What are the best pants for climbing Kilimanjaro? Actually, you will need several types of pants to be fully prepared on the mountain. We will go through each individually to make sure you have the right gear.
Our gear list has the following items listed:
1 – Waterproof Pants
2 – Hiking Pants
1 – Fleece Pants
1 – Long Underwear
1 – Shorts (optional)
4 – Underwear
Rain pants are one of those things you rarely need, but when you do, you really, really need them. On Kilimanjaro, you probably will not wear your waterproof pants unless you encounter some unusually wet conditions. For the most part, they are only worn during the summit attempt, when the weather can be extremely cold and windy.
The fabric of rain pants are windproof and waterproof, yet breathable. The way it works is that they are constructed with fibers that are too tight for water to penetrate, but porous enough for vapor to escape. Various proprietary technologies are on the market; the most well known is GoreTex.
Ski pants or snowboarding pants are generally not good for Kilimanjaro. These garments are too bulky, too thick and too insulated. You want something you can wear in both mild and cold weather without overheating.
We recommend brining waterproof pants with full side zips, which allow you to put on and take off the pants easier, without removing your shoes.
The North Face Dryzzle Full Zip Pants
These pants are waterproof, breathable, lightweight shell pants featuring full-length side zips for superior ease of access. They have a standard, roomy fit.
Available here for approximately $180.
The Outdoor Research Apollo Pants offer waterproof performance. These pants features taped seams, an elastic waist, drawcord cuff enclosures and full zips.
They can be found here for about $100.
A great pair of hiking pants offers comfort, freedom of movement, and the versatility to perform well in a range of conditions. Most hiking pants are made from lightweight but durable synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. Additionally, some are blended with stretchable fabric such as spandex or Elastane. Each of these materials are fine for use on Kilimanjaro. Bring two pairs.
A feature you may find useful are removable bottoms, called convertible pants. When the bottoms are taken off, usually with zippers that run around the leg, they become shorts. You could also unzip to create an opening at the knee just to let some air in when it’s too warm.
Prana Stretch Zion Straight Pant
The Prana Stretch Zion Straight Pant has a slimmer fit than standard fit hiking pants. It is made from a stretch performance fabric containing 97% nylon and 3% spandex. It has mesh pockets, an adjustable waistband and roll-up leg snaps.
The Stretch Zion Straight Pant retails for about $90 and can be purchased here. Prana also makes a standard fit version, called the Stretch Zion Pant.
North Face Paramount Convertible Pant
The North Face Paramount Convertible Pant is made from a stretch-woven fabric. It provides 50 UPF sun protection and has a durable water repellent finish to shed light rain, snow or mud. The legs are removable and can be converted into shorts.
The North Face Paramount Convertible Pant retails for about $70.
A pair of fleece pants provides warmth on cold Kilimanjaro nights. Fleece comes in different thicknesses – lightweight, midweight or heavyweight. Light- and midweights are usually the more versatile options. However, if you want serious insulation, you can get heavyweight fleece pants or even insulated/down pants.
We recommend that you wear your warm pants during the evenings at camp and while you sleep if necessary. They also might be needed for the midnight ascent depending on the temperature. Down pants can be worn right over your trekking pants.
The North Face TKA Glacier Pants
These 100% recycled fleece pants have a relaxed fit at thigh with tapered knee and leg opening. They are lightweight fleece with an elastic waistband with external drawcord.
The North Face TKA Glacier Pants sell for about $65.
Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant
The Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant is a synthetic insulated pant that’s lightweight and highly compressible. It has an adjustable elastic waist and a reinforced seat and knees. The full side zips allow for easy changing.
The Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant retails for about $175.
Some times known as tights, leggings, thermal underwear, or long johns, long underwear is a skin tight garment meant to add warmth to your legs. They are constructed with lightweight, durable, quick-drying, and breathable fabric such as polyester, wool, spandex or nylon. On Kilimanjaro, you will want a pair for layering on summit night.
Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings
The Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings are a long underwear that feature a gusseted construction and breathable, odor-resistant fabric. It is a midweight tight made of merino wool.
Icebreaker is a great manufacturer of merino wool clothing.
Under Armour Heat Gear Tights
Under Armour Heat Gear Tights are made with 4-way stretch construction for better movement. The blend of 87% polyester and 13% Elastane form a tough, lightweight, breathable material that wicks away sweat and dries fast. It also has anti-odor technology that prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes.
These tights are available at here for about $30.
Shorts are optional on Kilimanjaro. Full length pants are recommended for most of the hiking as they help shield the sun, stop insects, and protect against abrasions. But if you love hiking in shorts, we suggest getting shorts that are lightweight and knee length, with deep pockets and pockets that zip shut.
Kuhl Ambush Cargo Short
The Kuhl Ambush Cargo Short is durable yet comfortable. They are made with a quick drying fabric and a micro-chamois lined waistband. Best of all, it has nine pockets for all your stuff.
The Ambush Cargo Short is available here and costs about $70.
The best underwear for Kilimanjaro will be moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and comfortable. As always, avoid cotton. Choose underwear made from a synthetic material, like polyester, or merino wool. Whether you wear briefs, boxers, or boxer briefs is up to you.
You want a snug fit, but not too tight. Make sure the pressure from the waist straps on your backpack do not cause chafing on your hips. Bring four or more pairs.
Smartwool Merino Sport Briefs
Smartwool Merino Sport Briefs are made of a merino polyester blend. It breathes well, moving moisture away from skin and dries quickly. The flatseam construction prevents unwanted rubbing. These underwear have a classic fit and no fly.
Smartwool Merino Sport Briefs retail for about $25 and can be purchased here.
Exofficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Brief
The stretchy boxer brief underwear are constructed of 92% nylon and 8% lycra. Featuring ultralight mesh that is breathable and quick drying, these will keep you cool and dry on the trail. An antimicrobial treatment reduces odor in fabric.
The Give-N-Go brief is available here, and priced at approximately $30.
You can find all your outdoor gear at these preferred retailers:
See How Do I Dress for Summit Night on Kilimanjaro?