Sleeping Bag for Kilimanjaro

After a long day’s hiking, there’s nothing nicer than snuggling down in a warm, toasty sleeping bag. Being in a tent can be enough of a challenge for some people, and being cold is certainly not necessary. You’ll need a good sleeping bag for Kilimanjaro.

You might also like: 12 of the Best Winter Sleeping Bags (perfect for your Kilimanjaro Climb)

From our gear list you can see we need:

best sleeping bag kilimanjaro

Rent or Buy?

Best winter Sleeping Bag for Kilimanjaro

Sleeping Bag Liners & why you need one

A sleeping bag for Kilimanjaro is available to rent in a variety of places in Moshi/Arusha. Your tour operator may rent one to you. If you don’t think you’ll use your sleeping bag again after this trip, then renting may be a good idea.

However, you’ll soon regret that decision if you are presented with a dirty, smelly bag with holes in it and a zip that doesn’t work. If you are using a high-end operator, they often have sleeping bags to rent that are laundered between each climb.

Personally, I don’t want to sleep in an unhygienic sleeping bag last used by someone with a contagious disease. That said, if I’m comfortable with the operator who is renting it to me, or I’ve managed to source it from someone I trust, then renting is certainly an option.

Sometimes renting can be a good plan if you can get hold of an expensive sleeping bag that you’d be hesitant to buy, but can be rented for a reasonable price.

Considering that night-time temperatures can drop well below freezing, and all that’s between you and the elements is a plastic tent, a good sleeping bag is essential for your comfort and safety on the mountain.

Whether you rent or buy, I highly recommend that you get hold of a sleeping bag liner because it keeps your sleeping bag clean, offers extra insulation. And in the case of a rented bag, keeps you clean!

See our full review of sleeping bag liners.

Sleeping Bag Liners


There are several available depending on your needs and budget.

  • Cotton: At the very simplest, a cotton sleeping bag liner which will do the task of keeping you and your sleeping bag clean. It packs down well, taking up very little space in your duffel. It won’t provide much by way of warmth, it’s more like a sheet. Very cheap.
  • Silk: More expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for here. Lightweight, packs down into a tiny space, silk provides an amazing insulation and heat-retention for it’s weight. Lovely and soft to sleep in, you will barely know it’s there. I highly recommend this one, both for keeping your sleeping bag clean and for warmth.
  • Fleece: Fleecy sleeping bag liners are wonderful! Warm, cosy and can be used back home on a chilly night in front of the fire. The only slight disadvantage is that they do not pack down as small as silk, and they are heavier.

I would never be without my sleeping bag liner, on warmer nights (first night on the mountain!) you can unzip the side of your sleeping bag, whilst sleeping in the liner so you don’t get too hot. Further up, when it’s below freezing and the wind is buffeting your tent, you will be warm and cosy. Read more.

Sleeping Bags

Sleeping Bag for Kilimanjaro

There is often some confusion about what sleeping bag to buy or rent for Kilimanjaro.

See our full review of Kilimanjaro Sleeping Bags.

What to look for:

  • 3-4 season rating. Temperature rating 0F, -15C. You can possibly get away with something like 15F, -9C, but with that one I would certainly take a good insulating sleeping bag liner, and you would probably have to sleep in your clothes.
  • Shape: “Mummy” shape is very popular these days, as it packs down well into a small space and the shape gives excellent insulation, not allowing any air to escape into the bag. Hood. Most “mummy” shaped sleeping bags have an insulated hood which you can secure around your head, eliminating the need to sleep in your hat!
  • Fill – down or synthetic. Down-filled sleeping bags are superior, but they come at a higher price tag. You can consider a synthetic sleeping bag if you are not intending to use it much after this trek. As synthetic bags are often a bit colder than their down-counterparts, do take a sleeping bag liner along.
  • Weight and size. As you are restricted in your weight allowance, you want a good combination of warmth and lightweight. But don’t compromise on warmth!

Sleeping Mat


If you are going with a decent tour operator, they should provide you with a good quality, rugged sleeping mat that is both comfortable and insulating. Some of the lower-priced outfitters will require you to bring your own. Sometimes you might just want a little extra comfort than the mat provided.

Things to look for

  • Easy to pack down into your duffel bag
  • Self-inflating (you don’t want to be carrying electric inflation devices
  • Insulating
  • Size – the right size for your body shape.


Inflatable pillow. A nice cheap inflatable pillow that you can use on the plane is a good idea.

Read more:

Kilimanjaro kit list

Questions? Comments, confusions? Let us know below:

2 thoughts on “Kilimanjaro Packing List: Sleeping

  1. Hmm.. I have a good bit to consider! So many good options! I am planning on doing a several month long trip across the USA, and I’m trying to prepare for it.

    I’m using a hammock though over a tent. Do I still need a sleeping bag? Should I consider some other options?

    Thanks for sharing your info! I can really use it! ;P

  2. Thanks for the very useful information! Although you said these are primarily choices for mountain climbers, I suppose campers and the outdoorsman would find it handy as well!

    Do the “mummy” sleeping bags stretch or expand? That is, if someone is a side-sleeper and likes to extend their leg out to the side, does the sleeping bag accommodate that?

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