Kilimanjaro Packing List: One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped. Ensure that you are well equipped by print the Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb. Please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its content, to be carried by the porters on the climb, to 15 kg (32 lbs.) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb, can be left at the hotel in Arusha. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions regarding the checklist.


  • Valid passport and visa
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • US$ cash / Travelers Checks / Credit Card


  • Duffel bag – large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
  • Small luggage lock – to lock zippers
  • Day backpack – between 20 – 35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
  • Sleeping bag
  • Ski-pole / walking stick
  • Water bottle / containers
  • Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)


  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
  • Polar fleece (middle layer)
  • Thermal underwear (under layers)
  • Mittens or warm gloves
  • Glove liners (if necessary)
  • One pair thermal (polertex) socks
  • Balaclava
  • Gaiters
  • Thermal water flask


  • Shorts
  • Hiking pants
  • Regular underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Raincoat or Poncho


  • Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots – mid weight boots work great
  • Shoes for overnight camps – i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
  • Socks – several pairs for the climb
  • Liner socks – to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters


  • Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
  • Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
  • Water bottles – two or three (total capacity at least 4 litres)
  • Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sunglasses, good quality dark lenses for the climb, with a securing strap
  • Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries


  • Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, wet wipes, etc.)
  • Towel
  • Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
  • Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
  • Toilet paper
  • Money belt for passport and valuables


  • Headache tablets
  • Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
  • Diarrhoea – Imodium
  • Nausea – Valoid
  • Malaria – Prophylaxis
  • Water purification tablets
  • Painkillers
  • Muscular sprains
  • Abrasions blisters and cuts – Plaster, bandages
  • Antiseptic cream – Betadine
  • Flu and colds
  • Eye drops
  • Insect repellent


  • Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
  • Binoculars
  • Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
  • Pocket knife
  • Notebook & pencil
  • Plastic bags to keep clothing dry (masking tape)
  • Energy snacks and sweets
  • Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod

Equipment that we provide at no charge

  • Tents
  • Warm and comfortable sleeping pad
  • Eureka mess tent
  • Tables / chairs
  • kitchenware is provided (plates / mugs / spoons / knifes)

Kilimanjaro Gear List:

  • Sleeping bag and liner
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking boots
  • Duffel bag/Backpack
  • Binoculars
  • Rucksack / Daypack
  • Sweater/pullover
  • Raincoat/Poncho
  • Fleece pants
  • Hiking poles (Set)
  • Rain pants
  • Gaiters
  • Warm jacket
  • Torch/Flashlight
  • Gloves
  • Balaclava/Scarf
  • Hat
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Long underwear
  • Socks
  • Batteries

Kilimanjaro altitude Sickness: Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or Altitude Sickness is a major concern when climbing Kilimanjaro. Many climbers on Kilimanjaro will experience the early symptoms of Altitude Sickness which include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, loss of appetite and possibly palpitations.

However, AMS is not scary as it seems to be. Please bear in mind that a large proportion of people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer from mild symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness but still make it to the top. There are a number of practical steps that you can take to minimize the chances of having to abandon your climb of Kilimanjaro due to the effects of altitude sickness. Let Chief’s Tours give you the most important tips to minimize the effect on AMS and to enjoy your journey to the fullest:

  • Acclimatize prior to the climb: Easier said than done if you live at sea level but if you are able to spend time at high altitude prior to the actual Kilimanjaro climb, this is the very best way to avoid altitude sickness. Climbing Mt. Meru prior to Kilimanjaro is also an excellent option.
  • Start the climb in the best possible health and with an excellent level of physical fitness: If you are fatigued, unwell or stressed, you are more likely to suffer from altitude sickness. If you have any pre-existing health conditions that you think may make you more susceptible to AMS, we recommend that you consult your doctor before booking this trip.
  • Take it easy on the trail and in camp: You will perhaps get sick of your guides telling you to Pole Pole (Slow down), but they are right! If you overdo it by pushing too hard, you are likely to pay for it later.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Getting up in the middle of the cold night may be an unpleasant experience as altitude dehydrates you. The better you hydrate, the quicker your body is able to acclimatize. You should also avoid all alcohol. Leave it for the celebration after your climb!
  • Eat well: Even though you may lose your appetite, you should eat as much as possible at every meal. This will give you plenty of energy and help you to feel great. The route is unpredictable, so feed yourself properly!
  • Sleep well: Sleeping well in a tent is an acquired skill. Spend a few nights out in your tent and sleeping bag prior to your climb so that you have your routine nailed, and become used to sleeping in a sleeping bag on a hard surface.
  • Relax and think positive: Although the vast majority of people suffer only mild altitude sickness (which is like a hangover), please don’t think that every headache or cough is terrible. By relaxing and enjoying the climb, you are far more likely to have any trouble.

Kilimanjaro Guides: The metamorphosis from porter to guide is a lengthy one. Having served one’s apprenticeship by lugging luggage as a porter, a few lucky and ambitious ones are eventually promoted to the position of assistant guides on Kilimanjaro. These gentlemen are probably the hardest working people on the mountain. While they still essentially remain a porter, in that they have to carry their fair share of equipment, they are also expected to perform many of the duties of a fully-fledged guide – including, most painfully of all, the escorting of trekkers on that final, excruciating push to the summit. Their reward for all this effort is a slightly higher wage than a porter (Ts54, 000-60,000 per six-day trip), a commensurately greater proportion of the tips – and, perhaps most importantly, the knowledge that they have taken that first crucial step towards becoming a guide, when they can leave all this hard graft behind and wallow in the privileges that seniority brings.

Kilimanjaro Foods: During your climbing time, you will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner each day spent on the mountain. The food, specifically selected to help your climb, are:

  • High energy carbohydrate foods that are easily digestible.
  • The primary carbohydrate of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables accompany every meal.
  • Meat is served on the mountain but not in large quantities because it is not easily digestible at high altitude and nor does it keep well on the mountain.

We resupply the team with fresh food throughout the climb.

Water is collected from mountain streams and treated with water purification tablets. Water is provided only at the campsites so you need to carry enough water, usually about 3 liters, to stay hydrated while you hike.

BREAKFAST: Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Toast, Biscuits with Margarine, Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey, Eggs, Sausages or Bacon, Porridge or Pancakes, Mango, Orange, Pineapple, Banana, Avocado, Watermelon.

LUNCH: Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Vegetable Soup, Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey, Chicken Curry, Rice, Chapati, Green Beans, Peanuts, Popcorn, Cake, Cookies, Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Carrots.

DINNER: Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Vegetable Soup, Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter, Honey, Spaghetti with meat sauce, Potatoes, Rice, Pasta

You may want to bring some supplementary “comfort” foods, such as candy, gum, chocolate, health bars or powdered energy drinks. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. For those with special diets, please contact us to discuss what we can or cannot do. Note that food selection is limited in Tanzania, so although we will try to please all clients, in some cases clients will be asked to bring their specific food items to us, which our cooks will prepare.

Kilimanjaro Porters: Guides and porters are compulsory for all routes on Kilimanjaro. The importance of having competent, high quality guides cannot be overstated when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. All weather adventure has the best local guides, all of whom are fluent in English and have received extensive training in first aid, mountain rescue, flora and fauna, and history. It is not allowed to climb Kilimanjaro without a guide.

The porters do not only transport your gear and the supplies up and down the mountain. Arriving at every camp site long before you, they will have already erected your tent on your arrival. In the evening they will also boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner of a quality that has surprised many previous clients.

Kilimanjaro FAQs:

How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

We have a policy never to run trips less than seven days because it’s too dangerous to try and go to nearly 6000 metres in any less time. Of course, probability will always dedictate that some people do, but on the whole those people suffer more and are putting their health at risk from potential altitude sickness.

What is the Weather like on what the weather like on Kilimanjaro?

Expect warm early days to be 18 – 20 degrees Celsius, cooler days up higher around 14 degrees C and summit day to be as cold as minus 5 with a wind-chill of minus 15 degrees C. The mountain doesn’t experience a wide temperature range from season to season, so it’s much the same throughout the year.

How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

A full breakdown of Kilimanjaro trip inclusions and exclusions is on each route page but as an average the Machame route cost is around 1895.00 GBP for a fully guided trip. Other routes are a little more expensive because the transport to the gate is farther away. Additionally you will need a flight to Kilimanjaro airport near Arusha in Tanzania, a visa which you can buy on arrival, travel insurance, and personal expenses like meals in Moshi, kit rental and tips.

How hard is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

The terrain on Kilimanjaro varies during a period of seven or eight days and the days vary in terms of hardness. You are traversing the mountain over about 38 miles, ascending from 2000m to 5895m and back down, passing through cultivated farmland, equatorial forest and alpine heath, across a lunar-like volcanic desert and up to a glaciated summit. It is not a technical climb and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment needed, but it is high! And the weather and temperature variance will make it tiring on your body.

What experience do I need for Mount Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is non-technical but it does offer a full mountaineering experience. Experience in hill walking is a benefit but not absolutely necessary, since this is a supported climb. You will have however be outdoors constantly and living in tents so any sort of experience with camping will be useful and a good level of training is expected, especially on the thigh and calf muscles.

What support will you get on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The staff will carry your main bag plus all the tents, kitchen equipment, food, fuel, tables and chairs. They will cater for all the group needs, providing excellent meals and putting up the tents. The guides will also brief you daily on the climb and they will assist you all the way to the summit and back down again. They have been working for us since 2001 and are fully trained and very experienced.

Kilimanjaro Private Toilet Tents: Once you decide on a Tour Operator for your Kilimanjaro climb, you will have the option to add on additional things to make your climb more comfortable and adding a private toilet to your climb will be one of those options. In this post I hope to shed some light on the bathroom situation on Kilimanjaro to help you make the decision on if you should add a private toilet to your climb.

What is a private toilet anyway? It’s a portable camping toilet brought up the mountain for private and exclusive use by you and the other members of your group. The porters will set up the private toilet close to your camp each night in its own ‘royal tent’. There are two main reasons climbers opt to have a private toilet:

Cleanliness – Private toilets are for exclusive use by only your private group. So it has way less traffic than the public outhouses at the Kilimanjaro camps, and naturally it smells much better than their public counterparts (“better” being a relative term here!)

Convenience – Depending on the location of your tent and it’s proximity to the camp outhouses it can sometimes be a challenge to get to the outhouse at night when there is no light or in foggy conditions which often occur on the mountain. Having a private toilet also means a lot less waiting for others to finish using the outhouses.

The public toilets at each of the Kilimanjaro camps are essentially outhouses where a wooden structure has been built to cover a hole in the ground to capture human waste. The public Kilimanjaro toilets are comparable to the toilets that you would find at many remote national parks in the U.S. and similar to the experience of using a port-o-potty aka portable toilet. There is no running water and thus no flushing. Due to this, the smell can be pretty awful, as you might expect.

Kilimanjaro insurance: Travel Guard’s Deluxe, Preferred or Essential plans will protect you against trip interruption, trip cancellation, delays and unforeseeable expenses, such as lost, stolen and damaged baggage; medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. Travel insurance is required to participate on our trips. Ultimate Kilimanjaro strongly recommends purchasing these plans through Travel Guard immediately after booking for complimentary additional benefits.

When obtaining insurance, it is recommended that you get confirmation direct from the insurer, of exactly what is covered. This is because even though a certain policy may have covered a certain contingency historically, and a friend or travel company may have recommended that insurer or specific policy for that reason, the insurer may have decided subsequently to no longer cover that contingency. This often happens when a large number of claims are made from within such contingencies and the insurer decides that increasing the premium cost to itigate against the increased risk of payouts from is likely to have the effect of reducing purchases of that premium.

Kilimanjaro Tipping: This is a “compulsory tradition” on every Kilimanjaro climb. We recommend giving a tip of between US $ 200 to US $ 250 per climber to the mountain crew at the end of the climb. The exact tipping amount depends on group size and how many days were spend on the mountain. We recommend giving the tip to the main guide who will then distribute the tip among the mountain crew.

The average recommended tip per group per day:

  • Chief guide – US $ 20 per chief guide per day from the group
  • Assistant Guide – US $ 12 per assistant guide per day from the group
  • Cook – US $ 8 per cook per day from the group
  • Porters – US $ 6 per porter per day from the group

It is recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have descended from the mountain.

Immunizations & Health: When preparing for you trip to Kilimanjaro, one step of the process will be to consider which vaccinations and immunizations you will need. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention is a great source for recommendations and below I’ve summarized what they have to say. However for entry into Tanzania, there are NO REQUIRED immunizations, with the exception of Yellow Fever and even the yellow fever vaccination is only required if you are coming from a country that has yellow fever present. In general, I think it’s best to be armed with the below list of vaccinations as talking points with your physician and then deciding which ones you should get prior to your trip to Kilimanjaro.

Yellow Fever: As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of confusion on if a Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into Tanzania. So I’ll dispel any myths on that topic first: You only need to show a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination to enter Tanzania if you are arriving from a country that is at risk of yellow fever transmission. Review that list and if the country you reside in is not on the list, then you are not required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination, but of course you can consider it. The only other caveat is if you have a layover that is longer than 12 hours at a airport that is in a country with yellow fever, then you will require it as well for entry into Tanzania.

Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a liver disease and can be contacted via contaminated food or water, so regardless of where you are eating or staying in Tanzania, anyone without the vaccination would be at risk. Again it’s not a required immunization for entry, but contaminated food or water in Tanzania is a possibility and if you do not have this vaccination you should consider it. It’s a 2 dose vaccine, given to you 6 months apart (you have to go back for the second dose for it to be effective!)

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is contracted thru sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products. So consideration for this vaccine should be given if you think you might have sex with a new partner, plan on getting a tattoo or piercing or might have/need a medical procedures while in East Africa. This vaccine is actually given in 3 separate doses. You need to get the second vaccine roughly 1-2 months after the first dose and the last dose is given s 6-12 months after the first dose.

Typhoid: Similar to how Hepatitis A is contracted, you can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Tanzania. Straight from the CDC website: “Travelers to Asia, Africa, and Latin America are especially at risk.” Although the meals on Kilimanjaro are not “adventurous” in nature and Tour Operators go to great lengths to make sure you food is fresh and clean, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Malaria: Malaria is another disease that is spread through mosquito bites. The CDC indicates that symptoms usually show up in 7-30 days from being contracting malaria, but in some cases can take up to one year to develop. For Tanzania, areas that are under <1,800 m (5,906 ft) in elevation have malaria present. There is no vaccine to prevent malaria, but you can take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip. There is more detailed information about malaria in Tanzania on the CDC website as well.