Trekking Kilimanjaro involves five main climate zones, from the warm, humid forest and lower slopes, to the bitterly cold summit zone, with glaciers, ice, and snow. You need to be prepared for all Kilimanjaro weather conditions: sunny, windy, and rainy.
In order to be safe and comfortable throughout your Mount Kilimanjaro climb, you’ll need to bring important gear and supplies with you.
We provide tents, the camp equipment, food, cooking facilities, and other shared items. You’ll have a duffel bag with all your kit, carried by the porters; and carry your own daypack during the trekking day.
Download your printable packing checklist here.
Important Kilimanjaro Packing list Information:
If you’re an experienced hiker, you’ll be familiar with how to layer your clothing to stay warm and dry. For beginners, it’s pretty simple, if we focus on some basic principles:
Even in very cold conditions, if you build up a sweat, and your base layer doesn’t wick it away, you’ll end up chilled, or worse, hypothermic.
Weather on the mountain is unpredictable and can change quickly. Even if it’s not raining, low cloud, mist, and fog can make for a damp and chilly hike. The wind chill factor can make a sunny day feel icy cold.
As the trekking is quite strenuous at times, your core temperature will increase, so it’s very important the layers closest to your body are able to wick the moisture away. Sweat cools fast and you don’t want to be clammy and warm whilst on the move, only for it to turn bone-chillingly cold when you stop for a rest.
Arguably the most important bit of kit you’ll need is your footwear. Make sure your hiking boots are well worn-in, that they fit properly (including with thick socks) and you are comfortable walking long hours in them. If you don’t have a favorite pair already, take your time choosing – don’t buy them online.
We recommend light- to mid-weight waterproof boots with good ankle support. You don’t need to go full-mountaineering boot, as you won’t be wearing crampons and you don’t need the extra weight. Sneakers or “trainers” are not appropriate, except for wearing around camp.
Your trekking boot needs to have a rugged, semi-rigid sole, and don’t forget to bring a spare pair of laces. Brands such as the Salomon GTX are a good example of a typical Kilimanjaro hiking boot.
Gaiters are a good idea to prevent mud, debris and mountain scree from getting into your boots and causing irritation. They also keep the lower part of your pants clean.
Don’t skimp on your socks. Just as with your clothing layers, the liner sock needs to wick moisture away from your feet, and the outer sock provides cushioning and warmth. Avoid cotton socks.
This is a personal preference, but we recommend using hiking poles to help with your balance and mitigate fatigue. You can rent or buy poles, but you should practice using them at home before you travel.
We recommend a lightweight headtorch with a strong beam. You’ll be using this around camp to and from the toilet tent at night, and on summit night. Brands such as Petzl or Black Diamond are good options. It’s very important to bring spare batteries, as the cold drains them quickly.
Some trekkers bring a small flashlight such as a mini-maglite, for lighting their tent after dark.
The nights are bitterly cold on Kilimanjaro. As you get higher up, you’ll be tired from the hiking and will feel the cold even more. You can either bring your own sleeping bag or rent one from us. Our rental sleeping bags are professionally cleaned after every climb.
If you decide to bring your own, it needs to be a 4-season rated, 0F (or -15F) sleeping bag. Whether you rent or bring your own, consider bringing a sleeping bag liner, to keep any mountain dust and dirt out of the bag, and add a bit of warmth.
A small inflatable pillow is optional, most hikers bundle up clothes to use as a pillow, but this is a personal choice.
Down sleeping bags give the best warmth-to-weight ratio, they are easy to compress, and pack down small. They don’t like getting wet, so be sure to bring a waterproof compression sack. Mummy-shaped sleeping bags provide better insulation than the rectangular versions, as they fit closer to your body. A hood is essential to avoid heat loss from your head and neck.
We provide a thin mattress to roll out your sleeping bag on, but if you feel you’d like additional cushioning or have a favorite backpacking pad, then bring this with you.
Our porters will carry your main duffel bag during the day, and you’ll only see it once you get to camp. You’ll carry all the bits and bobs you need for the day’s trekking in your daypack.
The North Face Basecamp duffel bag is a great choice, it’s waterproof, rugged, and the 90-liter version will be ample for all your belongings. Although it’s waterproof, we highly recommend that you pack your gear in waterproof stuff sacks or packing cubes, for extra protection.
Your daypack needs to be comfortable, with adjustable shoulder straps, and a hip belt. You’ll be wearing this all day, so make sure you get one that fits well, has space for a hydration bladder and water bottles, and is large enough to fit your raingear, a couple of layers, and other daily essentials.
Not all daypacks come with a built-in rain cover, be sure to check and purchase one separately.
Staying hydrated on Kilimanjaro is extremely important. If you get dehydrated, this will affect your ability to acclimatize and put your health at risk. We provide purified water for our climbers and recommend that you use a hydration system so you don’t have to keep stopping to drink from a bottle.
A couple of wide-mouth Nalgene bottles are good for having water on hand in your tent, and for when you’re on rest stops. Wide-mouth bottles work best to prevent water freezing as you get higher up.
Tip: fill your wide-mouth Nalgene bottle with hot water just before you go to bed, secure the lid properly – and use it as a ‘hot water bottle’ through the night. You can then drink the water the next day.
Water can get pretty boring, so it’s a good idea to bring along an electrolyte formula that’s flavored to your liking. Snacks such as energy bars, trail mix, and candy can help give you a quick energy boost while on the trail. Just avoid anything with caffeine in it.
The following list is a good starting point. You won’t be showering on Kilimanjaro, so anti-bacterial ‘wet wipes’ are a good way of maintaining personal hygiene.
Sunscreen is very important as the sun’s rays are much stronger at altitude.
Bring two rolls of toilet paper, one to keep in your daypack for use on the trail, and one in your duffel for use at camp. Taking the cardboard center out makes it easier to transport.
Our guides carry a comprehensive medical kit, but you’ll need to bring a few things for minor scrapes and blisters. We recommend speaking to your doctor or healthcare professional before you travel if you are in any doubt what to bring.
Check with your doctor about anti-malarials and recommended immunizations.
Note that as of 2019, Tanzania has banned all single-use plastic bags. So don’t bring any Ziploc or other plastic bags of any description.
Questions? Let us know in the comments, send us an email or hit the live chat button, we’re here to help.
Download the printable packing checklist here.
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