How to Pack Your Duffel Bag & Backpack for Kilimanjaro

People are often confused about how to pack their duffel bag and backpack for Kilimanjaro or even what bags to bring. Many don’t do the research and are not aware of what it will be like on Kilimanjaro.

To help out, we will go over the type of bags you should bring to Tanzania so you have enough room for all your gear. We recommend having three bags for your trip.
They are:

  • 30 to 35-liter backpack (day pack)
  • 70 to 90-liter duffel bag
  • Rolling suitcase or large travel luggage

30 to 35-Liter Backpack

Daypack on Kilimanjaro

Every day, while you are hiking on Kilimanjaro, you’ll have a backpack. You’ll use it to carry the items you’ll need while hiking between camps.

You’ll have 100% access to it at all times. In it, you should carry a raincoat, an extra jacket or pullover, gloves, toilet paper, camera equipment with batteries, lip balm, sunscreen, water, and snacks.

A 3-liter hydration bladder will contain your water. Each night at the trip briefing the guides will tell you how much water to have in your pack for the next day. Our water porter will clean and fill your bladder.

Most backpacks contain a sleeve that is for a hydration bladder. Place larger items such as rain jackets, pants, and fleece jackets in the main compartment. Pack the smaller accessories, such as gloves or a beanie, in gear bags. The very small items, such as lip balm, sunscreen, and snacks, should go in the backpacks lid. If you are ever unsure what to bring, ask your guide. Your pack will probably weigh between 10-15 pounds each day.


Duffel bags on Kilimanjaro

Your duffel bag will contain everything that you don’t need while hiking. Each morning you’ll pack it before heading to breakfast. After that, you’ll not see it until you arrive at the next campsite. You will not have any access to the things inside this bag during your day hikes. A porter will carry it for you, at their pace, which means it’ll arrive at the next campsite well before you do.

The duffel bag should be exactly that – a duffel bag. Not a large backpack. Not a suitcase. Not a piece of luggage with hard sides or roller wheels. The porters carry your duffel, packed inside a larger protective bag, on their heads! Having a soft bag helps them balance the gear . It is easier on their skulls. They’ll also be carrying a small backpack with their belongings.

Porter carrying bag on head

We recommend bringing a duffel bag with a capacity of 75-90 liters. If you don’t have one, we do rent them.

If you pack lightly, then a smaller duffel bag may be adequate. Remember that your bulky sleeping bag will also go into this bag.
You shouldn’t need more than a 90 liter bag if you follow our packing list.

Most importantly, your duffel bag cannot weigh over 33 pounds when fully packed per park regulations. They will weigh it at each campsite.

weighing gear on Kilimanjaro

For more information on how to pack your duffel bag, go here:


Luggage not needed on Kilimanjaro

A separate piece of luggage for travel is optional as not every climber will have extra belongings that are not related to the climb.

However, most people do bring travel clothing and things such as laptops and books while they travel.

Additionally, you may have camera equipment that you will exclusively use on a safari but not on the mountain. Put these items into your travel luggage which you can store in hotels secure storage room while you are on the mountain.

Travel With Your Duffel Bag and Backpack

The 35-liter daypack should double as your carry-on. See more here:

This is important in case your checked bag is delayed or lost by the airlines. Inside it, you’ll want to have your most important things. We recommend having everything you think you’ll need for the first few days on the mountain. At least, items such as rain gear, a warm jacket, boots, and medications.

If the airlines loses your bag, let our driver know immediately, while you are still at JRO so they can begin locating it. If it doesn’t arrive, we do have a rental shop to replace most items you’ll need while climbing.

The rolling suitcase or large travel luggage is used to bring all of your other belongings to Tanzania. We suggest that you pack your duffel bag inside of this luggage while carrying your backpack separately. Once in the country, separate your gear as described in the sections above.

Final Thoughts

We hope this helps you have a better understanding of how to pack your duffel bag and backpack for Kilimanjaro. We also hope the airlines don’t lose your luggage, but if they do, we will take care of you so you still have an amazing time on your Kilimanjaro climb.

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