On part 2 of our getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro guide we focus on what to pack and your gear check list. Before we start, these are two very important things to keep in mind:
- You will be trekking areas with very different climates and the weather can be unpredictable. You could go from tropical heat at the lower levels of the climb to minus 20 at the summit, to give you an idea.
- Your bag will be carried by a crew member and it is also very important to keep it under 15kgs in weight.
Let’s get started…
GEAR CHECK LIST
Main bag – For your main kit that the porters will carry. It must be a soft bag, no hard parts or wheels. We recommend a heavy-duty waterproof bag with about 80-100 litres capacity.
Day pack – We recommend a day pack of approximately 30 litres capacity and keeping it light (8kgs max). It should be comfortable and with a good hip strap, so the weight is mainly on your hips not your shoulders. The tour guides will advice the group on what to pack for each day.
Storage bag – To store items you won’t need while on the mountain.
Wash bag – Stick to the essentials, as there are no showers on the camping routes and facilities are basic. Also include essential medication such as blister kit, painkillers (avoiding codeine), anti-histamines and other medicine you might require. Include a small travel towel, as you will be provided with washing water each day.
Like with any other trekking trip, footwear will be the most important piece of gear for your Kilimanjaro climb. They should be waterproof, strong and most of all comfortable; if you are buying new boots for the trek, make sure they are well worn before you travel to avoid blisters.
You should also bring boots that have enough room to fit in more than one pair of socks in the colder areas. As an extra, you could pack trainers to wear on camp.
In terms of socks: pack thin and light socks for the start of the trek, as well as medium weight walking socks and very thick trekking socks for the summit night.
Lightweight and mid weight full length or convertible trousers are ideal. There’s no need for padded/fleece lined trousers as they can be too hot when sunny. Shorts are ok for the first day.
Thermal leggings are recommended, particularly for sleeping and the night at the summit.
Bringing layers is the best approach, as the temperature can change dramatically during the trek. Thermal base layers are recommended for the higher walking days, as well as summit night and the evenings.
T-shirts: Avoid cotton as it doesn’t absorb away moisture so any sweat you produce will chill you quickly when the temperatures drop.
Also pack mid-weight fleeces, fleece jacket/top, down/thick thermal jacket, light gloves as well as thick gloves or mittens for summit night, scarf and/or buff/balaclava to keep your neck warm; warm hat and sun hat. Waterproof trousers and jacket are essential. You could also add a waterproof poncho as it is very handy to cover your day pack. Bringing an umbrella is also recommended.
You will also need a good quality sleeping bag (rated 4 season minimum, with comfort rating for at least – 4C). You can add a fleece/silk liner to boost warmth. You will also need to pack a pillow. You will be supplied with thick sleeping mats for your tent but you might also want to add a Thermarest sleeping mat (optional) for extra comfort.
This is extremely important as mountain conditions can be unpredictable when you climb Kilimanjaro.
What you will need: very thick gloves, thick socks, thermal leggings, trek and waterproof trousers, thermal base layer, fleece, down or primaloft jacket (recommended rating 700), Buff and/or scarf, warm a couple of warm hats or one warm hat and jacket hood.
If you don’t have a down or similar jacket you may need up to seven layers and a reasonably thick jacket depending on the technical specifications of your kit.
Walking poles – Highly recommended, as they provide you with support, take weight off your legs and will be of great help on the descent.
Water bottles – Ideally tube hydration systems such as Platypus/Camelback as you can drink almost hands free. Also pack normal bottles.
Sun screen – Factor 50+ is recommended and also lip balm with sun protection.
Sun glasses – With good UV protection.
Head torch – With a strong beam to use around camp at night.
Snacks – You will be fed during the trek but it is also recommended you bring snacks, preferably chewable and easy to digest. It is also important to bring treats (your favourite snacks), to keep you motivated!
Camera – There is no electricity up the mountain but you can bring spare batteries or solar power packs to charge your camera and devices.
Other entertainment such as book, diary or music/phone.
We recommend you talk to your local outdoor gear store staff for specific advice on gear to climb Kilimanjaro, as well as get you measured for suitable boot sizes.
You might also want to read: getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro part 1.
*Our sales director Jeremy Perrin will be hosting a climb Kilimanjaro preparation trek (17kms) in County Wicklow, Ireland, on Saturday 6th August, you can register here: KILIMANJARO PREP TREK.
If you would like to climb Kilimanjaro with TrekkingBug.com, contact our travel specialists. You will receive a full packing checklist before your trip.