best sleeping bags for backpackers

Kelty was started in 1952 in the garage of a gentleman named Dick.  Dick started out making packs and bags, but over time Kelty continued to expand and they now offer a variety of outdoor gear.  One of company’s signature product lines is their sleeping bags, which are known for their reliability and affordability.

Kelty sleeping bags are sturdy and available in great variety, whether you’re planning a simple family camping trick or an extreme adventure through the snowy mountains.

When choosing a Kelty sleeping bag, you want to think about what you plan to use it for.  It’s helpful to consider things like warmth, weight, material, comfort and price.

Kelty sleeping bags fall under one of three categories:

  1. Cold weather
  2. 3-season
  3. And warm weather.

Kelty places a number next to each of their models to indicate the temperature that the bag is suited for.  For instance, the Kelty Cosmic 20 should keep you warm even when temperatures are as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a number of sleeping bag models available to accommodate the kind of outdoor trip you plan on taking.

They include:

  1. Callisto: The Callisto is a rectangular bag and includes 0, 15, and 35 degree models.
  2. Coromell: A high-quality semi-rectangular down bag with a high level of convert. Available in 0 and 25 degree models.  Also available is the Coromell CP, a synthetic material known as CloudLoft Pro.
  3. Cosmic: One of Kelty’s most popular bags, it comes in both synthetic and down fill.  The Cosmic comes in 0, 20, 35, and 50 degree models to accommodate virtually any outdoor endeavor.
  4. Light Year Down: This is a warm mummy shaped bag with some nice bells and whistles.  Temperatures include 0, 20, and 40 degrees.  Available in men and women’s models.
  5. Mistral: Perfect for winter camping, the Mistral will keep you warm on even the coldest nights.  Includes -20, 0, and 20 degree models.  This is a synthetic bag (with CloudLoft).
  6. Big Dipper: This is a “junior” bag, 3-season, synthetic fill, designed for a variety of outdoor adventures. Temperature rating is 30 degrees.
  7. Eclipse: The Eclipse is a lightweight rectangular sleeping bag with a synthetic fill.  Models include 30 and 35 degrees. Also comes in a double.
  8. Galactic: This bag comes with a hood in case the temperature drops.  It is rectangular, includes synthetic fill, and comes in 15 and 30 degree models.
  9. Little Flower & Little Tree: These are mummy shaped bags designed for kids.  The Little Flower is for girls of course and the Little Tree for boys.  Temperature rating is 20 degree.  Synthetic fill.
  10. Supernova: The Supernova is a large, comfortable 3 person sleeping bag, rectangular with synthetic fill. Temperature rating is 30 degrees.
  11. Satellite Double: This innovative sleeping bag is square and is closer to an air mattress than a sleeping bag.  You have to see it to believe it!  Temperature rating is 30 degrees.
  12. Celestial: This is a lightweight bag perfect for warm summer nights under the stars.  The sleeping bag is rectangular with synthetic fill.  The temperature rating is 55 degrees.
  13. Little Dipper: This is also a warm weather bag (great for summer), mummy shaped, and comes in a girl and boy color. The temperature rating is 40 degrees.

As you can see, Kelty sleeping bags come in just about every variety, size, color and style that you could possibly want.  Plan your next outdoor adventure knowing that Kelty will provide a bag that fits perfectly with your plans, whether you’re heading out solo or planning a fun family trip.


Kelty Cosmic Down

Kelty has two variations of the Cosmic Down. The first, the Cosmic Down 20, is designed as a three-season sleeping bag meant for 20 F conditions. The other, the Cosmic Down 0, is a cold-weather bag that should be able to keep heat even in 0 F conditions. Which one is a better fit for you?

The Beginner’s Sleeping Bag: The Kelty Cosmic Down 20

If you’re fairly new to hiking and looking for a decent sleeping bag on a small budget, you will find that the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is a good bag to start with.

Priced at around $100, this mummy-shaped sleeping bag has 550-fill down insulation and 50D polyester taffeta shell and lining.  It weighs only 0.98kg and is ideal for three seasons. For someone new to backpacking, the Kelty Cosmic Down promises a good night’s sleep during cool summer nights outdoors.

Designed to keep one warm even when the temperature dips to 20 F, the Kelty Cosmic Down has slanted baffle construction, a top baffle collar, and insulated hood baffle. These baffles are tubes of fabric that are added over zippers or sewn over seams, meant to cover the cold spots and prevent heat from escaping from inside the sleeping bag.

The ground-level side seams help keep the heat from escaping.

Backpackers who have reviewed the Kelty Cosmic Down note that the sleeping bag has a lumpy, uneven look. Still, it does the job of trapping heat even when the temperature goes down to 20 F. The ¾ length, two-way zipper makes sure one can easily get in and out of the sleeping bag.

In terms of looks, the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is probably not as sexy or attractive as other top-of-the-line sleeping bags, but it does the work that it’s supposed to do—keeping one warm and dry outdoors, and for only $100, that’s already a good deal.

Perhaps when it has served its course and has accompanied you in many backpacking trips, you’d consider retiring it and replacing it with something a little more sexy and feature rich, but what’s certain is the Kelty Cosmic Down will surely be part of many of your wonderful camping memories.

For cold-weather conditions: The Kelty Cosmic Down

On the other hand, the Kelty Cosmic Down 0, with its bright yellow shell design, evokes a warm feeling in anyone. As a cold-weather sleeping bag, it’s designed for 0 F conditions, and its 550-fill down insulation, slant baffle construction, full baffle draft collar drapes, and ground-level side seams all work together to keep a backpacker warm in extreme cold.

Its polyester taffeta lining is meant for breathability and feels comfortable against the skin. Reviews from users of the bag report that it heats up pretty fast and retains warmth even for up to 20 minutes.

The regular-sized Kelty Cosmic Down is meant for anyone smaller than 6 feet. For taller ones, the sleeping bag is available in long-sized versions. It comes with a stuff sack so you can easily put it away when not in use, and its hang loops let you put it up to dry easily.

One of the major disappointments in the Kelty Cosmic Down 0, however, is that it is not water resistant. Some backpackers who have tried the sleeping bag firsthand observed that some condensation tends to collect around the hood and the neck part of the bag, but drying it under the sun for some 30 minutes will do the job of keeping the moisture at bay.

Frequent users have advised that the Kelty Cosmic Down be kept dry as much as possible for it to work up to expectations.


Kelty Light Year

What sets the Kelty Light Year sleeping bags apart? Two things: new materials and colorful, exciting graphics. Who says sleeping bags should be boring after all?

This year, sleeping bag manufacturer Kelty has overhauled the design of its Light Year models, giving backpackers and campers a choice between 600-fill down insulation and ECOPET, a synthetic but recycled insulation that keeps sleepers warm with minimal environmental impact.

Designed to be fully featured with less weight, the Kelty Light Year mummy-shaped bags should be everything that a minimalist backpacker would want in a sleeping case, at a price that’s affordable. With prices ranging from $110 to $250, Kelty Light Year sleeping bags are a good investment, considering they will be used year in and year out.

What Kelty Light Year sleeping bag fits you best? Find out here:

Light Year Down 0

Best for 3-season camping, backpacking, and cold conditions, the Kelty Light Year Down 0 has a 600-fill insulation, 40D nylon ripstop shell, and 50D polyester microfiber pongee lining. Features include sleeping pad security loops and 3/4 length zipper. Because of this bag’s 1.62kg weight, backpackers have found it a bit bulky and heavy, but that’s because it’s designed to keep one warm even in the coldest conditions.

Light Year Down 20

This sleeping bag has been called the “Killer Three-Reason Deal” by Backpacker Magazine. In terms of quality, feature, and price, it is indeed a killer. Backpackers who have tried it swear by its heat-keeping capability, thanks to a 600-fill power down and slant baffle construction. Its 40D nylon ripstop shell has been proven to withstand the wear and tear of backpacking.

Light Year Down 40

Weighing only 0.9kg, the Light Year Down 40 is designed as a lightweight summer bag and features a hip-length zipper and a foot vent that’s also zippered. It’s thin enough to make a backpacker feel close to nature. Slant baffle construction ensures that one sleeps comfortably during the warm summer nights in camp.

Women’s Light Year Down 0/Down 20

Kelty’s sleeping bags for women are designed to fit the female form, enabling female backpackers to sleep in warmth and comfort even on the trail. Unlike male versions, these for-women sleeping bags are cut narrower on the shoulders and wider on the hips.

They also offer extra insulation in the midsection and at the bottom of the bag, where heat loss happens more often.

The Light Year Down 0 model weighs 1.6kg, a bit heavier than its Down 20 counterpart. Both have 600-fill down insulation and 40D nylon ripstop shells.

Light Year XP 20 and Light Year XP 40

Made of Ecopet, a synthetic recycled insulation, the Light Year XP was designed to with minimal environmental impact in mind. The XP 40 model is best for warm summer nights, when there is a chance of one’s sleeping bag getting wet. The synthetic insulation ensures that moisture doesn’t get into the bag.

Meanwhile, its Light Year XP 20 counterpart was made to for three-season use. With its mummy cut design that keeps one comfy and warm and lightweight synthetic fill, this sleeping bag ensures performance without hurting the budget.

Women’s Light Year XP 20

Slightly heavier than its male version, the Women’s Light Year XP 20 is wider on the hip part and narrower on the shoulders. This three-season bag is also made of Ecopet, offering ample insulation without hurting the environment. In terms of quality, this one delivers without breaking the bank. Whether you use it on chilly nights or during the late fall, the mummy-cut XP 20 ensures that one sleeps comfortably.


Kelty Cosmic

At less than $100, Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags are probably some of the least-expensive, yet highest-quality sleepers you can get.  Featuring CloudLoft insulation, these sleeping bags are built for weather conditions ranging from 0 to 35 F.

CloudLoft is a thick polyester material often used in quilts.  It lends a puffy look to the sleeping bag and is usually spray bonded so that it becomes durable and not prone to moving.

There are three types of Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags. Women’s versions are available for two of them, while the others vary according to colors and design on the outside of the bag. Read further to find out which Kelty Cosmic you should consider for your next expedition:

Cosmic 0

The Cosmic 0 works in any season and performs well in cold weather and damp conditions. This is a versatile sleeping bag that is a perfect companion in any backpacking trip, virtually any time of the year.

At less than $100, it has all the features that you normally see in more expensive brands, and while it comes with synthetic insulation, it’s certainly not a second-rate bag.

Its top baffle collar, two-layer offset quilt construction, insulated hood baffle, and ground-level side seams will keep anyone toasty the entire night.  Solid and pattern designs available.

Cosmic 20

As a nod to the expanding demographic of backpackers, Kelty has ushered in some new Cosmic 20 models.

For tall backpackers who are finding it hard to fit into the regular-sized Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags, the Cosmic 20 model comes in regular, long, and extra-long sizes that are 20 inches longer than the normal version.

Women backpackers no longer have to fit into sleeping bags that do a disservice to them. With the Women’s Cosmic 20 model, women campers now have a sleeping bag that is designed to follow the female contour.

These bags are a bit narrower on the shoulders and wider on the hips, yet offer the same snug fit that one looks for in a sleeping bag.  As with other Cosmic models, the Cosmic 20 has two-layer off-set quilt construction, top baffle collar, insulated hood baffle, and differential cut to ensure comfort sleep outdoors.

Cosmic 35

Weighing less than a kilo (at 0.92kg), the Cosmic 35 is probably the lightest among the Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags. It is available in solid and patterned designs and comes in short, regular, long, and extra-long sizes.

A Women’s Cosmic 35 is also available, specifically designed for female campers.

Made for warm weather, the Cosmic 35 has a ¾ length, two-way locking zipper enabling one to slip in and out of the sleeping bag effortlessly.

Typical in most other Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags, the Cosmic 35 has a two-layer off-set quilt construction, thanks to the CloudLoft insulation that it has.

This is strictly a sleeping bag for the summer and does not have the other features of the Cosmic that’s made for winter use. Don’t make the mistake of bringing it with you during the winter. To accommodate the cold summer nights, it has ground-level side seams that prevent the heat from getting out.

Backpackers who have used the Cosmic 35 are leave reviews of praise for its lightweight and compact design. When folded up and put into its stuff sack, it is only about 16×8 inches in size and thus easy to carry.

When selecting from the Kelty Cosmic sleeping bags, be mindful of the model that you choose, because they are not one-size-fits-all-seasons designs. You certainly don’t want to end up freezing in the winter because you bought a Kelty Cosmic 35 instead of a Cosmic 0.


Join The Snorezing Newsletter and Stand a Chance to Win a COOL White Noise Machine.
You could be one of our lucky winners. Enter your email address to join the draw.
[adrotate group="1"]

LEAVE A REPLY