Packing for Kilimanjaro

Just visiting Tanzania for over a week would require an immense amount of luggage and packing. The task of bringing enough to climb Kilimanjaro (a mountain that brings you through five climate zones from base to summit) did not put me in the greatest of moods. However, the process of collecting and organizing all the gear turned out to be interesting and therapeutic (organization!).

Our trekking operator provides some larger items like tents and sleeping pads, and many operators also provide additional rental equipment such as boots and sleeping bags (yikes). However, a fair amount of our equipment is flying with us. My checked bag weighs in at about 43 pounds (7 pounds under the airline’s weight limit for free checked baggage) and my carry-on managed 11. Luckily some of that weight will not be making the trip up the mountain.

What’s Included

Most trekking companies have their own recommended gear lists, but here are some of the highlights of mine.

Communication & Electronic Equipment

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPad 2
  • International power adapter/converter
  • Mercury 4s solar charger
  • Nikon D80 + 18mm-200mm lens + spare battery

Water Supply

  • Camelbak 100oz./3L reservoir
  • Camelbak Thermal Control Kit
  • Climb for CP water bottle
  • Sawyer Squeeze .1 micron water filtration system


  • 5L dry bag
  • 25L dry bag
  • 35L dry bag
  • 25″ x 42″ canvas duffle bag
  • Camelbak Highwire + rain cover (carry-on bag and the day pack for hiking Kilimanjaro)

Clothing & Accessories

  • Balaclava
  • Base layer pants + shirt (for summit day)
  • Calf  gaiters
  • Down-filled jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Gloves
  • Lightweight, breathable pants + shirts
  • Lightweight, waterproof pants + jacket
  • Many pairs of hiking socks
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Sweat-wicking t-shirts
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Wool cap


  • Lightweight hiking/camp shoes
  • Waterproof hiking boots

Other Stuff

  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp
  • Notebook + pencil
  • Passport + other travel documents
  • Prescription drugs (for malaria prevention, food poisoning, and altitude sickness)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Textbook
  • Trekking poles (I don’t really like using poles, but Phil demanded I bring them)
  • Watch

Team Luggage

So now that you know what we’re carrying and the day we’re leaving, please don’t rob us on the way to the airport. Thanks!