× Your Trips About Gallery Contact
Kilimanjaro Gear main image

Don't get stuck in the cold!


Follow this guide or contact us for the best way to enjoy your trip!

- This guide is written by our primary Kilimanjaro guide Kyle Cannon. As such, items are personal items he recommends. This guide may not be appropriate for everyone or for female climbers (However, almost every item has a female equivalent).

- Items focus on carrying weight and layering. Layering is extremely important on climbing as it accounts for tempeture changes, traps body heat for added warmth and can easily be scaled down if too hot.

- Items generally focus on the "hyper-light" category, which is usually more expensive. Feel free to shop around and compare similar products, as long as you understand the theory of why each item is recommended.

Finally, please reach out if you have any questions. This guide is by no means the end all solution to Kilimanjaro.

Our guide is broken into 7 sections:

Base Layers

Will almost always use Merino wool since it wicks moisture well and doesn't smell. Pretty much the standard for base layers.

Socks

Darn Tough
Heavy well made Merino wool socks.
I use these from the start all the way up to summit and have never had an issue.

Underwear

Calvin Klein
While I should 100% be recommending Merino Wool, I personally don't find them that comfortable and after walking for 8 hours a day... comfort is king.

Just make sure to avoid cotton!
Cotton will hold moisture and completely ruin your climb. Icebreaker is also another great option.

Long Sleeve Base Shirt

Smartwool
This shirt is amazing.
I'll actually wear this same shirt almost everyday of the climb. Both as a base layer, and a top layer (on warmer days).

Get the one with the neck zipper. The zipper helps a lot for venting when you're exhausted.

Short sleeve Base Shirt

HNM
This shirt doesn't really matter as much, but Kilimanjaro gets extremely hot during the day.

I'll always have a couple of these on me; since they weight nothing, cost nothing, and I can just throw them away if they get gross.

I know I said no cotton ever, and these soak up sweat pretty bad. Only wear on lower levels on the climb.
I found Short-sleeve Merino wool shirts to be a total waste of money.

Mid Layers

Use for added warmth and for trapping heat.

Full body Midlayer

Rab PS Bib
First off these are SO comfortable. I'll wear them to bed, for hanging around the camp, and more importantly for summit.

Kilimanjaro gets extremely cold. Do not underestimate it. This extra-layer provides a ton of warmth.

Hoody

Patagonia R1 Fleece Hoody
Another Item I wear for pretty much everything.

Tends to stink after a couple days... not sure why, but it's common complaint. That being said, I've seen climbers all over the world with the same hoody.
Great hoody for wearing as a midlayer or a top lightweight jacket, or to sleep in for that matter.

Check Steep and cheap if you're interested. They always have them on sale.
The "newer model" is the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody; which, to me, doesn't seem as durable. I don't know... I like my R1.

Top Layers

Use for protection against the wind and rain. Critical for the high winds of Kilimanjaro.

Wind jacket

Patagonia M10
Following along the 'Hyperlite' philosophy, the 10 is a beast.
You can use it as a wind top layer, rain jacket, it packs incredibly light, and stands up to crazy strong winds.

The M10 is also pretty expensive. I've seen a friend do well with the Torrentshell Jacket, which is really just a rain jacket... though I wouldn't recommend it.
To save costs, you could also get a heavier all purpose climbing jacket. But the purpose is to block heavy winds, keep that in mind while shopping.

Light Rain jacket

Torrentshell Jacket
Again, I just use the M10 for both heavy winds and rain.

But it WILL rain on Kilimanjaro. Trust me. It just will.
At lower levels where it's ALSO really hot, so a light weight rain jacket is extremely important.
If you buy a heavier climbing jacket for the winds on summit, also get a light rain jacket or a rain poncho.

Light Rain pants

Marmot Precip Pants
I got mine for like $40. They pack light and repel rain. Boom.

Treat these pants like you would the rain jacket, you're not going to use them for summit. Just incase it suddenly rains anywhere along the climb... which it will.
Again, rain gear is not for warmth. Just keeping you dry.

Light Trekking pants

Marmot Cruz Convertible Pants
I got these because they're the only Convertible Trekking Pants I found that look cool as shorts.
In an effort to not bring both shorts and pants to africa.

The Convertible option helps a lot when it gets insanely hot out of nowhere on Kilimanjaro.
...and the shorts look cool when chillin in Moshi :-)

Climbing pants

MEN'S CIRQUE PANTS
My goto climbing pants on every climb I've ever done.

I been wanting to get the Patagonia Galvanized Pants since the Cirque Pants leaked on me when I was sitting on the snow in Russia.
But that makes sense, they're water resistant not water proof. I may replace them in the future, but for now the Cirque are incredibly comfortable, keep me warm, and move very well.

I've been in situations where I'll put the Marmot Precip Pants on top of these for "water-proofing", and I almost always wear the Rab Bibs underneath them.

Down Layers

Use for extreme cold and winds.

Light Down Jacket

EX LIGHT DOWN ANORAK
I always revert to the hyperlight category. There are a ton of hyper-light down jackets on the market.

I've had this forever and it works great. Keeps me warm and I can layer it (Over my R1, under my M10).

This layering pattern provides warmth (Base layer, R1, and Down) and blocks wind/rain (M10).
In every climb I've ever been on, this has kept me warm. Many times too warm, and I'll have to layer down.

Note: While Kilimanjaro is extremely cold, I presonally think a heavy down is massive over kill.

Down pants (optionial)

Patagonia Nano Puff Pants
I have these and never bring or use them.

I honestly think with the Bibs and a good pair of climbing pants you'll be fine.
At least, I always am. Down pants are pretty comfy to sleep in though.

Head, Eyes and Hands

Where I'd probably focus more of my attention, since it makes such a huge difference.

Buff

BUFF Polar Reversible
This is absolutely CRUCIAL. It's literaly the best item in your climb, besides a good pair of boots.

Make sure you get the Polar Reversible model.
Will keep your ears and nose from getting froze burnt. Probably my favorite climbing item (If you couldn't tell already)

Beanie Hat

Patagonia Beanie Hat
Merino wool for moisture wicking and extreme comfort.

Make sure to get a cool design, because... why not?
Pretty essential. With the BUFF you'll be very well protected.

Balaclava (optionial)

Cross Tech Balaclava
I almost always bring this, even if it's over kill.
Mainly, because I hate getting frost bite on my face and nose.

This is great for excessive sweat since it wicks moisture better than the Polar Buff.

Sun Hat

Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap
I been looking for a better looking sun hat, since I feel like a real nerd wearing this...
Though it works really well, and sunburn all over your face is way nerdier.

Sun protection is absolutely crucial on Kilimanjaro. Sun burn down low easily turns into frost bite up high.
Don't be dumb... just wear a hat.

Sun Glasses

julbo BIVOUAK
You can pretty much wear any sunglasses you want. Just make just they're sturdy and won't blow off your face.

Also provided UV protection. You'll be exposed to a ton of sunrays.

Goggles

julbo BANG NEXT
These are sick. I recently updated to these, since I couldn't really see out of my old ones (it was horrible).

You NEED Goggles though. For the cold, to protect your eyes (You can actually freeze your eye fuilds... not fun).
My last pair cost $20, and I got what I paid for. Look for a decent pair and don't be cheap like me.

Technical Gloves

Mountain Hardwear Torsion Glove
I've had these for years now and are my go to lower mountian climbing gloves.

They're great for scree climbing and all purpose mountain action.

Mitt Gloves

Black Diamond SUPER LIGHT MITTS
To start, I don't have these. I have Cairn Mitts that I got in Chamonix last minute, since I forgot to bring mitts.
Black Diamond is a little easier to get and rated very highly.

Point is, you need a good pair of Mitts to protect your hands.
NEVER go bare handed. Even for a second. If you have nothing underneath, then thats it... mitts all day.
It's usually a good idea to keep your technical gloves on under your mitts or at the minimum glove liners. Do not expose your hands. Period.

Boots / Shoes

Make sure they fit, wear them and break them in WAY ahead of time. Please please if you ignore everything else, follow this advice.

Hiking Boots

Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
These are incredibly comfortable and have taken a serious beating since got them.

Comfort is king here. But it's also nice that they're water proof, light weight and breathable.

Two friends of mine even worth these to the summit (With an extra pair of socks on). While I don't necessarily recommend this, it can save a ton of money on buying mountaineering boots and they both said it was warm enough.
I might try summit with these next time. Not sure...

Mountaineering Boots

PHANTOM GUIDE 2015
What you should wear for your summit bid.
Well these or any other reputable mountaineering boot. I chose these since Scarpa generally run wide compared to La sportiva and I have wide feet.

Boots, however, are a pain in the butt to buy. I've tried 5 other boots before these fit, finally.
Though I kind of wish I bought the Phanton 6000 so I could use them for more expedition-style climbs... but that would be WAY overkill for Kilimanjaro.

Other boots to consider:
Nepal Evos - People LOVE these, but are too narrow for my feet.
koflach's - A little heavy but people swear by them.

Flips flops or Sandals

Cobian Floater Flip Flops
Use for summit (just kidding)

Great for lower camp life and for walking around in Moshi.
Or at the pool.

Miscellaneous Gear

Everything else you should have that isn't clothing.

Trekking Poles

ALPINE CARBON CORK TREKKING POLES
I bought these when I was in a gear buying spree, spending money on everything.
and While I love them... trekking polls are probably all the same. And I'm sure you could save money on a cheaper pair.

Check Steep and Cheap. They usually have great deals on stuff like this.
They make a huge difference though when walking for hours.

Head light

STORM HEADLAMP
They don't even make the lamp I have anymore.
but this is the 'new and improved' version.

Another Item you can probably save some money on. You just a light that works.

Day pack

2400 Ice Pack
Last time I used the daybreak ultralight daypack, which had great reviews... but I didn't really like.
I bought it because I have the 3400 Ice Pack and am a huge fan of Hyperlite mountian gear as a company.

Next time I'm either going to use the 3400 that I already have, buy the smaller 2400, or just get the Summit bag which looks prefect for what I like (I'll most likely buy this for a day pack).

Day pack is always kept light: Snacks, Rain gear, headlamp, water, sunglasses, Baby wipes (just in case), camera, ipod.

Climbing pack

Black Hole Duffel Bag
Last time I used the 3400 Ice Pack, but forgot that the porters carry your main bag anyway.

So next time I'm probably just going to get a duffle bag. It just seems easier for them and for accessing stuff at camps.

Water pack

Dromedary Bags
I used to use camelbak till it leaked on me in the snow.

MSR is a lot more solid, but no hose. The slight inconvience of having to grab my water far outweights freezing water leaking on me.

Water Bottle

Nalgene Bottle
I'll usually drink out of this, and keep the MSR bladder as backup to fill this up.

Again, this is just what works for me. As long as you're drinking water, it doesn't matter much how it gets there.

Baby Wipes

Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes
I'll always bring a small roll of toilet paper and some baby wipes, since there are none on the mountain.

but then also some of these just for a mountian side "shower" and hand sanitizer since it's usually pretty gross up there.

Pillow

Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow
I usually bring a couple pillows, since comfort in the tent and on the plane ride over is so important.

I might look into one of those fancy plane pillows, but will probably forget and end up using old faithfull.

ChapStick / Sun screen / mosquito spray

ChapStick Sun Defense
Extremely important as we'll be in the sun most of the day.

Nothing sucks more than having chapped and frost bit lips.

Mosquito spray won't matter on Kilimanjaro, but will help a lot in Moshi.

Camera / ipod

Canon PowerShot S120
I really like the S120. It takes awesome photos, is easy to use, and has a ton of cool features.

Downside is that it can sometimes freeze up. To avoid, I'll usually keep it in a sock or in my pocket (or both).
You can also buy "cold weather batteries" which I hear can help.

You can also use:
A Go Pro which I'll mostly use for the video.
An iPhone which isn't as great quality wise, but I'll always have anyway for the music.

Snacks

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
Honey Stinger crews are my secret weapon when I'm exhausted. Picture popeye after eating spinach.
Honey is also a great source of energy, with very little crash associated.

In addition, you'll want to pick up some:
Protein bars
Trail Mix
Energy Water Tablets

Medication

Advil Pain Reliever
I personally have never used diamox. After seeing the negative side effects first hand and doing some research about safer alternatives, I landed on ibuprofen (Advil).

I'll usually take about 4-600 mgs (2-3 pills) per day, while climbing.
This helps me with altitude sickness and the symptoms associated.
Obviously if you have medical conditions that prevent you from taking this, do not take it.

Small First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits
While the guilds on your trip will have first aid kits, it's nice to keep some baby powder and Moleskin in the event of blisters.

I'll pretty much always get some tiny blisters, which can be easily treated with the moleskin and baby powder.
Without treating, you'll still be fine, but uncomfortable... which is no fun.

You want your summit experience to be happy, not hoppy (from blisters).

Saving money

Whoa... This is a lot of stuff to buy, and if you don't plan on climbing much more.. it can be a deal breaker.
While a lot of stuff can actually be bought in Moshi HOWEVER!! We know a place with rentals!

Summit jacket
Summit pants (Ski pants)
Waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers
Gaiters
Pair of walking poles
Warm Gloves
Day Pack
Duffle Bag

$50
$50
$25
$25
$25
$25
$25
$50
$50

We once again recommend buying your boots and breaking them in ahead of time.
Items not on this rental list can be bought in Moshi for cheaper than it would be to rent and we'll be happy to help you with whatever you need!

Copyright 2018 Black Crow Tours