There are various accessories that you should take on your Kilimanjaro trek.
Here are some of the most important Kilimanjaro accessories.
After reading this article, make sure to grab our complete Kilimanjaro gear list.
A good water bottle or hydration bladder is a must.
To ensure you remain well hydrated and starve off the symptoms of altitude sickness you need to drink between 2-3 litres of water each day.
We recommend drinking 500ml before starting your trek in the morning and then refilling before you set off.
To carry 1.5-2 litres of water you will either have to take 2x 1L water bottles or use a 2-3L hydration bladder, which sits inside your daypack with a tube direct to your mouth.
In terms of water bottles we recommend the plastic CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle
which comes in 0.75L and 1L variations.
It is common for water to freeze during summit night.
To avoid having frozen water make sure that each bottle is well insulated. A good solution involves placing your water bottles inside a thermal sock, and then keeping the bottle inside your daypack (instead of exposed to the elements in the mesh pockets that sit on the outside of most daypacks). Another useful tip is to keep your water bottles upside down as liquid freezes from the top.
If you have a daypack that can hold a hydration bladder then we recommend either the Platypus Water Reservoir – it's undoubtedly the most reliable and best value on the market, or the Osprey Hydration Bladder – also an excellent product. Both water bladders come in 3L versions which are perfect for Kilimanjaro.
Tip: The only risk with hydration bladders is that the exposed end of the tube can freeze on summit night. To avoid this make sure you tuck the exposed end of the tube into your jacket after each sip of water.
Water Purification Tablets
Water on Kilimanjaro is collected from mountain streams by porters during your trek. It is very important that you treat this water with iodine purification tablets to avoid getting an upset stomach. The best Kilimanjaro operators will boil and treat your water, but it is worth taking every precaution as an upset stomach can result in ending your climb early.
We recommend taking 1x pack of 50 tablets. These Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment Tablets are good.
Iodine makes water taste a little unpleasant. Moreover, just drinking water can result in a rapid fall in plasma sodium concentration which accentuates dehydration. Add a sports drink isotonic or hypotonic solution (which aids water absorption into the blood and body cells), improves flavour and provides an energy boast. We recommend Gatorade.
Plan your Kilimanjaro trek
Get a quote from our recommended local Kilimanjaro operator
Trekking Kilimanjaro is strenuous exercise. By day two you are going to be a ‘smelly’, sweaty human being.
Your guides will provide you with a small bowl of tepid water and soap after each day’s trek as well as first thing in the morning; however, using a bowl of water to clean yourself is not the easiest thing to do. Much easier is using wet wipes to clean your hands and rub yourself down.
One pack of wet wipes should be more than sufficient.
Sweat Resistant Sunscreen
The scenery on Mount Kilimanjaro is extraordinary.
Click here to see our review on the GoPro and watch some awesome Kilimanjaro videos.
We recommend taking spare batteries for your headlamp and camera. Running out of power on your camera just as you want to take that killer summit picture is not fun. A spare SD Card for your camera is also a good idea. There are no charging points on the trek so you might want to bring one of these backpack solar chargers which are getting popular on Kili.
If you are a light sleeper we recommend taking ear plugs. The stillness at night means that sound travels really well. Many people stay up late sharing trekking stories, and those who get to bed early sometimes snore, which can make sleeping difficult. Moreover your porters and guides are usually up early getting ready for the new days hike. If you want to ensure you get that extra 30 minutes sleep in the morning, ear plugs are a useful addition to your gear.
Zip lock bags
Your day pack is going to be exposed to the elements during your hike. Exposure to dust and rain is common. To protect your valuables (i.e. wallet, money, binoculars, camera etc.), we suggest taking a few zip lock bags.
Your duffle bag will be carried by porters. Typically your gear will be safe but we still recommend taking a bag lock to secure your belongings.
Taking energy bars on your trek is the easiest and most effective way to snack and keep your energy levels up. We suggest taking 2-3 energy bars for every day you are on the mountain (so if you are doing a seven day hike that would mean you bring twenty-one energy bars). Make sure your energy bars are not predominately milk based as they will freeze on summit night, making it impossible to chew. High energy oat bars are good.
Energy drink supplement
Many people don’t like the taste of water, especially after iodine has been added. An energy drink supplement will mask the taste of iodine as well as provide you with additional energy during your climb. We recommend using an isotonic or hypotonic Octane solution. A good rule of thumb is to drink half a litre of water first thing in the morning and then continue to drink another 2.5 litres during the hike. Gatorade is a good isotonic drink supplement.
Pee Bottle (for the ladies)
We only hear good things about this from the ladies. See options here.
Many people go wild on taking with them various medications. Others bring virtually nothing. The amount and type of medications you take is really up to you. We suggest taking these three medical supplies as they are the ones that usually come in most handy. 1. Paracetamol for headaches. 2. Valoid for nausea or vomiting. 3. Imodium for diarrhoea. Note: your guide will be carrying a first aid pack that should have most medical supplies in it.
Trekking up to 5-7 hours a day can result in painful and debilitating blisters. Treat blisters early and take immediate measures to reduce friction. When applying a plaster, make sure you remove excess moisture from the blistered area and use a good blister plaster like those from Leukotape P or Compeed. It’s a wives tail that duct tape works well. In fact duct tape is not breathable and hence the skin saturates under the tape and the blister worsens.
A basic insect repellant is important. Make sure to get a reliable brand that has a high Deet content – greater than 90% (Repel make a great product). Tanzania is a malaria zone. You will not be at risk when on the mountain but will be at risk before and after your climb. You should take malaria tablets if you plan to stay in Tanzania before or after your trek.
Trekking Towel (optional)
A medium lightweight trekking towel to dry your hair, face and hands after a rainy days trekking.
Toilets and toilet paper
Toilets on Kilimanjaro are notoriously bad. You can decide to brave the toilets or you could request that your tour operator organise a portable loo which will be carried and setup at each camp by a porter. This is completely up to you. We have used both and although a portable loo is pleasant, we feel it removes the authenticity of trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro. Portable loos can usually be hired for approximately $150-$200. You will also need to bring your own toilet paper – one roll should be sufficient.
Please note: some tour operators include a portable loo as standard on their treks – our recommended operators include portable toilets on all their treks.
Books / Kindle
Bring some Kilimanjaro / Tanzania reading material for context. Rick Ridgeway’s The Shadow of Kilimanjaro provides great background information to Kilimanjaro overlaid by a fascinating story about his journey on foot to the Roof of Africa.
For more recommendations see our list of favourite Kilimanjaro books.
You should have trekking and travel insurance for Mount Kilimanjaro. Remember to write down your policy number and ideally carry a copy of your policy on you. If something does go wrong on the trek you will want to contact your insurance company immediately. We have written a detailed guidance article on how to choose the right insurance cover here.
Alternatively you can get a quote from World Nomads.