Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List

It can be a bit tricky to pack for a Kilimanjaro climb, bearing in mind you will experience five different climate zones across only a few days.

Furthermore, your luggage will be carried by a porter and should not be heavier than 16kg (excluding your daypack which should be about 6kg).

You'll use your daypack for the Kilimanjaro gear you need during your climb, e.g. water, energy snacks, sun block (don't forget to put some on your ears) & lip balm, camera, warm and waterproof layers, basic first aid items, gloves and hat.

Some of the items on the Kilimanjaro gear packing list can be rented from your operator - check with them before you depart for Africa. There are shops in Moshi, Marangu and at the Park entrance, but is best to plan to arrive with all provisions. All operators supply the tents, food and kitchen items.

It's a good idea to pack your super-essential Kilimanjaro gear in your carry-on bag on the plane.

The Kilimanjaro gear list is based on the packing advice and recommendations from trip reports, forums and articles that I've gathered over the years at African Safari Journals.

Here it is:

Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List: Food

Meals will be provided, as well as basic snacks like cookies and fruit. You should also bring your own energy snacks, for example:

  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Glucose sweets
  • Energy gel sachets
  • Sports drink powder
  • Some recommend vitamin C fizzy tablets to improve the water's taste and added vitamin benefit
  • If you prefer de-caf tea, it's best to pack a few bags

Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List: Gear

  • Important: Sleeping bag: -15°C/0°F (or warmer weather sleeping bag with extra fleece liner for warmth)
  • Self-inflating mattress
  • Small travel pillow, or you can use your polar fleece/windbreaker
  • Daypack (approx. 35 litres)
  • Waterproof cover for daypack
  • Large kit bag/duffel bag, to be carried by a porter
  • Plastic bags: normal and "Ziplock" type (for rubbish/wet washing/muddy shoes/organise clothes in duffel bag - for the latter you can also use stuff sacks). Smaller Ziplock bags for glucose or other gel packets - lower air pressure may cause them to break and mess.
  • Headlamp (with spare batteries and spare bulb)
  • Insulated water bottle/"flexi-flask"/Camel Back with drinking tube (the latter is most recommended as water bottles usually freeze on summit attempt)
  • Water purifying tablets/drops
  • Telescopic trekking poles
  • Whistle
  • Important: Sunglasses (preferably the polarized "glacier" type)
  • Camera and/or video camera and extra film/memory cards
  • USB cable, battery charger (nowhere to plug it on the mountain, but perhaps for afterwards)
  • Extra batteries (headlamp, camera, iPod etc. - batteries may freeze)
  • Lens cleaning cloth (for cameras, sunglasses)
  • Earplugs (for the busier camps)
  • Pocket Knife (Swiss/Leatherman type)
  • Small scissors, if not on your pocket knife
  • Small unbreakable mirror
  • String/rope (washing line, tying sleeping bag, multitude of uses!!)
  • Small calculator (or if you're taking your mobile phone) for currency calculations
  • Watch
  • Some form of entertainment, e.g. deck of cards/travel size game/reading book
  • Plug adaptors: 3-prong round (like South Africa/India) or square (like Britain)(not needed during your time on the mountain) - Tanzania is on 220V
If applicable to you/optional -
  • Tripod for camera/video camera
  • Binoculars
  • Alarm clock (your guide/porter will usually wake you)
  • Prescription glasses (plastic type lens is better as glass might crack in the extreme cold)
  • Goggles if you wear contacts, to keep dust out (especially on the descent) and prevent your eyes from drying out when there's wind
  • Small compass or GPS (optional, for interest's sake only - your guide will be your compass)
  • Waterproof matches

Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List: Clothing

  • Important: Waterproof trekking boots (well broken-in)
  • Extra shoes, like sneakers (when you're not hiking and as a back-up)
  • Gaiters to ensure water, mud and snow stays out of your boots
  • Thermal outer socks
  • Inner socks - moisture wicking ones are best (moisture promotes blisters)
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Long trousers (warm)
  • Long trousers (light)
  • Short pants
  • Thermal underwear (longs)
  • About 5 sets of underwear, bras
  • Waterproof outer gloves
  • Inner gloves
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket with inner fleece
  • Sweater
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • T-shirt
  • Poncho
  • Scarf
  • Bandana (dust)
  • Cap or hat for the sun
  • Ski beanie or balaclava
  • Mini sewing kit, safety pins (needle and thread can also be used to drain blisters on your feet)
  • Extra shoelaces
  • Washing powder/travel soap for laundry (not during your time on the mountain)

Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List: Toiletries & First Aid

  • Toilet paper
  • Tissue (nose)
  • Sun block and after sun
  • Lip balm with sun protection
  • Skin lotion
  • Wet wipes
  • "No rinse" body bath/soap
  • Soap
  • Travel Towel - light-weight and takes very little space
  • Foot powder to help keep feet dry and avoid blisters
  • Shampoo (normal or better yet "no-rinse" type)
  • Brush, comb
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Insect repellent
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips & cotton balls
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Razor & shaving cream/gel
  • Medicines/First Aid:
  • Diamox or similar (high altitude)
  • Anti malaria medication
  • Band aids & moleskin (blisters, small cuts)
  • Bandages, gauze pads
  • Emergency blanket
  • Vitamins
  • Painkillers
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Heartburn remedy
  • Indigestion medicine
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Re-hydration salts
  • Cold/flu tablets
  • Throat lozenges
  • Some people take a basic antibiotic, just in case
  • Sterile needles (in case you need an injection and don't trust the hygiene conditions)
If applicable to you/optional -
  • Contraceptives
  • Feminine products - the Mooncup is ideal for this kind of travel
  • Contact lens solution & extra set of disposable lenses
  • Eye rinse/moisturising drops
  • Prescribed medicine (enough to last your trip)
  • Allergy remedy

Kilimanjaro Gear Packing List: Money & Documents

Some of the documents won't be needed on the mountain, but some of it (like money and passport) you should keep with you anyway, even if you're storing excess luggage somewhere during your trek.

  • Important: Cash (to buy drinks, tipping etc.) - USD or Tanzanian Shilling
  • Other money: credit card (Visa is best) and/or travellers cheques
  • Passport & relevant visa papers
  • Flight ticket(s)
  • Africa travel insurance policy
  • Notebook & pen/pencil
  • Your itinerary & Kilimanjaro operator contact numbers
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Addresses and mobile numbers (postcards/e-mails/texts)
  • Medical history
  • Vaccinations certificates (e.g. yellow fever)
  • Phone card and international access numbers
  • Extra passport photos
  • Copy of your passport, kept in a separate place than your passport (or scan a copy electronically and keep it in your e-mail box where you can access and print at an internet terminal)
  • Back-up ID (e.g. driver's license)
If applicable to you/optional -
  • Kilimanjaro guide book - worth more to read prior to your trek
  • International Youth Hostel card (depending on your type of trip and accommodation)
  • Copy of marriage certificate, especially if you recently tied the knot
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Business cards

Print the Kilimanjaro gear list out and tick the items off as you go along to make sure you don't miss anything.

Have you already climbed Mt Kilimanjaro?

Then please let me know if I've left any Kilimanjaro gear off the list...