Choosing the best rain jacket for climbing Kilimanjaro
Rain jacket for climbing Kilimanjaro

Which rain jackets are recommended for Mount Kilimanjaro treks in Tanzania?

Given that most Kilimanjaro routes commence in the rainforest (with Shira being the exception), it’s a safe assumption that rain is likely. Adequate preparation is key, as getting soaked can dampen both your spirits and your experience on the mountain. At the very least, it leads to discomfort, but at its worst, it can contribute to hypothermia, a serious condition with fatal consequences.

When ascending Kilimanjaro, having a rain jacket—also referred to as a hard shell—and rain pants is essential to shield yourself from moisture when the weather turns.

When embarking on a Kilimanjaro trek, it’s essential to curate a well-thought-out gear list, and a crucial component is a reliable rain jacket. Considering that most Kilimanjaro routes kick off in the rainforest (with the exception of the Shira route), encountering rainfall from the outset is a given. A suitable rain jacket is your defense against dampness, and not having one could expose you to the risk of hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition. Let’s delve into the specifics of selecting an appropriate rain jacket for your Mount Kilimanjaro climb.

Which rain jackets are recommended?

Marmot PreCip Jacket: The Marmot PreCip jacket boasts a lightweight, waterproof, windproof design with breathability. Its standard fit includes an adjustable hood that can be tucked away, pit zips for moisture escape, side pockets, and an elastic drawcord hem. The Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket is priced at around $100. Additionally, you can find the matching Marmot PreCip Full-Zip Rain Pants for approximately $100. Shop here

The North Face Antora Jacket: Another excellent option is The North Face Antora Jacket. Designed to withstand extreme Kilimanjaro conditions, it features a lightweight, waterproof, windproof shell with an adjustable hood and a standard fit. Retailing for around $100, The North Face Antora Jacket is available in various colors. Accompanying The North Face Antora Pants, equipped with half zips, are priced at $100. Shop here

Columbia EvaPouration Rain Jacket: The Columbia EvaPouration Rain Jacket is one favored by our Tranquil Kilimanjaro guides during mountain excursions. It boasts a thin, lightweight, waterproof, and breathable profile with an adjustable hood, underarm vents, adjustable hem, and cuffs. It is available at an affordable price point of $100. Shop here

Mountain Hardware Exposure Jacket: Made from rugged Gore-Tex material, this hardshell jacket offers protection against heavy rainfall. It boasts stretchable elasticity for enhanced movement, an adjustable hood, and deep side vents. Shop here

Ensuring the inclusion of the right rain jacket in your Kilimanjaro gear list is paramount. Shielding yourself from rain is crucial to prevent hypothermia. By understanding the attributes of a dependable rain jacket, you’re better equipped to undertake this adventure. We recommend reaching out to Tranquil Kilimanjaro for further guidance on your Kilimanjaro gear essentials.

So, what qualities are vital in rain gear?

Starting with the obvious, it must be waterproof. Rain jackets and pants, or hard shells, are tailored to keep you dry. All rain jackets come with hoods to shield your head from rain. A variety of fabrics are employed in their production, often unique to each brand. The most recognized waterproof fabric is GoreTex.

Breathability is also paramount for rain gear. These fabrics work by weaving the membrane so tightly that water droplets can’t penetrate, yet the minute gaps in the weave are large enough to let water vapor escape to the exterior. This mechanism makes the gear breathable, facilitating the passage of moisture and heat that would otherwise result in sweating.

On the flip side, materials like rubber or vinyl are non-breathable. They trap the moisture your body generates, rendering them unsuitable for backpacking and ill-suited for use.

Practical rain jacket features encompass pit zips and adjustable hoods. Pit zips are openings situated in the armpit region, allowing for ventilation adjustment based on temperature. Adjustable hoods enable you to tighten or loosen the hood for secure positioning. This is advantageous as many rain jackets have oversized hoods for maximum coverage.

For rain pants, opt for lightweight, breathable options. They should have a loose fit to accommodate additional layers and an adjustable waist. Full-side zippers are highly recommended, as they permit you to put on or take off the pants without removing your footwear. Ski or snowboarding pants, however, are excessively heavy and insulated for Kilimanjaro’s conditions, making them an impractical choice.

Key Characteristics to Seek in a Rain Jacket:

1. Material: Rain jackets must boast waterproof properties, veering away from mere water resistance. While water-resistant jackets may suffice in light drizzles, they prove insufficient in the face of heavy downpours. Thus, a fully waterproof rain jacket is indispensable.

Various materials are employed in rain jacket construction, often proprietary to each company. A prominent choice is Gore-Tex, a renowned waterproof fabric. Notably, rain jackets come equipped with hoods crafted from the same waterproof material as the jacket itself.

2. Breathability: Effective rain jackets exhibit breathability. During the Kilimanjaro trek, you’ll likely sweat despite the rain. High-quality rain jackets sport tightly woven fabrics that prevent water droplets from penetrating the outer layer, while minute gaps in the weave facilitate moisture escape, ensuring breathability. A failure to release trapped heat could lead to condensation freezing, making the climb more challenging.

Materials like rubber and vinyl are non-breathable and trap body heat and moisture. Steer clear of rain jackets crafted from these materials.

3. Fit: A rain jacket is worn over other layers, necessitating a proper fit. It should cover both your base and midsections without being excessively short or long, which could hinder movement. An adjustable hood, proper hand and waist coverage, and a suitable test of its fit over your clothing layers are all essential considerations.

4. Weight: For Kilimanjaro treks, prioritize lightweight rain jackets that can be compactly packed. Most options are thin and flexible, enabling easy rolling and stowing. Avoid heavy, inflexible jackets like ski or snowboarding variants.

Features to Look For in a Rain Jacket:

1. Hood: A rain jacket’s hood should be adjustable and roomy enough to accommodate a beanie or hat.

2. Zippers: Durable zippers that smoothly function are vital. They should withstand the rigors of a Kilimanjaro climb while being waterproof.

3. Pit Zips: These zippers located in the armpit area offer adjustable ventilation to adapt to surrounding temperatures while trekking.

4. Pockets: Opt for pockets equipped with waterproof zippers to keep your belongings dry. Some jackets also provide insulating pockets known as “hand warmers,” ideal for colder temperatures during the trek.

Equipping yourself with the appropriate rain jacket and pants is crucial for a successful Kilimanjaro climb. Ensuring waterproofing, breathability, and useful features like pit zips and adjustable hoods will help you navigate the changing conditions and keep you comfortable on your ascent.


About Author



Leave a Reply