Whilst not a technical climb in terms of climbing capability and equipment, Mount Kilimanjaro is still a trip which requires a certain level of clothes and gear (Kilimanjaro kit list) which are suitable for the high altitude of the trip and presents would be trekkers with a number of challenges.
4 Climates in 1 Climb
The mountain itself has 4 very distinct climates :
- Heather & Moorland
- Alpine Desert
- Artic Wastes
So it’s essential to pack for these climates (whilst I was there the temperature varied from 30C to freezing) – layering is the answer here, not a problem until you realise that you are also limited to a 15kg weight limit (this is the limit the porters are allowed to carry for you). Within this 15kgs you need to have a really decent 4 season sleeping bag, all of your personal equipment and clothing and plenty of additional snacks to fuel your journey. In addition to the pack which the porter carries, you carry a day sack which would contain at least 3L of water per day, your camera, waterproofs, sunscreen, snacks etc.
Your tour company will provide you with a kit list but here’s mine along with notes of other things which I found useful and the quantities of the things that I took – this tipped my bag in at exactly 15kg’s and sustained me reasonably comfortably for my 8 day trek :-
PS – unless you are very fortunate in the looks department, we’re talking function, function, function here and not fashion !!
After all who can look fashionable wearing 5 layers of clothes and a hat which is furry and covers the ears ?? If you do, please let me know and I’ll feature you HERE 🙂
This stuff has to perform – to keep you dry and warm – and preferably both at the same time – if it matches, or is the right colour for you – then all the better.
comfort and ‘fit for purpose’ trumps fashion, matching colours or any other notion you might have about looking cool as you climb Mt Kilimanjaro
- Day Pack, for you to carry (*ideally 30-35L – I found one with large outside pockets was useful for stowing water bottles/camelbacks) Quantity x 1
- Large duffel bag or backpack for porters to carry. The weight limit per porter is 15kg/35lbs. Quantity x 1 (I got a 90L pack which was about the right size)
- Dry bags for personal equipment. Quantity – I took a roll of small 30L size bags as well as smaller ziploc bags for smaller items
- Shorts, for first and last day Quantity x 1
- Hiking pants for the day and for lounging in the evening Quantity x 1
- Short sleeve T-shirts Quantity x 3
- Long sleeve top Quantity x 2 – both were thermals
- Long underwear Quantity x 2 – both were thermals
- Fleece jacket Quantity x 1
- Fleece pants, depending on how cold you get – Quantity x 1 (I took ski trousers)
- Down jacket Quantity x 1 (Note : I also took an additional Ski Jacket as I get very cold)
- Water proof jacket/parka – Quantity x 1 – I took a large rain cape which went over my day sac
- Water proof pants Quantity x 1
- Underwear. The number is based on personal preference. Quantity x 4 (don’t judge me here, you do what you have to do LOL)
- Sport bras, for women Quantity x 2
- Glove liners Quantity x 2 – 1 x very thin, 1 x ski type thicker gloves
- Waterproof gloves to go over the glove liners – Mittens Quantity x 1 (Hired in Africa)
- Wool beenie/hat Quantity x 2 – 1 woolly hat, 1 really thick hat with ear cover for summit day
- Balaclava Did not take as used hat above and fleece neck gaitor
- Neck gaiter Quantity x 2 – 1 cotton and 1 fleece
- Baseball cap or sunhat Quantity x 1
- Hand and foot warmers. Optional Quantity 2 x hand warmers for summit night
- Sock liners Quantity x 4
- Thinner hiking socks for warm days. Quantity x 2
- Thicker wool socks for the colder days. Quantity x 1 (I invested in a pair of wool socks which kept my feet toasty warm on summit day)
- Footwear – Hiking boots. Make sure to break them in before the hike. Quantity x 1 (I wore NorthFace Snow Betty boots)
- Sandals or down booties for relaxing in the evening. Quantity x 1 – I took my trekking sandals which could be worn over my socks for around camp
- Gaiters. Quantity x 1 (hired in Africa)
- Sleeping bag rated -25 degrees C/-10 degrees F or colder is recommended. Quantity 1 – hired in Africa
- Thermarest. Foam sleeping pads are provided, but thermarests are recommended. Quantity 0- I didn’t take this and was fine on the sleeping pad
- Yellow fever certificate
- Tanzanian visa (NOTE : I got mine on arrival – but check for your specific circumstances)
- Travel/medical insurance (NOTE : Bought via World Nomads)
- Cash, travellers cheques, credit cards. (NOTE : I took USD and Credit Cards only)
- Airline tickets
TIP : Make copies of your passport, Tanzanian visa, airline tickets, itinerary and leave a copy with someone at home and put one copy in your luggage.
First Aid/Medical Kit
- Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or Paracetamol (Quantity : Take Plenty just in case)
- Throat lozenges.
- Moleskin Note : I use Compeed blister plaster – they are AMAZING 🙂
- Sunscreen. (SPF 25+)
- Lip balm with sunscreen ( I always use QV).
- Insect repellent.
- Disinfectant, antiseptic cream (Note : I found antiseptic powder better for feet)
- Bandages and tape.
- Imodium or other diarrhea medicine.
- Ace Bandages (Note : I took knee support bandages too)
- Melatonin (1-3mg) or other sleeping aid if you need it.
- Malaria Pills. Consult your doctor.
- Antibiotics. Consult your doctor.
- Prescription drugs based on your needs.
- Deep heat and painkilling gels
- Diamox. Consult your doctor or chose based on your needs. Read up on these and decide if you want to take, there are side effects to deal with if you do. I got these and think they helped. I got this prescribed as private prescription at the Neuro Spinal Clinic in Dubai.
- Toilet paper or tissues (personally I find small packs of tissues easier)
- Small towel (I have a small gym material one which dries quickly)
- Soap (small bar and a box or bag to keep it in)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Baby wipes (take a few smaller packs rather than large ones – then you can keep 1 in your daysac)
- Hand sanitizer (I usually get the type which will clip onto your daysac)
- Glasses, contact solution if you need it
- Mirror (NOTE : sometimes it’s best not to know how you look !)
- Water bottles and camelback. 2-3L (Note I took 1 x Camelback and 1 x Platypus as well as an insulated water pipe which was useful particularly on summit day as your water freezes – you can get away with normal water bottles if you want to
- 3 liters of bottled water before the trip – buy locally
- Drink mix such as gatorade for flavor and electrolytes (I took GuBrew which come in handy tablet form and a variety of different flavours)
- Water filter or iodine purification tablets. Water will be boiled but some people still choose to carry this. (Note I didn’t bother with this as all water was treated by the trekking company)
- Cash. $400 or more in cash, including some small US, Euro or Tanzanian currency NOTE : I found it easy to get by purely using USD – and didn’t change any money into Tanzanian Shillings.
- Trekking poles (Hired in Africa – never used them before but found really useful)
- Camera, film, tripod
- Video Camera – didn’t take
- Batteries & spare memory cards
- Binoculars – didn’t take
- Journal, pencil and pen – took but didn’t use
- Gerber/pocket knife
- Adapter – didn’t take
- Energy bars, candy, snacks, personal comfort food, protein bars as per your choosing (I took Gu energy sachets, they are light & quick to give energy, cereal and nut bars, mints, and some boiled sweets – I averaged 2-3 bars per day plus 2 Gu energy sachets per day)
- Playing cards, games, books, magazines, frisbee, football, kites as per your interest Note : I took 1 x kindle and am not sure you will want to be playing frisbee or football on the uneven ground of most campsites 🙂
- Dry sacks and zip-lock bags for waterproofing (used garbage bags and zip-lock bags)
- Sewing kit – I take a small one plus some DUCT tape
- Salt, pepper, tabasco sauce or spices as per your preference (Didn’t take)
- Alarm clock or watch with alarm (Not required)
- Swim suit for hotel swimming pool
- MP3 player and earphones (plus a good playlist or two)
- I took a few ‘luxury items’ with me :
- Jar of peanut butter for high protein, high calorie snack – yup – eaten straight off the spoon 😉
- 1 x small hot water bottle (I live in Dubai so was not acclimatised to cold but think most people would find useful)
- 1 x small jar of luxury coffee for morning drinks in my tent
- 8 Sachets of hot chocolate/bedtime drink for taking to tent each evening
Things not on the kit list which I took :-
- Few Karabiners – always useful to hook things onto your bag
- Nail clippers (also you might want to take a nailbrush as your hands and fingers get filthy)
- Small solar charger – which kept my phones charged
- Local SiM card – bought in Moshi and gave me the ability to tweet/blog etc from parts of the mountain
- Mount Kilimanjaro Guidebook
- Fleece sleeping bag liner (for additional warmth)
- Small inflatable pillow
- Union Jack flag for summit day
- Gym T-Shirt for summit day (a bit of blatant advertising !!)
- Compression socks and shorts – I used these after running and think they helped
- A SheeWee or the equivalent (does exactly what it says) – idea for those cold nights when you don’t want to leave your tent (enough said – use your imagination for the rest !!)
- I was able to beg or borrow the majority of equipment from friends or to use my existing gym gear for t-shirts etc.
- I hired my sleeping bag, mittons, poles and gaitors in Africa – and could have hired more equipment if needed (I stayed at the Springlands Hotel in Moshi and they had a very good supply of relatively new equipment for hire – Hire came to about USD 75)
I invested in the following equipment :
- Trekking Boots and Decent thick socks
- Camelbak and Platypus plus thermal tube
- Solar Charger
- Kit bag
- Day sac
- Fleece Liner
- Waterproof Cape
- Team : Di Moja – Mount Kilimanjaro – Attitude not Altitude ! Part 1 (coffeecakesandrunning.me)
- Mt Kilimanjaro – Dream, Research & Preparation (coffeecakesandrunning.me)
- Ramadan and Mount Kilimanjaro Preparation (coffeecakesandrunning.me)
- One Week to Kilimanjaro (coffeecakesandrunning.me)
- I made it to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro !! Wohoo (coffeecakesandrunning.me
Why should you travel?
I travelled at a time when I was working towards a fitness goal, and had plenty of time to think and reflect whilst I was climbing as well as to continue with my fitness. Here’s an interesting article which explains why traveling is good for your health. Enjoy x 8 Reasons why traveling is good for your health