Communal equipment (tents, food, utensils, etc.) is provided. You are responsible for bringing the required, recommended, and optional personal gear and equipment listed below. The most common mistake that climbers make is that they overpack. Be selective in what you take with you.
Fitness and Training
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a physical challenge requiring proper preparation. If not doing so already, start a training program to improve muscle strength and heart and lung function and slowly build up to a more strenuous level.
Include aerobic exercise that increases the heart rate for a minimum of 45-60 minutes four times per week. Strengthen leg muscles used for trekking by running, skiing, bicycling, rollerblading, hiking, stair-climbing, or working on equivalent machines in a gym.
You should be able to walk several miles/kilometers for several consecutive days with a light backpack (10-15 lbs / 5-8 kgs). If you intend to use hiking poles, practice using them on both ascents and descents. Consult your physician if your body is not responding well to exercise or if you have questions concerning your underlying health.
Weather at Kilimanjaro Mountain
Weather conditions on the mountain vary through the year, through the days of a climb, and even each day. Mountain weather is highly unpredictable and can change almost instantaneously.
Days can be sunny and pleasant, but it often clouds over and gets cold in the afternoons. Rain and snow can occur at any time of day and any time of year. The final stages of the ascent will be icy, especially if there is wind.
General patterns at Kilimanjaro Mountain
January, February, and March are the warmest months, and the sky is generally clear each morning and evening. Late March to mid-June is Tanzania’s main rainy season; temperatures will be warm, but clouds drop snow on the summit and rain on the lower slopes.
The long dry season starts in June, and cooler temperatures and clearer skies prevail through August. It grows warmer through September and October, and the days remain clear, though mist may girdle the middle of the mountain.
In November and December, Tanzania’s short rainy season, it can be wet in the rainforest; however, clouds often disperse in the evening, allowing for excellent visibility in the night and morning.
Mount Kilimanjaro zones
Ascending through the different mountain zones, average temperature, and rainfall decrease. On the lower slopes, expect warm temperatures, with highs from 60-70° F (15-20° C). Nights are considerably cooler and will be below freezing above 12,000ft (3600m).
Above 15,000ft (4500m) day time high temperatures may be only a few degrees above freezing, while at night, the wind chill may make it feel as low as 0° F (-18° C). Permanent ice and snow, sub-freezing temperatures, and wind are found on the summit (however, neither crampons, ice picks, nor ropes are needed).
The range of items you will need for the climb is varied and can potentially be expensive – however, it doesn’t have to be – if you are unlikely to use any of these items after your climb you can either hire some of the more expensive items (such as a sleeping bag or down jacket) or even borrow from friends or family. L
Look out for online discounts at major retailers, and visit outdoor factory outlets where many items on this list can be found at meager prices – you don’t have to wear top of the range designer items. Still, we do recommend you invest in a good pair of walking boots that have been fitted to your feet by a professional.
On the climb, your luggage will be restricted to two bags. Please note this will be restricted to 13 – 15 kg on the mountain, and bags will be available at your first hotel in Tanzania, where you may decant any items not needed on the mountain. These will be stored securely and returned at the end of your climb.
Kilimanjaro National Park Authority has introduced a new regulation banning the use of plastic on Kilimanjaro. Due to this, trekkers will not be allowed to use plastic water bottles (or other thin-walled plastic containers). Please respect this regulation and ensure you practice Responsible Tourism whilst in Tanzania.
Baggage Restrictions in Kilimanjaro National Park
Porters can carry a maximum load of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) per person on the trek. Please take only what you need for the climb and leave the rest of your luggage at your lodge, where you
can reclaim it at the end of your journey. Personal daypack loads are generally between 18 and 25 pounds (8 and 11 kilograms).
Please be aware that laundry services are not available during your Kilimanjaro climb.
Please use the provided A&K luggage tags, even if your bags already have ID tags. This makes it easier for A&K staff to collect and manage your luggage for you.
Kilimanjaro Packing List and Gear
The items included in this list have been chosen to maximize your comfort and safety while hiking
on the mountain. Please read through the entire list very carefully. If you have any questions
about items on the list or about your own equipment’s suitability, please contact A&K or a
reputable mountaineering equipment dealer.
For the Upper Body
- Upper Body Layers: We recommend you have three warm layers for your upper body for climbing the mountain. Items should be made of wool, fleece, down, synthetic, or pile.
- Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp. Make sure all layers fit
- comfortably over each other and supply good insulation.
- A good combination is a lightweight top, heavyweight top, and a pile, down or synthetic down jacket or waterproof jacket.
- Thermal Jacket: down or synthetic down (not essential as long as you have a good waterproof jacket and at least 2 good fleeces)
- Lightweight Tops: Two or three. Wool, fleece, synthetic, or thermal wear.
- Heavyweight Tops: Two or three. Wool, fleece, synthetic, or thermal wear.
- Waterproof Jacket: Made of Gore-Tex or waterproof nylon that has been ‘’seam sealed.’’
- Afternoon showers are common in East Africa, especially in the mountain.
- Wind Shirt: Nylon wind shell (not waterproof) roomy enough to fit over all upper body layers. (Not necessary if you are using the Gore-Tex raingear listed above.)
- Poncho: (Optional) Quick and handy protection for the body and rucksack, but please be aware that ponchos offer poor protection against the wind.
- Thermal Gloves or Mittens: One pair of heavy mittens and a light pair of gloves will be adequate for both occasions when needed.
- Mitten Shells: One pair to go over your mittens. These are for use against the wind often encountered in the crater and the way to the summit.
For the Head and Face
- Pile or Wool Hat: A versatile balaclava type that can convert from a hat to headband, to ski mask, to neck scarf, it is excellent.
- Scarf: To wrap around your head, face, neck for added warmth.
- Shade Hat: Visor hats with good brims are essential for protection from the equatorial sun. Also good for wearing around camp.
- Sunglasses (or glacier glasses) AND Ski Goggles: Essential for eye protection from sun, wind, and altitude. Bring a good quality pair, preferably with an IREX protection rating of 100.
- Attachable side shields are recommended.
- Sunscreen: Bring plenty of complete sunblock with an SPF rating of 15 or higher.
- Lip Balm: With an SPF rating of 15 or higher.
- Bandanas: Tied around the neck for optimal sun protection. They can also be used for cleaning glasses, or washcloths, etc. They dry very quickly.
- Eye Drops: To help keep eyes moistened and relieve irritation from wind, dust, and ash.
For the Legs
- Quick Dry Hiking Shorts: Two pairs. For good hiking at lower elevations on the mountain.
- Long Underwear Bottoms: Two pairs. Wool, synthetic or thermal wear.
- Wool, Fleece, Bunting, or Pile Pants: Three pairs that fit loosely and are comfortable. These are best worn over the long john bottoms. Also good for use in camp. Jeans are NOT a good choice.
- Rain Pants: Bring a good pair of rain pants of Gore-Tex or waterproof nylon fabric that has been “seam sealed’’.
- Wind Pants: (optional if you have Gore-Tex rain pants.) These are often used on the mountain for protection against wind. They should be breathable nylon and roomy enough to fit comfortably over wool or pile pants.
- Tights: Lycra type is best. These are comfortable to hike in, help prevent nettle stings, provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast, and provide sun protection.
- Undergarments: Wear properly fitted undergarments to avoid excessive sweating and provide protection from the cold out. Thermal wear is recommended.
For the Feet
- Thin Socks: One pair for each day of trekking. Synthetic socks to wear under heavy wool socks. These help to prevent blisters and keep feet dry.
- Thick Socks: One pair for each day of trekking. Heavy wool or synthetic socks to wear for warmth with hiking boots. These should be changed every day to prevent unnecessary humidity build-up in your boots. Note: you may want to pack a couple of additional pairs if rain or mud is encountered during your trek.
- Hiking Boots: One pair of medium weight hiking boots. Boots should be waterproof, well broken-in, and large enough to be comfortable with a one-liner sock and one heavy wool or synthetic sock. Note: it is suggested that you pack your hiking boots with your carry-on luggage or wear them on the plane. In the event your checked luggage is delayed, you will, at least, have your own boots with you. Boots would be tough to rent on-site.
- Gaiters: One pair of high gaiters made of porous fabric to keep dirt and snow out of your boots.
- Tennis Shoes: These are to be worn in camp after a day of hiking and for hiking at lower, warmer altitudes. For Sleeping (Note: You will be provided with a cot, thermal mattress, and a hot water bottle.)
- Sleeping Bag and Stuff Sac: On the mountain, temperatures can fall to as low as 0º degrees Fahrenheit at night, bringing a warm bag.
- Camping Pillow (optional): Pillows are provided in tents, but you may wish to bring your own, especially if you are allergic to certain materials or require a certain type of pillow.
- To minimize our ecological footprint and maintain the pristine environs of Mount Kilimanjaro, Abercrombie & Kent does not carry bottled water along Mount Kilimanjaro treks.
- During your climb, you will be provided with drinking water (and meals/drinks that require water will be prepared with water) that has been made potable by a combination of filtering the water using Katadyn water filters and purifying the water with purification tablets.
- A&K supplies all water purification materials, and you need not bring any with you from home. We recommend that you bring with you from home a “camel” type backpack with a built-in water bladder, and also 2 two-liter wide-mouthed plastic water bottles to be filled each day with drinking water.
- Water bottles made from synthetic materials that are resistant to boiling and freezing are recommended.
For Carrying Your Gear
- Lightweight Frameless Daypack: A medium-size comfortable pack is adequate to carry personal gear (camera, snacks, water for the day, warm clothes, etc.) The pack should fit properly and comfortably and have a good waist belt. As noted in the “For Drinking” section of this document, a “camel” version with a built-in water bladder and side pockets is recommended. Please note that personal daypack loads are generally between 18 and 25 pounds.
- Pack Cover: Something waterproof to cover your pack with when hiking in the rain. Otherwise, bring a large plastic bag to serve as an inner liner to prevent the rain from getting between the backpack and the back.
- Medium Soft-Sided Duffle Bag: With lock for mountain gear. This will go into our mountain bag that the porters will carry. Framed backpacks and suitcases cannot be used, as the porters who accompany you on your climb will not carry them.
- Large Soft-Sided Suitcase or Duffle Bag: Large enough to hold your non-mountain gear. This will be stored at your hotel, where you can collect it after the climb.
- Plastic Bags: Several, to double bag your sleeping bag and clothes on the mountain. Depending on the season, it can rain for longer periods than one might anticipate. Clear bags are recommended to make it easier to see the bag’s contents for later use as opposed to having to rummage through the whole bag.
- Walking Sticks or Hiking Poles: Especially helpful during sustained descents.
For Personal Health and Comfort
- Toiletries: Bring enough for all of your needs for the entire trip, but keep simple and light.
- Ear Plugs: To protect against wind and block out tent noise (such as snoring) to ensure peaceful rest.
- Flashlight and Headlamp: A small, powerful flashlight. A headlamp is also essential, particularly for the climb’s last leg, which takes place at night. Be certain to pack some extra batteries as
- well. Trail Munchies: Although plenty of snack food is provided, trekkers like that taste of home in their pack. Touted as an important accessory by those who have brought them in the past.
- Hot and Cold Drink Mixes: Coffee, cocoa, and tea are provided during your climb. However, for your own taste away from home, we suggest that you bring a supply of your favorite herbal teas, powdered soup mix, powdered Gatorade or Kool-Aid, etc.
- High Energy Snacks: High-energy snack bars, chocolate bars, trail mix, peanuts, granola, and other such snacks will help keep your energy levels up between meals during the hike.
- Entertainment: Playing cards, books, MP3 player, etc., are handy during downtime and leisure time in camp and/or when you reach camp early.
- Camp Towels: Two towels and a bar of soap for wash up in camp.
- Hand Towels: Small ones are fine.
- Towelettes: Such as ‘’Wash ‘n’ Dries’’ for general hygiene are also recommended.
- Hand Sanitizer: 1 small bottle or tube of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer gel.
- Urine Bottle: To allow you to urinate in your tent at night rather than go outside.
- Spare Pair of Prescription Eyeglasses: For those who use contacts, the glasses will come in handy during periods of high wind and/or of dusty conditions.
- Simple Travellers’ First-Aid Kit: Containing any basic items that you feel may be needed, including anti-diarrhea tablets. If you require a particular medication or prescription, take an adequate supply to last through your entire trip, as it may not be available locally.
On the mountain, you are likely to need moleskin for blisters and a good supply of pain relief medicine for altitude headaches (we strongly recommend checking with your physician with regards to which pain relief medication is best suited to you and for use at high altitudes), as well as any high altitude medications prescribed by your physician.
Of Special Note for Guests taking a safari extension to their Kilimanjaro Climb
On flights within East Africa, each passenger is limited to a maximum baggage weight of 33 pounds (15 kilograms). This includes the weight of purses and camera equipment in addition to regular luggage. Luggage restrictions are adhered to very strictly, and passengers should pack their bags accordingly.
Soft-sided luggage or duffels are preferable to hard luggage for storage on safari vehicles and aircraft used throughout East Africa. Dimensions should not exceed 23 inches (58 centimeters) long x 13 inches (33 centimeters) high x 10 inches (25 centimeters) wide.
Excess baggage from your Kilimanjaro climb can be stored in your Arusha hotel.
For your time at safari camps/lodges, we suggest that you repack some of the very same clothing that you brought with you for your main program into the complimentary A&K Duffel provided to you.
Pack just enough clothing for your time in the bush. We recommend comfortable and casual clothing in natural, “breathable” fabrics. Choose versatile styles that can be layered—temperatures may vary considerably in the course of the day.
For game viewing, wear neutral colors (though not camouflage, which is illegal in game parks and reserves). Dark colors tend to attract insects. Footwear should be comfortable and casual. Pack some insect repellent with a high percentage of DEET to protect against flying insects such as mosquitoes and tsetse flies. (Note: many properties provide insect repellent in rooms/tents.
However, you may wish to bring your own preferred brand.)
Kilimanjaro Packing List Summary
- Gortex or leather hiking boots – water repellent and fully broken in with ankle support.
- Trainers or light footwear – for use in the campsites
- Trekking gaiters – used to stop scree getting into your boots and keep your boots dry in the wet or deep
- 3 x pairs of thick walking socks & 3 x thin liner socks to avoid blisters
- 1 x heavyweight mountaineering socks for summit night
- Gortex or breathable Waterproof jacket with hood *ensure this fits over fleece or down jacket
- Gortex or breathable Waterproof over trousers *ensure these fit over trekking trousers
- Heavyweight trekking trousers for cold days/summit night
- Lightweight trekking trousers and shorts for warmer days – zip offs work well
- Down or synthetic puffa jacket
- 1 – 2 x microfleece tops for layering
- 2 – 3 x trekking t-shirts * wicking or synthetic NOT COTTON
- Light to mid-weight wicking or synthetic long/thermal underwear/ base layers for top and bottom * NOT COTTON
- 1 x warm pair of wind stopper gloves – must be able to fit under waterproof gloves
- 1 x thick pair of gloves *must be waterproof
- 1 x extra pair of thick fleecy mitts
- Warm fleecy hat/headband which covers ears or a balaclava
- A bandana or buff for warmth and sun protection – ideally with a fleece layer
- Peaked cap with neck cover or wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
- Casual clothes for gala dinner/hotels/travel – can be left at the hotel to avoid carrying on the mountain
- Tracksuit bottoms / spare trousers to wear in the campsites in the evenings
- 90 – 110 liter duffle bag or backpack (no wheels)
- Minimum 30 – 35 liter rucksack for carrying personal items on trekking days with rain cover
- 4 – 5 season sleeping bag in cover
- Strong heavy duty bin liners or waterproof bag liner to keep clothing/ equipment dry
- Smaller waterproof bags to organize equipment into and keep spare clothing dry
- 2 – 3 liter platypus/camelback water carrier and 2 x 1-liter water bottles (camelback mouth tubing prone to
- freezing on summit night, so bottles essential) *not plastic
- Head torch with spare batteries
- Sunglasses with 100% UV protection that block out the sun from the sides – skiing sunglasses work well.
- Thin sleeping bag liner (cotton or silk) for extra warmth
- Extra sleeping mat or Thermarest self-inflating pad –The operator supplies a thin foam sleeping mat.
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards
- Snacks for up to 6 / 7 trekking days – sweets/trail mix/cereal bars
- Carbohydrate gels/energy tablets/ Electrolyte replacement tablets for adding to drinking water
- Small, lightweight umbrella
- Sleeping bag cover ‘bivvy’ bag’ to protect sleeping bag from damp
- iPod/MP3 player for traveling
- Travel pillow
- Travel towel
- Trekking poles
- Mobile telephone with charger
- 2 x sets of chemical (one-use) hand warmers for summit day
- Anti-bacterial hand gel
- 1 x toilet roll or packs of travel tissues
- Ziplock resealable bags – for storing toilet paper between camps
- Sunscreen (at least factor 30+), lip balm, and after the sun
- Wet wipes for personal hygiene
- Toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste
- Shampoo and shower products for the hotel
- Insect repellent wipes/sprays or patches
- Soap/face wash
- Small nail brush to keep hands and nails clean
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lenses & solutions for wearers. A pair of glasses as back up
Personal First Aid Kit
- Paracetamol / Ibuprofen / Aspirin
- Malaria Prophylactic tablets
- Plasters / blister kit / zinc oxide tape
- Rehydration powder (diorite)
- Anti-diarrhoea tablets (Imodium)
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Throat Lozenges
- Muscle rub / deep heat/ibuprofen gel
- Knee supports (if required)
- Vaseline petroleum jelly to rub on your feet, to reduce friction with boots/socks
- Talcum powder
- Diamox tablets for those who have consulted a GP/clinic
- Any personal medication that has been prescribed by a GP or clinic – split between hold and hand luggage
- Passport and photocopy of passport – stored separately from a passport in case passport goes missing
- 1 passport-sized photo – stored separately from a passport in case passport goes missing
- Visa for Tanzania
- Yellow Fever / Exemption certificate
- Travel insurance certificate and 24 hr emergency contact telephone number for an insurance company
- US Dollars – approximately US$400 in mixed denominations
- Credit Card / additional funds in case of trip curtailment costs.
- AC emergency contact list