The Ultimate Mountain Climbing Checklist

The accomplishment of climbing a mountain is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in your life. It’s also one of the most challenging, but that’s what makes it worth it, right?

Any mountain climber will tell you that preparation is key in this sport, more so than in almost any other physical activity.

Making sure you have what you need on that mountain can make the difference between life and death in some cases, as you are left up to the elements, which can be severe.

How can you come prepared for your mountain climbing expedition? Keep reading below for the ultimate checklist.

How Much Should You Bring?

One of the most important mountain climbing tips is to understand how much you can and should carry. Weight is a huge factor, and you should try to stick to carrying about 20% of your body weight.

This will often mean that you can’t bring every single thing that you want to bring. Compromises will need to be made, and you can use the mountain climbing checklist below to decide what is more important to you.


Of course, with this first category, you’ll want to do your best to bring all of these essentials.

The essentials include navigation tools, such as a map, GPS, and compass. If you’re hiking somewhere with unmarked trails, these navigation tools are essential for you not to get lost.

You can decide how much technology you want your GPS to have, as the more it has the heavier it will be. Make sure you buy a waterproof case to store your navigation tools in.

You’ll need to bring permits, especially if you’re staying somewhere over a few days. These may cost money or could be free, but it’s essential to research this ahead of time to avoid doing anything illegal.

Bring emergency tools, such as your medical information, a first aid kit, and emergency signals if you need help. Hiking a mountain can be dangerous, so it’s always important to take preventive measures.

You’ll want to buy a mountaineering backpack, as these have frames that make hiking up mountains more comfortable. It will also have more space and compartments for you to store everything.

Ensuring you have a good water supply is essential, so bring a water bottle and water treatment system that you can reuse for your entire trip.

Once you’re ready to stop for the night, you’ll want to set up your shelter and sleeping bag. Depending on where you’re going climbing, you can choose between a tent, bivy sack, and tarp.

You may also choose to bring a sleeping pad for extra comfort, especially if the terrain is rocky.

The last essentials on this list include sunscreen, lip balm, hygiene products, flashlights, and lighters or matches. These will help protect your skin, keep you healthy, and be helpful firestarters at night.


For your facial protective clothing, you’ll want to bring hats, sunglasses, headbands, helmets, bandanas, scarves, and face masks. This will keep your skin away from the sun and protect it from getting windburn.

For your body, you’ll want to bring a base layer, middle layer, softshell jacket, outer layer, undergarments, extra socks, trainers, and hiking boots.

Choosing waterproof and insulated clothes is preferred, especially when hiking more prominent mountains, such as with Ultimate Kilimanjaro.

Food and Cookware

Some basic food you should pack includes cereal, grains, pancakes, bread, rice, noodles, sandwiches, potatoes, and fruits.

If you don’t think you can live off of cold food or energy bars, you’ll also want to bring some cookware. This could be a portable stove, fuel, pots and pans, aluminum foil, sponge, and soap.

You may also want to bring tableware, such as spoons, forks, knives, cups, plates, and bowls.


Mountain climbing gear can be incredibly helpful on your journey, as it’s made to help you walk and balance out the weight of you and your backpack.

Consider bringing hiking poles or sticks, hiking shoes or boots, crampons, climbing harness, ice screws, snow anchors, climbing ropes, pulleys, carabiners, and snow shovels.

While you’re trudging away in the deep and slippery snow, you’ll be glad you brought this gear.


While these aren’t absolutely necessary for your trip, there are a few things you may want to bring anyways.

These include cameras, batteries, memory cards, phones, binoculars, radios, sleeping aids, writing pads, pens, hand and foot warmers, and reading materials.

These will help you capture your journey as you take it, creating memories along the way. It will also help you pass any downtime that occurs and help keep you comfortable throughout your trip.

Sleeping can be challenging during hiking trips like this, especially when the temperatures are freezing. Bringing gear that can help make this easier can turn your entire trip around, so while it may not be an essential item, it’s still something you should seriously consider bringing.

Use This Checklist Before Going Mountain Climbing

Let’s just say it: climbing a mountain is hard work. It takes dedication, skill, and preparation. This mountain climbing checklist can get you part of the way there, so make sure to utilize it as you get ready for your next journey.

And, of course, there may be other things you want to bring that aren’t on this list, which is perfectly okay. Make sure you get the essentials, and you’ll be good to go.

While preparing for your expedition, why not browse through more of our helpful articles? You may find more interesting advice like this!

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