5 Things You Must Bring to Climb Mount Kinabalu

Before you climb Mount Kinabalu, do a quick check on your packing list to ensure that you have the following 5 items. Based on our experience, these are the 5 things that you must bring to climb Mount Kinabalu.

1. Headlight


This is a compulsory item stated by our guide. Best if it’s waterproof or at least splash proof as it’s almost always raining at the summit of Mount Kinabalu. This headlight will be very useful in illuminating your path when climbing the summit as well as for your friends or guide to locate you. It’s almost pitch dark and with the rocky terrain, it can get quite dangerous if you can’t see. Mine is the Petzl brand and i got it from Outdoor Life @ Velocity in Singapore, cost me around $35. Other brands like Energizer are not bad too, and cheaper. 

2. Waterproof gloves


This is not compulsory, but i would say it’s definitely a must have if you’re doing the Ferrata. Read our Ferrata experience here! But it’s also a good to have when climbing the summit as certain parts of the climb will require you to hold on to a rope to pull yourself up. Best if it’s waterproof so that your gloves don’t get soaked wet when it rains and it’ll still be able to keep you warm. These gloves will help prevent rope burns! My waterproof gloves are from The North Face and are from Outdoor Life at Velocity, Singapore. Cost around $70. Expensive but worth it.

3. Warm Clothing


A good waterproof windbreaker, fleece jacket and a beanie would suffice! At the start it’s sufficient to just put on your windbreaker as it gets quite hot once you start climbing. But as you ascend, it gets colder and you’ll need your fleece jacket and beanie. Temperatures near the summit can go as low as -3 to 5 degree celsius!

4. Good trekking shoes


I can’t emphasize how important this is, you will really need proper trek shoes with good grip when climbing Mount Kinabalu, especially if you’re doing the Ferrata. When it rains, it gets really slippery! Especially when nearing the summit when it gets very steep. The soles of 2 of my friends’ shoes came off after a whole day of climb! Luckily the guides were very helpful and glued the soles back to the shoes. For Ferrata, you can see from the above photo that most of the time, you’ll be climbing at an angle. You will need a strong grip when scaling across the mountain sides. My shoes are Columbia, Women’s cut, mid cut. Cost around $169, from Velocity, Singapore. 

5. Panadol


I know this is underrated and people might miss this out. But it’s almost inevitable that you’ll get a headache from altitude sickness during your first day of climb. You’ll have to climb to a very high height within a very short time span. Your body hardly has time to acclimatise, hence the headache. For me, thankfully my headache was pretty mild and i only had to pop 2 panadols and it subsided. For some other less fortunate climbers, their symptoms are more severe and suffer from nausea, vomiting or giddiness.  

Of course there are other items that you’ll have to bring as well besides the above 5 must haves. Here’s my full packing list for the Mount Kinabalu climb.

packing list

I tried my best to pack as light as possible but my bag still weighed around 7kg. Remember, every gram counts when you’re climbing Mount Kinabalu!

– Trek bag (I will be doing a review soon on the Osprey Farpoint 55 that i used for the climb)
-Day pack (very useful for summit climb)
-Packing cubes x 3 different sizes
– Extra ziplock bags
– Trekking shoes with good grip
– Slippers (Actually not very necessary as waterproof crocs-look-alike slip ons are provided at the base camp.)
– 2 litres water bag (very useful when climbing. It’s so much more convenient to drink from the water bag tube as compared to your usual water bottle.)
– 1 Dry fit top
– 1 Waterproof trek pants
– 1 Set of sleeping attire
– 1 Set of normal clothing (to change out of your trekking attire)
– 3 Sets of undergarments
– 1 Waterproof windbreaker
– 1 Lightweight downjacket
– 1 Fleece hat
– 2 Pairs of socks
– Waterproof headlight
– Waterproof gloves with good grip
– Microfibre towel (towel not provided at the base camp)
– Toiletries (shampoo, soap, facial cleanser, face moisturizer, sunblock, powder, tooth brush, tooth paste)
– Snacks
– Medication (panadol/altitude sickness pills/plasters/diamotil/etc)
– Lip Balm (the air is really dry up there)
– Visor (used a visor to shade from the sun instead of sunglasses)
– Tissue paper/wet wipes/hand sanitizer

For those of you that missed our earlier post, read here for our experience on climbing Mount Kinabalu! Let me know in the comments below what other essential items you’ve packed for Mount Kinabalu that we’ve missed out! Or any other useful tips on items to pack for Mt Kinabalu!