What to carry in your daypack on Kilimanjaro

Get your full Kilimanjaro Packing List which guides you through everything you’ll need to bring on your Kilimanjaro climb.

When you’re on the mountain, most of your gear will be packed in a large duffel bag, carried by our porters. A common question is what do I need to carry in my day pack?

Over the course of your climb, you’ll be trekking through five different climate zones, from the warm humid forest to the ice and snow of the glacier-covered summit so you’ll need a variety of kit to cover the varying Kilimanjaro weather conditions.

Our porters will take your 15kg (max) duffel bag after breakfast and you won’t see it again until you reach camp in the afternoon. You’ll be carrying a daypack (25-35 liters is ideal) containing everything you’ll need for the day’s hiking.

At the daily briefing, the guides will let you know the weather conditions to expect and advise you of any specific items you’ll need to keep you safe and comfortable on the trail.

It’s a good idea to have a waterproof stuff sack or similar to line the inside of your daypack, in case of heavy rain it’ll give another line of defense against your gear getting soaked.

Always check that your daypack has a built-in rain cover. If it doesn’t, purchase one separately and keep it accessible at all times in case of a sudden downpour.

Basic Essentials to carry in your daypack on Kilimanjaro


During the course of the day, the hiking conditions can change dramatically from baking sunshine to a freezing wind. Layering your clothes gives you the flexibility to add and remove layers throughout the day so you stay warm and comfortable without getting sweaty. Sweat can turn bone-chillingly cold when you stop moving.Kilimanjaro day pack

  • Rain jacket (fully waterproof with hood)
  • Rain pants (full-length side zippers work well to take on and off quickly)
  • Fleece insulating layer
  • Softshell breathable windbreaker
  • (Optional) down jacket to keep you warm when you stop for lunch
  • Sun hat
  • Warm hat (such as a beanie) that covers your ears
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses (very important, the sun’s rays are harsh in the thinner atmosphere)
  • (Optional) knee supports

It’s better to have a layer or two extra, tiredness makes you feel the cold more intensely, and weather can change quickly on the mountain.

Food, Water & Snacks

On most days, when we stop for lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to refill your hydration bladder and water bottles but some days this isn’t possible. You’ll need to be able to carry 3-4 liters of water. Hydration bladders work well, as they encourage you to take regular sips instead of stopping frequently to drink from a bottle.

  • Water bottles and/or hydration bladder
  • Energy snacks (candy, trail mix, energy bars)
  • Packed lunch (provided by our chef)

You’ll also carry your packed lunch (if we’re not stopping for a hot lunch on the way) and any snacks you’ve brought from home, such as energy bars, candy or your favorite trail mix.

Other Bits & Bobs

You’ll need a basic first aid kit to cover blisters, minor cuts, and scrapes, any personal medication you’re taking and sunscreen. Keep your sunscreen handy at all times and reapply it regularly. Don’t forget your lips: the harsh sun and dry air can cause chapping and soreness, keep applying chapstick regularly.

Hand sanitizer is important, we won’t be washing our hands on the trail!

During the first day or so, you might want some bug repellent, but as we hike higher, this won’t be necessary.

  • Toilet paper (take the cardboard center out for easier packing)
  • Tissues or handkerchief
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Basic first aid kit (blister plasters, ibuprofen, personal medications)
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick (or other lip balms) with sun protection
  • Bug repellent
  • Camera, spare batteries and other electronic items
  • Spare boot laces (important!)

Top Tips for Packing your Daypack

Before setting out each day, your guides will advise you what to bring, based on the altitude and conditions.

  • Don’t overload your backpack only take what you need for the day
  • The heaviest item will be your water, so drink regularly to lighten your load
  • Carry sunscreen and chapstick in the hip belt of your daypack for easy access
  • Batteries don’t perform well in the cold, always carry spares
  • Gloves can protect your hands from the sun as well as the cold
  • Don’t forget a rain cover for your daypack if it’s not built-in
  • Use a waterproof stuff sack as a liner to keep your gear dry

See more about packing for Kilimanjaro and essential gear and grab your printable checklist.

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