Kilimanjaro Gear: Packing List & Advice
Unlike the days of old, where heavy jute coats and army boots were the norm, clothing technology is advancing all the time.
Warm clothes are getting ever-more lightweight and effective. Tough, rugged boots needn’t weigh a ton and give you trench-foot.
The temperatures on Kilimanjaro can vary dramatically - a day that starts out very cold can rapidly heat up by lunchtime.
Conversely, being a mountain, the weather can change very quickly, turning what was a sunny day to cold and rain.
As you get higher up, hiking through the clouds can be damp and chilly. That’s without mentioning the wind.
Rent or Buy?
Some kit can be rented from your operator or from various places in Moshi and Arusha.
Personally, I like to have my own kit that is tried and tested.
If you participate in any outdoor pursuits, you will likely have some kit already in your wardrobe that you can use.
Staying warm and dry is the goal for making your climb as safe and comfortable as possible. Wet clothes can quickly turn from making you feel “cold” to “hypothermia”.
So what do you need to take?
Follow the links below for an in-depth view of each packing list section:
Before heading off to purchase everything brand new, it’s worth having an audit of what you already own.
Once you’ve read through the packing list, have a look in the back of your closet and see if there is anything that you could use.
- BUT: No Cotton or Cotton blends!
Cotton dries very slowly and does not hold as much heat for your body. It does not “wick” away sweat, so you can end up feeling moist and cold. Wool or synthetic fabrics are best.
Packing for Kilimanjaro need not be complicated.
Bearing in mind the weight restriction, you just need to be organized. And if you are organized ahead of your climb, you won’t be rooting around in the dark through your duffel bag wondering where things are.
Or, you can always give any unwanted clothes/equipment to your porters at the end of the climb. They will be very appreciative.
Kilimanjaro Gear Tips
- Since you will be using layers to keep warm, it’s important to test your clothing before you leave. It’s no good getting to summit night and finding that the fleece you wanted to wear under your down jacket doesn’t fit!
- I had many hours of fun experimenting with different layer combinations. You want it all to feel second-nature. Practice hiking with your chosen daypack, sorting out where the water bottles go, where you’ll keep your sunscreen and camera.
- Most modern rucksacks are adjustable, so be sure to try it out with different layer combinations.
- Once you’ve got all your kit, practice packing and unpacking your duffel bag. Once you get to your tent at the end of the day, you’ll be short of space, and you want things to be easily accessible. Not to mention that at the higher altitudes, the simple task of packing and unpacking your duffel bag can become very confusing!
- Start preparing your gear well in advance of your climb, particularly if you are inexperienced.