Kilimanjaro and Elephant

Kilimanjaro Preparation Guide: 10 Must-Haves for a Comfortable Hiking Trip

Kilimanjaro is an exceptional mountain. A huge towering peak in the middle of the East African plain. The only place that ever sees ice in the surrounding area. A challenge for beginner hikers.

People who’ve conquered Everest may find Kilimanjaro a cakewalk, but it serves as a rite of passage for someone who gets tired of climbing hills and wants to ascend a real mountain. It’s not easy, though. To climb the mountain you have to double-check more than one mount Kilimanjaro hiking guide to prepare for the journey as much as possible. 

The pack you have to take with you is a bit different from what you’re used to, also. Here’s what you have to take with you for a successful Kilimanjaro climb.

Kilimanjaro and Elephant


If you haven’t booked a tour up the mountain beforehand, you’ll need cash to buy one. The thing is you can’t climb mountain Kilimanjaro without a certified guide. This is how Tanzania tackles both your security during the trip and boosts the local economy.

If you’re traveling in a busy month, the popular agencies you see on TripAdvisor may be already taken and you’ll have to find less known local firms. Not all of them accept credit cards, so having some cash ready on your hands is key to setting off as fast as possible.

Day backpack & a duffel bag

If you’ve been packing an 80-liter backpack for all your previous trips, you may be wondering why do you need two bags for the trip. The thing is the tour agency you hire provides you with a porter who’ll carry most of your belongings.

It may hurt your pride at first if you consider yourself a heavy lifter, but when you start going up the hard parts of the trail, you’ll learn to love your porters. Pack a light 20-35 liter backpack to walk with, and fill a sturdy duffel bag with the rest.

Layers of warm clothing

Hiking Kilimanjaro
Walkers on the way to the summit of Kilimanjaro, crossing a forest of senecios.

Your previous short summer hikes are quite different from climbing Kilimanjaro. At 5.9 km high, the climate on the mountain changes from a tropical heat on the bottom to a glacier on the top. You can start your journey in a t-shirt at 30 °C, and by the end, you’ll face below-zero temperatures at night.

Pack multiple layers of warm clothing to make sure you don’t freeze. Here’s what you have to take with you:

  • Fleece hat
  • Fleece jacket
  • Fleece underpants
  • Hardshell jacket
  • Hardshell pants
  • Under gloves 
  • Waterproof gloves
  • 5 pairs of wool socks
  • Waterproof sturdy boots
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Rainproof tent & below-freezing sleeping bag

Don’t be fooled with the Tanzanian heat. When you reach the summit, you’ll be essentially winter hiking. Prepare accordingly and take equipment warm enough to keep you cozy. Consider taking a small stove with you if you’re climbing in especially cold weather.



At some portions of the climb, you’ll have to wake up before sunrise to reach your goal. Grab a flashlight and spare batteries to make sure you don’t get lost. Take a headlight if you’re using trekking poles.

Sunscreen & glasses

Once you emerge from the forest on the foot of the mountain, there’s going to be no protection from the sun. UV on top of Kilimanjaro is 12 which means your skin will burn in minutes if left untreated. Apply SPF 30+ every two hours and don’t forget to wear hiking glasses at all times.

A foldable solar battery

There’s a bonus to having so much sun pour onto you. You don’t need a power bank, you can charge your gadgets with a solar battery. Put one on your backpack, and you’ll fully charge your camera and phone in a couple of hours.


You don’t really have to take any food with you. The porters will take the essentials and cook for you when you’re taking a rest from a hard climb. You do need to take snacks with you to recharge during the climb. Keep foods that will power you up handy to avoid exhaustion.


Staying hydrated is essential to making it to the Kilimanjaro summit without harming yourself. Keep water handy and take regular sips. You can strap a water bottle to your backpack or invest in a hydration pack. It’s essential if you’re using trekking poles.

Your meds

Running out of prescribed medication in the city simply means calling your doctor, but if that happens in the middle of the thick forest on the foot of Kilimanjaro, it may be up to 6 hours’ wait until you get treatment. Don’t make the trip more dangerous than it has to be, double-check that you brought the meds you need.


Climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenge because you’ll have to pack both for summer and winter. It’s a challenge you can overcome, though. Pack wise, prepare for the climb beforehand, and you’ll be able to pride yourself on conquering this African giant.

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