Travel Advice Kilimanjaro Gear List - All You Need To Climb Kilimanjaro

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Below you will find a Kilimanjaro gear list from top to toe. Where possible we have included links to gear that we personally use and recommend! 

Kandoo guides and climbers on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Kit List

Upper Body

Lets start with clothing. As any trekker worth his salt will tell you, getting the right clothing is paramount to a successful climb. Clothing is of particular importance when Climbing Kilimanjaro as the ascent passes through4 climate zones. Whilst the base of Kilimanjaro has a breezy warm tropical climate, the summit is freezing. Layering is therefore critical when attempting Kilimanjaro. Not only this, but each layer must consist of a wickable fabric. Unlike other fabrics such as cotton, wickable fabric allows moisture to pass from one layer to the next.

  • Thermal or fleece base layer (x1)

As you get higher up the mountain inevitably the weather gets colder. Here you will need a lightweight base (or skin) layer. One pair of top and bottom base layers should be enough for any treks under a week, however, for any treks over 7 days (unless your planning on stinking the joint out) we would recommend at least 2 pairs. We recommend Smartwool lightweight base layers or Icebreaker oasis base layers.

  • Long sleeve shirt/tshirt - light or medium weight, moisture wicking (x 2).
  • Short sleeved shirt/tshirt - lightweight, moisture wicking (x2)

Trekking shirts should be breathable, light weight, fast drying and most importantly - comfortable. Icebreaker, Patagonia, Craghoppers and Columbia all offer great trekking shirts. We would recommend taking at least 4 shirts, 2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve.

  • Fleece or soft shell jacket (x1)

For the colder sections of the climb your second layer should be a good quality fleece. Polartec is the best material and comes in 100s, 200s and 300s. We would recommend the middle weight (200) as it is neither too light nor too heavy - ideal for Kilimanjaro. A fleece with a hood is also a bonus. Helly Hansen and The North Face offer good quality and affordable fleeces.

  • Insulated jacket - down or primaloft. Lightweight water/windproof hard shell outer jacket

Having a wind and rainproof jacket is a key item in any Kilimanjaro gear list for obvious reasons. However, the choices can be a little overwhelming. Insulated jackets essentially come in two categories - down or synthetic. Whilst down jackets are generally lighter and warmer, they are far more expensive and, depending on price, more susceptible to moisture. There is no right or wrong here, it comes down to personal preference, budget and versatility. We recommend The North Face Nuptse, Resolve or similar.

Lower Body

  • Leggings - thermal or fleece base layer (x1).
  • Trekking trousers - light or medium weight (x2)

Warm and comfortable trekking trousers are crucial, especially trekking above 4500m where the temperature drops dramatically. 4 key things to look for in trousers - sun protective, water resistant, inner fleece material and a quick drying polyester outer layer for warmth. convertible trousers from Craghopper work well as do good quality ski pants. See Smartwool or Icebreaker base layers.


  • Gloves - lightweight, quick drying fabric (1 pair)
  • Gloves - heavyweight, insulated, preferably water resistant (1 pair)

Good gloves are paramount as your hands will be completely exposed when gripping your trekking poles. In terms of a perfect Kilimanjaro gear list, we recommend taking two pairs - one lightweight thermal pair with great wicking properties (avoid cotton) and one heavyweight, waterproof pair that provide the shell protection in the colder sections of the climb. We recommend Black Diamond Guide Gloves, Outdoor Research Gloves and Dakine Scout.

Foot wear

  • Trekking boots

Walking is what trekking is all about, therefore, the footwear you choose will be one of the most important decisions you make on your Kilimanjaro gear list. There are three key criteria when choosing your boots - fit, quality and use. No one wants blisters, so get the fit right! A finger width behind your heel with toes pressed to the front should be about right. Quality is a major factor as it's no small hassle having your boots fall apart half way up the mountain. Look for good ankle support, but remember that the higher the boot the heavier it becomes. The sole of the boot should have a high rubber content with deep grooves for grip. Make sure your boot is waterproof with a lacing system that incorporates D-Strings and speed hooks for tight support, fast lacing and non-loosening. Remember - you need to wear your boots in, never turn up to Kilimanjaro or any other major trek with new boots! We recommend brands such as Asolo, Karrimor, Hi-Tec and Timberland.

  • Training shoe or similar

Taking your boots off after a long trek is a great feeling, however, you still need to get around the camp and, if your anything like us, go for a little explore. Therefore, some basic training/hiking shoes are the best way to do this. Make sure they're still good quality and lightweight - you can't go wrong. See Merrell, Columbia, Keen or Karrimor.

  • Mid-weight trekking socks (x5 pairs), Breathable, high-wicking liner socks (x3 pairs) and Thermal trekking socks for summit night (x1 pair)

Just like shoes, socks are very important. Once again, avoid cotton or cotton blended socks as they dont allow the feet to breathe. We would suggest taking at least 5 pairs of Merino Wool trekking socks along with high wicking thermal socks for those colder sections of the trek - especially at night. We recommend Point6, Smartwool, and Bridgedale.


  • Warm beanie style hat - knitted or fleece

An absolute must for the cold summit night on Kilimanjaro, a lined and fleeced beanie will keep your head and ears all snugly and warm.

  • Neck gaiter or scarf - just so many uses!

Often overlooked, these are great multi-purpose pieces of clothing that should be on your Kilimanjaro gear list. Not only will they protect your neck from the freezing wind, but also from the blistering sun. also incredibly useful in dusty weather as it can be wrapped around your nose and mouth for protection. Make sure its lightweight, quick-drying, breathable and absorbent.

  • Sun hat - preferably wide-brimmed for protection

Keeping your head cool during the hotter moments of trekking is vital, as is protecting your face from sun burn. Therefore, we recommend a wide brimmed hat, preferably with a neck cover and made of a breathable material.


  • Small Rucksack or Daypack

As you'll be carrying your daypack, its important to keep it small and lightweight (25-30 litres). Your daypack will be used to carry water and personal items such as sunscreen, snacks, money etc. Look for daypacks with compression straps to reduce stress on your back, rain covers and side mesh pockets for easy access. Osprey and The North Face make great daypacks. For the safety conscious you may want to check out this Anti-Theft Backpack And Bag Protector.

  • Waterproof duffle bag

As it holds all of your trekking gear this is one important piece of kit! Because your duffle bag will be carried by porters, make sure it weighs no more than 20kg (15kg is better) and has a soft bottom (approx 80-100 litres). Make sure your bag is waterproof, has a strong zipper system and hand and shoulder strapping system for extra versatility. We recommend North Face or Helly Hansen waterproof duffles.

  • Sleeping bag

One of the top priorities on your Kilimanjaro gear list should be a sleeping bag. Regardless of season, a warm sleeping bag is critical when climbing Kilimanjaro. No matter the time of year, it'a always freezing at the top and, although you can rent sleeping bags it often works out better to buy if you plan to trek / camp again in the future. Out of the two types of sleeping bags (down and synthetic), down is warmer, lighter and more comfortable, however, that comes at a higher price. We highly recommend down, especially if you are considering trekking further in the future. Look for a mummy shaped sleeping bag with at least 4 season or -10 Deg C (remember the warmer the better). We recommend Mountain Hardwear Lamina, Marmot Trestles or The North Face Snow Leopard.

We provide a comfortable foam mattress but you may like the additional comfort and warmth of a Thermarest sleeping mat. These can be bought on Amazon.

  • Trekking poles

No Kilimanjaro gear list would be complete without trekking poles. With an average trek length on Kilimanjaro of 7 days, your legs and joints are put under a lot of stress. The best way to reduce this is by using a good set of trekking poles. Things to look for - weight (heavier is better for longer treks, adjustability (look for fully adjusting), material (lightweight aluminium or carbon fibre is best) and grip (we would suggest rubber or foam for Kilimanjaro). We recommend trekking poles from Black Diamond. You can also rent trekking poles from us in Tanzania.

  • Water bottle or hydration bag

You need to stay well hydrated and should drink between 2-3 liters per day. Ideally you should be able to carry 1.5-2 liters of water. We recommend Camelbak Water Bottles or Platypus Hydration Bags. The drinking pipe on a water bladder will start to freeze above 5000m, so even if you rely on a water bladder for the rest of the climb you will need a water bottle as a back up for summit night.


  • Sunglasses
The UV intensity on Kilimanjaro is just under 6,000m (very high!) and without the right protection your eyes can be seriously damaged. The leading altitude brand for sunglasses is by far Julbo who's sunglasses offer 100% protection from UVA, B and C rays. Their lenses have a category four rating that block up to 90% of visible light, making them perfect for high UV protection on Kilimanjaro.
  • Headlamp (plus extra batteries)
The best way to trek at night is with a good headlamp as it keeps your hands free. This is especially true of Kilimanjaro as you summit during the night! The lighter the headlamp the better, we recommend no more than 270 grams. Make sure your headlamp has a long battery life with a max beam length greater than 70 meters and a light output of greater than 100 lumens. Check out Petzl Headlamps.
  • Sunscreen
Don't underestimate the power of the sun in Africa, get the best sunscreen you can (high SPF factor and sweat resistant) and start using it on day 1.
  • Toiletries, including wet wipes and hand sanitiser
We recommend bringing one roll of toilet paper. We also recommend bringing wet wipes and sanitisers. Your porter will provide you each evening and morning with a tepid bowl of water and some soap, however, this is no easy task and can be accomplished far more easily with some wet wipes. Please carry all rubbish back off the mountain.
  • Camera and spare batteries
With its incredible scenery and views, bringing a camera is a must on any Kilimanjaro gear list. Smaller the better, we recommend the GoPro Hero 4 for videos and any small SLR for photos.
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
It is very much personal preference on what medication you take with you. However, after trekking Kilimanjaro a number of times, we believe a Kilimanjaro gear list requires 3 main medications. We suggest taking Parecetamol for headaches, Imodium for diarrhoea and an appropriate antihistamine for vomiting or nausea. We would also strongly recommend bringing some plasters for any blisters and insect repellent.
  • Personal snacks
Energy bars are a quick and effective way of keeping up your energy levels up. We would suggest eating 3 bars every day you're on the mountain. We also recommend dried fruit and nuts as they are also a great source of energy.
  • Ear plugs
If you are a light sleeper then it will be a sensible idea to take a pair of ear plugs. The stillness of the night means that sound travels easily. After a heavy day trekking snoring can be abundant!
  • Pee bottle
If you prefer not leaving the tent at night then a pee bottle could be your answer. We have a lot of positive responses to this from the ladies!
  • Phone Survivor Case
If you are planning to use your phone on your adventure then you may want to purchase a Survivor Case to keep dust out and protect the phone from any falls.

That's it folks. Remember - comfort is key! Make sure you try out all your Kilimanjaro gear before trekking the mountain itself. Good luck.