Mountain Trekking Equipment – Packing Checklist

Mountain Climbing Equipment Checklist is vital as proper equipment is extremely important to the success, enjoyment, comfort and safety of your trip. Please bring the following items for your climb. Porters will carry up to 22 lbs (10 Kg) of your personal gear, no more! If you pack by this list, you will meet the weight limit. If you wish to have additional porter support, we can accommodate you. If you have any questions or would like extra support, please let us know well in advance.

Mara Expeditions believes that all-mountain travel equipment should follow two simple tenets: Lightweight and Functional. Functional equipment determines how warm, dry, and safe you will be, so always choose equipment that is of good quality, is dependable, and is adaptable to a variety of extreme conditions.

Clothing impacts not only your comfort but also your safety. Always be critical of the quality and the proper fit of your clothing. Cotton clothing must be avoided because it absorbs moisture, dries very slowly and is a poor insulator when wet. Instead, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that “wick” the sweat and moisture away from your skin.

Mountains have their own climate on account of their height. Rain clouds can appear without warning and be gone hours later. An early morning frost is possible at any time of the year and guests should bring a fleece and light rain jacket, although during the heat of the day shorts and T-shirts should suffice.

We recommend a four-layer clothing system.

Base Layer

Manages moisture and keeps perspiration away from your skin. (Polypro, capilene, driclime)

Soft Shell

Should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water-resistant layer that breathes well. The main Softshell fabrics are Polartec Wind Pro, Gore Windstopper N2S, Schoeller; each clothing manufacturer has its own. 200 weight fleece can be substituted for our Softshell recommendations but is not as versatile as how it may be used when layering.

Hard Shell

Windproof, waterproof and breathable. (e.g. Gore-Tex, or similar)

Insulating Layer

Should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (e.g. down, Primaloft or polar guard) These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder bring one extra medium-layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably won’t use.

Sleeping Gear

4 season sleeping bag and a liner: night-time temperatures can be as low as -15°C {5°F} so bring a warm bag.

Sleeping pad: full-length Therma-Rest or equivalent.

 Head and Face

  • Fleece or wool hat: it must cover the ears
  • Shade hat: a visor hat with a good brim is essential for protection from the equatorial sun
  • Bandanas: various uses – cleaning glasses, sun protection when tied around the neck, etc.
  • Sunglasses or Glacier glasses: essential eye protection whether in the tropics, at high altitudes or by the water.

 Upper Body

T-shirts: two t-shirts that will get dirty; Patagonia Capilene is best. No cotton.

Long underwear top: one medium weight and one heavyweight long sleeve Patagonia Capilene, pull-over is best.

Fleece or softshell Jacket: This is what you will be wearing while hiking at higher altitudes or while around at camps at lower altitudes. These jackets should be full-zip and accessible. Call for more details on “Soft-shell”.

Gore-Tex Parka: a good parka made of Gortex or waterproof nylon that has been seam sealed. Afternoon showers are common in East Africa.

Down or Synthetic Jacket: This layer is to keep you warm, especially at those higher altitudes. the Patagonia Puffball Jacket is perfect for this trek.

Fleece Glove: a lightweight glove to use while trekking and hanging around camp

Shell Gloves: A shell system of a fleece liner and waterproof shell that handles cold. Brands such as “OR” make a shell system that can be bought together.

Lower Body

Undergarments: adequate supply for the entire climb

Hiking shorts: one pair of quick-drying shorts; good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain

Long underwear or tights: These can be worn under heavier layers on colder days or worn by themselves on warmer days, which are why tights are good.

Soft Shell Pants: soft-shell pants are water-resistant, yet highly breathable and durable. Great for colder conditions over a pair of long underwear or tights. Patagonia guide pants are a great brand.

Gore-Tex Pants: a lightweight pair of pants to keep you dry when raining or snowing hard. Full-zips are convenient.


Thin socks: two pairs of polypropylene socks to wear under heavy wool socks; help prevent blisters and keep feet dry

Thick socks: two pairs of heavy wool or polypropylene socks, medium to heavyweight.

Hiking boots: one pair of light to medium weight hiking boots large enough to be comfortable with one thin and one heavy sock. (Use tried and tested boots to avoid blisters and take a good supply of Compeed blister plasters)

Gaiters: One pair of gaiters made of breathable material; keeps dirt and mud out of boots. OR Crocs are great.

Tennis shoes or sandals: to wear in camp after a day of hiking

Personal Health

Toiletries: toothbrush and paste, comb, tampons, biodegradable soap (small amt.), etc.

Sunscreen: bring plenty of sunblock with an SPF of 15 or more. It’s easy to underestimate the amount necessary for equatorial sun protection.

Lip balm: must have an SPF rating of 15 or more

Earplugs: to block out snoring and other noise to ensure a good night’s sleep Flashlight and/or headlamp: bring extra batteries

Adjustable ski poles

Towel: for wash up in camp

Towelettes: individually wrapped anti-bacterial towels are great for general hygiene

Spare contacts or glasses: contacts can be a problem in dusty conditions; glasses wearers should have a spare set

Umbrella (optional): protection from rain and sun; compact and lightweight Portable chair: (optional): Therm-a-rest and Crazy Creek both make light-weight, comfortable portable chairs.

Snacks: (optional): if there is something you particularly like to eat while hiking, bring some along. You will be fed well throughout the trip, so this is just something extra.

Plastic sandwich bags: keeps personal items separate and dry


Water bottles: two one-quart, wide-mouthed plastic bottles. If you use a collapsible water bottle or hydration system you are welcome to bring it along for drinking water. However, continue to bring at least one hard plastic bottle in addition. These can be used in cold weather as hot water bottles in your sleeping bag. (Example: Nalgene)

Water treatment tablets: one small bottle of Potable Agua or Polar Pure crystal iodine; purifies drinking water while on the trek.

Water flavouring: powdered additives like Tang, Gatoraid and Wyler’s lemonade make treated water taste better.

 Carrying Gear

Day pack: with padded shoulder straps and waist belt; used for carrying personal gear such as water bottle, extra clothing, snacks, camera, etc. Individual loads will be between 10 and 20 pounds. A climbing pack with a volume between 25-30 litres serves most people’s needs well.

Large Backpack: gear will be kept in it and the entire Backpack will go into the group mountain bag that will be carried by the porters. Limit loads to items on the equipment list. Your large Backpack cannot exceed 22 lbs. Approx: 28″x16″x16″ No wheels or hard sides, please.

Medium duffel bag: to store your non-mountain gear; this will be stored at the hotel, to be used after the climb and will be brought to your hotel.

Baggage tags: makes identifying your bags easy at the airports or hotels

Plastic bags: sleeping bags and clothes will be double-bagged while on the mountain for protection from afternoon rains. Heavy-duty garbage bags work great and can store dirty or wet clothes as well.

Personal first aid and drug kit

The “common stuffing” – one in a group is enough.

Skin wounds – antiseptic towels or water syringe (to clean the wound), butterfly bandage (for smaller cuts), sterile gauze pad and bandages (both cotton and elastic) for larger wounds, latex gloves (when things get bloody).

♦ Blisters – leukotape both for prevention and treatment

♦ Diarrhoea – Imodium, Endiex or something similar

♦ Cold, flu – Theraflu or something similar 

♦ Various pain (head, teeth) – painkillers 

♦ Lots of dehydration salts

Game Viewing

Binoculars: essential for game-viewing; 7×20 to 10×40 recommended (magnification x field of view)


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