So you’ve decided to climb to the tallest point in Japan. What are you going to pack?
Mt Fuji is 3,776 meters above the ground. Some start there but most start at the 5th station sitting at 2,300 meters to make it a bit easier. The Volcano officially opens for climbing season July 1st. If you plan on climbing around this time you should know the weather is fairly unpredictable and freezing at times despite the ground temperature soaring around 30 degrees.
This climb isn’t really for beginners. Yes I saw children and people in their 70’s climbing but they didn’t necessarily make it to the top. Be prepared to use your arms, legs, knees and face to hoist you up the trail.
Plan for an overnight hike. I started the hike at 2pm, slept in an overnight hut on the mountain, and started the descent at 2am. It took me 8.5 hours going up and only 3.5 hours going down.
I was a fresh beginner; the only other mountain/volcano I’ve ever climbed was Mt. Batur in Bali sitting at 1,717 meters. I fell at the finish line and sprained my foot. Not a good end result. It taught me many things like how to be prepared and to be cautious while climbing and the physical and mental strain it puts on your body. The difference between these two volcanoes (besides height) is the weather. It is a completely different ball game when you throw in unpredictable weather at that height so a packing list has never been more essential.
Here is my packing list as well as things that I wished I had brought:
An average sized regular backpack will do fine. I went with the Volcom Automation 37L backpack.
>>Check out the best travel backpacks for women.
- 1 Light windproof and waterproof jacket – I went with the Helly Hansen Odin Moon Light Jacket.
- 1 Long sleeve shirt with thumb holes to protect your wrists
- 1 Zip up sweater with a collar or hood
- 1 Sweat wicking shirt – I wore a LuLuLemon Rise & Flow yoga tank top w/ built in bra
- 1 Sweat pants – Thick for warmth
- 1 Pair of waterproof & windproof pants
- 1 Pair of sweat wicking yoga pants – I went with the Lululemon Wunder Under Pants.
- 1 Hat to cover from the sun
- 1 Pair of gloves/mitts – Thinner is actually better – also used for grabbing rocks etc.
>>See our packing and prep tips for hiking trips.
- 1 Pair of hiking socks – Quick drying (don’t be cheap). I went with Smartwool hiking socks.
- 1 Pack of moleskin to cover heels in case of rubbing
- 1 Pair of running shoes – I wished I had hiking boots almost immediately
>>Read more about socks for travel and outdoor activities here.
- 1 headlamp – I rented one at the 5th station.
- 1 Carabiner
- 2 Grocery bags for packing garbage out
- 2 Hand warmers – It got really cold in the hut at night. I used one pair for my feet and then in my mitts on the early morning climb.
- 3 bottles of water
- Snacks including sports drinks, energy bars, nuts, fruit – no junk
- Food if you don’t plan on buying the food+lodging package at your hut
- 3 medical masks – The wind makes it extremely dusty.
- 1 small sunscreen – There’s a chance you’ll be hiking in complete sunshine.
- 1 Headband/buff/earmuffs – It can be so windy.
- 1 pair collapsible hiking poles – Sometimes they get in the way so being able to attach them to your pack is key. I didn’t have these and the climb down was really tough on my knees.
- 2 Knee braces – Also great for the climb down if you have knee problems.
- 1 pair of goggles, glasses and/or sunglasses – Fashion is not important when dust and rocks are flying into your eyes.
- Bandaids – I didn’t bring any but my wrist got cut up and wanted some.
- 1 Can of oxygen – If you’re not used to climbing this might be useful at the top.
If you don’t want to carry all your gear to Japan, bring your favourites and you can rent the rest. I rented a headlamp for 500 yen for the two days.
The last most essential thing to bring is CASH. There are no cards accepted on the mountain besides the gift shops at the 5th station. I needed around 7000 yen for lodging, 1000 yen for bathrooms and at least 5000 yen for unexpected purchases. The more you bring the better in my opinion. You never know what you might forget or need to replace while you’re up there.
Have fun and be safe up there!
About the author: Lswanson is the writer behind Vagabond Vignettes a site where people can find real experiences and advice all related to traveling. Check out her Instagram to see where she’s headed next.
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