Kilimanjaro Packing List

This list has been created for a 6-Day Marangu Route Trek, obviously modify for more/less days on mountain. I had never hiked before and was resistant to buying a lot of specific gear. All of my cold weather stuff was my ski gear, and I found that it worked very well.  Some of these items were rented from our tour company. The bag I used was actually an old tennis bag, all that matter is that it’s water-resistant and doesn’t have a metal frame as the porters will be carrying it on their heads.

Most importantly: DO NOT PANIC, almost anything you forget can be rented at the base of the mountain. Don’t over think it, as long as you have good hiking boots, odds are you’ll be fine.

Clothing

Note: Base layers should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric; not cotton!

  • 2 sports bras
  • 2 workout style tops (I brought one short sleeved and one long)
  • 3 long-sleeved thermal tops (works best if one can be layered under another, to allow flexibility in your temperature management)
  • 3 fleece layers (again, great for layering over the thermals. Keep one 1 exclusively for sleeping, having clean pjs is a great morale booster)
  • Underwear (personal preference as to how many, most people re-use, wearing them inside out the second time)
  • 1 pair workout leggings (optional, can be good for the first day through the rainforest, or for layering, I brought them but didn’t use them)
  • 2 pair Thermal Tights
  • 1 pair water-resistant hiking pants (I used these every-day except summit night, with various layers underneath)
  • 1 pair ski pants (used for summit night, really convenient as easy to layer and totally waterproof)
  • 1 ski jacket (waterproof, windproof) Mine had removal layers and so could be adjusted to temperature which was great. A lot of people will say that you need down, I didn’t find that to be the case.

Hands

  • 1 pair thin gloves (to wear in the evenings or when the temperatures start to drop)
  • 1 pair thick ski gloves (necessary for summit night)
  • Hand-warmers

Feet

  • 3 pairs hiking socks (important that they keep your feet dry and blister-free, I discovered merino wool on this trip and have never looked back) Comfortable feet can make or break the experience.
  • 2 pairs thermal socks (ski socks worked well for me)
  • Hiking Boots (water-proof, preferably coming up above your ankles)
  • Camp shoes (to wear in the evenings and give your feet a rest, sneakers are fine, I wore sandals with socks simply for ease of getting them on and off)

Accessories

  • Sun hat
  • Woolly hat
  • Balaclava
  • Buff (multi-functional piece that can be worn around your neck or you head, really useful and adaptable)
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp

Food

  • Electrolyte tablets or salt pills (to help with recovery)
  • Whatever snacks you think will help keep you going when you have no appetite (no chocolate as it will melt and freeze). I’d recommend a mix of salty and sweet so as not to get sick of one.
  • I brought bouillon cubes to dissolve in my water because I’m a salt fiend, others brought fruit flavoured syrup, whatever works and will keep you drinking.
  • Gummy bears (for summit night, yummy, don’t freeze, easily shareable, and make everyone happy)

Medical

  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Blister kit (varies from person to person, I use a needle and thread to drain them, then a plaster)
  • Sun cream
  • Insect Repellent
  • Lip Balm
  • Anti-Diarrhea meds and antispasmodics (for stomach trouble)
  • Antiseptic (cream or spray whichever you prefer)
  • Diamox (altitude medication)
  • Malaria pills (depending on what time of year you go and where else you’re traveling, ask your doctor)
  • Plasters
  • 1 dose broad spectrum anti-biotics (just in case)
    • Vaccination card, blood type card and a clean syringe (just in case)

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and mini toothpaste
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Baby Wipes (always useful as shower replacement, or for any mess)
  • Deodorant
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper
  • Hair ties and pins (the last thing you’ll want is hair in your face)

Miscellaneous

  • Ziploc bags (I loved these, used them for everything from separating my gear in my duffel bag, to water protection for electronics)
  • Bin bags (really useful for extra water protection, or segregating dirty gear)
  • Waterproof backpack cover (better safe than sorry, they fold up really small, lifesaver)
  • Water container (3L, either reusable bottles or a camelback, must be able to hold hot water)
  • Bag locks (handy to have, can be useful, especially if you leave bags at the hotel during the hike)
  • Kindle (very convenient as it holds charge and doesn’t weigh you down, honestly though you won’t really have a lot of time for reading)
  • iPhone or music device (really helpful to keep motivation up on summit night, also audiobooks are good when you can’t sleep)
  • Solar charger or spare battery packs (no plugs on the mountain, anything you want to keep using will need an alternative charging mechanism)
  • Money (tips and emergency)
  • Proof of medical insurance, and any bookings, also flight details
  • Travel Adaptor (for use at the hotel)

Daypack

You don’t have access to your main bag during the day, so you’ll survive each hike on what you’ve got in your daypack. Weight is pretty much dependant on what you can handle and how much you’re willing to suffer, my bag was 30l and I never had any problems. This is all really personal and will probably change from day to day.

  • Water (3L, I carried it in 3 reusable bottles, others used camelbacks)
  • First Aid: Lip balm, ibuprofen, plasters, diarrhoea pills
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Snacks
  • Pack lunch (your cook will give you this each morning)
  • Rain Jacket and backpack cover (always! Trust me, the day you forget there’ll be a thunderstorm)
  • Camera/phone (be sure to keep it accessible, otherwise you’ll miss out on great shots)
  • Weather dependant extras (sun hat, gloves, fleece, sun cream…etc)

Rentals

No need to worry about bringing these as they are readily accessible for rent at the base.

  • Gaiters (a plastic protection worn around your ankles to keep things out of your shoes, I didn’t see the appeal at all, but ended up loving them! Also, as a girl, they kept me from peeing on the bottoms of my trousers more than once)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking poles
  • Down jacket (I didn’t use one, but if you’re really worried about having one, you can)

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