Gearing up for the climb of your life — tools for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

No-one summits Kilimanjaro unless they do their homework. This ranges from choosing the right route for you, all the way to having the equipment to make it there. Just like any climber all over the world, good prep work is often the difference between the summit and you. Berguide works comprehensively with local guides in Kilimanjaro, and so we’ve laid out our simple gear guide here to give you a head-start and avoid any headaches along the way.

1.Climbing gear basics

A great starting point for checking what gear you need to get for Kilimanjaro is to see what you already have. With any experience climbing or trekking, it’s likely you’ll already have a few of the common essentials needed at a good quality. Items such as backpacks that have a plus 80 litre capacity, high level suncreen, and sturdy sunglasses are popular enough in hiking that you can minimise any new kit costs very effectively. That pair of hiking shoes you never use? Well now you’re they’re going to pay off on your trek - and often be in good condition providing a quick look over to see they’re not frayed or worn out. Once you’ve taken stock of what you have, looking online at new gear is always worthwhile to having peace of mind that your climb will go smoothly. With such an exciting journey ahead of you, new gear for new routes might just be in order.

2.Trekking Essentials

Days of trekking can take their toll on any climber around Kilimanjaro, and your basic comforts such as sleeping bags and water packs will be that much more appreciated along the route. Thirst and having clean drinking water is absolutely a major factor on Kilimanjaro’s beautiful, but hard-working slopes. A couple of essentials would be a camelbak-like water pouch, and water purification tablets to keep the drinking water you collect up the mountain safe. Lighting your way up the final ascent on the mountain is critical, as it is usually the best temperature and climatic conditions to make the final move at early dawn. Head torches are great options, but in place of them you can easily find regular torches with straps and mounts instead.

3.Quality gets you to the top

Your chances of making the summit are always better with quality gear. But that doesn’t always mean having the newest and most expensive stuff you can find. Thinking, and doing that little bit of research about what route you’ll be taking for example will get you in the confident headspace to say, “Okay, this is what I need to make it to the summit”.

Don’t be afraid to go and try kit out for real too. It’s easy to just surf online for the best kit store in todays busy world, but there’s nothing like knowing whether a pair of shoes are right for you than trying them on yourself. A great benefit with Berguide is you’ll always have the guides available to field your questions - anything from your booking, to local tips on the ground.

Check out below for your very own Kilimanjaro kitlist from us at Berguide!

Travel Documents

  • Valid passport and visa
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Cash in USD/ Travellers Checks / Credit Card

Essential Items

  • Duffel bag — large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
  • Small luggage lock — to lock zippers
  • Day backpack — between 20–35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
  • Sleeping bag
  • Ski-pole / walking stick
  • Water bottle / containers
  • Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)

High Altitude Gear

  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
  • Polar fleece (middle layer)
  • Thermal underwear (under layers)
  • Mittens or warm gloves
  • Glove liners (if necessary)
  • One pair thermal (polertex) socks
  • Balaclava
  • Gaiters
  • Thermal water flask

Hiking Gear

  • Shorts
  • Hiking pants
  • Regular underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Raincoat or Poncho


  • Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots — mid weight boots work great
  • Shoes for overnight camps — i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
  • Socks — several pairs for the climb
  • Liner socks — to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters


  • Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
  • Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
  • Water bottles — two or three (total capacity at least 4 litres)
  • Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sunglasses, good quality dark lenses for the climb, with a securing strap
  • Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries

Personal Items

  • Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, wet wipes, etc.)
  • Towel
  • Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+ is recommended
  • Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
  • Toilet paper
  • Money belt for passport and valuables

Medical and First Aid Supplies

  • Headache tablets
  • Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
  • Diarrhoea — Imodium
  • Nausea — Valoid
  • Malaria — Prophylaxis
  • Water purification tablets
  • Painkillers
  • Muscular sprains
  • Abrasions blisters and cuts — Plaster, bandages
  • Antiseptic cream — Betadine
  • Eye drops
  • Insect repellent

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