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Essential Clothing for Kilimanjaro


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: September 5th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
Hi, I wish to climb Kilimanjaro with my 19 year old son (I am 54). We are a bit confused by the clothing advice. Some say you must have 2 layers of thermal underwear, multiple fleeces, softshell, down jacket goretex jacket, Everest mitts and liner gloves, beanie, balaclava, rain pants, hiking pants, hiking shirt, etc. We live in Western Australia where there are no mountains or snow, so my son would not need the gear again.
What would you advise, please explain the layering in detail. We are happy to purchase what is required and maybe rent the down jacket (we have goretex jackets, but are not sure if they will fit over all the gear if worn together.
Do you wear everything at once, or down jacket only at night?
Please explain in detail, as we need to spend money wisely.


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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: May 9th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
Has the climbing outfit not provided you with a list of gear you can rent onsite? Down mittens, jackets, sleeping bag, gaitors, poles, etc., etc. for only a few dollars per trek? Renting gear will also cut down on your checked luggage, and surely safe you a bundle if you're not using it again.


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: September 6th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
You don't say when you are climbing - that will have an impact on how many layers you need. I went in February and during the day wore shorts and t-shirts. At night above 3000m the temperature drops sharply and you will need more layers and a 4 season sleeping bag. On summit night you'll probably wear everything in your bag. On top I wore 3 x thin wool thermals, a tshirt, one thick wool thermal, a mid-weight fleece, and down jacket. On bottom I wore thermal leggings and ski trousers. I was cold, but not unbearably so. Its your hands and head you have to look after - it can be so windy at the summit and I'd definitely recommend taking a balaclava and at least one other beanie to wear on top. And dont forget sunscreen and sunglasses for when the sun comes up.

I'd agree with the previous post, that its not worth forking out hundreds for a down jacket etc if you wont wear it again. Look at renting but beware things might be a little 'smelly' unless quite new.


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Armchair Traveler
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Joined: August 17th, 2007

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
I summitted in July and wore two layers of long underwear + wind/water resistant trousers on bottom, and three long sleeve shirts + fleece + down jacket + rain jacket w/hood on top. I get cold easily, so I had a lot of layers on top! Plus, balaclava and thick hat on my head. For me, having a hood was essential, even with my hats, because of the wind. I had extra socks and liner gloves on under my boots and mittens, along with those disposable hand and foot warmers, and my fingers and toes were still COLD. (Again, I normally get cold easily). So, from my perspective, more is better. I was cold most nights, and I have a sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees/-7 celsius, plus a sleeping bag liner, plus I wore my thermals.

I concur with the other posters, however, if you aren't going to use the gear again, definitely ask what will be available to hire, but just know that you are stuck with whatever sizes they might have, so you may still want to invest in a few key layers. Another option is to donate your gear to your guides and porters when you leave. They would most certainly appreciate it!
place I call home: Minneapolis, MN


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Joined: April 16th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
It depends on the season and personal tolerance. I went in February.
For lower body. I have one pair of pants, North Face convertible trekking pants, without any thermal layer for the entire trip including summit day.
For upper body. I wore one base layer for the normal trekking plus a NF TKA 100 fleece when we got a little higher in altitude. I wore my REI Hard Shell plus a Marmot Flurry for summit day. My Flurry is worn outside of my hard shell. You should get a zero degree bag. I slept entire trip with base layer in my sleeping bag and I was fine.
To recap my entire clothing inventory.
1. Life Is Good Baseball Cap: $15
2. Mountain Hardwear Peruvian Hat: $20
3. Bandana for neck protection: $5
4. 2 base layers (duofold light weight) $10 each on sale
5. 1 NF TKA 100 fleece $25 on sale
6. REI Hard Shell: $99 on sale
7. Marmot Flurry: $75 from Ebay
8. Light weight fleece gloves from Campmor.com: $10 on sales
9. EMS brand snowboarding gloves: $15 on sales
10. Patagonia Capeline 2 boxerbriefs: $60
11. My NF Convertible pants: $25 on sale
12. 2 pairs of light weight trekking socks and 1 pair of heavy weight socks (for summit day): $25
13. My trusted Asolos TP520 goretex: $150
14. 0 degree down bag (I could have gotten away with 20 degree): $200

The total is about $750, but I own most of them for a long time now, so it's not that expensive for me. Please note, I'm a climber, I do ice, rock and mountaineering, so all of them are tested with my tolerance. You definitely should try a few things before hand.


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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  • Added on: September 8th, 2008
Thanks for all the replies. We intend going in December. The outfitter has sent us a list of stuff and some can be hired. We just wanted the experienced view, as it was confusing to know whether we would need 2 thermal underwear layers (one thin, one thick), shirt, 2 fleece layers (one thin, one thick), softshell, down jacket and goretex jacket and pants, etc. Some say 1 thermal layer, 2 fleeces and a goretex jacket (and hire down jacket). Other say we need more. We will try and worki it out in detail and plan whay should be hired and what we should buy.
Thanks again. Pieter.


Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 18
Joined: August 30th, 2007

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  • Added on: September 8th, 2008
Hi, firstly my friend lives in Perth, Paul Stenton, do you know him? He sells boats.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. It also depends on how much you feel the cold and the heat. I tended to take lots of layers so I could add or remove as required. Firstly I would highly recommend the Helly Hansen Lifa thermals which are very light and they seemed to be perfect for all conditions - I sometimes find that I get really hot with normal thermals and these kept me at a perfect temperature.

Take a look at this site I put together after I've climbed KILI. It includes a list of stuff I'd recommend taking: Trek Kili


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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  • Added on: September 20th, 2008
GreenCode, I do not know Paul Stenton. We could not display your website.
I think we now mostly have the clothing issue resolved. One needs quite a lot of stuff!!!


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: July 16th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 22nd, 2008
We have just returned from a successfull trip to Kili, travelled with Tusker, who were absolutely superb. You need to cater for all eventuality in weather, we had 85 degrees (daytime) for the first two days, which was nice but once the sun sets the temperature falls dramtically, the higher you get the colder it is, at Barafu camp we had minus 10 degrees centigrade at night. We did the Lemosho route, really good route not many people, and very good acclimatisation to the altitude. I suggest you have look at the African Travel Resource website which has a full list of suggested clothing to take. All our group summitted OK, with no problems, my wife and I are both 50. Good luck

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