Everything you need to conquer yourself on the trek to Point Lenana.
1 or 2 sets of thermal base layer (top and bottom)
Keeping warm at the mountain is non-negotiable, and a good thermal base layer ensures you remain toasty on the cold mountain nights and the summit morning. Thermal wear keeps you warm by insulating your skin and wicking sweat and moisture away from your body.
We recommend getting two thermal base layer sets — one for sleeping in and another for the final summit morning. If you are on a tight budget, you can get one set and reuse it.
1 polyester t-shirt per day
A good hiking t-shirt is made of quick-dry, breathable material, and polyester is our best recommendation. Avoid cotton t-shirts at all costs, as cotton absorbs and retains sweat and moisture easily, making your experience unbearable.
We recommend getting one t-shirt for every day on the mountain so that you can stay fresh throughout. If working on a tight budget, you can reuse one every two days.
2 or 3 pairs of quick-dry pants or shorts
As with t-shirts, your hiking pants should be made of quick-dry, breathable material. This way, they dry faster in case of unexpected showers and allow sweat and moisture to escape your skin.
1 or 2 fleece jackets
A fleece jacket is light and warm. You use it on top of the thermal base or quick-dry t-shirt while hiking. Use it to keep warm when the weather changes while hiking or at night when going to sleep. You can improvise with a warm hoodie.
1 or 2 windproof jackets
A windproof jacket protects you from the elements when it is windy. It prevents wind from penetrating your inner layers, keeping your body heat regulated.
1 waterproof jacket
A waterproof jacket keeps you warm and dry when a sudden shower hits. You may get a raincoat, rain poncho, or rain jacket. They should all work just fine.
Our best recommendation is the 3 in 1 windproof, waterproof jacket with detachable fleece. It helps you hike light, as you simply tear off the layer that you do not need at any moment.
1 pair of fleece pants
As with a fleece jacket, fleece pants should be equally light and warm. Wear them over the thermal base layer to keep warm at night. You do not need specialized fleece pants–feel free to improvise with sweatpants or other warm pants.
1 or 2 puffer jackets
A puffer jacket is warm and light. Use it as an additional layer to keep warm at night, and when needed during the climb. If working on a tight budget, you can improvise with a hoodie or by carrying extra t-shirts to improve your layering.
A pair of summit pants
A good pair of summit pants are waterproof/water-resistant and warm. Use these as the outermost layer on summit day.
1 or 2 pairs of waterproof gloves
Waterproof gloves keep you warm and dry while hiking. Use them in case sudden showers strike.
1 or 2 pairs of woolen gloves or mittens
Use these to keep warm at night.
1 or two balaclavas and/or hiking buff
Use these to protect your face from wind, sunburn, and frostbite. Go for a windproof, breathable material such as polyester that quickly wicks moisture away from your skin.
4-6 pairs of thin socks
For everyday use on the trail and as a base layer for your feet. Use your fair judgment to decide if you need more.
At least 3 pairs of thick woolen socks
Use these to keep warm at night and on summit day. Use your fair judgment to decide if you need more, but ensure you spare two pairs for summit day.
A pair of waterproof hiking boots
The best outdoor experiences start with comfortable, dry feet. A decent pair of waterproof hiking boots could be the first thing that keeps you alive in adverse weather–and especially on the snowy trail on summit day. Combined with several layers of thick and thin socks, waterproof hiking boots ensure your feet remain toasty throughout your ascent to Point Lenana.
No need to rob a bank getting a brand new one. You will get the same value from a used hiking boot so long as it is in good condition at the time of purchase. Budget: Ksh 4K‑6K for a used boot or Ksh 9K‑25K for a brand new one.
Tip: Go for one size larger than your regular shoe size. This ensures a comfortable fit when going up and down steep slopes, and of course, the extra space comes in handy when you need to don four pairs of socks on summit night at such destinations as Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
A pair of sandals or slippers
Slip these on to allow your feet and toes to breathe when you get to the camp. They will also come in handy on your journey back home after the climb.
Water bottle or hydration pack water bladder
Hydration is mandatory while out in the wild. Being intentional about how you carry your water will save you lots of trouble, help you contribute to environmental conservation, and make your hiking time so much easier.
A water bladder is the best choice for carrying your water. Simply fill it, slip it into your hiking bag, and suckle from the pipe every once in a while. This saves you lots of energy you would have otherwise wasted had you carried the water in a bottle or other container.
Hiking bag (20‑40L)
It would be best if you obviously had a bag to carry your supplies and a change of clothes. You can certainly use your regular backpack, but investing in a good hiking bag is a more informed choice.
A good hiking bag has the following features:
- Roomy enough to accommodate everything you will need on a day hike, including snacks, raincoat, water, other supplies, and a change of clothes.
- Waterproof (or at least semi‑waterproof) to keep the contents dry enough in case of sudden showers.
- Has several compartments to help you organize your carriables.
- Has several openings for easy access while carrying it — so you do not have to keep stopping to remove something.
Most men will do fine with 20‑30L, while most women go for 30‑40L. If unsure, go for a 30L bag. It should be adequate to carry everything you will need on a day hike.
Torch or headlamp
Use this to light your way on summit morning or in case you get late en route to your camp. An LED headlamp is preferable but not mandatory. You can always improvise with any torch. Batteries discharge fast in harsh mountain weather, so be sure to charge them to full capacity ahead of the climb, and if possible, carry some spare batteries.
Baseball cap or other hats
Optional but highly recommended, a cap or hat protects your face and neck from sunburn.
A pair of ski glasses
Highly recommended for protection against snow glare on summit day. Polarized glasses work best, but you can always improvise with regular sunglasses.
(A pair of) hiking poles
Hiking often involves walking long hours over rugged terrain, and this could put lots of strain on your feet, knees, back, and shoulders. A hiking pole goes a long way to ease the burden on vital parts of your body, conserve energy, and lower the risk of injury.
While you can always improvise with a stick, it is definitely a better idea to invest in a proper hiking pole — especially if you intend on incorporating hiking into your fitness routine for the long term.
Tip: For the best experience, always use the hiking pole on your weaker hand. For instance, hold the pole in your left hand if you are right-handed. Otherwise, a pair of hiking poles is ideal.
A porter’s rucksack
This is a large bag that contains all your clothes and personal effects. It is typically carried for you by a porter throughout the climb. It also doubles up as an everyday luggage bag that you can use when traveling or camping.
The size you go for entirely depends on your needs. Most men do just fine with 60L and above, while most women work with 70L and above. Our minimum recommendation is 65L. Be mindful when selecting a porter’s backpack. Although you will not be carrying it, choose an ergonomic design that makes it easier for the porter to carry it while protecting their back from strain and injury.
If working on a tight budget–or if you don’t need it after the climb–consider hiring one.
When choosing a sleeping bag for mountaineering, consider these factors:
- Compactness:- You want to go for a sleeping bag that is as light and compressible as possible, as every square inch of space counts.
- Waterproof capabilities:- There is always the risk of heavy showers or camp floods, so you want to go for a sleeping bag with the best possible waterproof rating.
- Warmth:- Moutain weather is super-cold, so the warmer your sleeping bag is, the better your experience using it. We recommend winter sleeping bags with a rating of minus 10 degrees and below.
Remember: the temperature rating assumes you will be using the sleeping bag on a sleeping mat, so be sure to confirm with your tour service provider that they will be providing one. Otherwise, be sure to carry yours with you.
- Toiletries: tissue paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, bath soap, or shower gel. Be sure to include wet wipes since bathing is difficult in low temperatures.
- 2 or 3 small towels.
- Energy sweets and snacks — nuts, lunchbar, biscuits, dates, raisins, and other high-energy snacks.
- Painkillers, antiseptic, small bandages and bandaids, and cotton wool for personal first aid.
- Sunscreen (optional but highly recommended for fair-skinned people).