How Cold Does Kilimanjaro Get?
At the summit of Kilimanjaro, the temperatures can go down to -20C (-5F), although -10C is more common.
You also need clothing for the warm and often humid climate of Moshi (the town at the base of the route) so you're looking at a range of +35C to -20C (25 to -5 F)!
In the following guide I'll suggest a kit list that fits these requirements well, with recommendations for items to buy at different price points.
Kit List - Kilimanjaro
- Sleeping bag liner - All you need to bring is a sleeping bag liner, as sleeping bags, tents and airbeds are all provided. You can pick up a liner for £5 if it's just for this trip, or for a more premium option I use these which last well.
- Optional: insulated slippers - Some people like to bring insulated slippers to move around camp at night, but these are optional.
The key rule is no cotton. Cotton is great in warm temperatures but terrible in cold ones. Here's your full list:
- T-shirts - Running t-shirts e.g. this are perfectly fine, or you can get something like the Patagonia Capilene. Merino wool will smell better for longer, so for a high end option the Rab Merino 120 is brilliant.
- Base layer trousers - Affordable base-layers like Wed'ze mens trousers or Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Bottoms work well. Personally I like to spend a little more here and go for Rab Powerstretch trousers, which dry quickly and last longer.
- Socks - Any wool hiking socks work fine as long as they are tall, e.g. these. For a higher-end option Smartwool Heavyweight Socks are extremely comfortable.
- Gloves and mitts - Mitts are much warmer than gloves, but you want both for some versatility. The key thing here is fit - not tight (which cuts off the blood) but not too long/wide in the fingers that they have dead space. The mitts should be waterproof, and the gloves should at least be snow-proof. For a budget option you can get army surplus gortex overmitts and put a thick mitt inside (e.g. Dachsteins).
- Wool hat
- Balanclava/buff - The wind can pick up on the last few days, so you need something to cover your face. Personally I prefer a buff as it is a little more versatile (you can pick up a synthetic buff for almost nothing online).
- Fleece - For a budget option affordable fleeces work well. Otherwise the Patagonia R1 Hoody is fantastic and comes with a balaclava hood!
- Trekking shorts - Personally I go with light and cheap shorts, which work well down low in the strong heats.
- Trekking trousers - Lightweight water resistant trousers are great e.g. the Quechua MH500 or REI Co-op Sahara. A great higher-end option is the Prana Stretch Zion which is super comfy.
- Booster layer - Either another thicker fleece, or I prefer a thin synthetic insulated jacket. The Rab Paradox is fantastic and also one of the most affordable synthetic layers.
- Waterproof jacket - You ideally want thin lightweight waterproofs, but quality is important here. My favourite option at all budgets is the Marmot PreCip, which is fantastic but doesn't last forever. For something harder wearing the Arc'teryx Beta SL is really nice.
- Waterproof trousers - The Marmot PreCip Trousers are in my opinion, the best at any price range. More expensive trousers end up ripping over time anyway!
There are lots of jackets that do the job well, and usually you can find one in the sale. We like the Rab Valiance, Rab Positron, Rab Neutrino Pro, Rab Ascent, Rab Asylum, Mountain Equipment Lightline , Mountain Equipment Fitzroy (vegan friendly) or the Salewa Heavy Down Jacket. Personally I own 5 of these down jackets, and typically reach for the Salewa Heavy (most expensive in this list) or Rab Positron for trips like this.
- 3/4 season boots are fine - as long as they are tall enough to protect your ankles. Fit is most important but it's worth choosing a respected brand like REI, Salewa, Lowe, Scarpa or La Sportiva. Make sure to wear them in with at least a few days hiking before arriving!
- Travel insurance details
- Boarding passes for flights
- 2 passport photos
- Cash USD
- Credit/Debit Card (Ensure you have $500 on your card incase an emergency helicopter evacuation is needed)
- A daysack: 35 litres
- A duffel or rucksack with straps to go over your back (Max 8kg of weight for porters to carry)
- Dry Liner or Dry Bag
- Water bottle/thermos: At least 2L. Nalgene bottles best.
- Personal medication – Inhaler, Blister pads etc
- General Toiletries, Contact lenses, Glasses (if needed)
- Electronics - Head torch, travel adaptor, phone & charger
- MP3/Music and headphones
- Travel wash
- Hand sanitizer, wet wipes
And that's it! By the way - if you're not booked on already you can do that here:
Norwegian High Mountain Instructor