Standing at 19,341 feet (5,895m) Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa and the worlds 4th most prominent peak. The least technical of the Seven Summits Kilimanjaro sees heavy traffic from a diverse group of climbers. Mountain Madnesses route up the Western Breach via the Shira plateau offers a more pristine and seldom travelled alternative to those more commonly travelled. 

Though Kilimanjaro is a non-technical peak making the summit still requires a high level of fitness, appropriate clothing, footwear, camping and hiking equipment. From starting your climb in the montane forest below 9,000 feet to summit day, weather and temperature can vary considerably so a carefully curated gear list is critical.

Sleeping kit 

  • 0 degree down sleeping and compression sack: night time temperatures on Kilimanjaro can reach 0 degrees fahrenheit so a warm bag is required for a safe and comfortable nights sleep.
  • Sleeping Pad: An inflatable sleeping pad with a high R value is essential for warmth and comfort; perhaps more so than the temperature rating of your sleeping bag.
  • Inflatable pillow/lined stuff sack pillow: the way you sleep at home should mirror the way you sleep in the field; if you use a pillow at home bring one on your climb.

Head and Face

  • Synthetic or wool beanie: this hat should cover your ears and be warm
  • Sun hat: this can be a visor, full brimmed sun hat, or ball cap. 
  • Buff: a light breathable wool or synthetic buff that provides sun and wind protection for your face.
  • Sunglasses: your sunglasses should be UVA/UVB protectant and spectron cat. 3-4 glacier glasses. A second pair of quality polarized standard sunglasses is a good idea for lower altitude, and in case your primary pair becomes lost or damaged.
  • Balaclava: Medium weight breathable wool or synthetic balaclava for cold windy conditions on summit day. 

Upper body

  • Tech-Tee: two short sleeve quick drying synthetic material tech tees for hiking on warmer days. No cotton.
  • Base-layer tops: one or two long sleeve base layer tops either synthetic or wool. Light colored, hooded base-layers are worn by most guides and preferred because of their sun protection.
  • Mid-layer top: Mid-weight (preferably hooded) fleece top that comfortably fits over base layers and under heavier insulation pieces. 
  • Hardshell jacket: Hooded, non-insulated, waterproof jacket that will fit comfortably over base and mid-layers.
  • Lightweight insulated jacket: Lightweight insulated down or synthetic jacket  that will serve as part of your layering system.
  • Down parka: Heavily insulated hooded parka with high quality down fill (800 fill). Overall parka weight should be 1.5 to 2.5 pounds, and a hood is required for adequate warmth and protection.
  • Lightweight liner gloves: Light wool or synthetic liner gloves preferably light in color primarily for sun protection and comfort in cool conditions.
  • Soft-shell Glove: Mid-weight soft-shell gloves that will offer stand alone protection when it is too cold for liner gloves and not cold enough for mitts or heavy climbing gloves. It is not necessary for these gloves to be waterproof, but they will provide greater utility if they are. 
  • Insulated Mitts: Heavy-weight waterproof mitts with a removable insulated liner. The outer of your mitts should fit over your soft-shell gloves.


  • Socks: 4 or 5 pairs of mid-weight to heavy-weight wool or synthetic trekking socks. If you are planning to wear liners socks make sure they fit comfortably under all your socks. One pair of socks can be dedicated to be worn solely at camp and on cold nights. New socks will make this once in a lifetime experience much more pleasant.
  • Hiking Boots: Modern lightly insulated waterproof hiking boots for hiking in cool to cold conditions
  • Running or walking shoes: These will primarily be worn at camp, and before and after the climb, in transit and on safari.
  • Gaiters: Waterproof gaiters that fit tightly over your hiking boots. 

Personal health and comfort 

  • Toiletries: toothbrush and paste, comb, tampons, biodegradable soap (small amt.), etc. Bring an adequate quantity for the whole trip as there is limited availability in Tanzania
  • Sunscreen: One large tube and two smaller tubes (to be carried in your pocket for easy access) of SPF 30 or better.
  • Lip balm: 2 chapstick style applicators of SPF 15+
  • Ear plugs: 5-6 pair to ensure a good nights rest.
  • Headlamp: 150-250 lumens with dimming feature. Bring at least one pair set of batteries.
  • Adjustable trekking poles: 3 part flick-lock style locking mechanism with a comfortable grip. Twist style locking mechanism poles are not recommended.
  • Personal first aid kit: A good amount of blister first aid, bandaids, and multiple doses each of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, antacid and anti-allergy medication. See Health and Medical Information
  • Personal medications: please bring a slightly greater than anticipated need supply of all 



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