Gadling gear review: Kelty Cosmic Down 20º sleeping bag

Over the past 60 years, Kelty has built itself a reputation for designing high quality outdoor gear that won’t empty your wallet. Their line of equipment includes backpacks, tents, camp lights, and more, all of which has helped inspire several generations of Americans to go outside and enjoy their time in nature. One of Kelty’s signature lines of equipment has always been their sleeping bags, which is a piece of gear that is integral to enjoying any camping trip. After all, if we don’t get a good nights sleep, chances are we’ll never want to go camping again.

The Kelty legacy for providing affordable and high quality gear remains well intact with their Cosmic Down selection of bags. Available in ratings of both 0º and 20º Fahrenheit, the company has brought affordable down-filled sleeping bags to the masses. These days, our sleeping bags are generally filled with natural goose down or a mix of synthetic materials, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Down tends to be warmer and lighter than synthetic, but it can also be much more expensive and doesn’t always perform well in wet conditions. Those are all important options to consider when purchasing a bag for your next adventure.

I recently had the opportunity to test the Cosmic Down 20º bag and was pleasantly surprised at how well it performed. Not only is it a comfortable option for three-season camping (spring, summer, fall), it compresses down to a small footprint, allowing it to fit nicely inside your backpack. It is also well built, with high quality materials and zippers, and features a host of nice touches, such as a warm hood, security loops for attaching to a sleeping pad, and a stuff sack for carrying the bag while on the go. In short, Kelty has put a lot of work into delivering a product that will fill the needs of most travelers who need a sleeping bag, and it shows through quite quickly.
When put to use in real-world conditions, the Cosmic Down 20º lived up to its rating, keeping me warm on cooler nights. That said, I wouldn’t want to push this bag any further than that rating, and if you’re going to be using it in colder temperatures, you may want to consider the 0º option or adding a liner for additional warmth. The Cosmic Down also comes in three different sizes (small, medium, and large) and for the best performance and comfort, you’ll want to be sure to choose the bag that is right size for you. Additionally, this is a “mummy” style bag, which wraps around the head for added warmth, and while I prefer these types of sleeping bags, there are some who feel a bit claustrophobic with this type of design. If you haven’t used a mummy bag before, you may want to try one out before buying.

Make no mistake, there are warmer, lighter, and more durable sleeping bags on the market. Those bags are also a lot more expensive than Kelty’s offering. The Cosmic Down starts at just $99 (add $10 for medium and $20 for large sizes), which is an unbelievable price for a down-filled sleeping bag. That makes the CD a very attractive option for casual campers or those looking to invest their money in upgrading their other camping gear, such as their tent or backpack.

It is difficult to overstate just how much bang for your buck the Cosmic Down delivers. If you’re in the market for a new sleeping bag or if you need one for an upcoming trip, this is an option that will not only meet the needs of the vast majority of travelers, it’ll do so without breaking the bank. As the holidays approach, the Cosmic Down also makes a great gift for the outdoor enthusiast on your list as well. For casual use, in weather that is less than extreme, it is hard to beat this bag.