Outfitters: going local style

As we discussed before, there are essentially three tiers of outfitters: high, middle and low. Last time we reviewed that the high-end outfitters are more expensive but provide more security and comfort. So if you're on a budget, the mid-tier outfitters may be a reasonable option for you. My experience is that the mid-tier outfitters are still way more comfortable then when I backpack on my own, but not as comfortable or secure as the high-end providers.

Disclosure alert: I booked my own climbs with a mid-tier outfitter and Kilimanjaro Adventures provides all our trips with them as well. So you're welcome to take my comments with a grain of salt.

Compared with the high-end outfitters, mid-tier outfitters lack a certified American guide as well as a global brand. At this level the guides are typically all Tanzanians who were certified by the Kilimanjaro National Park Service. So they know the mountain and typically have years of experience. But they won't be able to discuss the physiological impact of Diamox nor quote the percent of oxygen in the air at each camp. The lack of a global or even local brand name company is slowly being replaced by regional agents (like us) who represent these Tanzanian outfitters. They are able to talk with you on the phone and give you honest answers from people who better understand where you're coming from.

As for comfort, again this is way more comfortable than dehydrated camping meals eaten in your own tent, but nowhere near the high end. Food is still hot, fresh and plentiful. But instead of a massive North Face dining tent you'll sit on stools in a large 4 season tent (as seen above). No one carries a toilet for you so you'll have to use the pit toilet provided at each campsite or make do with the nearest bush.

I haven't included any links in today's post for fear of seeming biased. If you'd like me to list a few then post a comment and I'll be happy to do so.
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