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Kilimanjaro Kit List

Our Kilimanjaro kit list covers your entire adventure. This includes items you’ll need while travelling to your destination and essentials for the climb itself.

There are six official routes to the top of Kilimanjaro. Each route has a different length and time. If you are trekking with a group, your tour operator will normally provide tents, food, and water. Be sure to check what kit they supply and the estimated timeframe for the trek. This will ensure you pack enough clothing and the correct equipment. Take care not to overpack, as porters can only carry up to 15kg.

Clothing

Kilimanjaro’s altitude creates its own microclimate. Temperatures range from 25+ to 5 degrees celsius. It can even reach -18 degrees with wind chill on summit night. It’s crucial to have an excellent layering system to adjust to these changing conditions.

 


Waterproof Jacket

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As you trek through the different climates, the weather can switch from wind and rain to snow. A high-quality waterproof jacket will protect you from the elements. Choose a breathable jacket to let excess heat out while staying dry. Features like underarm zips, also help vent excess heat without compromising wet-weather performance. See our waterproof buying guide for advice on what jacket to get.


Waterproof Trousers

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Protect your lower half from the changing conditions with waterproof trousers. Lightweight over trousers can be left in your backpack to pull on when needed.


Down or Synthetic Insulated Layer

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The first few days of the climb are usually warm and humid, but once you reach the moorland zone the temperatures start to drop. This is where you'll want to start wearing your insulated jacket, and even more so in the alpine desert zone and evenings in camp. A synthetic insulated layer is a better choice than a down jacket, as it remains warm even if it’s wet.


Fleece Mid Layer

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A fleece mid layer to wear over a base layer and underneath a jacket is key for keeping you warm once you reach the colder zones. Your mid layer should be comfortable, easy to move in, and fit between your other layers.


Technical T-shirts

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A moisture-wicking breathable top is a good choice for the trek. Depending on the weather, a mix of long and short-sleeved technical tops will be useful.


Base Layer Top

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Help regulate your body temperature with a base layer top. To prevent getting cold from sweat, wear a sweat-wicking base layer as cotton takes a while to dry.


Base Layer Bottoms

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Stay warm on cold evenings and the summit push by wearing thermal or fleece base layer bottoms.

You may want to pack a specific base layer top and bottoms for summit day. This is the longest section of the entire Kilimanjaro climb and in the coldest zone. So, having a fresh and comfortable set for this day is ideal.


Sports Bra & Wicking Underwear

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Wicking underwear draws moisture away from the skin and dries fast. It stops you from feeling sweaty and helps reduce chafing. A sports bra ensures a solid foundation to keep you comfortable during your trek. Offering comfort, sweat-wicking and extra support.


Hiking Trousers

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You’ll want at least one pair of light or medium-weight hiking trousers that are durable and comfortable. We recommend getting a pair made of quick dry material, as natural fibres like cotton take a long time to dry.


Hiking Shorts or Convertible Trousers

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For the forest stage of the trek, you'll need hiking shorts or convertible trousers. Some people wear trousers for the entire trek to protect their legs from sunburn, insect bites, and scratches.


Hiking Socks

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You’ll need a pair of hiking socks for each day of the trek. For the summit night, bring a pair of thermal socks to stay warm in the harsh Arctic zone.


Sun Hat

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When climbing Kilimanjaro, you’re at risk of sun exposure and heat stroke. It's essential to wear a hat, especially one with a brim, to protect yourself from the sun.


Beanie or Balaclava

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An essential for summit day and the colder nights. You’ll want a beanie that covers your ears and fits comfortably.


Thin Gloves

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Ideal for the lower slopes and for layering under thicker gloves on summit day. Lightweight, quick-drying gloves are a must.


Thicker Waterproof Gloves or Mittens

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Bring warm gloves or mittens for the cold nights and summit push. We recommend a heavyweight, insulated, waterproof pair.


Gaiters

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Bringing gaiters is optional; they help keep trousers clean and dry in wet and muddy conditions.


Hiking Boots & Spare Laces

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A pair of midweight hiking boots with good ankle support will keep you stable on the rocky terrain. Make sure you have enough room for movement. Your feet might swell at high altitudes, especially if you wear thicker socks on summit day. We also recommend bringing spare laces in case yours break.

 


Casual Shoes or Sandals

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We recommend bringing another pair of casual shoes to wear around camp after the day’s trek to give your feet a break. You’ll also want to let your walking boots air out once you get to camp.

 

Equipment & Accessories


Backpack (30-40 litres)

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This is the bag you’ll carry with you on each day’s hike. Put your snacks, water, camera, and extra clothes in this bag for the day.

A high-quality backpack will keep you comfortable for multiple days trekking. To prevent a sweaty back on warmer days lower down the mountain, choose a pack with a mesh back panel for breathability and ventilation.

 


Backpack Raincover

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Bring a backpack raincover to protect your backpack from the changing weather of Kilimanjaro. You can store this away in a pocket when not in use.

 


Stuff Sacks or Dry Bags

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Tanzania has banned plastic bags. Instead, pack your things in dry bags or stuff sacks. They protect against moisture and help keep items organised in your backpack.

 


Duffel (70 Litres +)

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You’ll use this bag for everything else you need for the trek, including your sleeping bag. The porters carry your duffel bag, so you need to ensure it’s not over 15kg.

 Don't use hard suitcases. They can get damaged and are uncomfortable for porters to carry.


Luggage Tags & Padlock

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Keep your duffel secure and more easily located if lost by bringing a padlock and luggage tag.


Sleeping Bag (4 Season Minimum)

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You will need a 4-season sleeping bag that can handle below-freezing temperatures.


Sleeping Bag Liner

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A sleeping bag liner can help with extra warmth and keeping your sleeping bag clean.


Travel Pillow or a Pillowcase

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If you want to save some space, swap out a travel pillow with a pillowcase that you stuff with clothes.


Inflatable Camping Map

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Make sure you get a good night's sleep by taking a high-quality inflatable camping mat on the trek. Choose an inflatable camping mat that is easy to inflate and deflate to save on time and effort


Walking Poles

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You don't have to use hiking poles, but they can make climbing Mount Kilimanjaro easier. By spreading your weight over four points instead of two, you can reduce strain on your bones and joints.


Head Torch & Spare Batteries

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This is a must-have item during your Kilimanjaro trek to help you get around camp when it’s dark. Also, you’ll likely leave camp at midnight and hike in the dark on summit day.


Water Bladder (2 Litres +)

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While trekking, you should drink four to five litres a day. Getting acclimatised to the altitude can also mean extra water consumption. A water bladder is ideal for the trek. It can store several litres, and you can drink without stopping, making it easier to stay hydrated.


Water Bottle (1 litre)

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Alongside carrying a water bladder, we recommend one or two water bottles. You can use them if your bladder hose freezes and keep them close by at night for easy hydration. To stop your water icing up in the evening, store it close to your body or in a thermal sock.

Health & Hygiene


First Aid Kit (Including Personal Medication)

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Lots can happen during the trek so it's useful to be prepared with a small personal first aid kit. It’s very common to experience altitude sickness during the trek, with symptoms including diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and sleeplessness. Remember to include:

  • Paracetamol & Ibuprofen
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Diarrhoea tablets
  • Blister plasters
  • Insect repellent (needed for rainforest zone)

Wash Bag

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While there aren’t any showering facilities on the mountain, you will get a bucket of water to wash every day. You will likely want to leave shampoo and conditioner at your hotel to use before and after the trek. Don't forget to use sunscreen and lip balm with a high SPF. The closer you are to the equator and the higher the altitude, the more UV radiation increases.

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Soap
  • Biodegradable Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Sanitary products
  • Toilet paper
  • Quick drying towel
  • Moisturiser
  • High SPF sun cream
  • SPF lip balm

Personal Items & Extras


Practical Items

  • Spare glasses or contact lenses
  • Sunglasses
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs

After a tiring day of hiking, it's important to sleep well. Using an eye mask and ear plugs can help you get a good night's sleep, especially on a crowded campsite. When it's sunny, wear polarised sunglasses, especially at the summit. The snow can reflect the sun and cause snow blindness.


Travel Essentials

Make sure to pack travel essentials like:

  • Passport
  • Travel documents
  • Body wallet/document wallet

Your passport must be valid for six months after your arrival date in Tanzania. If you're a British citizen, you can get a Tanzanian visa when you arrive at the airport or submit one in advance online. You do not need specific vaccinations, but you need proof of yellow fever vaccination if travelling from a country with a known risk.


Technology

You may want to consider packing:

  • Phone
  • Phone charger & cables
  • Powerbank
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Plug adapter (type D/G)
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Although Kilimanjaro has limited reception, some of the campsites do have reception.


Extras

You may also want to consider bringing these items:

  • Pocketknife/multi-tool
  • Hand/toe warmers
  • Journal & pen
  • Playing cards/games
  • Snacks (e.g. dried fruit, nuts, mini chocolate bars)
  • Energy bars and/or gels
  • Electrolyte tabs

Top Kilimanjaro packing tips:

  1. Keep important gear with you during flights

When flying to Tanzania, wear your important gear and keep medication with you, to avoid losing it.

 

  1. Have a pen and cash to hand

Save time at the airport by having a pen handy to fill out the visa form. If you have a British passport, use Tanzania's online system and apply for an e-visa before your trip. Or, you can buy one for $50 US dollars on arrival at the airport.

 

  1. Stay organised

It can be tempting to throw everything into your duffel. To avoid getting frustrated in the future, use dry bags and stuff sacks to sort and separate your things. You can also store dirty, damp clothes separately. Keep travel essentials like passports and visas safe in document wallets.