Travel Advice Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List - All You Need To Climb Kilimanjaro

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Kilimanjaro Gear List

If you’re a regular adventurer, you may feel well equipped for climbing Kilimanjaro however for some, this may be your very first big adventure trip.

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

Kandoo guides and climbers on Kilimanjaro

Upper Body

Let’s start with clothing for Kilimanjaro. As any trekker worth his salt will tell you, getting the right clothing for Kilimanjaro is paramount to a successful climb. Clothing is of particular importance when Climbing Kilimanjaro as the ascent passes through 4 climate zones. Whilst the base of Kilimanjaro has a breezy warm tropical climate, the summit is freezing. Layering is therefore critical when climbing 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)

An obvious place to start with the Kilimanjaro kit list is thermals and base layers. As you get higher up Kilimanjaro, inevitably the weather gets colder. Here you will need a lightweight base (or skin) layer ideally merino wool, not cotton, as merino base layers help to regulate your core temperature and are highly moisture wicking fabrics. This means it pulls moisture away from your skin by absorbing it into the fibres and evaporates through the exterior.

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 you’re 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. They are critical pieces of clothing for Kilimanjaro as they can be layered over the top of thermals and base layers. Icebreaker, Patagonia, Craghoppers and Columbia all offer great trekking shirts. We would recommend taking at least 4 shirts, 2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve.

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

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 walking trousers are crucial items of clothing for Kilimanjaro, where you will be trekking above 4,500m and the temperature drops dramatically. Key things to look for in walking trousers include a sun protective and water-resistant material, 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 the best boots for Kilimanjaro – 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 halfway 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 – the best boots for Kilimanjaro have been worn 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 you’re 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)
  • Thermal trekking socks for summit night (x1 pair)

Just like shoes, socks are very important items of clothing for Kilimanjaro. Once again, avoid cotton or cotton blended socks as they don’t 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 when preparing a packing list for Kilimanjaro, neck gaiters and scarves 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 and they are incredibly useful in dusty weather as it can be wrapped around your nose and mouth for protection. Make sure it is 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.

Hiker and guides on Kilimanjaro


  • Small Rucksack or Daypack

Now, in this Mt Kilimanjaro packing list, we move onto the essential equipment. As you'll be carrying your daypack, it’s important to keep it small and lightweight (25-30 litres). Your daypack will be used to carry water and personal items such as sunscreen and snacks etc. We don’t recommend carrying any cash on the mountain due to a spate of thefts a couple of years ago.

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 of the most important pieces on our Kilimanjaro kit list! Because your duffle bag will be carried by porters, make sure it weighs no more than 15kg and has a soft bottom (approx. 80-100 litres). This weight restriction includes your sleeping bag, whether you bring one with you or you rent one from us. 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 as no matter the time of year, it’s always freezing at the top.

In terms of which the best sleeping bag for Kilimanjaro 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 -20 degree Celsius (remember the warmer the better). A -20 or -30 degree Celsius sleeping bag can cost up to £600 so we generally recommend that people rent and do not buy 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.

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 litres per day. We ask everyone to carry 3 litres of water every day. 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.

Kandoo Adventures guide at Kilimanjaro


  • 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 provide toilet paper but we recommend bringing wet wipes and sanitisers. There is a small barrel of hot water provided outside the dining tent. 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 Paracetamol 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 those who have completed the trek to Kilimanjaro before!
  • 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.