Do I Need Crampons or Micro spikes for Kilimanjaro?

When preparing for a hike up the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, many questions come to mind, including what gear to bring. One important decision to make is whether to pack crampons or microspikes.

These ice traction devices attach to your hiking boots to improve grip and prevent slips on icy terrain. However, not all hikers may need to use both. So the question stands, do you need crampons or microspikes for Kilimanjaro?

Typically, the ascent of Kilimanjaro does not necessitate the use of specialized gear such as crampons or microspikes. Most hiking routes can be completed without the need for any additional footwear attachments, with regular trail shoes or boots being sufficient at all times.

Do I Need Crampons or Microspikes for Kilimanjaro

Understanding the Difference between Crampons and Microspikes

Before we dive into which one is necessary for Kilimanjaro, let’s differentiate between crampons and microspikes. Crampons are spiked metal plates that are attached to the sole of your boots.

They are designed for steep and technical terrain and are commonly used for ice climbing and mountaineering. On the other hand, microspikes are smaller and lighter versions of crampons, with shorter spikes and a rubber harness that wraps around the sole of the boot.

They are suitable for less technical terrain and provide better traction on packed snow and ice.


Terrain on Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet, making it the tallest mountain in Africa. Its diverse landscape includes rocky trails, loose scree, and snowy and icy sections. During the dry season, the mountain’s summit can be covered in snow and ice, making it challenging for hikers to navigate without proper traction gear. Therefore, having the right equipment is crucial for a successful and safe ascent.


You Do not Need Crampons on Kilimanjaro

Although crampons are a popular choice among mountaineers, they may not be necessary for Kilimanjaro. The majority of the routes on the mountain, such as the popular Marangu and Machame routes, have well-marked trails that are usually free of ice.

Even during the dry season, the amount of snow and ice on these trails may not be significant enough to require crampons. Hikers usually use a combination of hiking boots and trekking poles to navigate the terrain comfortably.

Crampons for Kilimanjaro


When to Consider Crampons

While crampons may not be a must-have for Kilimanjaro, they may still be necessary in some situations. If you plan to tackle the Western Breach , which is known for its steep and icy trails, then crampons may provide the extra support and traction needed for these technical terrains.

Additionally, if the mountain experiences an unusual amount of snow and ice, crampons may be essential for safety purposes.


You Do not Need Microspikes on Kilimanjaro

Similarly, microspikes may not be necessary for Kilimanjaro. As mentioned, the trails on the mountain are usually well-maintained, and the use of hiking boots and trekking poles is sufficient.

MICROspikes Kilimanjaro



In conclusion, the decision to bring either crampons or microspikes on your Kilimanjaro trek ultimately depends on the route and current weather conditions. For the majority of the routes, using hiking boots and trekking poles is sufficient for navigating the terrain.

However, if you plan to summit via the Western Breach or if the mountain experiences heavy snow and ice, having crampons may come in handy. Ultimately, it is essential to do your research before embarking on your Kilimanjaro journey and consult with experienced hikers or your guide to determine which gear is necessary for your specific route and conditions.