What to Pack

Mountain Climbing

(What to pack for safari is at the bottom of this page)

Having the correct type of clothing is essential for climbing mountains as the wrong type of clothing can be detrimental to your health and accomplishing your goal of reaching the summit. A common mistake is wearing cotton next to your body as this absorbs moisture, trapping it against your skin and could lead to hypothermia in the colder temperatures.

You'll experience a wide range of temperatures as you climb (from tropical temperatures at the base to temperatures well below freezing near the summit). Therefore it is important to bring clothes that will be appropriate for the different temperatures and climates you'll experience. You will also need to be prepared for wet, rainy, and muddy conditions - especially in the forest zone - so make sure you and your day packs/duffel bags are weatherproofed. As well as preparing for wet conditions, you'll also want to prepare for drier conditions and keep a bandana in your daypack to tie around your face if you trek into particularly dusty areas.

The weather patterns are unpredictable on the mountain so, although June-August is the coldest time of the year and December-February is the hottest time of the year, you'll find temperatures can vary dramatically and suddenly. So be prepared for the worst weather, layer your clothes, and be sure to have your rain gear handy at all times. You will also want to make sure you have warm clothing and footwear for when you are in camp (not hiking).

When packing, please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its contents to be carried by the porters to 15kg (30lbs) or less. You can leave your extra luggage (including clean clothes for after your climb and anything you might have for an animal safari) at your hotel.

Below is a suggested list of things to bring with you...

Travel Documents

  • Valid passport and visa
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance (make sure your travel and medical insurance cover you for the climb up the mountain)
  • Medical insurance
  • US $$$ cash – IN SMALL BILLS / Credit Card

Essential/Recommended Items

  • Duffel bag - large enough for all climbing gear and clothing but maximum size of 40” x 18” x 18” and no heavier than 15kg/30lbs (You will have to pay for an extra porter to carry additional weight). Your duffel will be carried by a porter so it’s important that the duffel bag be “soft” and without wheels or any internal or external frame. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear for your safari. (Do not leave valuable items in this bag - although safety is good, we are not responsible for missing items or damage). Be sure to leave enough room in your bags for souvenirs!
  • Small luggage lock - to lock zippers
  • Luggage tags
  • Day backpack - between 20 - 35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, sunscreen, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing. (Make sure you prepare this day pack for wet conditions, by either lining the inside with plastic, or purchasing a plastic pack cover). Although you'll need certain things with you, you'll want to keep this as light as possible to avoid slowing you down and making breathing more difficult.
  • Sleeping bag (rated for 0*f)
  • Trekking poles. Collapsible (telescopic) are best, because you can adjust them to sternum height, while ascending, and lengthen them for the descent. Your descent from Uhuru Peak is characterized by steep volcanic scree, and two poles can greatly aid in balance and comfort.
  • Water bottle x 3 (1 litre capacity 'Nalgene' or other high quality brand that can contain hot liquids as well. As you near the summit, we suggest keeping the water close to your body to prevent the water from freezing! Talk to your guide for more tips on carrying your water.)
  • Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
  • Underwear - You should have one pair for each day of the climb that is suitable for high activity. Choose synthetic, rather than cotton.
  • Thermal underwear (under layers) - You should take two pairs (not cotton) - one medium-weight and one heavy-weight. Choose materials that wick moisture away from the body as these will be drier and lighter than any other materials.
  • Mittens or warm gloves (waterproof is best - otherwise get shells to keep them dry if necessary)
  • Glove liners (if necessary)
  • One pair thermal (polertex) socks
  • Balaclava - Make sure it allows your breath to escape if you wear glasses as it'll help keep them from fogging up. NOTE: Be sure that your hat and balaclava are extremely warm as much of your body heat escapes from your head.
  • Gaiters (to keep mud, dirt and snow out of your boots)
  • Thermal water flask
  • Shorts - 1 pair of synthetic and light-weight shorts - useful for the hotter temperatures near the base of the mountain
  • Hiking pants - 1 pair of light-weight, loose-fitting (preferably synthetic) trousers and 1 pair of heavier synthetic or canvas hiking trousers. Do not take jeans as these are too heavy and cold when wet. You might want to consider getting 'convertible trousers' where you can zip off the legs to adjust to the temperatures accordingly.
  • T-shirts - Take 2-3 synthetic shirts that will allow sweat to be released from your body.
  • Heavy wool sweater or heavyweight fleece jacket - 1 (Polartec 200 weight or similar. A full front zip is useful).
  • Long-sleeve, light-weight fleece sweater - 1
  • Light-weight, long-sleeve synthetic shirts - 1
  • Raincoat or Poncho
  • Hiking boots - Make sure they are waterproof and provide plenty of support. Wear them beforehand to reduce the risk of blisters. (You don't need technical mountaineering boots).
  • Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots - mid weight boots work great
  • Shoes for overnight camps - i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
  • Socks - One pair for each day of the climb. Use synthetic/wool-blend or synthetic heavy trekking socks and consider sock liners).
  • Liner socks - to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters
  • Sun hat or similar (with a brim) - a strap is useful for windy conditions.
  • Fleece hat - must cover the ears
  • Inflatable mattress
  • Insulated water bottle pouch; Recommended by past travelers to keep your water from freezing.
  • Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb. (Headlamps leave your hands free for reading, writing or whatever you may be doing after dark. They are also best for the nighttime final ascent). We strongly recommend the type with the batteries held on the headband, e.g. Petzl, using AA or AAA batteries (which can be purchased in Tanzania.) Make sure you bring plenty of backup batteries, and change the batteries before setting out for your midnight night trek (for the overnight climb, if applicable).
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sunglasses with 100% UV screening and side gussets; retainer straps are helpful
  • For eyeglass wearers: eyeglass straps, spare eyeglasses and spare prescription sunglasses (or clip-ons). The dusty conditions in August - October may cause problems for contact lens wearers. Bring plenty of solution. You may end up wearing glasses most of the time. Consider disposable contact lenses.
  • Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries
  • Batteries - be sure to have plenty of batteries with you for all your powered equipment. Replace your head lamp and camera batteries with new ones on your summit night.
  • Toilet kit (toothbrush and toothpaste, biodegradable soap, small packets of tissues, moist towelettes or baby-wipes, etc.)
  • Towel and washcloth (thin, quick-drying ones are preferable). Make sure you bring plastic bags for each.
  • Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
  • Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
  • Toilet paper (1-2 rolls) and many re-sealable plastic bags (for carrying used paper back to camp for proper disposal)
  • Money belt or neck pouch for passport and valuables
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
  • Binoculars
  • Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
  • Pocket knife
  • Notebook & pencil
  • Assortment of plastic bags and nylon stuff sacks (for trash, and for keeping gear clean, dry and organised)
  • High energy food supplements - High altitude tends to diminish appetite. We recommend you bring enticing snacks from home to help keep your caloric intake up. Suggestions include trail mix, energy bars, dried fruit, etc. If you drink herbal teas or decaffeinated coffee, bring a supply as they are not available locally.)
  • Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod

Carry-on Checklist

We all hope it won't happen to us, but inevitably it happens to some that luggage gets delayed (or lost) and doesn't reach Tanzania at the same time you do. If you are scheduled to go on your hike immediately, this could pose a problem if you don't have some essentials with you. (The rest can be hired if necessary). That being the case, we recommend that you bring the following in your carry-on bag:

  • Underwear - enough for all hiking days
  • Long underwear, top and bottom - 1 pair
  • Synthetic t-shirts - 2
  • Light-weight long sleeve synthetic shirt - 2
  • Hiking shorts - 1
  • Pair of light-weight trousers (not jeans)
  • 1 Hiking boots - you can wear these on the plane
  • Socks - one per hiking day
  • Water bottle - (be sure it can accommodate boiling water)
  • Sunglasses (with side gussets if possible)
  • Toilet kit
  • Sunblock (make sure it complies with airline rules regarding the amount you carry on or it could be taken away)
  • Insect repellant (make sure it complies with airline rules regarding the amount you carry on or it could be taken away)
  • Headlamp (with extra batteries)
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Plastic bags (assorted sizes, including sealable bags for packing out your trash)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Camera and extra film/batteries

We understand this is a lot to carry in your carry-on so you may want to wear as many of the items as you can while on the plane. Hopefully your bags will arrive at the same time you do, but since we cannot control those things, we don't want you to miss out on your climb due to delayed/lost bags.

Personal First Aid Kit

Your first-aid kit should include the following:

  • 5"x5" moleskin or equivalent (to treat blisters)
  • Small plasters (band-aids)
  • Elasticised support bandage (ace-wrap)
  • Safety pins
  • Small pair of scissors

Medicines in your first aid kit should be discussed with your doctor and should include addressing the following:

  • Analgesics (pain killers); Acetaminophen (ie. Tylenol), Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Vidocin*
  • Anti-Allergy; Hydrocortizone (ointment), Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (oral anti-histamine)(ie: Sudafed); Epinephrine*
  • Antibiotics; Bacitracin (ointment), Erythromycin*, Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride* (Cipro)
  • Antacids; Bismuth sabsalicylate (ie. Pepto-Bismol)
  • Anti-Diarrhea; Loperamide hydrochloride (ie. Immodium), Tinidazole*
  • Anti-Emetics (anti-vomiting); Prochlorperazine*, Promethazine*
  • Anti-Vertigo (anti-motion sickness); Meclizine*, Scopolamine*
  • Altitude illness medicine ; Acetazolamide* (diamox), Dexamethazone*, Nifedipine*
  • Sterile eye drops
  • Anti-malarial prophylaxis medicine*

*Prescription medicines

Optional Items

  • Inflatable or small, compressible pillow (or pillowcase, to fill with spare clothing)
  • Thin rope (approximately 10 feet for clothesline or other odd jobs) and clothespins
  • Umbrella (recommended by past travelers who found it convenient during brief showers)
  • Nail clippers (your toe nails should be cut short for your descent)
  • Biodegradable cold-water laundry soap.
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Battery-heated socks (an alternative to hand/foot warmers)
  • Earplugs (sometimes you need all the help you can get in order to sleep well)
  • Watch (a watch that has a face which can be easily lit is helpful in the middle of the night)
  • Personal urinal system (See section under Clothing and Equipment on “Staying Warm in Your Tent)
  • Trowel (See section in Health and Logistics under “Latrines”)
  • Sleeping bag liner. A silk liner can facilitate easier movement while inside your sleeping bag

Equipment Rental

We understand that you may not be able to bring all your equipment with you or you may just prefer to hire rather than buy. Therefore, the following equipment can be rented out for your climb. It is all high quality, clean and generally available in most sizes. However, these are rented out on a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to arrange this as soon as possible upon your arrival. Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. However, the following is a good guide. You will be required to pay on receipt of the items.

 

If you rent any equipment/gear, please look after it as if it were your own. You are responsible for returning it in good shape.

Packing for Safari

Packing for an animal safari is not so critical as climbing the mountains but there are still some things to take into account. Below is a suggestion of items we recommend bringing with you for your safari. If you are climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or Mt Meru before your safari, you can leave your safari bag at the hotel where it will be looked after until your return.

  • Valid passport and visa
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • US $$$ cash for tips – IN SMALL BILLS / Credit Card (be sure to make your credit card company aware that you're travelling overseas)
  • Plane trip items - earplugs/headphones, books, sleep mask, travel pillow, etc.
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts (it does cool down in the evenings)
  • Long (or convertible) pants/trousers
  • Capris or shorts
  • Underwear - enough for your trip (Women should bring bras - some of the roads are bumpy)
  • Scarf/bandana
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Light jacket, fleece or hoodie - layers will be needed as it'll be cool in the mornings and evenings but warm during the day
  • Comfortable shoes such as trainers / tennis shoes
  • Flip flops or sandals for around the lodges or pool
  • Swimsuit (some lodges have pools)
  • Warm sleeping clothes
  • Hat with large brim
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Malaria medicine and any other medical supplies you might need
  • Flashlight
  • Camera, battery (plus an extra battery), charger, and lots of memory cards!
  • Glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, contact lens solution
  • Binoculars
  • Electrical adaptors
  • Extension cord
  • Journal and pen
  • Toiletries - deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, shampoo, wash cloth etc.
  • First aid kit - plasters/band aids, ointment, pain reliever, etc.
  • Energy snacks - granola bars, nuts, etc.
  • Mobile phones & chargers