Ultimate Kilimanjaro Packing List
This is my ultimate Kilimanjaro packing list as I recently embarked on the challenge of a lifetime and joined an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
In the build-up to this huge task, it was extremely daunting trying to make sure I had the correct equipment. Having now been to the summit and back I wanted to take this opportunity and share some of the things that I took with me.
Mount Kilimanjaro has a staggering five different types of climatic zones, from hot and tropical to arid snow-capped peaks. In comparison, the entire USA has five climatic zones. This means, on day one you will be walking in climate like Doha and by the end it is more like the Artic. The equipment and clothes you take are vital for your trek. Not only in terms of your safety but also the success of reaching the summit.
In this article I wanted to share what I took with me, how effective it was and more importantly I wanted look into what I wish I had taken if I get a second chance.
Here is my guide to packing for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
The MOST important bit of kit you will NEED on this adventure. You are going to spending at least 6 – 8hrs a day in them and walking 10-14KM a day so you need to make sure they are the right boots for you. When I was looking for mine, I did discover quickly that it was not as simple as just popping into the shop and grabbing a pair. I strongly suggest you take your time, do some research. Try some different styles and get the fit right for you. As a guide to your boots, they will need to be waterproof and lightweight. I would also recommend they are ankle sorting as well, so do not go for the trainer type and please, do not expect to climb in flip-flops!
ALL WEATHERPROOF COAT
I am so glad I had this with me. For two nights, I even slept in my coat to keep warm. It is very important to make sure that your coat is waterproof, windproof but also breathable. It can will make the difference between reaching the summit and or not. You do not have to spend hundreds of pounds either. My ski coat was less than £150. Please make sure you take one, YOU WILL NEED IT.
When searching for one check that, it is waterproof and not water resistant. Ensure that the seams are taped (this helps with keeping you dry and untimely warm).
Just like the coat, these will come into their element as you get closer to the summit and the temperatures drop to below freezing. On the night before we summited, I slept in my pair because it was so cold. I would highly recommend they are waterproof, this will help if you are caught in any rain or showers during the climb.
When looking for your, check that they are graded to -20 or more and “snow proof”. This means they are water repellent. My pair cost less than £50.
THERMAL BASE LAYERS
I took three pairs of thermal base layers with me on this trip (3 long sleeve t- shirts and 3 long johns). This was nowhere near enough for this trip. I would recommend taking five pairs with you. My second advice would also be, make sure they are “moisture wicking” and breathable. Mine were not; therefore, I suffered in the long term with sweat.
If they are moisture wicking it means that the fabric actively keeps moisture away from your body, and the fabric dries quicker. I wish I knew this before my climb. Other things to look out for check to see if they are “antibacterial”. This will help you stay fresher for longer and believe me, climbing Kilimanjaro without a shower for 9 days you need all help you can get!
Not to be confused with the Thermal base layers above. A base layer is what you would wear for example between your thermal layer and coat. It should provide some added warmth as you get to the higher altitudes, but it should also provide something a little lighter to wear at the lower altitudes. I found, that I would wear just one of these tops and some hiking trousers at the lower altitudes then start to build the layers up as we climbed higher. I would recommend look for lightweight, breathable and quick drying. My base layer tops were brilliant. You can see me in mine in picture.
These do not need to be anything special. Mine were great. I actually took “convertible” or “Zip off” trousers as they are known. It means you can unzip them at the knees to convert them into shorts if required. They came in handy at the lower altitudes.
I ended up taking three pairs of these trousers and one pair of waterproof trousers. However, the waterproof trousers I never wore.
This is another important item. This backpack becomes your daily “daypack”. Mine was 30L and to be honest just enough. This daypack needs to carry all your equipment needs for the day. That includes up to 3L of water, sun cream, extra layers, spare batteries, snacks during the day. Any medication, passport, money and personal items.
Due to that reason, I would ensure your daypack is waterproof or has a waterproof cover. I would also check that your pack is 30L or more in capacity.
This does what is says on the tin. Make sure they are breathable and “isocool” technology. I ended up taking nine pairs of socks and nine pairs of underwear. All of them were thermal.
HYDRO PACK/WATER BOTTLES
Keeping up with fluids is extremely important during the climb. It is recommended that you drink at least 3L a day every day so having a Hydro pack in your daypack is an easy way to drink while on the move. However, a water bottle works just as well.
TIP: I recommend you take a water bottle to pee in during the long cold nights. This will save you having to keep leaving the tent after drinking so much every few hours. I wish I had one.
Nothing out the ordinary here. I would just recommend if you do not have ski gloves then I would maybe take a liner pair of gloves as well in case they get wet or you need to double up if not warm enough. Apart from that, anything is good.
This was an item I wish I had known about and taken with me. During my expedition, we were given sleeping mats but they were uncomfortable. I would have much preferred to bring my own inflatable sleeping mat.
Make sure they are small and lightweight; you will have to carry it after all. I found one like this in my local store when I returned from Kilimanjaro that is self-inflating. If I had only known before I went, I would have taken it.
Someone told me that I would need a pair of gaiters for this trip. I brought them and in the 9 days I only used them once. I would say, you do not really need them.
You will need a pair of comfortable trainers to wear around camp. As you will be hiking walking for long periods in your hiking boots, it is a lovely feeling when they come off at the end of the day. However, as you will still need to walk around camp I recommend some trainers that you can put on.
The only other items I will mention as far as equipment is required are walking poles, a tent, sleeping bag and duffle bag. I am not going to feature these in this packing list. With my expedition, these items were included in the price; therefore, I did not need to supply this myself for my trip. When making the booking I would also enquire what items if any are included as part of the booking.
These body wipes were great. I used them most days to stay fresh and they did work. They smell good and leave your skin feeling clean and fresh. I highly recommend them. The Grapefruit are my favourite, but the coconut is also pretty good. In fact, the company offer a huge range of products for travelling, camping and all in between. Worth checking them out.
Any brand here, it really does not matter. However just make sure it is factor 50 or more.
I just used a local brand, but make sure it is SPF30 rated. The sun at the higher altitudes can be relentless.
This would be the most important thing for me. As I wanted to document my expedition and keep those lifelong memories for years to come. I am no professional; in fact, I just took my iPhone with me.
Depending on the electrical equipment you are taking with you, you are going to need something to make sure they can be charged while you are on the mountain.
You will want something that is durable, lightweight but also able to last the 9 days of the climb. This battery pack that I got was excellent, it lasted right up until day 8 and I used my phone a lot to take photos and videos through-out the climb.
I have never been a brand name type person. Therefore, my sunglasses are not Ray ban or Oakley. Instead, I opted for ShadyRays Sunglasses. They are great looking polarized sunglasses. You can customise them; they come in loads of different styles and colours.
One of the most important things, ShandyRays donate 10 meals with every sale of one pair. Meaning you are also helping fight world hunger.
Always useful in case you are caught in a shower or rain. Mine cost just £2
That is my guide to packing for Kilimanjaro. I hope this guide helps you out and gets you going, I am sure once you start you will notice other items you may need for your climb.
For a chance to see and learn about what it is like to actually climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Please take a look at my blog post – Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
If you are climbing Kilimanjaro, I wish you the best of luck on your adventure. I hope you have found this post useful. If you have questions please ask, feel free to leave any comments or get in touch.
Until Next Time…