HOW TO … Pack for Kilimanjaro!

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How do you even begin to pack for such a huge endeavour?! I remember packing and unpacking my gear dozens of times with that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Am I forgetting anything? Will I be over my weight allotment? Will it be hot? Will it be cold? Argh, the stress!!!!

So, here I will offer my Kili wisdom to help you better pack and prepare for this adventure of a lifetime! As you know, having the right gear can truly make or break your trek. I made it to the summit comfortable and happy – and you can too! This item list is solely based on my own research and guided by my own personal experience on what worked best for me during our 7-day trek in January with a G-Adventures tour.

Packing List

* = HIGHLY recommended

BAGS

  • 25 L Osprey Manta day bag
    • I have various Osprey backpacks. They are comfortable, adjustable, and most have great ventilation for your back. In my opinion, Osprey also has the comfiest waistbands (with pockets), allowing you to alternate the weight between your hips and shoulders.
    • Also comes with a Cambelbak hydration system.
  • * 95 L North Face Basecamp Duffle Bag *
    • This bag is versatile, durable, & waterproof!
    • Although it’s a bit heavier than some duffles, I would HIGHLY recommend it!!  
    • 95 L was the ideal size for me during this trip. It fit all of this gear & my sleeping bag perfectly. 

HEADWEAR

  • * Buff *
    • Good for dust and also to prevent sunburns on the back of your neck. 
    • Light, versatile, & looks cool! 
  • Tilley Hat
  • Wool Toque 
  • Sunglasses 
    • I bought mountaineering glasses but did not need them. I just used my regular sunglasses. 
  • Scarf
    • Used on summit day only. I removed it half way up because it was too warm & made me feel slightly suffocated at higher altitudes. Depends on personal preference & time of year though.
  • Balacalava
    • I didn’t use mine but my husband enjoyed sleeping with his on.
  • Eye mask 
    • You will need to sleep during the day before summiting night. 
  • Ear plugs
    • Porters wake up before you to get everything ready – these are handy!
  • Head Torch / Lamp
    • Make sure you put new batteries in! 

UPPER BODY

  • Tank top
    • Only wore once (first day) – wasn’t necessary.
  • T-shirts x 2
    • Preferably merino wool simply because it’s amazing. It’s breathable, soft, warm, and (most importantly) odor resistent!
  • Long sleeve shirt
    • Icebreaker – worn daily.
  • Thermal top
  • Fleece top
  • Sweater
    • Columbia Omni-Heat
    • Used mainly around camp. Love this product!
  • Rain Jacket
    • I used a standard Outdoor Research rainjacket, which was sprayed with silicone for extra rain repellent. 
  • Poncho
    • * Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Nano Poncho *
      • This is a great product which is ultralight & very compressible.
    • I did not bring a day bag cover; I just used my poncho instead.  
  • Insulated Jacket
    • Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket
      • A great overall jacket in the wind, rain, or snow. Comfortable, breathable, & warm. High neck for added warmth (did not need a scarf).  
  • Down Jacket
    • I used Mountain Hard Wear but I would highly recommend ANY brand of down jacket! It’s compressible & warm. 
    • Worn daily. 

HANDS

  • Glove liners
  • Thin gloves
    • Used often during the chilly mornings or evenings.
    • Also used for the climb up Baranco Wall where you will be using your hands to ascend. 
  • Insulated mittens

LOWER BODY

  • Thermal bottoms
  • Fleece bottoms
  • Hiking pants x 2 
    • One is a prAna pair that zip off into shorts (my favourite!).
    • Other is a breathable and stretchy Arc’teryx pair. 
  • Rain pants
    • I used this both as wind and rain pants.
    • It was a great shell for summiting and provided adequate warmth with additional base layers. 
    • Also sprayed with silicone. 
  • Gaiters 
    • Louis Garneau
    • These are the only gaiters that I have ever used but they are durable, waterproof, and do not slip. 

FOOTWEAR

  • Insulated Hiking Boots
    • Merrell – Chameleon Thermo 8 Waterproof Synthetic
      • Only used for the summit day.
      • I bought a size bigger to fit my layers of socks and for extra toe space for the descent. 
      • Warm, comfortable, & good grip. 
    • Expensive! 
  • Hiking Shoes
    • Find a brand that works for you and stick with it! 
    • My go-to is Salomon so I went with the Redwood 2 Hiking Shoe. 
    • Bring an extra pair of insoles incase your shoes get wet.
  • Crocs
    • Used around the campsite; easy to slip on & lightweight. 
  • Socks
    • I love the Darn Tough brand because they are so darn tough!! 
    • I also brought a few pairs of Smartwool socks & sock liners. 

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Cell Phone
    • There are, surprisingly, a few locations on the mountain where you can find cell phone reception.
  • Freeze proof camera
    • I brought this but just used my phone for pictures. 
  • External battery
    • Great for recharging your phone.
  • Travel Notebook 
    • Your days will blur together so this was great of keeping notes, such as your daily saturation levels, how you felt, exchange contact info, etc. 
  • Spare garbage bags
  • Compression sacks
    • I used mine to divide my clothes (I stored my summiting clothes separate from my daily clothes so they stayed fresh and, most importantly, dry). 
  • Hiking poles 
    • Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Poles
    • These are ultralight & foldable.
    • I normally don’t hike with poles but there were a few sections that these were necessary – especially summiting night!
  • Go Girl / Shewee
    • I debated about this & ended up leaving it behind. No regrets. I am okay with squatting. 
  • Pee bottle 
    • Men: My husband found this extremely useful in the tent during the cold nights. 
    • Women: IF you do bring a Go Girl / Shewee, consider bringing this as well. 
  • * Gatorade Powder *
    • Water tastes like chorine so this was great to mask the taste & replenish electrolytes. 
  • * Hot Paws * 
    • Used on summiting night: hands, feet, water bottle, iphone, etc.
    • Ones with adhesive backs are preferable
  • * Nalgene bottle *
    • HIGHLY recommended! At night, I would put warm water in it to warm up my sleeping bag & with the screw-on top, I was not worried about leaks. 
    • A water bottle is also required for summiting day since the straw to your hydration pack may freeze – our company made sure that everyone had a water bottle before departing to the mountain.
    • No disposable water bottles are allowed on the mountain. 
  •  Lock for duffle bag
  • Money
    • Tipping porter & guides during the last day on the mountain – trust me, they deserve a good tip! And this will likely be the last time you see them.
    • We tipped in USD.

SLEEPING GEAR

  • Provided:
    • We rented sleeping bags with our tour company.
      • If you bring your own, bring one that is AT LEAST rated for -5!!
    • Sleeping mats were provided by our tour company. 
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Sleeping clothes 
    • I brought an extra set of clothes just for sleeping. It was nice to have something clean to sleep in. 

PERSONAL HYGIENE

  • Dry shampoo 
  • Hair brush with extra hair elastics 
  • Bar of soap
  • Towelette tablets
    • Loved these! You will get a bowl of hot water every day. These tablets expand in water and allow you to easily freshen up. 
  • Small travel towel 
    • Drying off after washing up. I used a cut-up shamwow cloth x2. One small piece for my face, the other for my feet. 
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth paste
  • Baby wipes
  • Face cream
  • Baby powder
    • An awesome luxury item! I put this stuff everywhere to freshen up! 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer 

EDIBLES

  • Protein bars
    • Recommended incase you have a decreased appetite from the altitude.
  • Gum
  • Lozenges
    • Air is dry. 
  • Ginger candies
    • Great for nausea caused by the altitude (& the guides love them too).  
  • * Instant Coffee *
    • DO THIS! Nescafe sachets … you will thank me later! 

MEDICATIONS

  • Advil 
    • I used this preventatively: 200mg in the morning & 200mg in the evening. 
  • Diamox
    • Recommended to start during your first morning on the mountain (day 2). 
  • Melatonin
  • Gravol 
  • Maleron (anti-malaria)
  • Sunscreen 
  • Bug spray
  • Mole Skin (blisters)
  • Tensor

Travelling on a budget? Check out http://www.thelasthunt.com for some great deals! We use this site a lot!

Still have questions or concerns? I’d love to help! Send me a message!

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Happy Travels!  

Author: wanderingmandy2018

I am a travel blogger from New Brunswick, Canada and am very passionate about travelling and adventure! I absolutely love going to new places, trying new foods, meeting new people, and having a lot of fun! My adventures range from catching a wave on the North Shore in Hawaii and being breathless on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, to living in a Westfalia van on Vancouver Island and being awestruck by the starry nights in the Sahara desert! I look forward to blogging my adventures and hearing your comments, feedback, and own personal stories! Cheers 🤙

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