We often get asked for recommendations on gear items. There are a myriad of quality brands and products, so what you ultimately find visually appealing, functional and economical is a personal choice. However, we would like to point out specific products that we find outstanding.
When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, one of the first questions people usually ask is,”how cold does it get?”
The highest camps that most sleep at are about 15,000 to 16,000 feet high, in the alpine desert zone. Nightime temperatures here hover around freezing, but can easily be much colder than that, as Kilimanjaro’s weather is volatile and unpredictable. So when choosing a sleeping bag, you want a warm, four season bag.
We recommend getting a bag with a temperature rating of 0F to -20F. Some people tend to sleep “warm” or “cold” – meaning that some get hot at night while others, in the same conditions, get cold. Someone who sleeps warm can use a bag with a higher temperature rating than someone who sleeps cold. However, we recommend the warmer bags (-20F) because the temperature can always be regulated by wearing less clothing while inside the bag, unzipping the bag partially or all the way, using the bag as a sheet, or not using the mummy hood.
Sleeping bags are constructed of feathers (down bag) or foam (synthetic bag). A down bag is lighter, has a warmer warmth to weight ratio, and is more compressible, while a synthetic bag is heavier and more voluminous. Down’s warmth efficiency comes at a price premium to synthetics.
For a quality constructed, toasty down bag at a reasonable cost, we like the REI Kilo Expedition. The REI Kilo Expedition -20 Sleeping Bag retails for $359 and can be purchased at REI.
With smart goose down insulation distribution and a waterproof shell, this cold-weather bag is warm, weatherproof and very compressible. Goose down is efficiently distributed for maximum warmth and comfort—800-fill-power goose down on top and 700-fill-power goose down underneath. Ultralight nylon shell features Gelanots® waterproof, breathable coating for superior weather protection. Vertical Baffle construction lets the goose down remain fully lofted and keeps it from shifting and migrating, preventing cold spots. Vertical Baffles also prevent down from shifting to the sides and keep more down on top of the bag where it keeps you warmer. Exclusive dual Regulator zippers adjust temperature as needed—fully close both zippers to increase warmth, open inner zipper to decrease warmth. Multi-chambered hood and contoured, insulated draft collar seal in heat; trapezoidal foot box increases comfort and provides more space. Relaxed fit from hip to knees increases comfort by providing space to move around in. Includes nylon stuff sack and large cotton storage bag.