ideas that are super affordable and will make sure that they help reduce your carbon footprint whilst saving you money on energy and resources.

Don’t believe me?

Well check them out.

10. Implement a recycling scheme that doesn’t just address paper recycling but goes after the whole waste chain. Yip, your recycling scheme should include cardboard, ink cartridges, CDs, batteries, glass, plastics and compostables.

9. Whilst you at it with your recycling why don’t you invest in a waste to energy incineration service for your residual waste.

8. Staying on the recycling scheme, to ensure high levels of adoption in your organisation it is important that you remove those tempting personal bins and provide central recycling facilities that have segregated compartments for waste.

7. Moving onto lighting you should check that your office space is not overlit, most are. Find places that are super bright and delamp some bulbs. An immediate saving with no cost!

6. Identify lights that are inefficient and then research alternative energy efficient bulbs that you can trial as a replacement. A good example is replacing 50W halogens with 35W alternatives

5. Run a switch off campaign to get staff to switch off lights and computers that are left on during the evenings and weekends

4. Install automatic shutdown plugs that turn off dormant equipment or idle computers / printers. Super cheap to buy with big savings

3. Invest in a green web hosting service by switching your current supplier to a green energy web hosting company

2. Turn off your AC on days where natural ventilation in the office is more than sufficient. This saves energy, money and will make the office a more comfortable and productive place to work.

1. Invest in carbon offset to neutralise any emissions in your carbon footprint that you cannot reduce with the actions above.

I hope you have found at least one go green idea here. If not click here for further go green ideas.

Environmental Policy Template – Secrets Unveiled

environmental-policy-templateWhen last did you have a look at your organisation’s environmental performance? Because you are reading this page you are probably thinking about that very subject now.

If so and you are stuck in terms of what you can do next to improve your environmental performance then the good news is that the best thing you can do now is write an environmental policy statement for you company.


Because an environmental policy statement will give you the steering on where you should focus your attention in terms of improving your environmental performance. Essentially an environmental policy helps steer your strategic direction.

More importantly though an environmental policy will help you become more competitive. No more avoiding tenders because you can’t respond confidently to the environmental questions. No more losing work because you can’t demonstrate your environmental credentials.

No, instead you will be in a good position to win and retain work with a robust environmental policy template. Moreover, an environmental policy can help you find inefficiencies in your business that will save you money. For example you will likely spot many energy and resource shortfalls that are costing you the bucks.

So what are you waiting for.

Get a piece of paper and start drafting your environmental policy.

Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be long. In fact it should only be one sheet of paper.

But it does need to have commitment from the whole organisation from the top to the bottom. You should include a clear statement on who you are as an organisation and what type of business you are involved in.

Also include an overall environmental objective that is supported by the actions you plan to take to monitor and measure and manage your environmental performance.

Outline any environmental legislation that you have to comply with and also state how your policy is communicates to staff.

Also sign and date the policy. This should be done by the CEO.

Here is a great guide which includes environmental policy templates and environmental policy examples. Check it out now.

Looking for a green web hosting company – here the facts!

best-green-web-hosting-5Going green at work can be hard work. Once you have nailed the simple and straightforward initiatives like recycling and managed to optimise your energy efficiency, it casn be hard to find new and exciting initiatives to tackle.

There is one initiative that is often overlooked though – green web hosting.

Most companies nowadays have a website. For some companies like ecommerce firms their website is the central and core feature of their business. All websites need to be hosted somewhere and most companies use a hosting provider to provide this service.

The trouble is that hosting is a very energy intensive service. Hosting companies operate massive data centres which requires loads of electricity to run and keep cool – the latter is particularly important as a host server is susceptible to overheating which cause all manner of troubles including downtime for your website.

Green web hosting companies are much like traditional hosting forms in that they purchase normal grid electricity to power their hosting operation. However, one they have purchased this energy they get a third party to calculate and verify how much energy they use. They then go to the renewable market to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) that are used to offset their energy consumption. The best green web hosting companies purchase at least 100% renewable energy certificates to offset their energy consumption. Some purchase as much as 300%!!!

Why is this good for a company like yours.

Well, firstly you can use the carbon neutral purchase to reduce your indirect carbon emissions. In effect you are reducing your carbon footprint!

Secondly you can use the initiative to demonstrate your green credentials to customers, prospects and staff. Many green web hosting companies provide their customers with nifty green marketing tags and labels that can be displayed prominently on your website – great marketing evidence to promote your green story.

So what is stopping you?

Switching to a green web hosting company is really simple and cost neutral as you are already paying for traditional hosting services.

If you are interested in seeing some of the best green web hosting companies have a look at this article with provides detailed green web hosting reviews and recommendations.

Interesting Mount Kilimanjaro Facts for you to share

climbing-mount-kilimanjaroIn this article I have outlined interesting Kilimanjaro facts about the region, geography and climbing.

First off, where is Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is found in the Northern part of Tanzania, in the particular what is known as the Kilimanjaro National Park. It comprises 3 volcanic cones, Shira, Kibo (on which you will find Uhuru Peak which is the summit of Kilimanjaro) and finally Mawenzi

Height of Kilimanjaro
The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru peak. It is 5,895m or if you work in feet it is 19,341 feet high

Does this make Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa?
It does indeed. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. What many people don’t know though is that Kilimanjaro is also the highest free standing mountain on Earth.

How many people attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro each year?
Depending on where you look between 20k and 35k people try their hand to climb Kilimanjaro each year

What are the particular success rates regarding reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro?
The likelihood of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro will be highly dependent on the amount of days taken to climb. The more days the higher the probability that you will have a successful summit. Why? Because the body has more time for you to adapt and acclimatize when you spend more time at altitude. Kilimanjaro National Park recently published these success rates

  • All routes aggregate = 45%
  • 5 day routes = 27%
  • 6 day routes = 44%
  • 7 day routes = 64%
  • 8 day routes = 85%

More info on Kili here

Precisely what is the fastest excursion of Mount Kilimanjaro?
The actual fastest ascent in addition to descent of Kilimanjaro was by Spanish mountain jogger, Kilian Jornet (September 2010). He reached the summit inside a record time involving 5 hours, 23 minutes, 50 seconds – beating the previous ascent record which was held by Kazakh mountain jogger, Andrew Puchinin. He beat that record by one minute. After accomplishing the summit, Kilian then went down to base camp reaching it inside a total time of 6 hours, 29 minutes. This incredible feat smashed the previous ascent / descent record set by Simon Mtuy which was an impressive 8 hours, 27 minutes!

Who may be the oldest person to be able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Richard Byerley is the oldest person to achieve the Kilimanjaro summit. Byerley reached the particular summit in October 2010 at the age of 84 years and 71 days. Nontheless, there is a few controversy around who’s going to be the oldest person to obtain the summit. A Frenchman, Valtee Daniel, reached the summit at the age of 87; however, the climb hasn’t been independently verified and didn’t have sufficient documentation to be verified – like pictures and signatures of the Kilimanjaro camp log books.

How many people die on the mountain?
Many conflicting statistics are banded around on the amount of people who perish on Kilimanjaro each year. This Kilimanjaro website estimates about 3-7 deaths each year. Deaths on the Mount Kilimanjaro occur because of various reasons such as acute mountain sickness, falls, and hypothermia. Sometimes porters die as a result of onset of malaria

Looking for a few more Kilimanjaro facts that may impress your hiking partners, check this page: