Equipment for Kilimanjaro
Preparing for your Kilimanjaro climb must not be taken lightly. The climb takes trekkers through 5 different climatic zones in just 6 days. These zones include hot humid conditions to possibly snowy and well below freezing conditions. Our motto at South Africa Adventures is ‘ALWAYS PREPARE FOR THE WORST!!’ Not only will this advice make our climb way more enjoyable, but will also be crucial from a survival perspective. Hypothermia is a reality on Kilimanjaro and is something that can be prevented with the correct equipment for Kilimanjaro.
Can you hire equipment for Kilimanjaro?
Yes you can. In fact in might be a good idea to hire instead of buy. Equipment for Kilimanjaro can get quite costly. And you don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on items that you may never use ever again. Equipment like sleeping bags, walking poles, gaiters and waterproof jackets can all be hired upon arrival in Kilimanjaro.
What packs are needed for the climb?
Day Pack: You will only need to climb with a day pack. The rest of your gear will go ahead with then porters and will be in your tent when you arrive later. The day pack should be 35L and should be chosen on comfort and not necessarily price or color although we know you would love it to match your pink socks. But in this case, 7 days of comfort is better than 7 days of strain and pain. What goes in the backpack? It should include 2-4 liters of water, snacks, passport and waterproof clothing. Even beanies and gloves should be included. Kilimanjaro is a mountain and therefore the weather can be very volatile. You may start of the hike in good conditions but may end up in a snowstorm 2 hours later.
Gear Bag: This is your big 100L waterproof bag that the porters will carry up the mountain on your behalf. It will contain your sleeping bag, clothing, snacks and any other items you deem necessary for the trek. Once the porters leave camp you will not have access to it until you reach the next camp. The maximum weight allowed is 14kg so you are going to have to leave that hairdryer behind. Any extra clothing can be left back in the hotel.
What boots should I bring for Kilimanjaro?
Boots: Hiking boots are probably one of the most important items. They must be waterproof. Keeping your feet dry on Kilimanjaro is key for not only preventing blisters but to also stop your feet freezing. So you would need to get a boot that is a combination of good ankle support, comfort and warmth . You should ensure these are well worn in prior to your climb.
Camp Shoes: An item that is always well appreciated. After 5 hours of hiking in your boots it is always a relief to change into something lighter and more comfortable.
What about Clothing:
The system known as ‘layering’ is vital for your survival on Kilimanjaro. The reason for this is that there are so many temperature variations on the mountain that hikers will be required to either add or remove items of clothing as the need arises. During the day and at lower altitudes the temperatures can be warm and sunny but quickly change to freezing in the night and the higher up you climb.
The layering system consists of:
Base Layer – Moisture wicking properties that fir close to the body and are quick drying
Mid Layer – a combination of 100 and 300 series fleece jackets.
Outer layer – breathable waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers usually consisting of Goretex
Extra Warm Layer – Although not essential, a down jacket can help with the cold
Accessories: The layering system is then supplemented with gloves, beenies and buffs that you can take on and off quickly to regulate body temperature
Clothing List for Kilimanjaro:
• Walking Boots –1 pair of trekking boots. Good ankle support and well broken in.
• Comfortable shoes/sandals – for wearing in the evenings around camp.
• Walking Socks – we suggest 4 pairs of liners to keep your feet dry complimented with 4 pairs of hiking socks
• Gaiters-1 pair. Used primarily to keep rain, snow and stones from getting into your boot
• Thermal Base Layer – Merino Wool is the best as you can wear for weeks without washing, synthetic is also fine. (2 sets)
• Fleece Trousers – 1 pair. Used for sleeping in and most likely for the summit night
• Trekking pants – 1 or 2 pairs and must be quick drying
• Shorts -1 pair for the hot days in the rainforest
• Waterproof Jacket (Goretex or other breathable fabric). CAN BE HIRED
• Waterproof/windproof rain pants(Goretex or other breathable fabric)..
• Long sleeved trekking shirt- 4 pairs. Perfect for stopping sunburn on the arms
• Thin Fleece Jacket/Top (Often called micro-fleece) – 1
• Thick Fleece Jacket – 1
• Sun hat and sun/snow glasses.
• Warm Hat or Balaclava
• Inner Gloves (one pair thinner and one pair very warm)
- Outer Gloves ( windproof) CAN BE HIRED
• Down Jacket CAN BE HIRED
• Travel Towel
Essential Equipment for Kilimanjaro:
- Duffle Bag/Rucksack– 90L duffel bag that will be carried by the porter. Must be waterproof .
• Daypack/Rucksack – 35L day pack that you will be required to carry daily on the mountain
• 4 Season Sleeping Bag (Rated to between -15 & -20ºC) – Down sleeping bags are generally best as they are lighter and pack down smaller but synthetic bags are also fine. CAN BE HIRED
• Water Bottle and/or Camelback (4 Litres) + purification tablets/system.
• Head torch + Batteries (Including spare bulb and batteries)
• Camera – Spare batteries/solar charger recommended
• Waterproof liner for both bags.
• Walking poles really beneficial especially on the downhills CAN BE HIRED
• Large plastic bin liners and Ziploc storage bags of various sizes for keeping your kit dry.
Toiletries, Health & Medical Kit for Kilimanjaro:
- Sun block & Lip balm – 30+ SPF
• Medication– remember what we said about always preparing for the worst. If you have any prescription medication that you take, please make sure you pack it!!! Additionally you may want to take a supply of medication that you use occasionally for headaches, aches and pains, sickness and diarrhea as these are the most common ailments that affect climbers. We suggest you bring as much as you need of the following:
o Anti-malarial prophylactics
o General Antibiotic
o Diamox or Viagra(Altitude – see the our section on altitude sickness for more info)
o Diarrhoea medicine (Immodium)
• Toiletries – Toohpaste, toothbrush, wetwipes
• Waterless Anti-Bacterial Soap (Drywash) – Essential for washing your hands and good hygiene.