Kilimanjaro gear is very important.  While your operator should provide some things, such as tents and maybe sleeping pads, most of it will be on you.  You don’t want to show up inadequately outfitted on the climb or you will risk having to come down simply because you were not warm enough.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a unique experience; temperatures can range from +30 degrees in the rainforest, to -25 degrees at the summit. You will also walk through 5 different climate zones in as many days and you must have all the clothing that you will require to cope with these extremes.

What should you wear on Kilimanjaro? What Kilimanjaro gear do you need? You must remember that you are going to experience a wide variety of different conditions on your climb, as you transcend various ecosystems and rise to nearly 6,000 meters. When it comes to clothing, the keyword is ‘layering’: you should take several breathable layers that ‘wick’ moisture – that is, take the sweat away from your body. Taking several layers will give you the maximum flexibility to adapt to the changing temperatures as you climb.

Below are our top tips on Technical Gear, Technical Clothing, Footwear, Handwear, Headwear, Accessories, First-aid kit, and Documents Required


Obtaining the necessary gear is crucial for both your health and the success of your climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro Climbing involves traversing five distinct climate zones, from the warm and humid forests of the lower slopes to the frigid summit zone, which is characterized by glaciers, ice, and snow. As a result, it’s essential to be thoroughly prepared for all weather conditions.

While the Kilimanjaro packing list is extensive, it’s crucial not to overlook the basic equipment needed for a successful climb. By packing wisely and having the right gear, climbers can ensure that they’re well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the mountain and enjoy a safe and memorable journey.


When packing for Kilimanjaro, keep in mind that Kilimanjaro is an extremely large mountain, with five different climate zones! This means temperatures can vary significantly, from warm 20 – 25 degrees Celsius days to below zero nights. Summit night, in particular, can drop to -10 degrees Celsius. It’s incredibly important not to underestimate how cold, wet, or windy your Kilimanjaro trek may get.

To purchase all of the gear you need to trek Kilimanjaro can be incredibly expensive. That is why, we recommend purchasing the essentials outlined below and hiring everything else. Particularly if this is your first big hike or you aren’t sure if you are going to use the gear again, it is much better to hire and save money.


There is a lot of gear you need to organize before your Kilimanjaro trek. It can be confusing figuring out what gear you must have and what gear you can forego. Your trekking company should be able to give you personalized advice, and they should be checking all of your gear before you start your trek and taking you to hire gear that you are missing. There are a few essential pieces of gear that you MUST buy and bring with you though. This is critical, and we’d also highly recommend that this gear is in your carry-on luggage, just in case your bag goes missing during transit. Below we’ve outlined these essentials in order of importance, to help make packing for your Kilimanjaro adventure easy.  



Solid Hiking Boots- Boots should have high ankle support with a solid Vibram, or equivalent, sole. Gore Tex, or other waterproofing, is recommended to have for wet days as well as added insulation. Be sure to break your boots in at least 4 WEEKS prior to departure. Additionally, bring a spare set of laces.

Sun Glasses- Your sun glasses should have 100% UV protection and should reduce glare as well as visible light. The frames should be light weight with a wrap-around design for enhanced grip and staying power. Additionally, side shields are recommended to block peripheral light.

Day Pack- The most important things to look for if you need to purchase one are size (30L is good), hydration pack compatibility, hip and chest straps, internal frame, good padding on shoulder straps, and water bottle holders.

Water/Wind proof Jacket- Your water/windproof jacket is your outer water repellent layer. Gore Tex, seam-sealed is recommended as well as a hood for added warmth.

Water/Wind proof Pants- Your water/wind proof pants will be worn on summit day as well as on rainy afternoons. These pants are essential for warmth and should be Gore Tex lined and have lower leg zips.

Water/Wind proof Mittens or Gloves- These are used for extreme temperatures and primarily worn on summit day. Be sure your gloves or mittens have a wrist cords as well as a reinforced palms to maintain grip during wet conditions. A removable liner is essential for drying, washing, and replacing.

2 large duffel bags- One we will leave at the hotel in Arusha to store non-essential gear when on the mountain (such as clean clothes for changing when off the mountain and for onward travel) and the other for carriage by the porters when on the mountain.

Things to Keep in Mind about the Essentials:

Look for items that will add less volume to your overall pack. We will be using porters to carry our equipment however they are limited in the amount each can carry. Heavy synthetic materials will be very limiting and could cause issues when packing up for the hike.



2 pairs synthetic warm weather trekking socks- These socks are for trekking in the warmest part of the day since they are made of a Coolmax fabric. What is Coolmax? – CoolMax wicks moisture, dries quickly and breathes well, keeping your feet dry and preventing blisters.

4 pairs heavier synthetic or wool blend socks- Your wool socks are ideal for around camp when the temperature drops as well as on cold mornings. Merino wool is very comfortable and dries quickly with fewer odors than synthetic blends.

2 pairs long underwear top- This will be your base layer for colder mornings, evenings, and days where the temperature drops considerably. The material is lightweight, tight fitting, moisture wicking, and comfortable.

2 pairs long underwear bottom- This will be your bottom base layer for colder mornings, evenings, and days when the temperature drops considerably. The material is lightweight, tight fitting, moisture wicking, and comfortable.

Warm pants – These pants are ideal for evenings around the camp and cold days on the trail. Typically made of lightweight fleece and Wind Pro material, these pants should offer the added warmth in case of cold nights or high winds on the summit.

Fleece Top – This Polartec 200 weight top will provide added warmth during the evenings as well as on cold morning starts. Please look for fleece material and stay away from cotton sweatshirts. Ideally, this item is worn over the thermal base layer and underneath your water/wind proof jacket.

2 pairs Shorts/Pants for Hiking- These convertible shorts/pants will be what we hike in everyday. They should be of a lightweight, quick drying nylon material. Some come with UPF protection and mosquito protection.

2 pairs long or short sleeve shirts for the trail- Your trekking shirt is what we should wear early in the climb in warmer climates. The shirt is moisture wicking, light weight, and designed for multi-day hikes.

Mid-Layer Top – This shirt is a long sleeve version of the one provided above. The long sleeve trail shirt offers added warmth, more protection from the sun, and an additional layer for evenings and early morning starts.

Warm Hat – This fleece or wool hat is ideal for evenings and will be valuable in the event of cold weather and temperatures on the summit. The hat should be tight fitting with minimal loose ends.

Lightweight Gloves – Fleece gloves are essential. Look for gloves that are Polartec 200 weight with a leather reinforced palm. For more protection wind proofing is available and will add an extra layer of warmth.

Balaclava – The balaclava provides added warmth on summit day and colder evening. The balaclava should be of synthetic or wool material, light weight, and close fitting.

Sun hat – Your sun hat should be worn at the lower camps and should provide ample coverage for the face. A full brimmed hat is good for added shade and increased sun protection. Additionally, a neck scarf should also be considered to protect the back of the neck.

Waterproof breathable Gaiters – Your gaiters should be lightweight and durable. Look for Gore Tex lined with the ability to fit over your boots. Velcro or adjustable sides for easy access is recommended.

Down Jacket – 800 fill down jacket will add much need warmth for cold evenings as well as the added layers for summit day. Down is recommended for its compressibility and is comfortable around camp in the early nights on the climb. Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, Marmot, and North Face are brands the guides wear.

Things to Keep In Mind for Clothing:

Less is more!!! It is important to bring the essential gear discussed above, but it is more important to refrain from bringing items that are not recommended. Items to stay away from are cotton socks, jeans, multiple pairs of shoes, and heavy sweatshirts. Look for items that are moisture wicking and quick drying fabrics as opposed to cotton fabrics.



Head Lamp- Petzl and Black Diamond make several models of small and efficient head lamps. Look for ones that have multiple lighting levels, LED bulbs and uses AAA batteries.

* Please bring at least 3 sets of spare batteries to ensure ample lighting on your summit attempt.

Camp shoes (Teva, Crocs, Sandals)- These are great for around camp after a long day on the trail. These can also be used for creek crossings that may be higher than the boot. Flip flops work well in warmer climates but are not as effective during cold nights.

Hydrator – Hydrators are ideal when hiking for several hours because they enable you to drink slowly and frequently. 2-3 liters is a good size and should fit easily into your pack. All Camelbaks come with a bite valve, or on/off switch, as well as a large access port for filling. You must bring a NEOPRENE SLEEVE for the hose to prevent freezing.

Bug Spray- DEET based products work well and we find that the spray on versions last longer and are less messy. 4-6 ounce repellents that are perspiration and splash resistant are great.

Sun Screen – 30 SPF or higher is recommended as well as water proof and sweat proof. 8 ounces will be plenty and we typically carry one with 45+ SPF for our faces and a 30 SPF for other exposed areas. Banana Boat, REI, Kinesis and All Terrain are good options.

2 wide mount water bottle – A 1 liter water bottle is essential for hydrating at lunch, around the camp, and refilling throughout the day. Stay away from glass and heavy metals and look for lexan for durability.

* For males a third water bottle should be considered for use as a potty at night and must be labeled accordingly.

Pillow- A Thermarest pillow that compresses down or folds into itself is ideal. A good benchmark for size and weight are 18 X 14 inches and 9 ounces total.

Dry Bag – A 20 liter + dry bag is great for ensuring your personal items are safe in case of rain. Cameras, wallets, money, and any other valuables can be kept dry at all times.

Pack Cover – The pack cover is an additional item we recommend everyone carry in case we encounter heavy rains. The pack cover should have a drawstring cord and elastic edges to fit firmly over your bag. A 40 liter cover will work well on any day pack.

Trekking Poles – Collapsible poles are great for steep downhill terrain and assistance up hill. If you have knee problems they reduce the impact on your joints by 20-30%. A nice soft foam grip will help prevent blisters and the poles with an aluminum shaft are durable and light weight.

Camp Towel – the camp towel should be of a polyester nylon blend that dries quickly and compacts tightly in your pack. The large (50 X 27 inches) is a good size and can be used to wash up at the end of the day. Stay away from house or beach towels.


  • * Camera
  • * Paperback book
  • * Journal with pen or pencil
  • * Person First Aid Kit (band aids, mole skin or second skin, Ibuprofen, Aspirin)
  • * Hand sanitizer
  • * Sani-wipes
  • * Hand & feet warmers (2X) – Gel/ air activated are best
  • * Bandanna
  • * Cell phone (with solar charger e.g. solar monkey charger) since you tri and quad band phones work on Kilimanjaro
  • * Flavored chocolate/energy bars for snacks
  • * A supply or rehydrate sachets
  • * 2 extra garbage bags for waterproofing and separating dirty laundry
  • * Ear plugs
  • * Ipod or MP3 player
  • * Pocket knife
  • * Water-flavoring to mask the iodine taste in the purified water



Base Layer: : The task of the base layer is to maintain a dry and comfortable microclimate next to your skin. The base layer will therefore absorb all the moisture from your skin and then spread it out over the surface of the base layer where it will be evaporated via the other clothing layers. Typical base layer fabrics are: CoolMax, Polartec PowerDry, Wool, Patagonia Capilene.

Base Layer: :This layer provides more warmth if the base layer and the shell layer do not provide enough insulation on their own. It traps small pockets of air in the fabric the insulation layer is made of which slows down the loss of heat. Typical insulation fabrics are: Polartec Classics, Berber pile, and Windstopper.

Base Layer: : The shell layer provides protection from wind, rain, sleet, and snow, without allowing the build-up of condensation inside the clothing system. It protects while allowing moisture vapor to pass through. Shell fabrics are Gore-Tex, Hyvent, Aqua-Dry, and Dri-Lite.

Base Layer: : It is enough for most people to have the first three layers. However, in extremely cold conditions, you will need to add a large amount of insulation as a fourth layer. Down and Polarguard can both be used for this layer. This layer is either worn as a shell layer or underneath the shell layer for added warmth on summit bids or high camps.



Essential items are not included such as boots, socks, sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen.

We strongly suggest that you wear your boots on your flight, in case of lost baggage.


If you want to save money, hiring equipment is relatively cheap and easy in Tanzania. Once our team checks your gear, we will take you to a hire shop where you can hire anything you don’t have. Payment is by USD or Tanzanian Shilling cash upon hiring, and after your climb, we’ll return the trekking gear for you.

Please note that hire shops often do not maintain their equipment, so there is no guarantee the item you are hiring will be waterproof or warm. We recommend you buy or borrow the essential items outlined above to manage this risk.

Item – per piece/pair

Price guide (USD)


Trekking poles (pair)


Recommended for older or less fit trekkers.

Boots (pair)


Cannot guarantee they’ll be waterproof. Best to bring your own.

Thermal underwear (piece)

$ 10

Bring at least 1 good pair from home.

Trekking pants (piece)



Fleece jacket (piece)



Down jacket (piece)



Rain jacket (piece)



Rain trouser (piece)



Hardshell jacket (piece)



Hard shell pants (piece)



Headlamp (piece)

$ 15

Bring your batteries. 

Warm beanie (piece)



Balaclava (piece)



Sun hat (piece)



Pair of inner gloves (pair)



Gloves/mittens (pair)



Trekking backpack (20-40 litre)



Large duffle bag (50-70 liter)



Warm sleeping bag: 


Must bring your thermal bag liner. 

Gaiters (pair)


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Josephat Mashehe is a seasoned Kilimanjaro guide who offers his expertise to those looking to conquer Africa's highest peak. With years of experience under his belt, Josephat provides comprehensive guidance, ensuring a safe and memorable journey for adventurers. His services include detailed planning, safety measures, and on-site assistance, making him an invaluable asset for anyone aiming to tackle the challenging climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
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