Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (Shutterstock: see credit below)
Article 14 April

What to pack when you're... climbing Kilimanjaro

Planning on scaling Mt Kilimanjaro? This kit list is for you

Getting to the top of Kilimanjaro requires stamina, determination, fitness – and high-quality kit. How well equipped you are will go a long way in helping you succeed. You’ll often be starting the trek in hot lowlands and then be at freezing temperatures by the time you get to the top, so versatility is the key. Gear specialist Nomad Travel has put together a list of 10 top tip items to help you on your way.

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Make sure that your day bag is large enough for everything you will need to carry throughout the day – a 35 litre bag is ideal for this. For added comfort, the best option is a bag that has an air mesh back to help air circulation. Your other kit will be carried by porters, so ensure that your large bag is good-quality too. Good daysack brands include Osprey, Lowe Alpine and Berghaus.

Insulated jacket
Forget the fleece! Fleeces have little wind protection and are not versatile enough. And other than the thinner base/mid layer types, they are just too bulky for the protection they offer. Instead, consider a packable insulated jacket like the Nomad Travelproof Fuego (pictured) or the Berghaus Vapourlight Hypertherm jacket; these perform brilliantly and pack down very well. When coupled with an insulating gilet and an outer shell jacket if the weather closes in, you will be prepared for your ascent.

Walking poles
We recommend quad poles; they can be collapsed down, so they will easily fit inside your bag when you don’t need them. Poles take the weight of your feet, will help to propel you uphill, and of course stop you from slipping on uneven terrain during the decent. 

Sleeping mat
If you’re camping on the way up, it is worth investing in a good sleeping mat. Getting a good night's sleep is essential and the new generation of inflatable mats are both ultra light and compact (the size of a 1lt bottle) as well as thermally efficient and very comfortable. Look to brands such as Thermarest and Exped for top-quality examples.

Your boots will need to give good ankle support and be well worn in before you begin. Fit and comfort depend on the size and shape of your feet, so we are not going to recommend any particular boot – although Scarpa, Salomon (pictured), and Berghaus are good-quality brands.

Merino wool socks stay fresh, insulate well from the heat and the cold, and will help to resist blisters. As socks go, you can’t do much better than merino for this type of trip!

Blister treatment
If the worst happens and blisters start to appear, you’ll be very pleased you remembered to pack some Compeed.

Head and neck protection
Invest in a Buff (pictured). This tube of fabric can protect you from the sun, wind and cold.

Head torch
We recommend these for any outdoor trip when you maybe out and about when the sun goes down. We always recommend taking two, there is nothing worse than your torch not working. For compact and versatile, you cannot beat the Petzl E+Lite. If you prefer a more traditional hand torch then do check the Maglite AAA LED torch. It has the advantage of turning into a candle light as well so is perfect for lighting your tent at the end of a long day.

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Main image: Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (Shutterstock)