Kilimanjaro Accessories – Useful Bits and Bobs

There are various Kilimanjaro accessories that you should take on your trek. We cover these in the checklist at the back of Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit.

Here are some of the most important Kilimanjaro accessories.

Kilimanjaro Accessories

Water Bottle

A good water bottle or hydration bladder is a must. To ensure you remain well hydrated and stave 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 2 x 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.

Hydration Bladder

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. Avoid exposure 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 Big Zip Water Reservoir – it’s undoubtedly the most reliable and best value on the market, or the Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine – 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 boost. We recommend Gatorade.

Other Accessories

Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitiser

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 (biodegradable) should be more than sufficient, together with either a bottle of hand sanitiser or a pack of sanitizing wipes.

Sweat-Resistant Sunscreen

Don’t just get any sunscreen. You are trekking to a high altitude where the sun intensity is high, so you will need a high SPF (greater than 30). You will also be exerting yourself so sunscreen that is sweat-resistant is important.

Make sure to bring sun protection lip cream as well.

Camera

The scenery on Mount Kilimanjaro is extraordinary.

Bring a decent camera to capture the experience. Here is a great value SLR Camera, or if you want to go super light and capture awesome videos we recommend taking a GoPro.

Click here to see our review on the GoPro and watch some awesome Kilimanjaro videos.

Spare batteries

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 a backpack solar charger which is getting popular on Kili.

Ear plugs

If you are a light sleeper we recommend taking earplugs. 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 day’s hike. If you want to ensure you get that extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning, earplugs are a useful addition to your gear.

Ziplock 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.

Small lock

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.

Energy bars

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 (women)

We only hear good things about female urination devises and their use on the mountain.

Medications

Many people go wild on taking with them various medications. Others bring virtually nothing. The amount and type of medication you take is really up to you. We suggest taking these three medical supplies as they are the ones that usually come in the handiest.

  • Paracetamol for headaches
  • Valoid for nausea or vomiting
  • Imodium for diarrhoea

Note: your guide will be carrying a first aid pack that should have most medical supplies in it.

Blister Plasters

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. To reduce pain quickly use plasters with gel. 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 tale that duct tape works well. In fact, duct tape is not breathable and hence the skin saturates under the tape and the blister worsens.

Insect Repellant

A basic insect repellant is important. Make sure to get a reliable brand that has a high Deet content – greater than 90% (Repel is great). 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 set up 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.

Books or 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.

Insurance

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 use the quote calculator below to get your insurance.

Kilimanjaro Packing List Continued

Discover what Kilimanjaro gear you need, choose a category.

FAQs

Still have questions about Kilimanjaro accessories? Leave a comment below and we will respond within 24 hours.

30 thoughts on “Kilimanjaro Accessories – Useful Bits and Bobs”

  1. Hello,

    Confused about most things with regard to packing for Kili. Today I am wondering about water bottles. Will probably take a hydration system but also plan to take 2 water bottles. Trying to decide between plastic/steel. Have been looking at Nalgene, Camelback Eddy and Stainless Steel options. Like the idea of being able to fill the bottle with hot water for use in sleeping back. Would be grateful for any advice on same? (Climbing July 5th)

    Reply
    • A combination of hydration bladder and water bottles is a good idea. I don’t have a specific preference for Nalgene / Plastic or Stainless Steel, and in effect it doesn’t matter too much on Kilimanjaro as the only time you risk water freezing temperatures is on summit night. Here I would recommend insulating your bottles with warm socks, and insulating your hydration tube. Make sure to blow water back into the bladder and keep the tube covered where possible, as it will freeze if exposed to the outside environment.

      Reply
    • Hi. Simple is best. Bring 2, 1 liter Nalgene bottles. Large mouth. If you love warm liquids then bring a small thermos that won’t leak. The plastic Nalgene bottles don’t break and are easy to use. You can even put hot water in them at night and slip them in your sleeping bag to warm up your feet.

      Reply
  2. Hi!
    I read some stuff about solar charger to charge phones/ipod… once on the mountain. You put it on your backpack? Would you recommand those ? If yes, what brand or model would you recommand?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Chris, it has been a few years since I used one of these chargers. They work pretty well on Kili and are worth the investment if you do multi-day backpacking trips where access to charging points are limited. I can’t recommend an exact brand as the technology has moved on a lot since I bought mine, but I have heard good things about the RAVPower. All the best!

      Reply
      • Hi,

        I am thinking of getting a solar charger, my questions is did you carry it while walking hanging from the backpack or did you have enough time at camp?

        Reply
  3. Just curious what we will carry on summit night? From my itinerary we return to the camp we left and then carry on down the mountain.

    Reply
    • Hi Joseph, you will be carrying your daypack with things like a spare set of gloves, water, snacks, camera, extra layer etc in the pack. If you are approaching from the southern side via Barafu, then you will return to Barafu before continuing your descent to Mweka. Hope this answers your question.

      Reply
  4. Hi – where can you buy Iodine water purification tablets? Do they have to be Iodine? I have the Oasis purification tablets (same as the picture above) which have Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate in them?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. As far as pants go. Can I get away with one pair of convertible pants. And one pair of trekking pants. And on summit night just wear fleece base pants underneath? $is running out lol.

    Reply
  6. Hi,

    I would like to travel to other parts of Tanzania after climbing Mt. Kili, which means I will have more luggage than just the hiking stuff. Do you know if it is ok/safe to leave excess luggage with the tour operator during the Mt. Kili trek (collect them after the trek)?

    Many Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Phoebe, Most trekkers leave their non-trekking gear at the pre-hotel before the climb. It is absolutely safe to leave your luggage here. If you hotel doesn’t offer this service then I’m sure your tour operator can store your luggage safely. Cheers!

      Reply
    • Hi Sue, Comfort is key after a long day of trekking in your boots. I recommend either a pair of comfortable trainers / trekking sandals that can be worn with warm socks. Or even Uggs. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. Can you advise on contact lenses? I wear lenses but if it’s windy may need to wear my “blind as a bat” specs? – do the sunglasses you recommend fit over specs?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Deirdre, I also wear contact lenses, and have climbed regularly at altitude without having to resort to specs. I would take your specs just in case, but I’m sure you will be fine with contact lenses. Just make sure you clean your hands before applying the lenses. I have had one bad experience where some dirt got into my eye after inserting a contact lens and resulted in conjunctivitis. In terms of Julbo sunglasses these are designed to reduce the amount of UV entering the eye, so they fit pretty snug and wouldn’t work well with specs underneath them. All the best!

      Reply
  8. Hi Mark, we are planning to trek in October, I note you can hire some kit can you confirm what pieces are available to hire please as this could be effective for both cost and weight on flights. Many thanks Christine

    Reply
    • Hi Christine, Almost all gear items can be hired in Kilimanjaro, however, I would definitely bring your own hiking boots and clothes. I would check with your tour operator to confirm what gear can be hired and what they recommend you bring.

      Reply
    • Yes, it is possible to hike without porters (i.e. just with a guide, which is mandatory). I would recommend looking at the Marangu route as it has huts and therefore you can avoid carrying tents / loads of camping gear. Most operators won’t offer a guide only service, so you may need to shop around a lot to find one that will take you on this basis.

      Reply
  9. Hi, on the pants, in the picture you have above, the model seems to be wearing a pair of ski pants. Would ski pants that can be worn over normal pants or thermal underwear do, or would they be an overkill? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Jon, ski pants are fine, although they are not the most comfortable pants to wear for trekking. I would wear them over a thermal base layer. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  10. Hi, What Power banks/Solar chargers are best used for an 8 day Trek (Lemosho Route). I am flying Ethiopian Airlines LHR to Addis Ababa to Kili and will be charging and iPhone X (on airline mode).

    Reply
  11. Hi, I am a bit confused about the insect repellent. You mentioned it should have a high Deet content but Repel seems to be Deet-free. Could you please confirm if I have looked to the right product?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply

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