Packing for Kilimanjaro – What you need to Take and Why you need to Take it!

If you intend to be one of the +/- 40,000 people who climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year, there are certain things you need to pack to ensure your passage to the ‘Roof of Africa’ is a smooth one.

Climb Kilimanjaro

While not a technical mountain, Kilimanjaro is not a mountain you can climb in jeans and trainers (many have tried!), and while you do not need to spend a fortune on the latest high-tech gear, there are some necessities that you really shouldn’t be without.

Having ‘Been there, done that’, we know what it takes to get to Uhuru Peak, so here are our top tips for packing for your Kilimanjaro climb:

A sleeping bag recommend for use in temperatures of minus 25

Why: No matter what time of year you climb Kilimanjaro, the temperatures plummet below zero at night. A warm, comfortable sleeping bag is essential, so invest in the best you can afford.

A good pair of comfortable hiking boots with Gore-Tex protection

Why: You are going to be hiking 5-8 hours per day for the duration of your climb, so it makes sense that you have comfortable, waterproof boots with ankle support.

 A Gore-Tex Windproof Jacket and a Fleece Jacket

Why: The temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro change constantly, you can have sunshine in the morning, wind and rain in the afternoon, and minus 15 at night, so a good set of jackets that you can ‘layer’ is much better than one big heavy down-jacket.

Gore-Tex Hiking Trousers

Why: I don’t want to sound like I’m advertising Gore-Tex here, I’m not, but the fact is, if you get wet on Mount Kilimanjaro, there is no way to get dry.  Stretch, waterproof hiking trousers are comfortable and ideal for long days on the mountain.

Dry-Fit / Sweat-Wicking T-Shirts

Why: Even when it’s cold on Mount Kilimanjaro, you will still sweat after hiking for 7 hours, so stay comfortable with 4 or 5 good quality performance t-shirts (we took a mix of long and short sleeves).

Thermal Underwear, Socks and Undies

Why: Obvious reasons!  There is nothing better to sleep in than a pair of Thermal Long Johns and a Thermal Long-sleeved T-shirt, and as you will not be showering for a week, take as many socks and pants as you can carry!

Fleece Tracksuit & Trainers

Why: You will need something to change into after a long day hiking, and this is warm, comfortable and cosy.

Hats, gloves and a scarf:

Why: Prepare for four seasons in one day, and you can’t go wrong on Mount Kilimanjaro. A baseball cap, a warm thermal hat, windproof gloves and a warm scarf will protect you from the elements – whatever the weather.


Why: A cheap poncho will keep the rain at bay, should you get caught in a downpour.


Why: All of these items will prove invaluable when you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Sunglasses
  • A headlamp & spare batteries (its dark at night, and if you need to go to the loo, this will prove very helpful!)
  • Water Bottles (enough to carry 3-litres of water)
  • A large rucksack and a daypack (you carry the daypack, your porter carries the rest)
  • Camera and plenty of spare (back-up) batteries and memory cards
  • Hiking sticks/poles – This is an optional extra… I didn’t use them, but many people rely on them.

Toiletries and Medications

Why: Ok, silly question!

  • Baby Wipes – and more baby wipes!  The best invention to ever be discovered by mountain climbers, baby wipes will keep you feeling fresh and smelling sweet all week-long!
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Toilet Paper & Deodorant – no description needed!
  • Moisturiser /lip balms– and this is not just for the Ladies! Your skin will soon dry out when exposed to the elements, and a good moisturiser / lip balm will stop your face, lips and hands cracking.
  • Water purifying tablets – very important, from day two, your water supplier will be sourced from local rivers, and while it is boiled and clean, it could affect those with a sensitive stomach.
  • Headache tablets / painkillers – Ibuprofen is recommended for headaches caused by altitude and it definitely worked for us.  Diamox is a prescription only drug, said to relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. This should only be considered after speaking to your doctor.
  • Plasters and antiseptic cream – just in case you get a blister!

If you do not want to carry everything with you to Tanzania, rent the heavier items from your Kilimanjaro climbing company.

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