Ultimate Kilimanjaro Packing List: What You Need To Conquer The Roof of Africa

At Skyhook, we often get asked about what to pack for a Kilimanjaro trek. So, we’ve created this helpful and easy-to-follow Kilimanjaro packing list to give you all the information you need.
We’ve organised it into categories to cover everything from must-have documents to the best clothing and gear.

Your Complete Kilimanjaro Packing List

Essential Documents

Before you even set foot on the trail, there are crucial documents you must keep on hand. These documents are necessary for your travel and the climb itself.
  • Passport: Your passport is your primary identification document. Ensure it's valid for at least six months from your date of entry into Tanzania. Also, be sure to get the correct visas.

  • Travel insurance details: Accidents can happen, and high-altitude trekking carries risks. Ensure you have Kilimanjaro travel insurance that covers medical expenses, evacuation, and repatriation.

  • Boarding passes for flights: Keep both digital and physical copies of your boarding passes for all connecting flights to and from Tanzania.

  • Driver's license (if needed): If you plan to rent a vehicle before or after your climb, a valid driver's license is necessary.

  • Cash and cards: While cards are accepted in some places, having cash on hand is advisable for smaller expenses and places that don't accept cards.

Kili porters
Kilimanjaro porters getting ready and weighing in for the hike.

Clothing: What to Wear From Head to Toe

When planning your Kilimanjaro packing list, choosing the right clothing is paramount for your comfort and safety during the climb. Proper attire ensures you're well-equipped to handle the varying weather conditions on the mountain.
Here, we break down what you should wear, from head to toe, to conquer the Roof of Africa.

1. Headwear

The best headwear serves two purposes - it keeps you warm during chilly nights and protects you from the sun during the day. You can carry:

2. Eyewear

Protecting your eyes from the sun is crucial, especially when you get closer to the summit, where there’s glare from the snow.
  • Sunglasses: High-quality sunglasses with UV protection are a must to protect your eyes from the harsh sun.

3. Upper Body

Having the correct upper-body clothing can make a difference in your comfort and warmth, especially at higher altitudes. You can pack:
  • Base-layer t-shirts: Opt for moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry. You'll need at least two for the climb.

  • Fleece/soft-shell jacket: Provides the necessary insulation and can be layered under a waterproof jacket.

  • Waterproof jacket: A waterproof, breathable jacket is crucial for protection against rain and wind.

Additional items for women - opt for moisture-wicking and comfortable sports bras. See our women's packing list for Kilimanjaro for more useful information.
Crossing the bridge
Crossing the bridge on the Kili Marangu route.

4. Lower Body

Your lower body will be doing most of the work, so it's best to have comfortable, functional attire. These include:
  • Base-layer trousers: These are optional but can add an extra layer of warmth under your trekking trousers.

  • Waterproof trousers: Necessary for rainy conditions; they should be breathable and easy to put on over other layers.

  • Trekking trousers: Choose trousers that are both comfortable and functional, with pockets and the ability to wick moisture away.

  • Trekking shorts (optional): Good for the lower, warmer sections of the mountain but not essential.

5. Footwear

Your feet will carry you to the summit, so investing in good footwear is non-negotiable for your Kilimanjaro equipment list. Ensure to pack:
  • Trekking boots: Your boots should be all-season, lightweight, and most importantly, broken in.

  • Mountaineering socks: Opt for thick wool socks for warmth and cushioning.

  • Breathable trekking socks: These are for the lower, warmer parts of the mountain.

Travel Essentials

You'll need some travel essentials for comfort and convenience before and after your Kilimanjaro hike. Here's what you should include in your packing list for Kilimanjaro in this category.
  • Travel clothes and casual wear: Pack comfortable clothes for your time in Moshi Kilimanjaro before and after your climb. These should be lightweight and easy to pack.

  • Underwear: It might seem obvious, but packing enough underwear for the duration of your trip, plus a few extra pairs, is essential. Opt for moisture-wicking fabric for added comfort during the hike.

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping gear
Sleeping tents on Kilimanjaro.
A good night's sleep is crucial for your body's recovery and overall well-being during the climb. Therefore, selecting the right sleeping gear is essential for your Kilimanjaro equipment list.
  • Sleeping bag liner (optional): While many people rely solely on the sleeping bags provided by tour operators, a liner adds an extra layer of warmth and hygiene.

Good to know: Our local tour operators provide -29°C Extreme Limit sleeping bags and mats included in the tour package price.

Bags and Storage

Proper storage solutions keep your belongings safe and organized during your trek. Here's what you should carry:
  • Small daypack: A daypack with a 35-litre capacity is generally sufficient for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and a first-aid kit during your daily treks.

  • Duffel or rucksack: This will hold the bulk of your gear and should come with straps to go over your back. This bag will be carried by porters, so ensure it's durable.

  • Dry liner or dry bag: To keep your belongings dry in case of rain or river crossings, consider packing a dry liner or dry bag.

Porters carrying kit
A porter carrying hikers’ bags and essentials up the mountain.

Hygiene and Health

Maintaining good hygiene and health is crucial when exerting yourself at high altitudes. Your Kilimanjaro kit list should include personal care items that keep you clean and comfortable throughout your journey.
  • General toiletries: Include travel-sized shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. It's best to keep these in a separate, leak-proof bag. Also, women want to bring enough sanitary products for the duration of the climb.

  • Hand sanitiser and wet wipes: These are essential for quick cleaning when water isn't as readily available, especially before meals.

  • Suncream: High-altitude sun exposure can be harsh; good suncream is essential for skin protection.

  • Lip balm: The dry mountain air can cause chapped lips, so a good lip balm is a must-have.

Technology and Gadgets

While you'll want to disconnect and enjoy nature, some gadgets are invaluable for safety and convenience. Here's what you can consider for your Kilimanjaro packing list:
  • Head torch: A reliable head torch is crucial for early morning starts and nighttime activities. Ensure it has a good battery life.

  • Travel adaptor: Tanzania has specific plug types, so a universal travel adaptor will ensure you can charge your devices.

  • Phone and charger: Your phone serves multiple purposes: a camera, emergency contact, and even a GPS. Don't forget the charger, and consider a portable power bank.

  • Camera: If you're an avid photographer or just want to capture the views from Kilimanjaro in greater detail, a good camera is worth the extra weight. Don't forget extra batteries and memory cards.

Optional But Useful

Trekking poles provide support
Hikers using trekking poles for better support.
While the core items on your Kilimanjaro checklist are non-negotiable, there are additional items that, while optional, can enhance your climbing experience. They include:
  • Trekking poles: These can reduce the impact on your knees and assist with balance, especially during descents. You can also read up on do you need crampons for Kilimanjaro in our post.

  • Books, music, and headphones: For the moments when you're not climbing, some light entertainment can help you relax and enjoy your downtime.

  • Altitude sickness medication: Consult your doctor about medications like Diamox, which can help prevent altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro.

  • Energy supplements: Electrolyte tablets or energy gels can provide a quick energy boost during strenuous sections of the climb.

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