There are so many packing lists on the internet for climbing Kilimanjaro.
Some I found useful, some had a ridiculous amount of unnecessary items that you just don't need.
One even said to take make up... You're climbing a mountain, you do NOT need make up.
I've therefore compiled a list of what I took, as a female, and things I wished I had taken as well!
1. Make sure you have a fantastic pair of boots, preferably with ankle support.
They don't have to be the top brand, best boots in the world ever, but they must be worn in and they have to be the most comfortable things you've ever put on your feet, as you will be wearing them all day, every day on inclines. There are parts of the climb (especially on the Machame route) that were loose sand and scree, Ill fitting shoes will only increase your chance of twisting an ankle or similar.
2. A pair of shoes to wear around camp, ideally also with good grip.
I took my Keen Clearwater Sandals, and they were fantastic as you could just slip them on over socks, no worries.
(do not wear cotton, it won't wick away moisture, does not dry at high altitude and will make you feel cold if the temperature changes)
- 2 x long sleeve moisture wicking tops
- 2 x t shirts
- 1 x strappy hiking top
- 2 x sports bras
- 1 x base layer leggings
- 1 x base layer top for summit night
- 5 x underwear, again not cotton
- 4 to 5 pairs of good hiking socks. I took a mix of Merino, Sealskinz and some 1000 mile socks (so so comfy)
Middle and Outer Layers
- 2 x hiking trousers (one zip off pair)
- 1 x thin waterproof trousers
- 1 x pair of trousers for summit night. You can either layer up your normal ones with thermal base layers or wear a thicker pair. I wore my North Face ski pants, and they were incredibly warm!
- 1 x normal gloves and 1 x thick gloves for summit night, ideally waterproof.
- 1 x wool/knitted hat for when it gets chilly in the evenings and for summit night. I took my Fjallraven Byron hat and have never been warmer in my life!
- 1 x sun hat with peak or a bandana (I took both a baseball cap and a Buff)
- 1 x down jacket.
- 1 x waterproof jacket with hood (ideally GoreTex / breathable / waterproof)
- 1 x sunglasses (preferably wrap around)
- 1 x pair of gaiters (optional, I took them in case of rain/snow, but actually didn't need to use them)
(Make sure that your coat fits over all of your other layers for summit night)
- Duffel bag (80-100L) for all of your clothing/sleeping bag etc... This will be carried ahead of you by the porters and stashed in your tent, ready for when you arrive. You could use those packing cubes to organise, but I found that I didn't need these at all. Lots of previous cadet trip experience!
- CamelBak or hydration bladder (2-3l)
- Sleeping bag (0 to around -30C)
- Hiking poles. I was dubious about needing these, but they are a necessity. If you don't want to buy them, you can hire them from most of the trek companies for a small amount.
- Headtorch and spare batteries (needed for when it gets dark in camp and also for summit night as it will be pitch black)
- Your Malaria medication
- Diamox (for altitude sickness) - I started on half a tablet twice a day for the first 2 days and then ramped up to one whole tablet twice a day. I genuinely believe that the Diamox and copious amounts of water were the reason I didn't suffer from any altitude sickness.
- Immodium or Dioralyte (Just in case)
- Ibuprofen ( in case you do have a headache from the altitude)
- I also took tea tree oil (it has a multitude of uses from antibacterial properties, to healing a sore throat etc)
- Blister plasters (again, your boots should be worn in, but it doesn't hurt to have them on standby)
- A small first aid kit (plasters, tweezers, wipes etc...)
- A compression bandage (I managed to do my knee in prior to the summit and wouldn't have made it up without this) you may not need one but I'm a firm believer in taking things like this, just in case!
- I also took some antibiotics with me (glad I did as I ended up with a chest infection the day before the summit)
- Toilet roll
- Sun cream and a protective lip balm. I took Factor 50 and still managed to get windburn/sunburn...
- Wet wipes. Ideally biodegradable, but I took some of those sanitary disposal bags and just took everything back down the mountain with me and got rid when I was at Georgie's house again. You do get warm water for washing at each camp but there's so much dust that it doesn't go a long way!
- Antibacterial hand gel. Lifesaver.
- Pantliners - I was dubious about this, but it was such a good idea to keep your clothes fresh etc
- Carabiners - Useful for clipping wet towel/clothes to your daysack to dry off in the heat/attaching your hat/items for quick access.
- Hairbrush, bands, clips, dry shampoo (I took dry shampoo but never actually used it, as I just gave up on looking like a normal human being after day 2)
- SheWee - I was so against this, and thought it ridiculous, but when nature calls and you're bundled up in hundreds of layers in the evening and it's cold, or on summit night, this is a lifesaver!
- Microfiber towels (again these are amazing and dry quickly)
- Charger... I took my Ampy, and it let me down, and all week I wished I had taken a solar charger, but I know for next time and can 100% advise taking a solar one.
- Copies of your passport/any insurance documents etc...
- Padlock for your duffel bag.
- Snacks. I took Clif Bars (YASSS), some gels and a lot of Romney's Kendal Mint Cake. THE BEST THING EVERRR.
- Electrolyte tablets for water. These were a godsend after drinking so much water during the day.
- A book. I took my Kindle, but actually only read it the first 2 nights as I was exhausted after that!
- Ear plugs. I'm a very light sleeper and was passing out at around 9, when a lot of others were still awake.
- A sentimental item for the summit (I took a toy dog I'd had since childhood and one of HMS Victory's white ensigns)
Click the download link below!
At points you will be cold, you will be tired, you will want to stop.
Your legs will always carry you and just putting one foot in front of the other is enough for them.
Mind over matter.