Most Kilimanjaro operators generally require that their clients supply their own personal gear for the climb. Operators typically provide the tents (personal tent and a mess tent for dining), cookware (stove, gas, plates, utensils, pans), furniture (chairs and tables for dining), first aid kits, and food and water.
Kilimanjaro creates its own weather. And weather patterns can change very quickly. It is a necessity to have the gear that will keep you dry and warm, from top to bottom, for many hours at a time.
If you have backpacked before, then you should already have most of the required items. If not, it is best that you ask experienced friends, or that you shop at a store such as REI so that you can get help from their associates, whom are quite knowledgeable. They can assist you in picking out the right clothing for your needs. The technology in modern fabrics allows for lightweight, warm, waterproof, and breathable functionality. Do not bring casual clothing such as cotton tees, or hoodies, or heavy jackets that aren’t that warm or waterproof.
Gear lists should be provided by the operator.
Typical items required for the climb are:
- Insulated jacket – warm down jacket for the coldest days and nights. You wear this while hanging around at the campsite, or while sleeping in your tent, and during the summit night.
- Water proof jacket – Goretex or similar brand, breathable, waterproof jacket to stop wind and water from penetrating.
- Fleece jacket – a fleece is a less bulker version of the down jacket, and can be used while trekking and also as a double insulating layer during the summit night.
- Mid-weight shirt – performance technical shirt that keeps you dry (no cotton)
- Base layer shirt – performance technical shirt that keeps you dry (no cotton)
- Water proof pants – necessary in case you encounter rain, heavy wind or snow. You may wear these on summit night as well.
- Hiking pants – quick drying, lightweight pants, worn everyday.
- Fleece pants – warm pants you can put on at camp, and on summit night.
- Base layer pants – tights used for extra warmth
- Underwear – always nice to have underwear, a few pairs
- Warm hat – protect your head from cold winds
- Sun hat – protect your face, eyes from the sun
- Water proof gloves – keep your hand warm at camp and on summit night
- Hiking boots – must be comfortable and broken in, do not rent or buy new
- Extra shoes – wear these at camp to give your feet a break from the boots
- Hiking socks – midweight socks, several pairs
- Sunglasses – to protect your eyes from the sun
- Sunscreen – the sun is deceptively strong at high altitude, wear everyday
- Bug repellent – only for lower altitudes
- Water bottle – to carry 3-4 liters of water
- Sleeping bag – warm, rated down to 0F degrees or more
- Sleeping pad – to keep body off ground, for warmth and comfort
- Headlamp – for use at night and during the summit trek
- Day pack – medium pack to carry your own gear between campsites
- Duffel bag – large bag for porters to transport your gear between campsites