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Ecuador's Volcanoes Kit List

The mountain weather patterns in Ecuador are complex and unpredictable because of the influence of warm, moist air rising from the amazon nearby. When packing kit, it's best to adopt a 'hope for the best/ prepare for the worst' attitude.

  • Prepare for high winds, rain and snow higher up, and mild and warm weather in the valleys
  • Good waterproofs are essential
  • Make sure that all of your kit bags are waterproofed
  • Bring enough spare kit for a change of clothing if you get drenched on the walk-in, its worth doubling-up

There’s always a lot of discussion around clothing and kit, so I’ve made some personal recommendations

Luggage

  • Large Kit bag – tough enough to survive a mule journey and waterproof (wrap the contents in bin liners)
  • 45L rucksack

Boots/ feet

  • A good pair of 2 - 3 season walking boots (B1 or B2 rated) will be fine for the lower peaks.
  • 4 season mountaineering boots are required for the bigger peaks, many people wear plastics on Cotopaxi
  • Take at least 4 pairs of decent walking socks and a coiuple of pairs of really thick mountaineering socks for summit days. The layering system also works for your feet, thin liner socks worn under your thick mountain socks will increase the warmth.
  • Blister plasters, Compede is best.
  • Foot powder.
  • Gaiters. If you suffer with cold feet, a pair of Yeti Gaiters will significantly improve the warmth of your boots. They'll also help keep out rain and snow, useful in Ecuador.

Legs

  • Warm pair of mountain trousers. I use a pair of Softshell Haglof’s Shark pants – very expensive, but they really do the job because they’re fleece lined and windproof.
  • Lightweight trousers for trekking at lower altitude.
  • Waterproof over trousers
  • Underwear – avoid cotton underwear as they get wet with sweat and chaff. Take two or three pairs (minimum) made from wicking material.
  • Long johns (thermal underwear) – essential for summit day.

Body

  • Thermal base layer shirts x 2 (one of which should have long sleeves). Helly Hanson do the job.
  • Mid-layer fleece x 2
  • Heavy outer fleece jacket. Alternatively, it might be worth having a look at one of the one of the new Primaloft insulated jackets (such as the Mountain Equipment Fitzroy or Rab Generator jackets) as an alternative to a heavy weight fleece. They tend to be warmer and less bulky than the equivalent fleece jacket. They’re windproof and water resistant too.
  • Gore-Tex shell Jacket
  • Down Jacket – not essential, but great for wearing around the mountain huts, and worth carrying in your rucksack in case you need to warm-up in a hurry.

Hands

  • Take several pairs of gloves
  • A pair of woollen gloves for cooler days.
  • A pair of good quality general mountaineering gloves. I use a pair of Mountain Equipment Guide gloves.
  • A pair of really warm mittens to deal with the cold on summit day. I use a pair of North Face Guide mitts, Primaloft mittens, such as the Mountain Equipment Fitzroy are recommended for people who suffer from cold fingers.
  • Take a pair of Dachstein woollen mittens to be kept in reserve.

Head

  • Warm hat. I wear a Lowe Alpine mountain cap. It’s thermal lined and you can pull the flaps down over your ears.
  • A thinner hat for wearing underneath your climbing helmet.
  • Sunglasses/ glacier goggles
  • Ski goggles
  • Head torch
  • Sun hut

Other

  • Sun protection (including for lips).
  • Water bottle.
  • 3 season sleeping bag (good for – 5  to – 10 c), it can get cold in the huts at night.
  • Wash-bag and toiletries;  antibacterial hand wash (essential), toilet paper, a packet of travel fresh wipes/ baby wipes, soap, toothbrush/ tooth paste, sanitary towels etc
  • Trek towel
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Book
  • Sweets/ biltong/ snacks
  • Travel washing line for drying kit
  • Camera, batteries (make sure you take a spare fully charged battery)
  • Ipod
  • Copy of your travel insurance document
  • Passport
  • Swimming trunks.

Technical equipment

  • Bring your own harness, helmet, crampons and axe, if you have them.
  • I use an Alpine Bod harness because it’s easy to put on when you’re wearing boots and crampons, a normal rock-climbing harness will be fine, though.
  • A pair of general mountaineering crampons will be fine. Make sure they have anti-balling plates and fit your boots properly.
  • One general mountaineering axe required.
  • If you don’t have all of this equipment, please call me regarding rental options. Reasonable quality rental equipment is available locally.