Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List
How to Prepare for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Our goal is to get you to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This is the most up to date packing list for Mount Kilimanjaro available. This list covers what gear you will need to bring to successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania entry requirements (passport & visa), immunizations and vaccinations, and travel insurance. Please read this carefully and make sure you have gathered everything before you depart on your trip.
The most important thing that you can bring to help you succeed in summing Mt Kilimanjaro is a positive attitude and the belief that you will make it to the summit.
The golden rule for climbing is to pack as lightly as possible. You will have a porter carrying a lot of these items, but it is important to pack as efficiently as possible so they can carry essential items like tents, food and water for the climb.
There are options for rental in Tanzania in case you forget something, but the options and sizes will be limited.
- 1 – Light / medium waterproof jacket. Make sure it is made of breathable material and has a hood. It is very likely to rain on one or multiple days of the climb.
- It is possible to rain all day long, even in the dry season!
- 1 – Synthetic or down insulated jacket. For warmth when the sun isn’t shining and in higher elevations.
- It can be very cold at the higher camps and summit day is usually extremely cold.
- 1 – Soft shell jacket, warm fleece, hoodie, or pullover. We recommend this for layering to help you keep warm without getting too hot.
- 3 – Long sleeve shirts that are light-weight and made of moisture-wicking fabric.
- 2– Short sleeve shirts that are light-weight and made of moisture-wicking fabric
- 1 – Pair of waterproof pants that is made of breathable material.
- 2 – Pairs of hiking pants. One pair is lighter weight for lower elevations and the other pair is slightly thicker material for higher elevations. They can be pants or convertible to shorts.
- 1 – Pair of fleece pants or heavy long underwear made of moisture-wicking fabric.
- 1 – Pair of shorts for lower elevation hiking.
- 3-5 – Pairs of underwear / briefs that are made of moisture-wicking fabric.
- 4 – Sport Bras. You can bring more or less depending on comfort level.
- 1 – Brimmed hat for sun protection
- 1 – Knit hat / beanie for warmth
- 1 – Balaclava / buff for face coverage (Optional)
- 1 – Pair of winter gloves preferably made of waterproof material.
- 1 – Pair of light weight waterproof hiking gloves for lower elevation hiking.
- 1 – Glove liners that are thin and are made of moisture-wicking material to be worn under gloves for added warmth. (Optional)
- 1 – Pair of quality hiking boots. They should be warm, made of waterproof material, broken-in, with spare laces.
- VERY IMPORTANT - If you purchase new boots please make sure to hike in them at least 10 time prior to leaving for Tanzania, new boots cause blisters!
- 1 – Pair of comfortable lightweight shoes to wear at camp (Optional)
- 4 – Pairs of hiking socks. One thin, one medium and two thick pair that are made of wool or synthetic material.
- 2 – Pairs of thin sock liners to be worn under socks to prevent blisters (Optional)
- 1 – Pair of gaiters that are made of waterproof material. (Optional)
- 1 – Lightweight ice grips that go on the bottom of your boots. (Optional)
- Something like microspikes or yaktrax. (You will only need this if it snows near the summit. You do NOT NEED crampons!)
- 1 – Pair of sunglasses or goggles with dark lenses.
- The sun is extremely strong at 14,000+ ft / 4000+ Meters and these are very important to prevent snow blindness.
- 1 – Waterproof backpack cover
- 1 – Poncho – This is a light weight option that can cover both you and your backpack to keep you dry during a short rain storm.
- 1 – Water bottle - preferably a Nalgene 32 oz.
- 1 – Water bladder - Platypus / Camelback type that can hold up to 2-3 liters of water
- 1 – Small towel for washing. Make sure it is lightweight and made of quick-dry material. (Optional)
- 1 – Pee bottle - to avoid leaving tent at night
- Highly recommended for those with small bladders and for those with big bladders. To avoid altitude sickness, you will drink a lot of water!
- 2 – Waterproof stuff sacks / bags. Various sizes between 20-40 Liters, to keep gear dry and separate clean clothes from dirty.
- 1 – Sleeping bag rated at a minimum of -15 degrees Celsius / 5 Degrees Fahrenheit
- We can help you rent a warm sleeping bag for you in Arusha if you do not have a sleeping bag or do not want to travel with a sleeping bag.
- 1- Sleeping pad (Optional – we will supply a sleeping pad if you do not have your own)
- 1 – Lightweight / travel pillow / inflatable pillow
- 1 – Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth
- This is a nice option because it is warmer at the lower camps and cold at the high camps.
- 1 – Two Person Tent (Optional!)
- Chacha Tours Africa will provide a high quality 3-season tent for you, however, if you have a tent you love and it is high quality, you can bring it for your personal use.
- 1 – Pair of trekking poles (Recommended to reduce joint pain and assist with balance.)
- 1 – Headlamp / Torch, with extra batteries.
- The day we summit Kilimanjaro we will start climbing around midnight.
- 1 – Backpack or duffel bag, for porters to carry your equipment
- The porters take your bag and put it into a larger bag and then carry it on top of their head.
- 1 – Small to medium day pack. This is the pack you will be carrying with you that will contain your personal gear. The porters will carry most of your gear and clothing, this bag is for water, a camera, snacks, sunscreen, etc.
Toiletries, Prescriptions, and Power Adaptors
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Soap, shampoo, deodorant (for the hotel)
- Contact solution, extra pair of contacts, glasses (if necessary)
- Earplugs (if you are a light sleeper or your partner snores)
- Sunscreen - At least 30 SPF
- Finding quality sunscreen in Africa is difficult. It is highly recommended that you bring your favorite sunscreen with you from your home country.
- Prescriptions - Diamox (High Altitude Medications) and other personal medications
- Lip balm
- Tampons / Feminine Hygiene Products– Please avoid bringing tampons with plastic applicators. Cardboard applicators and non-applicator tampons are preferred and can be disposed of in the long-drop toilets.
- Insect repellent for mosquitoes - You won’t have mosquitos after the first 2 days because they are not problematic at the higher elevation.
- First aid kit / antibiotic cream, adhesive bandages
- Ibuprofen or pain reliever
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- We will provide toilet paper but it is always good to have some on hand with you in your personal bag.
- Wet wipes (Optional)
- Energy bars, snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy
- Camera, with extra batteries (Optional)
- Camera battery charger
- Cell phone
- Small charger cell battery for cell phone
- Electrical / Power adaptor
- Tanzania has two associated plug types, types D and G. Plug type D is the plug which has three round pins in a triangular pattern and plug type G is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. Tanzania operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
- Lightweight book or e-reader for leisure (optional)
- Blister protector – a.k.a. Leukotape, moleskin.
Visa Requirements for Tanzania
Obtaining a visa on arrival in Tanzania is easy. Follow these steps and you should have no trouble securing a visa upon arrival in Tanzania.
A visa on arrival is available to most nations. Make sure to check with your embassy before arriving in Tanzania. Note there are several seemingly random nationalities that are exempt. For example, citizens of Cyprus and Romania do not require a visa. All “western” passport holders are eligible for a visa on arrival.
The cost of a single-entry visa is $50 for citizens of most countries and $100 for Americans. A multiple-entry visa is $100, including for Americans. If you are an American you might as well just ask for a multiple entry visa, even if you do not need a multiple entry, because they are the same cost. Transit visas are $30 and valid for 14 days.
Very Important: You will need to pay for your visa in U.S. Dollars. Make sure to have U.S. Dollars as they will not accept any other form of currency and this even includes Tanzanian Schillings. Make sure your US dollars are newer because they often reject older bills.
When you arrive at the airport there will be a few “standing desk areas” with immigration paperwork forms. Note: in true African fashion there aren’t any pens in this area so bring a pen with you. Fill out the required paperwork and proceed to the area to purchase your visa.
Note: If you are arriving from another African country you will need to provide proof of the yellow fever vaccination. Make sure to have your yellow card available upon arrival. This only applies if your flight arrives from another African country.
After you have purchased your visa, proceed to the immigration counters where they will take your photo. Through immigration you can pick up your bags, scan your luggage on the way out, and we will be waiting to pick you up outside of the airport. Look for someone holding a sign with your name.
- Passport (Valid for at least 6 months after your return date with blank pages)
- Take a photo of your passport and store it in your phone as a backup / copy
- Bankcards for before and after Kilimanjaro – Visa is the most accepted form, but credit cards are not accepted at many locations.
- Spending cash
- US dollars are preferred (Make sure to bring newer bills especially if they are $100.00 bills – older bills are not accepted by the banks so people will not want to accept them.
- Euros are also accepted but US dollars are preferred.
- ATM / Cash Machines are a good option for withdrawing Tanzanian shillings.
- Make sure to ask your tour guide which machines are good because many ATM machines in Tanzania are problematic.
- Immunization Records - Immunization papers will be checked upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport if you are arriving from another African country.
- They do require a yellow fever vaccination for travelers that arrive from another African country, they do not require them for travelers that arrive directly from Europe or the Middle East.
- Travel Insurance – Please purchase travel insurance that includes climbing of mountains.
- We recommend using World Nomads and if you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro you need to purchase the Explorer Plan.
Ethical Treatment of Porters
The most common mistake that climbers make when climbing Kilimanjaro is that they over pack and bring way too much gear. Be selective in what you bring with you. Please note that our porters are limited to carrying (15 kg. or 33 lbs.) of your personal belongings.
The porters will carry almost all of your personal gear between the campsites. The majority of your personal items should be placed into the backpack or duffel bag, including the sleeping bag, but it is OK to pack the sleeping bag separately if necessary. If you rent a sleeping bag from us it is important to note that the bag weighs is 3 kgs. and this weight does count against the 15 kgs. or 33 lbs.
Our porters will place your duffel bag with your belongings and sleeping bag into a large, sturdy, waterproof bag. You will have access to your belongings at the campsites every night. The porters typically will arrive to the next campsite before you arrive, so you will have access to your belongings except when you are hiking.
If you have excessive weight, you will be required to hire and pay for an additional porter. It is rare to require an extra porter and this should only occur in special cases, such as for carrying extensive photography / videography equipment. If you think you will require an additional porter please advise Chacha Tours Africa so we can make additional accommodations and bring additional food for the additional porter.
Tipping of Porters and Guides
Tipping of guides and porters is not included in the cost of the trip. You will see how hard your guides and porters work to make sure you are comfortable and are as rested as possible so you can reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. Most people would not be able to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro without the help of the porters. Tipping is not compulsory, but if you feel like the porters and guides did an exceptional job, tips will be greatly appreciated.
Many people ask what is an appropriate amount for tipping and there is no exact figure; however, most guests offer tips around $8.00 - $10.00 per porter per day (you have 3 personal porters) and about $10.00 per person for the guide. In general, you should try to budget $34.00 per day for tips for your guide and porters. Total tipping usually amounts to about $10% of the cost of your trip. (If you paid $2500.00 for the climb you should budget an additional $250.00 for tips.)
This might seem like a lot of money at first, but after you see how hard your porters and guides work, you might feel like that number is low and feel free to offer a little more out of your appreciation. As always, tipping is a gesture of your appreciation and never is obligatory.
Equipment Storage / Rental
We understand you might be coming from a Safari or another part of Africa and will have additional baggage with you. All extra luggage items that you do not need for your climb, such safari clothing, Zanzibar gear and equipment will be securely kept at the hotel.
You are expected to come prepared and bring everything you need; however, we do have options to rent equipment like warm sleeping bags, gear, and trekking poles.
We recommend packing essential items like hiking boots, jackets, pants, etc. in your carryon baggage. Unfortunately checked luggage on airplanes can get lost or delayed on the way to Tanzania. You should prepare for this possibility by wearing or carrying on the items that are most essential to your climb. If your luggage is lost or delayed; most clothing, gear and equipment can be replaced in Tanzania prior to your climb, but there are some things that you might be uncomfortable and are not easily replaced.
Chacha Tours Africa recommends that you wear one complete hiking outfit on the plane, including a long sleeve shirt, hiking pants, underwear, socks, and hiking boots. Included in your carry-on baggage: you should bring your small backpack, waterproof jacket and pants, insulated jacket, fleece pants, toiletries, medications, camera and all governmental paperwork. Airline regulations do not allow you to carry trekking poles on the plane. Make sure you do wear/carry your hiking boots; wearing a different pair of boots on your climb, will likely cause blistering.
Due to past problems with litter, cheap plastic water bottles are not allowed in the park. Please bring quality plastic bottles like Nalgene bottles, water bladders, or similar devices. Please bring enough capacity to be able to carry 3-4 liters of water with you at all times.
Alcohol and Beer
Please keep in mind that Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,341 ft tall (5895 Meters) and drinking alcohol and high altitude do not mix well. We will celebrate your successful climb to the top of Kilimanjaro with beer and alcohol at the bottom or hotel, after the climb.
You Have Hired the Best Company!
Chacha Tours Africa is a very professional outfit and we will be prepared to get you to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and back to the bottom safely. We have professional guides that know Mount Kilimanjaro very well and most of them have helped clients reach the summit over 100 times. You can sleep easy knowing that you have selected Chacha Tours Africa and we will be ready and excited to share this amazing adventure with you!
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“If you go through life doing what is easy, then life will be difficult. If you go through life doing what is difficult, then life will be easy.”