What To Wear On Kilimanjaro

Temperature Levels on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is no ordinary mountain, and what you wear on the climb is essential. It has extreme temperature fluctuations, ranging from tropical at the base, to near-freezing at the summit. Selecting suitable clothing is as important as taking the right gear and planning the right itinerary.
When climbing Kilimanjaro, it is important to dress in several layers. This means wearing items which are lightweight, waterproof and warm. Your attire should also be comfortable, breathable and non-restrictive. It is a good idea to wear several thin layers, which can be taken off and added on as the temperature changes. The best way to achieve this is to go for synthetic or wool layers, as these allow for easy layering and regulate body temperature.
Starting at the bottom of the mountain, shirts, shorts and trousers are generally suitable for the hike. Avoid wearing jeans and other heavy items, as these are uncomfortable when climbing and cause your body to overheat. A waterproof jacket and trousers are also a must-have, especially when rainfall is expected on the way.
When attempting to summit Kilimanjaro, the weather conditions can be extreme. Thus, warm and waterproof clothing is an essential. This should include several layers of thermals, fleece and down jackets, hats, gloves and even a balaclava. Synthetic and wool should be chosen over other materials, as they offer the best insulation, with minimal bulk. It is also a good idea to invest in good-quality mountaineering boots, as they offer superior waterproofing and improved ankle support.
The most important aspect of choosing the right clothing for Kilimanjaro is comfort. All items of clothing should be well-fitted, comfortable and non-restrictive. Not only will this reduce the chances of getting blisters, but also help to regulate body temperature and improve your overall performance. Before setting off for the climb, it is always best to prepare in advance. This includes familiarising oneself with the weather, prior to packing for the ascent.

Footwear for Kilimanjaro

Good quality footwear can be the difference between getting to the top or not. For trekking Kilimanjaro, invest in quality mountaineering boots which are made up of waterproof material and offer superior ankle support. It is essential to break in your boots before the ascent, as this lowers the chances of developing blisters during the hike.
Choose wisely with regard to socks, opting for those made of synthetic or wool fabrics. Not only are these better suited to the conditions of Kilimanjaro, but also provide superior insulation and moisture regulation. Investing in insoles and thick socks is also a good idea, as they offer better protection and cushioning during the climb.
Gaiters are equally important, as these prevent the buildup of snow and the entry of pebbles, water and other foreign objects into the boot. They also provide superior insulation and help to keep the feet dry.
Before setting off for the hike, it is important to inspect all boots and footwear for signs of wear and tear. Additionally, be sure to lather your feet in waterproofing agents like beeswax and anti-fungal cream.

Protecting from the Sun on Kilimanjaro

It’s always important to apply sun protection when climbing Kilimanjaro. Choose a good quality, broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF factor.This should be worn at all times, including when snowcapped and during acclimatization.
A wide brimmed hat is also essential, as this protects the face and eyes from the sun. It is important to choose one with a good quality fabric, which is breathable and provides good coverage. This can be supplemented with a breathable neck tube, which is ideal for protecting from the sun and the cold.
Sunglasses are also a must have. Not only do these protect the eyes from harsh UV rays, but also block out snow and wind. Choose glasses which are lightweight and shatterproof, with quality lenses.

Lighting and Safety on Kilimanjaro

Lighting is essential when climbing Kilimanjaro. Carrying a good quality head torch is essential, as it helps during the summit attempts which take place during the night. Apart from this, it is also essential to carry an emergency kit. This should include first aid items like pain relief, antibiotics and wound dressings, along with other items such as a pen knife, compass, fire lighter and whistle.
Finally, helmets and climbing harnesses are often recommended for use on more dangerous sections of the mountain. Choose one that is lightweight, comfortable and provides good coverage.

Physical Preparation for Kilimanjaro

Despite the requirement of good clothing, the most important factor for a successful ascent is physical preparation. Climbing Kilimanjaro can be physically demanding, with days of 6-7 hours of walking. This is why it is so important to be physically prepared before setting out.
This includes beginning an exercise regime several months before the trip. Engaging in endurance-type activities such as running, hiking, swimming and cycling is beneficial. Additionally, ensure to take regular breaks while climbing Kilimanjaro, during which you should drink or eat something and allow your body to rest.
Apart from this, it is also essential to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates and high energy foods such as cereal bars, trail mixes, nuts and oat meal. Serious training and practice should be undertaken before attempting to summit Kilimanjaro.

Proper Hydration on Kilimanjaro

When climbing Kilimanjaro, dehydration is a very real concern. To ensure the body remains well-hydrated, it is essential to drink at least 4-5 litres of water every day. Many climbers opt for sports drinks which contain salts and minerals, as these replenish minerals and electrolytes which can be lost during heavy exercise.
Carrying a water filter or purification tablets is also a must have, as these help to purify any water supplies. Additionally, consider carrying some sort of thermos, which can help keep warm drinks throughout the day.
When the weather is cold, it can be hard to drink the required amounts of liquids. Many climbers opt for hot drinks, such as herbal teas and hot chocolate, to increase hydration. This helps to stay warm and hydrated, during the chillier nights on Kilimanjaro.

Stay Dry and Warm on Kilimanjaro

The higher reaches of Kilimanjaro can be cold and wet. Thus, it is important to carry appropriate waterproof clothing on the climb. Not only should waterproof jackets and trousers be carried, but also items such as gaiters and fully waterproof boots. Additionally, invest in quality fingerless gloves, which are ideal for keeping the hands warm whilst allowing for flexibility during the climb.
Additionally, consider carrying spare layers, such as fleeces and down jackets. These offer good insulation and help to regulate body temperature. Thermal liners, wool and synthetic base layers, mittens, hats and balaclavas are all options for staying dry and warm on the summit night.
Finally, carrying a sleeping bag liner is also important, as these provide extra warmth during the night. They also prevent skin from coming into contact with the cold ground and can be easily rolled up and stowed away when not in use.

Altitude Protection on Kilimanjaro

Altitude sickness is a common problem on Kilimanjaro. To reduce the risk of this, it is best to take some form of altitude protection. This should include items such as electrolyte drinks, energy gels and energy bars, which are essential for maintaining energy levels during the summit attempt.
Oxygen canisters may be carried by some climbers, which are portable and offer relief to those suffering from severe altitude sickness. Additionally, some opt for medications such as Diamox, which helps to minimise the onset of altitude sickness in the first place.
Finally, altitude tents can be useful for those who struggle with altitude sickness. These simulate lower altitude levels, allowing climbers to sleep in a ‘safe’ environment. This helps to reduce the effects of altitude sickness and aids in recovery.

Essential Snacks for Kilimanjaro

To help maintain energy during such a strenuous trek, it is essential to carry energy snacks. Not only are these essential for maintaining energy levels, but also help to prevent hunger, fatigue and dizziness.
Choose wisely in terms of snacks, opting for those which are high in complex carbohydrates and have plenty of fat and protein. Examples include energy bars, trail mixes, nuts, dried fruit and seeds.
A few days into the trek, it can be beneficial to reduce the calorie intake. Low-calorie snacks such as pretzels, crackers, beef jerky and peanut butter can help to maintain energy levels, without risking over-eating.
Additionally, hot drinks are always a good idea when climbing Kilimanjaro. These can include coffee, hot chocolate and even herbal teas, which can help to keep a climber warm and hydrated throughout the ascent.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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