Published: Jul 27, 2018

Best and Crucial Equipment for Climbing Mount Kinabalu

A majestic view of Borneo landscape at the peak of Mount Kinabalu!

At the height of 4,095 metres, Mount Kinabalu stands tall as one of Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain. It is known as a highly accessible mountain despite its fairly tall height. This is because the climb towards the peak of the mountain actually requires no specialized mountaineering skill or equipment. Climbers also does not need to have prior experience at high altitude too. However, it is still a challenge to reach the summit as weather conditions can change very quickly on the mountain. It is better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you should be well prepared to conquer the Mount Kinabalu with this guide on what do I need to bring to Kinabalu?

There are basically two parts on the journey to ascent the summit. The first part will be from Timpohon Gate at Kinabalu Park all the way until the Laban Rata Resthouse. The second part is where climbers begin to hike at 2.00 am past midnight from Laban Rata to the summit. The first part is relatively easier than the summit climb as the summit climb involves much steeper and slippery rocky terrains. Below is a list of things that you should or must bring when climbing Mount Kinabalu:


1. Waterproof Backpack

The backpack is for you to store your items and carried up the mountain. It should be waterproof to prevent items inside such as clothes to get wet because of the rain. You can also buy a rain cover for your backpack if you do not have a waterproof one. Try to limit your backpack to less than 6 kg. It is better to travel light during the climb.

Trail to the peak is supported by guiding ropes

2. Walking/Hiking Shoe

It is advised to wear good and sturdy shoes with good grip for the climb. High cut shoes are also good as it can prevent ankle from getting injured.


3. Drinking Water

It is suggested to bring at least 1.5 litre of water preferable in small bottles. There are no longer spots to refill your water at the resting shelters along the climb. Thus, it is necessary to bring enough water for the climb as it is important to stay hydrated during the climb because you will sweat a lot.


4. High Energy Food or Snacks

Bringing snacks or food that contains high energy and small packaging are recommended. It is to recharge your energy during the climb.


5. Hiking Pole

You can bring a hiking pole to climb the mountain. It can help you make your climb easier and less tiring. It might not be useful in the beginning of the climb, but when you start to feel tired after trekking for hours, it can support you moving some weight away from your tired legs. It helps a lot with descent as well. It is possible to buy in Kinabalu Park for RM 45 each.


6. Head Lamp

It is necessary on the climb to summit. This is because you will start the climb at around 2.00 am which can be pitch dark when you look outside. The head lamp will help you navigate your direction and find the ropes to hold in the dark. It is extremely important for safety reasons. You can also get extra batteries for the head lamp as cold weather may reduce its battery lifespan.


7. Gloves

Gloves are to protect your hands from getting rope burn or cold when you climb to the summit. Waterproof ones are the best because it will help keep your hands warm.


A signboard near the peak

8. Cap/Beanie/Scarf/Mask

It is to keep your head and face warm and protect them from the cold wind.

Other things to bring:

  • Lightweight and warm clothes (Bring extra)
  • Undergarments (Bring extra)
  • Sleeping attire
  • Socks (Bring extra)
  • Towel
  • Personal toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • Ponchos or disposable raincoat
  • Waterproof windbreaker
  • Camera & extra batteries (Not able to charge as the current trips frequently)
  • Waist pack (Handy for the second part to put in camera or raincoats)
  • Tissue
  • Medication (Panadol/Attitude sickness pills/Asthma Inhaler/etc.)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglass
  • Sunblock lotion
  • Lip balm (The air is really dry when you reach higher altitude)


Laban Rata Guesthouse just slightly below the summit.

All the bedding requirements are already prepared at Laban Rata. There is no need to take sleeping bags to make your backpack weight heavier.

The question what climbing clothes for Kinabalu has always been frequently asked. Do note that what to wear in Kinabalu during the climb is a matter of personal preferences. Some climber prefer to go light and wear a T-shirt and shorts for the early parts of the hike. If the weather becomes colder, just add a jumper on top. Some others prefer to wear long pants or long-sleeved shirts. However, it is not advisable to wear jeans because when it is wet, it will become very heavy. Just remember to stay dry and keep yourself warm when it is getting colder.

You can store your belongings and luggage before the climb at the Kinabalu Park Headquarter reception. Just bring whatever necessary is in your waterproof backpack for your climb. In addition, you can also hire a porter to carry your backpack up to the Laban Rata base camp.


A rewarding scenery for those who conquered the summit!

All in all, this is just an all-inclusive list of things that are suggested to bring for the climb and to help you figure out what you may need. Do adapt to the suggestions if there are different preferences. However, always remember as safety always comes first, things which help to protect and keep you safe from the environment are highly recommended to be included. It is important that you are well prepared and equipped for the climb to ensure maximum comfort and enjoyment.


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