Here is my Mt Kilimanjaro packing list, don’t forget to take into account the cost of some of this equipment in your budget and my tips would be to weigh between how often you will use it against your comfort on the mountain and cost as some of this can add up. If it’s possible to borrow from friends that is always an option as well. I have also tried to hyperlink some of the actual equipment I bought online in case you were interested.
- Sleeping bag (comfort level -8.5C minimum) – regardless of time of year the summit may reach up to -10C so it is important to have a sleeping bag to keep you warm. There’s a lot out there on if you should get down or synthetic down and that comes down to cost really. The down is likely to be more warm, lighter and compact to a smaller volume but more expensive and there is more risk of it being saturated if it is wet (they’re very hard to dry and quality may change irreversibly if wet), the synthetic downs are considered less warm, cheaper but more likely to recover from getting wet.
- Sleeping mat / roll mat (self inflating) – optional as you can hire a mat with some companies, however I decided the extra mat would provide some extra comfort and warmth
- Silk Liner – you can buy a cheap one these on email for around $4, they’re great for keeping your sleeping bag clean and can add up to an extra +5C of warmth if needed
2. Packing / Bags:
- Duffle bag/Backpack (70L) – I brought a 70L bag to fit in my sleeping bag as well. However, if you can fit everything into a 50L or less you are amazing.
- Backpack 20L + Camelbak water bladder – this is your day bag for your snacks/layers and water. I can’t stress how much easier the camelback bladders made our trip. Of course you can just have water bottles, but if you can afford it the bladder will reduce weight and effort (to reach for your bottle). I would recommend the 3L bladders as you are likely to drink all of that in one day and more. If you are buying a new day bag/backpack you might want to take into account a one with an inbuilt water bladder pocket.
3. Base / Under Layers:
- (♀) Hiking Leggings x 2 – Merino wool or equivalent is preferred as it is anti-odour and wicks away sweat really well
- Base layer tops long sleeve x 2; short sleeve x 2 – there’s a whole bunch out on the market, as long as you have one that is merino wool or equivalent to keep you warm, the rest I would just try to buy sweat wicking and anti-odour
- (♀) Sports Bra x 2
- 6 pairs of light underwear – there’s no laundry and unlikely you’ll feel like doing any/it would dry in time, bring the exact amount of underwear you’re going to need
4. Outer Layers:
- Waterproof/Windproof Jacket – essential for day-to-day protection against the rain and wind
- Fleece x 1 – this was invaluable to me, and I wore this day and night whenever I was cold (even to bed!)
- Gloves – one thin liner, one thick waterproof for summit night. The liner gloves are great because they not only keep your hands warm but also clean!
- Beanie – fleece lined recommended for extra warmth
- Water proof hiking pants – we thought it was essential to have a full set of rain proof clothes, so add this to the must list
- Down Parka/Jacket (water/windproof) – this is really optional as you could layer up on the thermals and fleece for summit night (and really we only used this for summit night). But for extra comfort we all brought one, and also used it at night on top of the sleeping bag for extra warmth.
- Hiking Socks x 4 (recommended) – again merino wool and hiking type socks for best comfort, anti-odour
- Hiking Boots – waterproof and ankle support I think is a must. When you’re tired, you not thinking about is every rock on the path and where to put your feet the whole time
- Cheap Sandals – to walk around camp. I had some which I could slip on with my socks still on
- Wet wipes (biodegradable) – to keep clean on the mountain (don’t leave any litter behind!)
- Toothpaste + toothbrush + face wash
- Small quick dry towel
- Dry Shampoo – optional. I didn’t dry shampoo my hair the whole trip, stay surprisingly “clean”
- Deodorant – although, I’m sure it stopped mattering after day 2
- (♀) Panty Liners – great way for the ladies to pee + shake method on the road
- Hand Sanitiser – essential. Can’t stress this enough, essential
- Gaiters – we hired these from our guide. Not just great for rainy weather but to also keep the dust off on dry days
- Walking Sticks – we hired these from our guide. I enjoyed my walking stick, but others did the whole trip without any. I tend to find less pressure on my knees on the downward journey
- Headlamp + spare batteries – essential
- Cap – good idea to keep the sun off
- Sunnies – so you can see in all the light
- Couple of hot pockets (instant warmth!) – recommend the chemical reaction ones not the oxygen catalyst ones as they don’t work well at high altitude (low oxygen)
- Buff (to buy – for sweating and runny noses) – vitally important to keep your face from wind chaffing and breathing in copious amounts of dust
- Water bottle (1L) – for extra water to carry during the day, also ask your guides to fill it with hot water at night to act as a hot water bottle
8. Photography & Entertainment:
- Camera + spare battery – charge these before the climb, the cold drains batteries faster. I slept with my spare in my sleeping bag
- iPhone + headphones – optional
- Kindle – optional
- Notebook + Pen – optional
9. First Aid Kit/Medical Kit:
- Bandages for blisters or masking tape – and also try and break in your boots before the climb. The best things to do if you get broken skin is to try and cover it and deal with it later (I do not take responsibility for this advice!) as the dust could easily get in to open wounds. Masking tape is great for everything!
- Iodine to purify water – just in case
- Altitude Sickness – optional, please do your own research on this
- Malaria pills – don’t forget to bring some for the way down as well. You won’t need Malaria protection above 2,000m
10. Other Misc.:
- Empty large ziplock bags – for rubbish, to separate wet clothes or separate dirty clothes
- Toilet Rolls x 2 – as a minimum I thought… (for the week)
- Washing line – optional
- Cash for Tips (US dollars or local TZN dollars only) – Trip Guide for more information
- Snacks & Condiments – optional
- String (for loo and other things) – optional. We also used some string to fix the zips on our tents
- Safety Pins – optional but always good to have for broken zips, bags, etc.
- Guidebook – optional