I’m a Girl- What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb?

What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb?

Packing can be an arduous chore for any trip (trust me I know this more than ever now that I have to think about what to pack when travelling with a baby on most trips), but packing for a Kilimajaro climb is a completely different ball game. On my recent trip to Kathmandu, for example, I stupidly packed only summer clothes thinking it was going to be hot, but I arrived to a wet, gloomy city where everybody had long trousers and rain coats. Whilst slightly annoying, this was no big deal, in fact it gave me a great excuse to venture to the shopping district and spend my first few Rupees! Make the same mistake on Kilimanjaro and it could be a matter of life and death…. So after reading many blogs and websites detailing what I should and should not pack (many of which I absolutely did not agree with in the end) I feel it is my moral duty to share what, in my opinion, is everything a girl REALLY needs to pack for a Kilimajaro climb.

What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb?

Reading through the clothes sections of packing lists can be somewhat overwhelming- 6 socks, 8 T-shirts, 4 sweatshirts, etc etc. I found it easier to organise what I would be taking by seasons (I also organised my backback this way to save hunting through everything everyday). They say that climbing Kilimanjaro is the equivalent of trekking from the equator to the north pole in terms of climatic zones- so this inevitably requires some careful thought when it comes to packing- especially seen as you are usually limited to 15kg luggage (I will write about the new porter regulations and the economic benefits of this in a later post)!

I’m a Girl- What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb? 

Clothes: Season 1

You will sweat, so take dry-fit clothing. It is very difficult to dry your clothes, especially seen as it gets super cold from day one at night. I recommend;


-A lightweight pair of walking trousers/shorts

-Some waterproof trousers (it is often wet in the rainforest)

-A couple of dry-fit vest tops/T-shirts

-A light-weight waterproof jacket

-Sports bras

-A couple of pairs of ordinary hiking socks

-Some warm track-suit bottoms for wearing at night/to sleep in

-A fleece for the evening (I wore my North Face fleece to death on the mountain)

-Something to cover your head (the sun is STRONG on the mountain)


Clothes: Season 2

In addition to the above you are likely to need the following;


-Mid-weight walking trousers

-A couple of long-sleeved dry-fit tops

-A warm sweater for the evening

-Thick socks (I used ski socks) for the evening

-A warm hat

-Think gloves/ under-gloves


Clothes: Season 3

Layering is key on the mountain to ensure that you are warm enough. Whilst you might do some layers in season 2, it is crucial for season 3. On the last night I literally slept in every item of clothing I had packed! I took the following items with me:


-Warm trousers for summit night (I took ski trousers and they were perfect)

-A warm jacket (I took a ski jacket)

-Thick hiking socks

-Thermal under layers (I found that winter running gear was better quality than the stuff labelled ‘thermal’ so make sure you shop around)

-Warm gloves (I took ski gloves)

What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb?  


-Hiking boots (I bought Karrimor boots which were excellent value)

-Trainers for wearing around camp (you will want to give your feet a break)


Climbing/Camping Gear

-Walking poles were DEFINITELY my friend on this trip

-60 litre rucksack (your porters will thankfully carry this for you but I don’t recommend you get any bigger than 60L as you will just end up packing more than you need!)

-Day bag (this will be filled with water so will be pretty heavy at times- make sure that you get one that fits well and has good support)

-Waterproof cover for your bags

-hydration bladder/water bottles (you are not allowed to take disposable bottles on the mountain)

-Travel towel

-3/4 season sleeping bag (you WILL get cold so buy a warm bag!)

-Sleeping bag liner (this gave me a little extra warmth and I’m glad I took it but it;’s not a necessity)

 What Do I REALLY Need to Pack for my Kilimanjaro Climb?



You have no option to buy medicines on route so it is imperative that you have what you need for the climb, I took the following;


-A couple of packs of Ibuprofen (this came in useful for altitude-induced headaches on the ascent and sore knees on the descent)

-Altitude sickness tablets (we took Diamox which we bought online via a company called Dr Fox)

-Plasters for blisters on your feet

Vitamins (because my immune system is rubbish)

-Imodium (because having a poorly tummy is a real possibility)


-Contraceptive pill (I skipped my period that month because I couldn’t think of anything worse than leaving used tampons on the mountain and not being able to shower…) Check out this post for more on camping with your period!

-Toilet paper (you’ll be hard-pressed to find this anywhere on the mountain)

-Hand sanitiser 

-Water purification tablets (the porters will get your water from the rivers)


Other Stuff


-Book/kindle for the evenings


-Portable charger

-Spare camera batteries

-Head torch (how else will you find the toilet at night?!)

-Spare batteries (if you’re anything like me you will accidentally turn your torch on inside your bag and leave it that way ALL day)

-Snacks (especially useful for summit night-I recommend you bring from home as Tanzanian mars bars are not very nice!)

-Energy gel pouches (these honestly saved me during summit night- better than a mars bar any day!)

-Make-up (people will tell you not to take make-up but I planned to share my photos with friends etc and I wanted something to cover the bags under my eyes!)

-Basic toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush etc)

-A compact mirror (because otherwise you’ll forget what you look like…)

-Wet wipes, LOTS of wet wipes! (I think this one is self-explanatory)

-Phone (Contrary to my expectations there actually was signal on the mountain, albeit from Kenya and not Tanzania)

Tea bags (I only drink green tea so took some with me, they did provide lots of ordinary tea though)

Nail varnish (your nails will look filthy after a couple of days so a dark colour can help cover this up make you feel a little better!)


What You DON’T Need

-Gaters (what even are they?!)

-Lots of changes of clothes (you’ll stink anyway, give up the game)

-Shower gels, shampoos etc (you wish!)

-Lots of entertainment (I fell asleep really quickly and it was too cold to keep my hand out of my sleeping bag to read my book)

-Sheewee or similar item (seriously, if you’re hard enough to climb a mountain, you’re hard enough to squat behind a bush)

-Sentimental items (I read on one blog that the writer took a teddy bear and printed photographs from home- I had no space for this even if I wanted to take such items!)


So that’s pretty much everything I packed. I’d love to hear your thoughts/ questions- what have you packed for your climb? What are your recommendations?


Want to hear more about my climb? Click here to read about my love-hate relationship with Mount Kilimanjaro or watch my YouTube video below!