Kilimanjaro Duffle Bag - Climb Kilimanjaro Guide
Climb Kilimanjaro Guide
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Kilimanjaro Duffle Bag

kilimanjaro duffel

There are two types of bags that you need to have on your Kilimanjaro trek – a Kilimanjaro duffle bag and a daypack.

The type of Kilimanjaro duffle bag you choose is important as it will hold all of your gear, including your sleeping bag.

Your Kilimanjaro duffle bag will be carried by your porter who will transport your gear from one camp to the next. Porters carry bags on their head so it is important that the bag is soft and weighs no more than 20kg when fully loaded (some operators limit the weight to 15kg fully-loaded).

Key characteristics to look for in a duffle bag:

  • Greater than 80 litre capacity
  • Constructed from waterproof laminate material to ensure your gear stays dry. We recommend packing your gear into separate plastic bags or packing units (see below) to provide extra waterproofing and easy access to sorted gear
  • A strong zipper system that is not susceptible to breaking and can be easily locked. Take a small lock to secure your bag
  • A hand and shoulder strapping system to provide extra versatility

Kilimanjaro Duffle Bag Recommendations

Best Value Duffel: TYTN Duffel Bag

The TYTN (pronounced Tytan) is a great quality 90L duffel bag that is just perfect for Kilimanjaro and other multi-day hiking trips. Constructed from tarpaulin material, that is combined with polyester and lined zippers, the TYTN is super durable and decently water resistant.

It comes with loads of storage as well as a separate shoe compartment to keep your clothes clean. There are also a number of different carrying straps, including shoulder straps that allow the bag to be carried like a backpack.

In terms of value for money, the TYTN duffel is hard to beat – arguably the most affordable 90L on the market. Check it out here.

Good, But Expensive Duffle Bag: North Face Duffel

The North Face duffel bag is a quality bag, but it comes at quite a hefty price. The bag will not let you down but one can’t help but feel that a premium is being paid for the North Face brand.

Available in five sizes – XS: 25 liters; S: 42 liters; M: 72 liters; L: 90 liters; XL: 155 liters. Approximative weight: XS: 1050 g; S: 1250 g; M: 1600 g; L: 1820 g; XL: 2240 g

If you decide to go with the North Face duffel we would recommend the Large version. Click here to review colour variants on the North Face Duffle.


In addition to your duffle bag (which is carried by your porter) you will be carrying your own daypack. In your daypack you should keep all important (suncream, sunglasses, snacks, water), personal (money, passport etc.) or small breakable items (camera, phone etc.).

Your daypack should be small and lightweight. The lighter the better.

Key characteristics to look for in a good daypack:

  • Compression straps to reduce weight stress on your back
  • Side mesh pockets for easy access to your water bottle and other useful stuff
  • Ensure your backpack has a rain cover

Recommended Kilimanjaro daypacks

Best Daypack: Osprey Talon 22

The Osprey Talon 22 is a brilliant day pack that will easily fit all your essentials in a comfortable and well-supported bag.

The Talon is definitely a leader in the lightweight market, providing versatility, high performance and quality design in a neat multi-purpose pack. The daypack also features a special compartment to put your hydration bladder.

Two sizes are available: S/M (20L) and M/L (22L) and the bag retails for ~$100/£70. Both sizes are fine for Kilimanjaro.

Remember to grab a Osprey Raincover and Osprey Hydration Bladder as well if you decide to get this day pack.

Best Value Daypack: North Face Borealis

The North Face Borealis is a multi-purpose day pack. It includes all the key features that are required for climbing Kilimanjaro (including a hydration bladder compartment), as well as useful non-trekking features, such as a laptop compartment.

The Borealis has a 29L capacity and comes in at a cheaper price than the Osprey Talon.

Available in both men and women variants.

Check out the North Face Borealis.

Important Bag Accessories


Depending on what time of the year you are hiking, there is a possibility that you will encounter rain on the mountain. You want to avoid getting your daypack wet. A good rain cover is a worthy piece of kit to have as a precaution. If you are going with the Osprey Talon Backpack we would also get the Osprey Daypack Raincover which retails for the standard backpack rain cover price and is super reliable. NB: select the right size cover (i.e. 19-30 litres)

Hydration Bladder

If you decide to go with a daypack which can hold a hydration bladder, then we suggest you purchase the best hydration bladder on the market. There is nothing worse than a leaky bladder!

The Platypus Hydration Bladder is undoubtedly the best product, hands down!. Where Osprey are strong in backpacks, Platypus rock the CamelBak. The Platypus comes in a 2L and 3L version, the latter is ideal for Kilimanjaro.

Travel Bag Organisers

A pro tip that we have used to great effect on Kilimanjaro are travel bag organisers, which can be used to source separate your gear for better backing and access. They also provide a great way to separate wet or dirty gear.

There are two main suppliers – Eagle Creek with their Pack-it system cater for the premium market, or you could go with the equally good but a lot cheaper Ecosusi Travel Bag system.

Alternatively, if you want to go completely cheapo then use clear plastic bags to separate your gear.

Dry Bags


Encountering rain on your Kilimanjaro trek is always a possibility, especially in the rainforest section of the hike. If you are concerned with the waterproof capability of your duffel or backpack then taking a dry bag or two is always a good idea. These types of bags can fit comfortably inside a duffle, are waterproof and can easily double as a source separator, like the travel cubes mentioned above.

In terms of recommended brands, check out Duc-Kit Pro bags.

Small bag lock for your Kilimanjaro duffle bag

For obvious safety purposes you should be locking your Kilimanjaro duffle bag. Here are some sturdy bag locks.

Kilimanjaro Kit List Continued

Kilimanjaro Clothing

Clothing Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Overview on all Kilimanjaro clothing requirements, including layered clothing recommendations and the all important outer layer (i.e. jacket).

See Clothing

Kilimanjaro Headgear

Headgear Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Here we cover useful gear to keep your head out of the sun during the hot and high solar radiation days that you will experience on Kilimanjaro, as well as keep your head warm and cosy on summit night.

See Headgear

Hands & Walking

Gloves Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Gloves and walking / trekking pole requirements. Both are critical. The former is very important as your hands are the first to start freezing on summit night. The latter can reduce the impact on your knees by up to 20%, which is a major win when you are descending from the slopes of Kibo.

See Hands & Walking

Kilimanjaro Footwear

Footwear Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

From hiking boots to socks and gaiters. Your feet are what get you up Mount Kilimanjaro. Don’t fall victim to purchasing bad boots or socks that will give you blisters!

See Footwear

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

Kilimanjaro sleeping bag recommendations and other useful sleeping accessories, like an inflatable pillow. The sleeping bag you choose is important as the nights on Kilimanjaro can get below freezing.

See Sleeping Gear

Other Accessories

Other accessories - Climb Kilimanjaro Packing List

Kilimanjaro accessories including water bottles and medications. You can also find detailed information on Diamox (the high altitude sickness prophylatic medication) here.

See Other Accessories


Still have questions about the type of Kilimanjaro bags you need? Feel free to leave a question in the comments below and we will respond within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment:

Karim says May 19, 2015

I am planning a climb in July, since its very cold I opted for the North face Dark star (-29C). However its a big sleeping bag that doesn’t compress well. I didn’t care much until I read your comment that it should be inserted in the Duffle bag. I was planning to buy the 90L North face base camp you recommended, But now I am thing the XL would be needed, is that a problem with the porters? Or is the weight the only issue (15kg) and size is irrelevant.

Appreciate your input on this

    Mark Whitman says May 20, 2015

    Hi Karim, The size of the bag is not too much of an issue, as long as you can keep the weight down. I suspect a 90L North Face should be able to accommodate your Dark Star sleeping bag as well as all your other gear, but if you think the XL option is necessary I don’t see that as a major issue for your support crew. As a rule of thumb though the lighter the better. All the best for your climb!

    Edgar says December 24, 2015

    Same issue here, just realised the same with the Dark Star /North Face L and am thinking about going for the XL too. How did it go for you? Did you make the change or sticked to the L?

    Thank you

      Mark Whitman says December 28, 2015

      Hi Edgar, It’s unlikely Karim will answer back but as I said above a 90L duffle should be large enough to accommodate all your gear and sleeping bag. If not than an XL will be fine as long as you keep the total weight of the bag to less than 20kg (ideally 15kg). Check weight restrictions with your tour operator. Cheers!

michael says May 25, 2015

Does the bag need to be a duffel bag or can I use my 70l backpack?

    Mark Whitman says May 25, 2015

    Hi Michael, a 70l rucksack would work fine. Your porter carries your bag so as long as it can carry your sleeping bag and gear and not weigh more than 20kg you will be all set.

Courtney says July 1, 2015

I’m a bit worried about the size of the daypack because I’m only 5′ 3″. Some people have recommended a carrying size of 30L but would a smaller sized bag still suffice? If so, how small of a bag could I realistically get away with? Thanks!

    Mark Whitman says July 1, 2015

    Hi Courtney, you can really get away with a very small bag if you only want to carry the essentials. You need to be able to carry water (approx. 2L), snacks, your camera, suncream, hat, spare fleece and some personal items. So a small daypack can work. Obviously if you want to carry more things, like additional layered clothing then your bag needs to be a little bigger. Generally I travel light, with a small daypack.

Tadji Kretschmer says February 27, 2016

Hi. I know this thread is a bit older, so hopefully I’ll get a response. I’m only 5’3″ and am worried that a 90L duffle bag would be too large for me. However, I’m not sure if a 60L will fit my sleeping bag along with other gear. Specs are: 3lbs, 10 oz; stuff sack size 9.5″ x 19″, stuff sack volume is 22.1 L. On the topic of sleeping bag, it’s rated 0 degrees F (EN for women 3.2F). Do you think that’s warm enough? BTW…I’m a tropical wimp from South Florida. Thanks

    Mark Whitman says March 1, 2016

    Hi Tadji, your duffle back will be carried by a porter so size shouldn’t be a problem. I recommend bags over 80L, a 60L or below tends to be too small to fit all of one’s gear and sleeping bag. That being said, if your pack really light you could probably fit everything into a 60L. In terms of your sleeping bag, 0 degrees F should be more than warm enough. Cheers!

Josh says March 5, 2016

Hi. I have the duffel bag in M (72L). I purchased it a while ago, do you think it would be sufficient?

    Mark Whitman says March 8, 2016

    You should be fine with a 72L duffel. You might need to carry more in your daypack though! All the best!

Sam says May 10, 2016

Hey guys,

I have an Osprey Talon 18 and Kestrel 48. I feel like the talon is too small for the daypack and the kestrel is too big. Should I buy a 20-30L daypack or will I be able to get by with the 18L?


    Sam says May 10, 2016

    Also, I am also bringing a 90L duffel for my things so I don’t mind keeping a little extra in my duffel. I’m mostly worried about the temperature changes and having enough layers in my daypack.

    Mark Whitman says May 12, 2016

    Hi Sam, an 18L is a little bit on the small side, and I would say the 48L is too big. You can get away with the 18L if you are like me and stay super light, i.e. just a hard shell jacket, snacks and water in the daypack, but if you want to carry anything more than you’ll find 18L will be too small. Ideal size is 25-35L.

      Sam says May 16, 2016

      Thanks! I just took this bag to Iceland for some mountain and glacier hiking to test it out for Kili. My biggest issue was not being able to fit both my packable down and mid weight soft shell jacket (500g) comfortably along with my gloves and gaiters. Also, the 3L platypus bladder was hard to push into the back of the talon 18. I will probably go with a talon 33 and meet in the middle.

Reilly says June 6, 2016

Im booked in to hike Kilimanjaro in August and wondering if the bag for the porter has to be a duffel or is my 70L Katmandu Backpack with harness going to be sufficient for them? The Backpack is soft and harness folds away if wanted…


    Mark Whitman says June 6, 2016

    Hi Reilly, Your 70L Kathmandu Backpack will work fine! All the best for your trek!

Adalina says June 16, 2016

Hi Sam, I like your blog. Please keep it up. Actually, I like travelling but I don’t like heavy backpacking. So the Osprey Talon 22 will be the best for me. But I have a question. Does the Osprey 22 is hydration reservoir system? I think it will be very comfortable. Thanks!

Jess Wilson says October 12, 2016

Hi there. I have a Futura Pro 38 bag by Deuter, would that be too big for the day pack? I also have a sleeping bag that’s good up to -19 for a feb climb, is that be warm enough?

    Mark Whitman says October 12, 2016

    Hi Jess, both your daypack and your sleeping bag sounds great and up for the challenge. All the best!

Kate Mullaney says March 17, 2017

Hi! I have read that the Talon 22 doesn’t have much air flow and that it gets uncomfortable while hiking- have you found this to be the case? I was looking at the Osprey Manta 36 instead. Please advise 🙂

    Mark Whitman says March 20, 2017

    Hi Kate, yes, the Talon 22 doesn’t have great air flow at the back because it is such a small / lightweight daypack. The Manta would provide much better air flow but is obviously bigger in size. Personally I would go for the larger daypack as it provides more versatility in the long-run. Cheers!

Candice says July 10, 2017

Hey there,

I am climbing Kili in September and have a question regarding the summit night.

Would you recommend an insulated tube for my 3L Platypus? The friendly people working in my frequent outdoor shops recommend using wide mouths Nalgene bottles (which will be stored in my 36L Osprey Sirrus to prevent from freezing), however I am worried about stressing to stay hydrated while focusing on trying to summit. Also, have tested and cannot seem to get my tube under my clothing.

What would you advice and do you have any tips on preventing the tube from freezing?

    Mark Whitman says July 12, 2017

    Hi Candice, I generally don’t use insulated tubes as I find them cumbersome. If you can find a way to insulate the tube in your jacket hoodie or underneath a neck gaiter then you should be fine. The key is to protect the mouth piece from freezing, make sure to always blow back residual water after each drink. It might also be worthwhile taking a spare water bottle in your daypack on summit night. You can insulate this with a warm sock and keep it buried in your pack, not on the outside. Hope this helps.

stef says July 20, 2017

Regarding the North Face Duffel – I have one that’s been with me on dozens of trips and I love it but it is NOT totally waterproof.

I’ve had it strapped to the back of my motorbike in heavy rain and during times like this water gets in through the bottom of the bag (which isn’t the same material as the rest) and through the zipper (the flap doesn’t cover it perfectly).

    Mark Whitman says July 23, 2017

    Hi Stef, the more recent North Face Duffels should be fully waterproof, but the bottom and zip areas are admittedly weak spots.

Sheri says July 21, 2018

I hike Kilimanjaro and then have a three day safari afterwards. I purchased the Patagonia Black Hole 120L. My concern is hauling the duffle when there’s no Sherpa (e.g. airport, to hotel,etc). There’s a huge price difference for the one with wheels $200. I notice no one mentions duffles with wheels. Is it worthwhile to have? Or a waste.

    Mark Whitman says July 26, 2018

    Hi Sheri, a duffle with wheels is not required for Kilimanjaro and just adds extra weight. The Black Hole is sufficient for the trip but will mean a little carrying at airports ect.

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