When it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there are generally 2 types of people. Those who have planned, prepared, researched, and packed extensively for their expedition to the roof of Africa’s highest mountain – and those who have not!
Mount Kilimanjaro is not technically challenging, and you do not need to pack as if you are going to spend 3 months on Everest, but it is no walk in the park either, and if you have too much gear, or not enough, your climb will not be as rewarding or as successful as it should be.
All good Kilimanjaro Climbing companies will provide you with a packing list when you book your expedition. This should tell you what you need in terms of high altitude, wet weather, and hiking gear, and also list everyday essentials such as toiletries, spare batteries for your headlamp, a power bank to charge your phone and camera batteries, and anything else that will make your climb more comfortable.
Many companies will even go so far as to recommend specific types of sleeping bags, rucksacks and hiking poles, but many forget to tell you about packing all of this gear for your journey to Tanzania, and this is where it can all go wrong.
If you are flying to Kilimanjaro from the US or the UK, you will have to make at least one stopover on-route. This means that your luggage is going to be transferred from one plane to another, and unfortunately, during this transition some bags do get lost… seriously lost!
It is therefore essential that you pack as many of your essentials as possible in your hand luggage. We always travel to Kilimanjaro in our hiking boots (not sexy, but they’re not getting lost when they are on your feet!), we pack one pair of hiking trousers, a couple of t-shirts, underwear, hats, gloves, headlamp, electronics in our hand luggage, and we take our high altitude jacket with us too.
That way if our luggage does get lost, we have at least some of the essentials to start our expedition. Most international climbing companies partner with local Kilimanjaro companies, and so there is always the possibility to rent any gear that is missing. Sleeping bags, hiking poles, gaiters, jackets, backpacks, and even sunglasses are available to rent, so you don’t have to be stranded with nothing more than your jeans or trainers.
Taking the right stuff with you is important, but you should also prepare for the unthinkable… so max out your hand luggage – and if necessary, wear as many layers as possible on your flight to Kilimanjaro!