Trying to get a good night’s sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task, especially if you are trekking the Machame Route, the Lemosho Route, or one of the other camping routes that do not overnight in Mountain Huts, but there are a few things you can do to make your nights more comfortable, and it all starts with a good sleeping bag.
I personally wouldn’t want to stay in the shared huts on Kilimanjaro, quite simply because I do not think that they should be there. They were built for tourism, for those who want an easy route to Uhuru Peak, but they do not belong on Africa’s highest mountain and you will not have an authentic climbing experience if you stay there.
That said, overnighting in tents is nether glamorous or comfortable, but it is the way Kilimanjaro was meant to be climbed – with tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, and starry skies, and as long as you plan your trip carefully, you will be able to sleep sweetly.
For our first Kilimanjaro Expedition, we purchased Me°ru’ Colorado Micro Sleeping Bags suitable for temperatures ranging from +4 degrees to -18 degrees. They look good, they’re made from high quality fabrics, they are most definitely warm enough for Kilimanjaro, and initially, they are very comfortable, but we both found the ‘mummy’ shape too restrictive for a good night’s sleep, and so we have decided to upsize for our next Total Lunar Eclipse Expedition in September.
This year we will be spending our nights on Mount Kilimanjaro wrapped in Outwell® Campion Lux Double Sleeping Bags, which are suitable for use in temperatures ranging from +23 to -16 degrees. While each sleeping bag is designed for two, we have ordered one each, and there is plenty of space to move around and get comfortable.
We will be combining our new Kilimanjaro sleeping bags with inflatable mattresses (should be fun blowing those up at 5,000mts above sea-level!), and our trusty fleece pillows and thermal sleeping suits that served us so well on our last trip. Only time will tell if we’ll sleep better this time around, but we will be on Kilimanjaro – and that is worth a sleepless night – or two!