Good news is that all treks on Kilimanjaro are organized tours where you'll have porters to carry most of your equipment. But this also means that you need to focus on the essentials as there are (luckily) restrictions on the weight each porter is allowed to carry. Therefore I focussed on packing things compact and split my luggage into a main bag which the porter carries (clothes & camping equipment) and a day bag (camera gear, water, extra clothes):
Duffel Bag (main bag) – I chose a 60l duffel bag which is convertible into a backpack to fit all my clothes as well as the sleeping bag. The size and shape was perfect to fit into the porters’ bag – on top of that this Bag is completely waterproof, so you & your porter don't need to worry that your clothes get wet.
Hiking Day Pack (waterproof) – for the day I had a lot of camera equipment so I choose a bag which can hold all my camera gear plus some food, altogether 3l of water and additional layers (rain gear, down jacket, extra shirt). If you don't have a waterproof one you should take a rain cover.
The weather on the mountain is unpredictable so you can have several seasons in one day. In general you need to bring many layers as it gets colder the higher you trek. The amount of items is based on an 8 day trek in September/October so simply adjust it according to your trek length and season.
Regarding the number of shirts and underwear you don't need to be afraid: there are no showers on the mountain, personal hygiene is therefore limited. Nobody will blame you for wearing the same hiking shirt for several days. My best advice is to have a clean set of “camping clothes” which you only use when in the camps.
Make sure to get proper hiking boots and break them in well in advance in order to be comfortable.
As stated above most of the camping gear (tents, chair, table, food & drinks) will be provided by the tour operator, this often includes even a mat. You can usually rent also a sleeping bag from the tour company. Make sure to check with your tour operator in advance to know what is included.
One shouldn't forget the essentials – you should extend it to your own liking.
Here I cover everything apart from camera gear I took with me on our trek.
In order to film the video documentary I came with a lot of gear unlike the majority of visitors. Of course this part of the Kilimanjaro packing list can be shortened, therefore you can find a camera recommendation below which won't cost you a fortune ;)
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Highly recommended! Joseph created a fantastic, customized tour for my family. He listened to our many criteria and put together a wonderful package. He was always available and very responsive. Since we were on a safari that utilized flights within Kenya, there was no opportunity to enjoy Joseph's company (as others have commented). However, he made it a point to come to the airport at the start of our adventure and make sure we were all set. This was a small gesture that epitomized his character (I don't think this would have happened with a large tour provider). March 2023
This was our first safari and such an unforgettable experience. Communication with Joseph, the tour operator, was quick and easy. The proposed itinerary he provided was informative and we were able to easily modify it before finalizing everything. We enjoyed all the places we stayed at and there was something unique about each one. The game drives were just wow (super sawa sawa!). The tour guides/drivers (John in Kenya and Rajam in Tanzania) put in a lot of effort in finding the animals at the top of our list (leopard, rhino, calves, as well as a cheetah hunt and the most awesome selfie with an elephant). Each game drive was unique. There were so many encounters that left us awestruck—we’re still ooh ahhh-ing over our pictures and processing everything we experienced. Joseph was with us for the whole trip; he was quite knowledgeable about birds, which was a bonus. He also assisted with logistics (providing documents quickly for visas needed prior to arrival, getting us through border crossings, and arranging dinner reservations at a restaurant we wanted to go to prior to taking us to the airport). This was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had and we have White Plains Safaris to thank for that. They are reliable, prompt, friendly, and well worth the money. February 2023
Our experience with White Plains Safaris and Joseph was amazing! The service was impeccable since the very beginning: during the reservation process, Joseph was extremely helpful, flexible and very honest. After booking, he supported us in any way he could, including paying for our Visas as we had some issues doing that online by ourselves! He was also very helpful in creating the itinerary, which proved to be amazing as it offered great game drives and diversity of landscape. Things kept being perfect throughout our trip; the accommodations he had reserved were very nice and always positioned perfectly, to avoid extra driving. During the game drives he was very accommodating and always asking for our feedback to make sure we had the best time. He brought us in amazing spots thanks to his unstoppable Land Cruiser and we got to see many animals including 3 leopards from very close! We also enjoyed his company very much and he was always able to answer our questions and providing interesting insights on the animals, the parks and Kenya in general. We always felt safe and well taken care of, so I would (and will) strongly recommend Joseph and White Plains to anyone looking for a good time in Kenya and Tanzania. January 2023
White Plains Safari provided me with an incredible experience, they were really easy people to get to know and it felt like I had made another friend at the end of my trip. Their service was excellent, they were really outgoing and did their ultimate best to show us everything they could, even if it meant going out of their way in order to do so, they were very reliable and I personally had no concerns regarding their reliability. In terms of the tour itself, I would one hundred percent recommend my trip to Kenya to anyone, especially with White Plains Safaris. White Plains Safaris helped make my trip an experience I will never forget. May 2022