Mar 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm #1270948
Companion forum thread to:Mar 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm #1712909
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
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.Mar 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm #1712923
@skillet0Locale: SW Michigan
Just thought I would point out that Campmor has these in regular length for $80 right now: http://www.campmor.com/kelty-cosmic-20-degree-sleeping-bag-regular-1.shtml?source=CI&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=41952Mar 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm #1712953
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
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.Mar 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm #1712969
@neurons4meLocale: SF Bay Area
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 betterlighter but for the budget minded person this bag is ideal.Mar 23, 2011 at 12:04 am #1713226
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 …Mar 23, 2011 at 5:50 am #1713266
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
"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.Mar 23, 2011 at 6:23 am #1713280
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 reveiwMar 23, 2011 at 9:39 am #1713391
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
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.Mar 23, 2011 at 9:46 am #1713395
Nice article. Hope it becomes a trend. This will definitely go on the list for the Scout troop.Mar 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm #1713683
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
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?
cheersMar 24, 2011 at 6:02 am #1713870
@ecp12Locale: Upstate NY
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!Mar 24, 2011 at 10:31 am #1713994
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.Mar 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm #1714157
is the down ethical? ie not live plucked?Mar 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm #1714351
Kathy A HandysideParticipant
@earlymusicusLocale: Southeastern Michigan
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.Mar 25, 2011 at 10:00 am #1714573
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.Mar 25, 2011 at 10:34 am #1714595
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
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 https://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/mountainwalker (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.Mar 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm #1714696
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
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.Mar 26, 2011 at 11:20 am #1715059
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.
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!Mar 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm #1716780
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!Mar 31, 2011 at 2:59 am #1717640
@basecampboundLocale: Foothills of San Gabriel Mtns.
Just got this on sale from Campmor a few days ago, and thought I would share my experience with it.
First, it comes with a substantial stuff sack, and you could get rid of an ounce by using an ultralight sack. The material is pretty rugged, overkill in my opinion, but at least the down won't poke through like it can with polyester taffeta. It doesn't compress as well as some of my other bags, and I chalk this up to the substantial material used. I tend to sleep warm, and I was just slightly chilled at 30 degrees with mid weight base layers, and a balaclava. An additional layer would help. It's a little tight in the stomach/hip area, but some of my other bags have this same issue. The zipper is sturdy, but not as smooth and it caught on one of the tie-down straps a couple of times. The loft seems a bit uneven, particularly in the hood, which is where I had the most trouble. The bag I have (and yes it is the blue one) doesn't seem to loft as well as the one pictured in this article, but it was still fairly warm. The hood is a bit large, and it took quite some futzing to get it cinched down appropriately, with the draw cord system causing a bit of frustration. The draft collar was just plain weird, and didn't really function very well, so I experienced drafts around my neck, which was remedied when I switched from a hat to a balaclava. I also noted that the material doesn't breathe as well as most higher priced bags, and condensation was a little more than I like.
I lucked out and got an REI sub kilo for $90 when they stopped manufacturing them, and it remains my favorite lightweight bag, but the Kelty is certainly decent, especially for the price. I'm pretty picky about sleeping bags, and I actually found this to be comparable to some $250 bags that I've owned. It's fairly lightweight, serviceable, and the drawbacks are not that serious, especially if you are prepared for them and plan accordingly, (like making sure to use a balaclava and a base top zipped up all the way to compensate for the hood). It won't work for everyone, but it's an exceptional value for the money. In fact, I can't think of another down bag in this price range, especially at this weight. It's certainly an excellent value, and anyone on a budget should seriously consider it.Apr 1, 2011 at 11:54 am #1718440
I bought a $100 down bag made by Marmot that is made specifically for Dick's Sporting Goods. It has served me well on several summer trips and is also rated at 20F.Apr 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm #1718778
@basecampboundLocale: Foothills of San Gabriel Mtns.
Wow….a $100 Marmot bag? wish I could find one of those.Apr 2, 2011 at 10:09 am #1718868
There are two at Dick's. One is the alpine 40, a strictly summer bag. The one I got was the alpine adventurer 15. Msrp is 139 but I got it on sale for 100. Rated at 15 and weighs 2 lb 8 oz. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. It compares to the much more expensive marmot sawtooth.
Lol. Dick's without an proper caps is profanity here!Jun 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm #1749404
We desperately needed to lighten our 67lb. son's pack for him, but didn't want to break the bank to do it. After reading reviews, we found the Cosmic in "short" which fits to 5'4" and weight 2lb.3oz. It easily fits in his pack, is almost two pounds lighter than his synthetic bag, came in a Scout green color(ho ho) and he loves it. We are stoked on the price and quality of this item, and we're now recommending it to other Scouts.
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