What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?

What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro? How do you dress to hike through Kilimanjaro’s five climate zones? This mountain will require quite a few wardrobe changes, ranging from the equatorial heat of the rainforest (highs of 70–90 degrees) to the ice drifts of the peak (lows of -10 degrees). Depending on the route, the trail begins at a relatively modest elevation of 5,400–9,800 feet. They all begin in the warm cultivation zone. It immediately climbs to a wetter, muggier jungle. Your journey continues in a warm, somewhat arid Heather or Moorlands region once you leave the jungle. But at night, this area may get rather chilly. The Alpine desert, which can be warm during the day but below freezing at night, is what you’ll journey through above that. Finally, you’ll reach the peak zone, which could be chilly, snowy, and windy. So how do you outfit yourself for such a wide range of temperatures?

You won’t simply switch clothes from one zone to the next. Kilimanjaro produces its own weather, and it frequently changes in only a few hours. Under the harsh noon sun, you’ll remove layers, and if it starts to become chilly after sunset, you’ll wrap up. Everything from a chilly wind to rain and mist to a lovely, moderate climate might be experienced in between, What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?

It all requires some thought to prepare for. After all, the 33-pound luggage weight restriction means that you can only pack so much. We’ve fortunately done a lot of the thinking for you! In order to help you identify the kinds of materials to look for, we’ll describe the characteristics of each layer of your garment below. After that, we’ll offer some specific suggestions.


The best way to control your body temperature is by layering. Three distinct layers are required for a layer system to exist. Each layer has a distinct function. A base layer, middle layer, and outer layer are among these layers. The list of essential attire is provided below. Depending on the number of days you plan to spend on the mountain, you should alter the quantity of t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc.


Your skin’s basal layer serves to keep it dry and warm. It accomplishes this by wicking away moisture as it forms on the skin. Typically, this layer consists of a semi-snug-fitting top like an Under Armour shirt or a pair of Nike Dry Fit jeans. Base layers are necessary on both the top and the bottom. Carry at least two pairs—one for summit night and one for sleeping in.

What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?
What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?


The mid-layers’ role is to trap the warmth produced by your body naturally. Use a pullover made of a spandex/polyester blend, a softshell jacket, or the fleece mentioned above to do this. The weather affects what you should wear. The thickness of this layer might vary, What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?


Your outer layer shields you from wind, cold, and rain. You must bring all the necessary weather clothing for Kilimanjaro, including the rain jacket and rain or waterproof leggings. It is imperative to have a warm down or synthetic weatherproof jacket. In order to prevent snow, dampness, and gravel from getting into your boots, you might also choose to pack gaiters. Bring a pack cover if your pack is not water-resistant.


You ought to have something on your head while trekking. Your head will be shielded from the wind, sun, and cold by headgear. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or a cap in warm climates. Wear a beanie when it’s cold out. Avoid thinking “cute” while choosing hats; instead, consider “warm.” Moreover, you should get a balaclava, shemagh, or scarf for your face to protect you from the weather.


Your hands and feet are hard to keep warm, as you are undoubtedly already aware. The human body reduces blood flow to the extremities when the temperature drops. Climbers should pack waterproof boots, mittens, and warm, windproof gloves. Bring multiple pairs of socks as well, and replace them frequently. Rinse them off when you go to camp, then hang them to dry over your tent. Before the sun sets, make sure to get them inside your tent to prevent freezing. The design of the tent wicks humidity into the vestibule, which will make the goods wetter if you hang them there to dry.

  1. HANDS

Here’s what you need:

  • Inner gloves
  • Thermal gloves
  • Ski mittens

Inner gloves

Inner gloves, or glove liners, are a great option for summit night because your hands, which are typically gripping your trekking poles in front of you, are particularly exposed to the wind and cold. Merino or cashmere are excellent insulating textiles.

 Some people decide to use fingerless glove liners to slightly thin out their fingers. You run the risk of having cold fingertips. In either case, you want the gloves to fit snugly for maximum warmth,What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?

Thermal gloves

For your Kilimanjaro climb, you should use your thermal gloves frequently because you will probably need them in the days before summit night.

Ski mittens or gloves

Given that Kilimanjaro’s summit is coated in snow and ice, waterproof ski mitts are a fantastic complement to your hand gear. As you probably already know, mittens provide superior warmth than gloves since they keep your fingers close together. You should look for mittens that are simple to put on and take off because you’ll probably want to do so whenever you pause to get a snack or something similar. But we believe the extra warmth will be worth the work.

  1. LEGS

Here’s what you need:

  • Moisture-wicking leggings
  • Thermal leggings
  • Waterproof hiking pants
  • Fleece pants
  • Gaiters (optional)

Moisture-wicking leggings

Cycling pants or other moisture-wicking leggings make great foundation layers since they are snug and keep you dry. Because the cloth will be in contact with your skin for about 16 hours, make sure they are very comfortable by testing them out! Before summit night, we advise not wearing these pants; if you do, make sure they are entirely dry by letting them air out.

Thermal leggings

One base layer is absolutely insufficient to keep you warm as you approach the Kilimanjaro summit. To increase the insulation, we advise you to layer a pair of thermal leggings over your normal leggings.

Waterproof hiking pants

A nice pair of waterproof hiking pants is the next item you need. You will wear these hiking pants the entire Kili trek. For summit night, we recommend adding yet another layer on top of what would typically be your outer layer for your legs, What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?

Fleece pants

It’s a good idea to bring a pair of loose fleece pants that you can layer over your hiking pants to fend off the chill on summit night. You might choose to layer the fleece pants underneath your hiking pants, depending on how well they fit. Just adding another layer of warmth is what’s important here. But by wearing the fleece pants outside of your waterproof pants, you can more easily take them off if you start to get too warm.


Although they are frequently recommended as optional, we believe gaiters to be pretty essential. The main cause of this is that you go down scree on summit day, and if you don’t wear gaiters, small pieces of gravel frequently find their irritating way into your boots. Another benefit of gaiters is that they prevent the wind from reaching your ankles. Although large gaiters are OK if that’s what you desire, short gaiters are sufficient. Of course, they also offer a little bit of additional warmth.

  1. FEET

Here’s what you need:

  • Boots
  • Sock liners (or thin, moisture-wicking socks)
  • Thermal socks


The best hiking boots for Mount Kilimanjaro have an entire section dedicated to them because they are such an essential component of your trek. Fundamentally, you want well-worn-in, comfy boots that are water-resistant. As you get to camp the evening before the summit-night climb, make sure to give your boots plenty of air. Before you put them on, you want them to be dry.

Sock liners

On a long hiking day like summit day, when you’ll be on your feet for close to 16 hours, sock liners are crucial. They aid in wicking sweat away and are constructed of synthetic materials. Also, they act as an additional layer between your feet and your regular socks, which helps to lessen friction and the risk of blisters, What to wear when climbing mount Kilimanjaro?

You can choose between toe sock liners, which split each toe into its own compartment to prevent chafing, and regular sock liners. Like with anything else you bring to wear on the summit, make sure to hike in them a few times prior to the trip to make sure they fit comfortably and are free of any problems (like a troublesome seam). (Note: resist the urge to wear very short socks called concealed sock liners; they tend to ride down too readily.) As mentioned in our Kilimanjaro packing list, we also suggest that you include a spare pair of socks for summit night.

Thermal socks

On summit night, thermal socks are essential to prevent frostbite on your feet. Make sure your thermal socks and boot liners fit snugly within your boots. This is important. You should keep this in mind when choosing your hiking boots. The warmest socks are often those made of wool or synthetic fibers. Many businesses label these socks as “summit socks.”


We want to emphasize that you shouldn’t pack any brand-new goods for summit night in your kit. You should use or test anything you wear before putting it on. This will guarantee that nothing is broken, unpleasant, or the wrong size.

 In conclusion, Focus East Africa Tours highly recommends each of the above mentioned things for safe Kilimanjaro climbing. What you can live with and what you can’t is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that Mount Kilimanjaro measures 19,341 feet high. That is higher than the base camp of Mount Everest. Although it is the most “walkable” mountain on Earth, Mt. Kilimanjaro still has a hostile environment. Kilimanjaro trekking must be treated seriously. It’s crucial to know how to dress when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Finally, once you reach the summit, you’ll have a ton of photos to post on social media to dazzle your friends.




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