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Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/22/2011 16:33:23 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/22/2011 17:04:24 MDT Print View

Thank you for the review and specifically for using English and metric units. Although I agree that metric is better, I don't think that way, and want to scream every time I read a Roger Caffin article where I need to convert.

To compare the loft of the bags, a useful calculation is to multiply the fill rating by the fill amount:

WM = 850 cubic inches per ounce x 16 ounces = 13,600 cubic inches of down
Kelty = 550 cubic inches per ounce x 20 ounces = 11,000 cubic inches of down

This shows the WM has 1.24 times the loft of the Kelty.

Edited by clbowden on 03/22/2011 17:04:54 MDT.

Brian Latta

Locale: SW Michigan
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/22/2011 17:20:16 MDT Print View

Just thought I would point out that Campmor has these in regular length for $80 right now:

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Agree with review on 03/22/2011 17:56:03 MDT Print View

I'll second this review. This is a pretty decent bag.

I got one of these to try out last summer for $90 from Target. I put in a few summer trips with it and a fall trip which was still rather comfortable - in the 30s. I got another on sale at Target for $60 and my girlfriend and I each used these down to the low 20's this February. We were quite warm (I was too warm) with base layers, fleece top and balaclava, a hand warmer in the foot box for good measure.

It's not a bad bag for the money. I am on the lookout for a bag/quilt that is lighter, however. Things sure go fast in the Gear Swap!

EDIT to include that we were both on mats/pads that provided a sufficient R value.

Edited by AaronMB on 03/23/2011 18:22:08 MDT.

Adam McDaniel
(neurons4me) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Decent bag on 03/22/2011 18:06:50 MDT Print View

I picked up one of these (they were called the Kelty Lite Trekker 20* then) last summer for about $80 at Target and have used it on several trips with nights as cold as 17 (I did bring a fleece liner for that night though). On its own for me it is not warm enough for winter but too warm for most summer nights (at low altitude) so it's more of a shoulder season and Sierra Nevada bag. Maybe when I have loads of cash hanging around I'll buy something better\lighter but for the budget minded person this bag is ideal.

Edited by neurons4me on 03/22/2011 18:07:56 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cats meeeoooow on 03/23/2011 01:04:43 MDT Print View

i dont know why i wouldnt just pick up a cats meow for $120-$140 or so

its roughly a similar weight ... and its synthetic to boot ...

its en-rated to around 20F as well

glad to see BPL looking at value though ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/23/2011 01:06:10 MDT.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: cats meeeoooow on 03/23/2011 06:50:56 MDT Print View

"i dont know why i wouldnt just pick up a cats meow for $120-$140 or so"

I can think of a few reasons. The Meow costs more, weighs a quarter pound more and based on my experience with the one that's been hanging in my closet after one use a couple of years ago, it's a true 30 degree bag.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
cats meow on 03/23/2011 07:23:08 MDT Print View

Ive had two with different insulations after reading the reveiws in backpacker years back they were initially fairly warm but lost loft and warmth fast although as I mentioned in another thread maybe if I had been gentler stuffing they might have lasted longer. I'll stick with down Its nice to see a reveiw on a cheaper product but it would be nice to see us get a standard r-value pad based on temp. Thanks Brad for the reveiw

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/23/2011 10:39:03 MDT Print View

Good article. Many new hikers need a decent lightweight bag but (understandably) don't want to shell out $400, so they end up with giant synthetic bags of dubious quality and warmth. I'll be pointing people at this story -- thanks for making it publicly accessible.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/23/2011 10:46:15 MDT Print View

Nice article. Hope it becomes a trend. This will definitely go on the list for the Scout troop.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/23/2011 18:12:51 MDT Print View

So why was the bag cold on one night?
I suggest that maybe the pad was not really good enough for the conditions.

Why would I suggest this? Because on previous nights when it was cold and the bag sufficed, the ground had been a lot warmer to start with, from the warm daytimes. It was only cold on the night after a really cold day. And the author was still cold even with a second and better bag over the top.

What was the pad, and could we get a repeat test with a warmer pad?


Edited by rcaffin on 03/23/2011 18:15:14 MDT.

Evan Parker
(ecp12) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/24/2011 07:02:42 MDT Print View

I see that on campmor and rei that there's a different version of the bag in a neon green. Is the blue one featured here the older version of the bag? Thanks so much for pointing this bag out, I'm just getting into backpacking and this thing is literally a steal for $80!

Edited by ecp12 on 03/24/2011 07:07:56 MDT.

Jim Pemrick
(Troy64) - F
Cosmic 20 on 03/24/2011 11:31:15 MDT Print View

On Campmor - The old version (blue, $79.98) seems to be an ounce heavier, has 550-fill duck down, is 2 inches longer and has box-baffle construction.

The newer version (green, $99.98)has 550-fill power down (duck or goose not specified), and slant baffle construction.

al b
(ahbradley) - M
down on 03/24/2011 15:29:11 MDT Print View

is the down ethical? ie not live plucked?

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag on 03/24/2011 21:24:24 MDT Print View

It looks like a really nice bag for the price. I think, though, that I'll continue to save up for a Montbell spiral down sleeping bag - I thrash around a lot when I sleep and I find regular (i.e., non-stretchy) bags to be too confining and claustrophobic. Regular sleeping bags make me feel like I'm being held hostage.

Kiyoshi Young
Great find on 03/25/2011 11:00:18 MDT Print View

Just ordered one. BTW i really like the lower cost reviews $100 was all i had for a bag and i ended up find this one onsale for $50. Keep up with the discounted gear review esp. the higher cost items.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
This Kelty bag on sale from TheClymb for only $50 on 03/25/2011 11:34:01 MDT Print View

TheClymb by the way has this bag on sale for only $50 right now. If you aren't already a member, you can sign up with this link (I get a $10 credit to apply to gear when a friend I've invited makes a purchase, at no cost to you. You can also earn the same credit any time you invite a friend and they make their first purchase).

I haven't handled the bag up close, but at this price it's very tempting, even if not your primary bag.

Thanks for the great article, very timely find for a friend who is just getting into backpacking. It's nice to see another good bargain article.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
REI Dividend on 03/25/2011 15:33:03 MDT Print View

Just used part of my REI dividend to buy a long. Finally can retire my old NF bag for
most trips. 20% off, free shipping. Got the new Green one for $79.

Thanks for the info.

Now to make a an overbag for winter for it.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review on 03/26/2011 12:20:47 MDT Print View

Hi, all-

Thanks for your responses! I'm glad this piqued some interest, & hope it helps out more people.

A few comments about the discussion... Field testing a sleeping bag for relative/comparable warmth is an inherently subjective undertaking, so I eliminated as many variables as possible. While realizing that some people on BPL use low-rated R-value sleeping pads, for example, I used the same pads I always do. If I had used a lower-rated pad, I wouldn't have had a good comparative baseline. Also note that there have been some great threads correlating sleeping pad R-value to temperature & sleeping bag rating.

In this one:

Ken Strayer noted that EN standards for testing at 20*F use an R-5 value pad; by comparison, R-2 for 50*F and R-3 for 40*F. I can't find the post right now, but I seem to recall these numbers being supported in another thread by Mr. Nisley. The point, of course, is that to determine if a manufacturer's rating is accurate, it wouldn't be appropriate to use a lower R-value pad than they use for testing.

The two pads I used for testing were the Thermarest Women's Trail Pro (R-5.1) & Exped DownMat 9 (R-8). The R-8 pad, sufficient for subzero *F temperatures, was the pad I used on the cold-sleeping night in the teens. It was clear that all variables were unchanged except for the daytime/nighttime temperature swing.

For those interested in such things, Casey's calculation on loft can be a good starting point... However, for the numbers to be accurate that calculation assumes that the amount of down is going into the same-cut sleeping bag shell & that the shell fabric is the same weight. Given that the two bags compared have a difference of 3" in shoulder girth, and have different-weight shells, the actual "loft ratio," if we were to call it that, would be more in favor of the Western bag.

All that said, my goal was to emphasize real-world, practical findings... more so "Does it work as advertised" than "What do the specs say," ya know? And hey, the good news is that it DOES work pretty much as advertised. Now if we could just find a $150, sub 3-pound, double wall tent ;)

Happy hikin!

Brett Iverson
(Biverson) - F
Just what I needed on 03/29/2011 17:01:08 MDT Print View

Excellent review, thank you. I am exactly the guy you are talking about: Just getting into hiking, camping, kayaking, etc. building up my gear slowly, buying a couple items a year.

I was back and forth for about a month on to get this bag or the Kelty lightyear XP 20. My wife got me the XP because I told her I wanted that one, then changed my mind, but she had already ordered it. Lo and behold I was at TJ Maxx this last saturday and picked up the Cosmic 20 for $50! That's $30 less than what campmor wanted. Needless to say I am happy (1) because your review was so enlightening, and (2) I now have two very nice beginner sleeping bags for my wife and I!