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Wondering what you should bring to climb the majestic Mount Kinabalu? Deciding what to pack is more than just lacing up your hiking shoes and packing loads of snacks. Carrying proper items with you is absolutely crucial and it is the key to keep you going further while having a delightful hike with your friends and family, or even by yourself. Don’t fret, here are the 10 things you should bring when climbing Mount Kinabalu.


A backpack is a primary piece of gear for hiking. One that holds 9-12 litres of gear is about right for your climb to the summit. It should fit all the essentials you need. I recommend a waterproof backpack or bringing along waterproof cover for your backpack, just in case it rains.


Do bring a reliable headlamp for the next day of your climb which starts at 2am in the morning because you’ll go through a journey of complete darkness. So, the headlamp helps a lot and do bring some extra batteries as well!


You’ll want to bring along enough calories to sustain your energy for this 2-day climb. Trail mix, nuts, bananas and energy bars will keep you going. Chocolate bar is good to snack too as it keeps your body temperature up in the cold.

Keep in mind that if you consume sweet snacks especially chocolate, you might get thirsty faster because your body uses up water to convert the complex form of sugar from this snack into a simpler form that your body can use.


You hike, you’ll sweat even though the temperature drops as you climb to higher elevation. To keep yourself hydrated, carry 1-2 litres of water with you on day 1 and another litre of water for the second day. To help save our environment, carry your water in a water bottle instead of a single-use plastic bottle.

Consider isotonic drink as it provides more energy and it gives a boost of simple carbohydrate especially when you climb to the summit.


Extra clothing is essential when go hiking. As you climb higher, the temperature gets colder. A thermal shirt, fleece jacket and a pair of tights will keep you warm. Bear in mind to bring along spare socks too.

Wearing shorts and a t-shirt for the first day of your climb is fine because the temperature is likely to be warmer. You should start covering yourself as you reach Laban Rata. Gloves should not be forgotten. Your hands will get cold especially when you conquer the summit at two the next morning.


The higher you go, the altitude changes and so there’s a possibility of you getting altitude sickness. Just in case, bring paracetamol tablets, pain killers or altitude sickness tablets because they relief you from headache and dizziness.

How to prevent getting altitude sickness? Don’t rush your climb. Hike, stop, rest and continue again. Repeat the same cycle as many times as you can. This is to let your body adjusts to altitude change.


You will always have your smartphones with you. Do expect that there will be no electricity in Laban Rata sometimes. Thus, powerbank comes in handy to keep your smartphones charged over the night! Did you know, phone battery will drain faster when it’s out in the cold?


Do have your Identity card or passport with you all the time and most importantly, never lose your climbing permit ID card.


Weather is unpredictable. A sunny sky might turn cloudy or worse rain when you are half way in the trail. A raincoat will keep you dry and warm.


Apart from your upper and lower body that will experience the coldness, your face and head will feel the same too. Wearing a beanie and hat will provide extra warmth to you.

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