Before heading out to Tanzania, it’s best to know what to pack for Kilimanjaro if you’re thinking of taking on the famous mountain. This way, you can protect yourself from the harsh climate in the high altitudes.
You never set your alarm for 1 a.m. but this time you do it with pleasure. When the alarm goes off, you’re already awake and bubbling with anticipation. It’s cold and pitch-black outside, not warm and cozy like your tent and sleeping bag.
Wind can pick up here at 15,239 feet. You suit up, slurp some hot tea, click on your headlamp, and begin a sunrise ascent, hiking Kilimanjaro to the Roof of Africa.
Today will change you. Today is summit day.
Kilimanjaro’s highlights are many: the tallest mountain in Africa, the highest freestanding mountain in the world, glacier-hemmed calderas, seven official routes through five unique ecosystems in one climb.
But make no mistake. The beloved Kilimanjaro is no cakewalk from base camp. This mountain is a serious undertaking, a challenging physical effort over multiple days, reaching elevations few people on Earth ever dream of going. Our team of expert guides will make your expedition as safe as possible, but our trekking experts have compiled a list of the correct gear that you can pack to be as prepared as possible to climb Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro packing list:
Think waterproof and windproof multifunctional layers
On the ascent, you will climb several thousand vertical feet over five ecosystems (Source). Because of this, temperatures and canopy cover will fluctuate, so the most important things to pack are a thermal base layer, an outer layers that breathe, wicks moisture, and can be slapped on and off with ease. Look into merino wool for this adventure, and a good set of trekking pants that are quick drying. And ladies, a sports bra is a necessity,
Pack Rain and wind Gear
If you could invest in two pieces of gear for Kilimanjaro, make it a feather-down warm jacket or a Gortex/Windstopper, and in a good rain jacket. A rain poncho won’t work here. Wet clothes are going to be an unbeatable challenge, so make sure you have dry, warm clothes on for that extra protection against the elements. Stay dry. Stay happy.
Pack Hats, thermal socks and gloves
You will use a cap, a beanie, and your gloves every single day of your trek. Look out for your extremities, as heat escapes through your head and hands if the rest of your body is clothed (Source). Again, wool, windstopper, and fleece are all great options to get in an extra layer. Look around for some solid trekking socks and fleece gloves to ensure maximum warmth and comfort along the climb.
Pack Buff and scarf
The most underrated piece of gear I took on my Kilimanjaro trek was a buff. These are multipurpose head wraps and they can be used for shielding the sun, added warmth around your ears, and also a handkerchief. Scarves do the trick too and are typically warmer. These will come in handy on a cold night. (Source)
Pack Hiking shoes/gaiters
There’s a lot of reviews about footwear when attempting to climb Kilimanjaro, and a lot of customers ask us “do I need gaiters for crampons to climb Kilimanjaro?” The first thing you mustn’t do is compromise comfort. Choose a pair of hiking boots you know and love. Second, that old clunky trekking boot might be overbuilt and unnecessary for this climb. Easy Travel’s robust team of porters and guides will be carrying the bulk of your gear for you, so ankle support is less of a concern because there won’t be fifty pounds on your back. That said, depending on the season, more aggressive footwear might be advisable. For the majority of the routes, a modest hiking shoe will do the trick.
Technology: Bring backups
Headlamp – This is an essential piece of hands-free gear you’ll use in a thousand different ways: getting to the loo in the middle of the night; rifling through your bag for that favorite pair of polka-dotted hiking socks; scribbling notes in your journal. Oh, and summit day starts at night!
Other essential Kilimanjaro gear to pack
Water bottles – With every thousand feet of elevation you gain, the air gets thinner and your body demands more water to function. Hydration is absolutely essential for a successful summit, and you’ll be asked to carry multiple liters at all times. Better to bring your own vessels.
No matter what gear you choose, if it all ends up wet then it’s no good. Make sure you arrive with your pack lined in waterproof materials. Find upscale solutions at your outdoor store. Ziplock bags and garbage bags work, too.
Trekking poles are all-stars, especially for the Kilimanjaro summit day. They come in handy during technical terrain, ascents, and descent, while models (like BD Z-distance) are ultralight. (Buy One Today Journal – Your experience up Kilimanjaro will take you to new heights, and you’ll want to capture every moment, every song, every nuance. Pack a notepad and pen; you’ll be happy you did.
How big of a backpack do I need for Kilimanjaro?
Your backpack needs to be able to fit everything we’ve listed in, including two liters of water, or more.
Easy Travel supports responsible and sustainable tourism and is a proud member of KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Project).
Here are some more direct questions we get asked by fellow mountaineers:
What is the best sleeping bag for climbing Kilimanjaro?
We have chosen the K-Way Expedition Series Kilimanjaro 3 Thermashift sleeping bag as our top player. The sleeping bag has excellent insulation and ventilation and has been tested on Kilimanjaro itself. This bag will keep you warm and safe during nights of cold uncertainty.
What are the best socks for climbing Kilimanjaro?
No matter which pair of hiking socks you choose, try to make sure there is merino wool, polyester and nylon in the used materials. Next, make sure that they’re thick and warm, and have mid to high cushioning for your feet.
What are the best sunglasses for Kilimanjaro?
Sunglasses matter, so we’ve left an awesome article for you to read if you’d like to know what your options are. We recommend the Jublo Explorer 2.0.
What hiking pants do I wear to climb Kilimanjaro?
You’ll want the following types of pants available on your hike:
- Long Underwear
- Fleece Pants
- Hiking Pants
- Waterproof Pants
You can read about a wide range of suitable hiking pants here.
What water bottles should I take on Kilimanjaro?
More water doesn’t always mean good. When hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, you want to make sure that you’re prepared all the way up. We recommend the CamelPack and a water bottle of your choice. Check out this blog on which water bottles are best for the climb on summit day.
Everything you need to know about battery Chargers on Kili
When you’re climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, you might have a few gadgets and gizmos with you that’ll need charging, so what are your options? Read this blog for more on battery chargers.
What are the best equipment/gear brands for climbing Kilimanjaro?
Let’s be real: you want reliable equipment that will last the entire climb and hopefully future climbs, too. That’s why it’s important to read up on the best brands and their products to decide which gear you want to buy.
What is the best duffel bag for climbing Kilimanjaro?
It can be a challenge to decide what size, brand, color and shape you need to buy for all your things. We loved the Patagonia Black Hole 70L Duffel Bag, as it has all the space you need. Check out this blog that breaks down your options. Give it a read to find out more about duffel bags on Kilimanjaro.
What are the best gloves for climbing mount Kilimanjaro
It’s no joke that you’ll need gloves. Warm and thick ones too. We highly recommend checking out The North Face ETip Gloves. They’ll keep you warm all the way through.
What is the best rain jacket for climbing Kilimanjaro?
The North Face Venture Jacket is our family favorite. We know that it works wonders up the mountain face.
What type of mask should I bring to climb Kilimanjaro?
It’s important to mask up during your climb to the summit, for warmth and for COVID-19 protection. We recommend an N95+ mask for travelling and interacting with other hikers, and any bandana or scarf of your choice for warmth and sun protection.
What hiking shirts should I wear on Kilimanjaro
Just ensure you have two layers: short sleeve and long sleeve. They will both come in handy when you are climbing those icy mountain slopes.
What are the best Shoes when climbing mount Kilimanjaro
Asolo TPS 520. Need we say more? These bad boys will virtually climb the mountain for you. Ok, no they won’t, but they will ensure protection and warmth all the way up.
What headwear is best for climbing mount Kilimanjaro
We recommend bringing any sun hat, beanie, net gaiter or bucket hat. These will all serve you on your journey to the summit.
Think warm. Think dry. Trekking trousers, fleece gloves, outer layer rain cover… Plan for multipurpose and multilayered but also simple. Kilimanjaro is a nontechnical walk, but it’s also a strenuous ascent and must be taken seriously. With these dozen items, you’ll be well-positioned to wake up on that alarm clock on summit day and reach up to the Roof of Africa. Also, don’t forget your travel insurance! We want you to reach new heights, so contact us today, or visit our hiking tours to learn more about why we have been doing this for over 30 years