Gear Box: Kelty Cosmic Down 20º Sleeping Bag


For those of us who live in the warmer, southern region of the U.S., the fall season bring relief from the heat at last. That means we get head back outside and enjoy our favorite wild space for the first time in a few months. It is also the perfect season for camping, as the days are still warm, but the nights are perfect for spending time in a tent. Recently I had the opportunity to test out the Kelty Cosmic Down 20º sleeping bag in just those conditions, and came away quite impressed. It isn’t the warmest or lightest bag I’ve ever used, but for the price, it packs a lot of performance.

Kelty is an outdoor gear company that has built a solid reputation for making good gear, at affordable prices, that are perfect for the more casual outdoor crowd. Someone who enjoys camping and hiking, but isn’t likely to be heading to the Andes or the Himalaya any time soon. Their gear is designed more for the weekend warrior than the hardcore adventure set, but over the years they have built a very loyal following who swear by their products.

With that in mind, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the Cosmic Down. After all, Kelty was promising a down-filled sleeping bag, rated for 20ºF (-6 Cº) that weighs 3.5 pound (1.6 kilograms) for around a hundred bucks. If the bag could come anywhere close to meeting those specs, I’d be quite happy.

Removing the Cosmic Down from its included stuff sack, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall quality of the bag. The fabrics were all quite nice and the zippers were solid and moved without sticking or snagging on the cloth. Rolling it out on the floor, I immediately crawled inside and was happy do discover there was plenty of room for my tall frame. Kelty had sent me the “large” version of the bag for review, and it was definitely spacious and comfortable, particularly for a mummy bag.

When put to real-world, practical use, the bag didn’t disappoint either. The Cosmic Down uses 550-fill Down, which was surprisingly warm and made for comfortable sleeping with temperatures falling into the 20’s, although I’m not sure I’d want to trust it much lower than that. For most three-season camping conditions, this is a more than adequate choice.

When first eyeballing the CD I was a bit concerned that it didn’t have any kind of venting options on the lower half of the bag. Turns out it didn’t really need them, as the well designed half-zip that runs along the side worked well when I needed to let a little air into the bag. Kelty also built in security loops to keep the Cosmic Down connected to your sleeping pad, which is a nice touch for a bag that isn’t considered “hardcore.”

Campers and backpackers on a budget will absolutely love this bag. It is comfortable, well made, and is a perfect option for late spring, summer, and early fall camping. Kelty has managed to create a product that lives up to its performance promises and does so in an attractive and affordable package. If you’re in the market to upgrade your gear, than the Cosmic Down is a fantastic choice, as you’ll have cash left over to continue shopping for other equipment as well. (MSRP: $99.95 (small), $109.95 (medium), $119.95 (long))

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Kraig Becker