Kilimanjaro Gloves and Walking Poles - Climb Kilimanjaro Guide
Climb Kilimanjaro Guide
machu picchu gear

Kilimanjaro Gloves and Walking Poles

walking poles

There are two types of gloves you should take on your Kilimanjaro trek – inner and outer gloves.

Like base layer clothing, inner gloves provide the next-to-skin insulation that is critical when trekking in cold temperatures (and it will get really cold on the upper reaches of Mount Kilimanjaro).

Outer gloves are thicker, waterproof and provide the shell protection needed to prevent freezing hands.

In addition to gloves you will also need to take trekking poles.

Below we provide glove and trekking pole recommendations.

Kilimanjaro Gloves

Inner Gloves

In terms of inner gloves, you want to make sure to get a pair that has great wicking properties (synthetics, wool or even silk) are good. Do not go for a cotton inner gloves as these will restrict moisture transfer. You should also make sure that the gloves provide a good thermal lining and are lightweight.

Here are some really affordable and good thermal liner hiking gloves. We recommend Under Armour liner gloves.

Outer Gloves / Mitts

We cannot stress the importance of having good outer gloves or mitts. Your hands will be the first to start freezing on summit night. Cold hands are super debilitating and painful.

The perfect outer gloves provide warmth and are waterproof, without being cumbersome or too bulky. Essentially you want gloves that provide some dexterity, whilst also providing exceptional warmth, water resistance and durability.

Based on these criteria we recommend the following gloves: Black Diamond Guide Gloves, Outdoor Research Southback Gloves or for a very affordable but excellent outer glove, the Dakine Scout.

Trekking Poles

Trekking is one exercise that puts serious strain on your major leg joints and knees. This is particularly true on Kilimanjaro where the average trek length is 7 days, with 5-8 hours of hiking each day. Add in the rough terrain that undulates frequently and you can see why most people complain of sore legs.

The best way to reduce the impact of long-distance trekking on your knees and joints is by using trekking poles. In fact good trekking poles can reduce the impact on your knees by up to 25% – as assessed in a 1999 study by The Journal of Sports Medicine.

We recommend using trekking poles as a mandatory hiking accessory on Mount Kilimanjaro, as they offer better balance on trails and reduce stress on joints during ascents and descents

Key characteristics to look for in a pair of hiking poles are:

  • Weight: Heavy poles (>350 grams) tend to be better at enduring long and sustained treks across rough terrain as they are often more durable. Light poles (
  • Adjustability: Good trekking poles should be fully adjustable. There are two main adjustable systems – lever-locking or twist-locking. We recommend lever-locking systems as they are easier to use, and more durable (despite being slightly heavier)
  • Grip: Pole grips are usually made from cork, rubber or foam. Cork is a good grip material and super durable, but not as good as rubber in terms of insulating warmth (which is a factor on Mount Kilimanjaro). Foam is the least durable type of grip but the best at wicking moisture away from the grip and hands. If we were pushed to recommend a grip type for Mount Kilimanjaro we would say rubber or form, for their warmth / wicking properties, but cork is still our overall favourite for its durability and lower susceptibility to chaffing the hands and causing blisters.
  • Material: The Pole itself is usually constructed from lightweight aluminium or carbon fibre (which is lighter than aluminium). We don’t have too much of a preference here, as long as the structure is sturdy and mid-weight.

Recommended trekking pole brand and models

The market leader for trekking poles is Black Diamond. We recommend two models from their range. At the premium end the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles are incredibly good, or the cheaper alternative – the Black Diamond Ultra Distance.

Other great brands include Leki – recommended model: Leki Corklite trekking poles and Komperdell – recommended model: Komperdell C3 trekking poles.

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

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

Kilimanjaro Bags

Bags Kilimanjaro Guide - Packing List

From the Kilimanjaro kit bag to your day-pack. In this section we have provided useful recommendations on the all important duffle and daypack bag requirements.

See Bag & Daypack

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 gloves and trekking poles you should take with you? Leave a comment below and we will respond within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment:

Ellis Basford says March 9, 2016

Can you buy trekking poles in Moshi?

    Mark Whitman says March 10, 2016

    You can definitely rent, but buying can be a little sketchy.

Julie says March 11, 2016

What is best, Gloves or Mittens and what do you recommend for ladies.

    Mark Whitman says March 27, 2016

    We recommend any of the warm glove / mittens (up to -20 degrees) from brands like The North Face, Dakine, Eider or Black Diamond.

Jordan Walker says April 3, 2016

I’m climbing Kili with my GF in September. We have merino thermals, merino long sleeves, 200 fleece and goretex shell jackets. Will we need a down jacket also? Or will that layering combo do? Cheers

    Mark Whitman says April 4, 2016

    Hi Jordan, I would recommend taking a winter jacket as well. It doesn’t need to be down, a good synthetic jacket will do the job just fine. All the best!

Lizzie says July 9, 2016

Hello and thank you for this!
Do you think the Mountain Hardwear Returnia Gloves would suffice for summit night, with inner wool gloves ?

    Mark Whitman says July 9, 2016

    Hi Lizzie, The Returnia’s are perfect for the job!

      Lizzie says July 9, 2016

      Awesome ! Thanks a lot.

Alexandra Dudley says September 2, 2016

Should I be buying walking poles with pointed edges or flat bases?

    Mark Whitman says September 3, 2016

    Hi Alexandra, I prefer flat bases, but there is no hard and fast rule.

Elizabeth says June 18, 2017

Would you recommend two walking poles? I usually use just one, as I like to have a hand free, but would consider getting a second pole, if it would make a significant difference.

    Mark Whitman says June 28, 2017

    Hi Elizabeth, It is really up to you. Going up you will find that poles aren’t that necessary, or indeed one pole will be sufficient. But coming down it’s useful to have two as the scree can be pretty slippery and two poles provide added support. I would recommend taking two and you can always keep one folded up and attached to your daypack if you don’t need it. All the best!

Laura says April 16, 2018

Hello, which weight Icebreaker base layers would you recommend out of the 200 or 260? Thank you

    Mark Whitman says April 17, 2018

    Hi Laura, I would go for the 200.

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