Skimping on gear for the mountain

I have been catching up on a few blogs I follow and came across Kristin Hostetter's advice about which gear to skimp on. She suggests that if you need to skimp somewhere, go with a cheaper with a sleeping bag. Not only is this good advice for your regular backpacking trips, I think it applies double for Kilimanjaro. On the mountain porters carry your gear and you'll almost never have to carry your own sleeping bag.

I've had a number of customers ask about renting a sleeping bag. I can appreciate that some people, especially folks living and working in Africa, don't have access to a local REI store. But sleep is absolutely critical on Kilimanjaro. Without getting adequate rest climbers don't adjust as well to the altitude nor recover from each day's hike. It's hard enough to sleep at altitude. I worry that climbers who rent sleeping bags won't be warm enough or comfortable enough on the mountain to get a good night sleep. 15,000 feet above sea level on a far away continent is no place to test personal equipment for the first time.

Kristin points out some less expensive options from Coleman, REI or Cabelas. I'll go one further, stop by your local Walmart and pick up a knock-off for under $50. Then you'll have time to test it before you get all the way to Africa and ensure it's really comfortable for you.
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