Comprehensive Packing Guide for Your Kilimanjaro Adventure

When it comes to packing for your Kilimanjaro trek, this detailed list is here to ensure you’re well-prepared for the journey ahead. While you’re free to personalize your clothing choices, this guide aims to make sure you don’t forget any essentials.

Upper Body Clothing

  • T-Shirts: Opt for Merino wool or synthetic fabrics (avoid cotton). Pack 2 short sleeve shirts and 2 long sleeve shirts. Merino wool is a great choice as it resists bacteria buildup and stays fresher longer, allowing you to pack fewer shirts.
  • Waterproof Jacket: Make sure to have a lightweight Gore-tex or similar waterproof jacket with a hood. This protects you from rain, snow, and wind, especially important in the rainforest.
  • Mid Layers: These provide insulation. Options include Merino Wool 200+ weight, fleeces, light down, or synthetic jackets. One or two of these layers will suffice as they don’t directly touch your skin.
  • Heavy Down Jacket: This is crucial for cold temperatures during nights and mornings. High-quality goose down is recommended. Opt for more down over a higher fill number.

Lower Body Clothing

  • Shorts: Lightweight nylon or synthetic shorts are great for lower elevations. You only need one pair.
  • Trekking Pants: Bring one or two pairs of quick-drying, synthetic trekking pants. Convertible pants that zip off into shorts can be helpful.
  • Fleece Pants: For comfort in camp, bring warm fleece or track suit pants. One pair is enough.
  • Waterproof Pants: Essential for rainy conditions. Have one pair to wear over your trekking pants.

Base Layers

  • Merino Wool or Synthetic Base Layers: Warm bottoms are needed under your trekking pants for summit night. One or two long-sleeve tops with wicking properties will keep you comfortable.

Hands and Feet

  • Hiking Boots: Essential gear. Ensure they’re warm, waterproof, semi-rigid, provide ankle support, and are well-broken in before your trip.
  • Lightweight Shoes: For camp, lightweight trail running shoes or trainers are suitable.
  • Socks: Opt for Merino Wool or synthetic socks (avoid cotton). You’ll need around 3-4 pairs for the trek and a pair of liner and summit socks.
  • Gloves: Have warm, waterproof outer gloves and smaller liner gloves for different temperature ranges.

Head and Neck Gear

  • Sun Hat: Choose a brimmed hat to shield your ears, neck, and face from the sun.
  • Winter Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat for cold temperatures.
  • Buff/Neck Gaiter: Keep your neck warm and protect your mouth from moisture.
  • Sunglasses: Dark, wraparound sunglasses (category 3 or 4) for UV protection and ice-glare at high altitudes.

Duffel Bag and Backpack

  • Day Pack Backpack: Around 35 liters with a hip belt and inner frame for comfort. Read here about what you should expect to carry yourself in your day-pack on Kilimanjaro.
  • Backpack Splash Cover: Essential to keep your backpack’s contents dry during heavy rain.
  • Duffel Bag/Kit Bag for Porters: A 100-liter water-resistant duffel bag not exceeding 15kg/33lbs.

Sleeping Gear

  • Sleeping Bag: Rated to -15°C (0°F) and preferably down-filled.
  • Thermarest: Self-inflating mattress for a comfortable night’s sleep in tents.

Protection and Hygiene

  • Sunscreen: Use Factor 50+ to protect against high-altitude sun exposure.
  • Lip Balm/Zinc Cream: Shield your lips and skin from intense sun.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Keep your hands clean.

Hydration Essentials

  • Water Bottles: Two Nalgene or similar bottles for hot water and drinking.
  • Camelbak: A 2-liter bladder for hands-free hydration on the trail.
  • Water Purification Tablets: Treat cold water for safe consumption.
  • Vitamins/Powdered Drink: Add vitamin C or multivitamins to your water.

Staying Clean

  • Towel: Quick-drying sports towel for daily washing.
  • Wet Wipes: For staying clean when showers aren’t an option.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Keep your hands clean at all times.

Other Necessities

  • Head Torch: Essential for lighting during camp and summit night.
  • Spare Batteries: Extra batteries for your head torch and camera.

Trail Snacks

While high-quality food is provided, you can bring personal snacks like chocolates, nuts, or energy chews.

Additional Items

A few miscellaneous items you might find useful include a pocket knife/multi-tool, trekking poles, gaiters, toilet paper and matches, garbage bag, small mirror, book/diary, camera with extra batteries, cash, personal toiletries, and a small personal first aid kit. Adapt this list based on your needs and preferences.