Ischaemia–reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease, which consists of cellular damage and renal dysfunction. AKI is a major complication that is of particular concern after cardiac surgery and to a lesser degree following organ transplantation in the immediate post-transplantation period, leading to delayed graft function. Because effective therapies are still unavailable, several recent studies have explored the potential benefit of hypoxic preconditioning (HPC) on IRI. HPC refers to the acquisition of increased organ tolerance to subsequent ischaemic or severe hypoxic injury, and experimental evidences suggest a potential benefit of HPC. There are three experimental forms of HPC, and, for better clarity, we named them as follows: physical HPC, HPC via treated-cell administration and stabilised hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α HPC, or mimicked HPC. The purpose of this review is to present the latest developments in the literature on HPC in the context of renal IRI in pre-clinical models. The data we compiled suggest that preconditional activation of hypoxia pathways protects against renal IRI, suggesting that HPC could be used in the treatment of renal IRI in transplantation.