Kilimanjaro papers are the house brand of art retailer Cheap Joe's, marketed to be "The Whitest Watercolor Paper On Earth." Joe's won't provide the name of the paper manufacturer, though it is apparently a European company widely known for its affordable, student grade watercolor papers.

The Kilimanjaro sheets are mouldmade, 100% cotton rag, acid free, pH neutral and buffered, internally sized, with two natural deckles, and carrying the embossed "KILIMANJARO" chop in the lower left corner of a long edge. The rattle is loud and fairly bright; the papers burn to a brittle, light gray ash. However, sheets marketed as "bright white" should only be used after you consider Sylvie Turner's warning that they contain more chemical additives, and are more likely to change color or deteriorate over time. — Available in white sheets, CP finish only, in 300 or 640 GSM weights, and as watercolor blocks or pads. Price of a single 300 GSM full sheet (sold only in packs of 10 or more) is about US$2.50.

The Cold Pressed finish has a gentle tooth and very consistent stubbly texture; the deckles are thin and even. The color is a moderately cool white, but not at all "the whitest watercolor paper on earth" as the marketers claim: one fourth of the papers tested here appeared brighter or whiter. The sizing is moderate and the paper has good absorbency; the sheet took a wash with noticeable banding in the cobalt pigment and minimal flocculation in the ultramarine, and there was no blossoming in the magenta. Resists came off cleanly, but scrubbing left visible streaks under a wash. The green did not lift completely with sponging, and produced a very large, unsightly wicking around the repainted area. All in all, this paper shows pigment color well and is easy to work with, but not suitable for work that requires extensive lifting or editing. Lacking assurance that it does not suffer from the permanence problems of "bright white" papers, and given the moderate durability of its surface, I would rate this as an average quality watercolor paper.

Please see the page how to test watercolor papers for an explanation of my paper evaluation methods.

(300gsm CP)