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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro from June through October calls for specific gear that differs slightly from other times of the year. The weather on the mountain will always be unpredictable especially as you climb higher. There are trends however that will help narrow down your Mount Kilimanjaro packing list.
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Weather On Kilimanjaro
As you ascend through the different climate zones on Kilimanjaro, you will experience different types of weather patterns. See my other post, Climbing Kilimanjaro, that details the weather you are likely to face as you pass through each zone. The lower portions of the mountain will be a bit warmer with a higher chance of precipitation since you are hiking through the rainforest. As you climb, the air becomes drier and the temperatures begin to drop especially at night. From June through October, you can expect less precipitation on the mountain and cooler temperatures at the base. This made my Kilimanjaro packing list in June much easier to plan since the temperature range wasn’t as large and I didn’t need to plan for rain every single day.
Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List Basics
Being prepared with some of these Mount Kilimanjaro packing tips could make your trip much more comfortable. By considering the weather on the mountain, you’ll be able to put together the perfect Kilimanjaro packing list.
- Plan for rain no matter the time of year, but June-October has a smaller chance or precipitation. One rain layer is probably plenty!
- Temperature range is much smaller from June-October so no need for shorts and tanks. You’ll probably be comfortable in whatever you’d wear for a fall day at lower elevations.
- Utilize your lower elevation clothes and gear for your under layers as you climb.
- Snow is less likely from June-October, but temperatures will still be very cold at night. I’d pack gear that is versatile and will keep you warm and dry, especially for the summit.
Kilimanjaro Clothes List
For a simple Kilimanjaro clothes list, plan to utilize clothing more than once. Yes, you will be stinky on the mountain after multiple days without a shower, but wearing things more than once will save you valuable room in your bag. Also choosing base layers that are made with materials designed to wick away moisture will help keep you dry and ultimately warmer. I divided my 7 day Kilimanjaro packing list into
Top Layer Recommendations
- 3 Sports Bras: Pick your favorite that you know you’ll be comfortable in!
- 3 Long Sleeve Base Layers: Form-fitting and designed to wick away moisture. I love the Omni heat version as I feel like it does keep more heat in.
- 3 Shirts Long or Short Sleeve: On the first night and the last night I wore a t-shirt to sleep in. I also had one long sleeve to wear during the hikes at lower elevation when the base layer wasn’t necessary.
- 1 Fleece: This is very important! Keep the warmth in with a fleece. I recently purchased sherpa fleece like this one that was incredibly warm and super snuggly. I recommend skipping the hood on a fleece since you’ll have a hood for the outer layer.
- 1 Winter Jacket: Another IMPORTANT item. If you buy nothing else for this trip, get yourself a good down jacket! Choose one that is windproof and water resistant. I’d also recommend a hood. I’ve had this Patagonia jacket for a few years now and absolutely LOVE IT!
- 1 hat and 2 buffs: I’m a hat person so a baseball cap was necessary for me! The benefit to a cap is that you can keep the sun off your face. I then layered a buff over the hat and used it to cover my ears. I also kept a buff around my neck for added warmth as well as an extra option to cover my face in the wind. Choose a wool buff like this one for a cozy and warm fit!
- Sunglasses: Another very important item! Try and find a pair of sunglasses that wraps around your face to keep yourself from squinting. You’ll probably have a headache from the altitude so you won’t want to add to that. I’ve had a similar pair of Oakleys for ten years so I plan to stick with quality gear that doesn’t wear out.
- 2 Pairs of Gloves: A thin pair and a thick pair. Your lighter pair can be a simple running glove and your thick pair more like a skiing glove or mitten. You’ll only use the thick pair for summit day, but trust me… it’s worth it.
- 1 Rain Jacket: You might use it, you might not… but you definitely don’t want to be caught without it. Try this rain jacket from Columbia.
Bottom Layer Recommendations
- 7 Pairs of Undies: I know I mentioned you most likely won’t be changing every day, but undies are one thing I don’t want to run short on. Since they don’t take up much room, shove them in your shoes and they are there just in case.
- 3 Pairs of Leggings/Base Layer: Similar to your top layer, Omni heat is the way to go to lock in the warmth and wick away the moisture.
- 1 or 2 Pairs of Trekking Pants: They should fit comfortably with or without your base layer. For me, I’m not a huge fan of trekking pants. I wore my leggings for my outer layer at lower elevations but did have a pair of Columbia pants like this that I picked up last minute from the sale rack. I ended up wearing them almost the entire hike.
- 1 Pair of Snow Pants: Another piece of gear that you’ll probably only wear for summit day, but necessary especially if you tend to be cold. Try this pair from Columbia because they kept me super warm!
- 7 Pairs of Wool Socks: If you are going to overpack an item, overpack the socks. I prefer the brand Smart Wool because of the quality and warmth. Grab yourself a couple of lighter socks for lower elevations so your feet don’t sweat. *Pro tip: Use your socks (clean or dirty) to keep spare camera batteries warm in your duffel. You can also use a sock to keep your phone warm on summit day. And something I learned on the mountain, use your socks to keep your water bottles warm for summit day… otherwise, they will probably freeze!
- 1 Pair of Hiking Shoes: Choose a pair that you’ll be the most comfortable in that is also water resistant. Wear them in for a few weeks before the hike and bring extra shoelaces! Try this pair from Columbia. *Pro tip: I used my extra pair of shoelaces to roll and tie my snow pants.
- 1 Pair of Other Shoes: I brought a pair of sandals for around camp. This item isn’t necessary, but was worth it for me!
Kilimanjaro Gear List Recommendations
Aside from a Kilimanjaro clothes list, you’ll also want to consider other types of gear that you’ll need for the hike. I split up my Kilimanjaro packing list into 3 different categories: Tech, Nutrition, and Camp.
- Phone/Charger: Yes, you probably already have this, but don’t forget to pack it!
- Camera/Batteries/Charger: You most likely already have these items too, but if you don’t… I use a Canon Rebel which I absolutely love! If you care to read a more in-depth review of my experience with Canon, check it out here.
- Solar Charger/Power Bank: A great way to charge up your phone or any other device you bring along. Check out this popular solar charger. The one I use is no longer available, but this one has great reviews!
- Headlamp: The most important item in the tech category. A headlamp is mandatory for summit day. You begin your hike in the dark, so you’ll definitely need this!
- Electrolytes/Nutrition Drink: There are a ton of different options, but make sure you pack something to stir into your water that will give you the nutrients and vitamins you need during the hike. I use Tailwind to keep me fueled up and hydrated during all of my adventures. I brought along 7 packets and split them in half for two bottles worth of the drink per day.
- Snacks and Bars: Though our company Kilimanjaro BackCountry Adventures kept us fed and full the entire time, I also brought along snacks to eat during our hiking hours. Though Cliff bars were a huge help during the hike, I never want to eat them again since I had at least once-a-day for 7 days. I suggest varying your snack bag and pack other food besides granola bars. I recommend peanut butter crackers or pretzels.
- Energy Chews/Mints: It was nice to have a candy type item to chew on while hiking. Steer clear of gum then you don’t have to worry about discarding it when you are finished.
Camp Gear Recommendations
- Sleeping Bag: This is a big ticket item that you might consider renting or borrowing for the trip, but it is necessary for the hike. If you do intend to buy a sleeping bag, stick with a 0-degree bag if you can. This is also the one item that is likely to take up the most room in your duffel. Try to find one that is lightweight and packs down. I settled on the REI Downtime 0 Degree sleeping bag for Kilimanjaro.
- Sleeping Bag Liner: If you end up getting your own 0-degree sleeping bag for Kilimanjaro then this item might not be necessary. If you rent, borrow or settle on a bag that might not be as warm as you would have liked, then consider a sleeping bag liner. It’s an easy way to add some warmth to your sleeping arrangments or make someone else’s bag feel a little more like your own.
- Pillow: Though I ended up just balling up my fleece at night for a makeshift pillow, an inflatable pillow is a super small item that would add some comfort while you sleep. Try this one from Sea to Summit.
- Dry Bags and Compression Sacks: Having a couple of dry bags for any adventure is always a good thing. I utilized mine on one rainy day to make sure my camera stayed dry. Compression sacks were a huge asset to packing. I had two. One for my sleeping bag to pack it down even smaller and one for my bulky clothes. *Protip: Bring an extra compression sack to store dirty clothes in and a trash bag to line it to keep the smell from seeping out.
- First Aid Kit: Though your guides will have one, it is never a bad idea to carry one on you at all times. You can find an already stocked first aid kit here. Also, consider adding extra Ibuprofen and Tylenol to the kit. You will be hiking in high altitude and with that comes headaches. Be prepared! I would also think about acquiring Zofran (for nausea) and Diamox (for altitude) for the trip. Obviously, talk to your doctor before taking any of the above-mentioned medicines!
Other Kilimanjaro Gear Recommendations
- Hiking Backpack: A necessity since you will need to carry gear with you as you hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro. I won’t recommend a backpack here, but instead, suggest you go get fitted for one! The pack should have a buckle around the waist and chest so that the weight doesn’t sit on your shoulders. It should also be large enough to carry the essentials but doesn’t need to be a huge backpack with a frame designed for through backpacking.
- Duffel: 60L is in my opinion the perfect size. Chose a duffel that is lightweight and waterproof/water resistant so that all your belongings will stay safe and dry. Try this one from Patagonia.
- Trekking Poles: Not necessary, but definitely was a huge asset on the way down from the summit. Unfortunately, mine broke on the way down which was a huge bummer since I bought them in Kathmandu before hiking to Everest Base Camp. But try these ones!
- 2 or 3 Water Bottles: I brought two 1-liter bottles and at the last moment I brought an extra 1.5 liter bottles. I was happy to have all three because you fill up at the beginning of the day and do not get another chance until arriving at camp. I drink A LOT. And you should too on Kilimanjaro. Staying hydrated is so important, but you most likely would be fine, at minimum, with two, 1-liter bottles. On that note, our company provided us with clean, boiled water daily. Check with your company. *Protip: Make sure your water bottle doesn’t leak and if your company boils water for you before bed, place that water bottle in your sleeping bag for added warmth.
Mount Kilimanjaro Packing Tips
It might sound like a ton of stuff for a 7 day Kilimanjaro packing list. Make your list and mark off items as you gather them. I would recommend starting with obtaining your duffel and backpack first followed by the sleeping bag you’ll be using for Kilimanjaro. Gather all your necessities from your Kilimanjaro packing list and spread them out in a corner or somewhere out of the way. That way you can see and visualize everything you have and still need.
Talk with your trekking friends as you continue to gather everything from your list. Go over it with each other multiple times and as you chat you’ll probably realize you don’t need some of the things you had put to the side. Every little thing adds weight. And every porter on Kilimanjaro must weigh in before starting the trek. You’ll have to keep your bag under 30 lbs.
As you pack, roll and tie as many things as you can to save room. This is where those compression sacks come in handy! I like to pack by grouping similar items together in separate bags (sort of how this Kilimanjaro packing list is designed) so that they are easy to find. Utilize every inch of room including inside your shoes!
Last Protip: If you are going on safari afterward, ask if you can store a bag at your accommodation before leaving for the mountain. If it is possible, bring a small, foldable bag to store away. Don’t leave anything valuable in here. I just had my extra clothes that I would need for our 3 day safari.
Enjoy Your Climb!
Hopefully, some of these Kilimanjaro packing tips and gear recommendations are helpful for your hike to the roof of Africa! Please feel free to leave questions or comments below or reach out on my Facebook Page!
This post was based on my actual packing list and all items that I recommend are either the same as what I brought with me or very similar. I participate in the Amazon Affiliate Program and I may receive a