Kelty Cosmic 20 Review
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Kelty Cosmic 20
|Price||$154.95 at REI|
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|$348.68 at Amazon|
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$245.00 at Backcountry
|$159.96 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Inexpensive, burly, decent warmth, roomy fit||Spacious hourglass shape, innovative venting "gills", waterproof footbox, sturdy compression sack||Decent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargain||Very generous dimensions, good bargain, decent warmth, nice feature set||Great price, respectable weight, simple design|
|Cons||Heavy, limited versatility, no storage sack, no compression sack||Below average warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky packed size||Average materials, limited features, basic design||Heavy, bulky, uncomfortable hood, below average thermal efficiency||Subpar warmth, annoying hood drawcords, no storage sack, mediocre versatility|
|Bottom Line||A bargain backpacking sleeping bag with mixed performance characteristics||Premium down in an hourglass shape that offers the roomiest lower body dimensions||An exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bank||An affordable bag that's extremely spacious but also big and heavy||An acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom price|
|Rating Categories||Kelty Cosmic 20||NEMO Riff 30||Mountain Hardwear B...||NEMO Forte 20||REI Co-op Trailbrea...|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Features & Design (10%)|
|Specs||Kelty Cosmic 20||NEMO Riff 30||Mountain Hardwear B...||NEMO Forte 20||REI Co-op Trailbrea...|
|Insulation||550 FP Duck Down (75%) / Polyester (25%)||800 FP Down||650 FP Down||Synthetic - Primaloft RISE||Synthetic - Polyester|
|Compressed Volume||9.2 liters||7.2 liters||7.5 liters||13.9 liters||9.8 liters|
|Measured Bag Weight (Size Long)||2.83 lbs.||1.91 lbs.||1.98 lbs.||3.58 lbs.||2.74 lbs.|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight (Size Regular)||2.63 lbs.||1.80 lbs.||1.79 lbs.||3.13 lbs.||2.50 lbs.|
|Compression/Stuff Sack Weight||0.6 oz.||2.4 oz.||1.6 oz.||3.2 oz.||1.2 oz.|
|Manufacturer Temp Rating||20 F||30 F||30 F||20 F||30 F|
|EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit)||21 F||29 F||30 F||22 F||29 F|
|Fill Weight||16.4 oz.||10.2 oz.||15 oz.||35.0 oz.||21.1 oz.|
|Compression or Stuff Sack Included||Stuff||Compression||Stuff||Compression||Stuff|
|Shell material||Nylon (20D)||Ripstop nylon (20D)||20D Nylon Ripstop||Polyester Ripstop (30D)||Polyester w/ DWR|
|DWR Treatment||Yes, CO and PFC-free||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Liner material||50D 300T Polyester||30D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR||30D Plain weave nylon||20D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR||Polyester|
|Small Organization Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Zipper||Full-length / Right Side||3/4-length / Side||3/4-length / Left Side||Full-length / Left Side||3/4-Length / Left Side|
|Shoulder Girth||Not stated||62 in.||62 in.||66 in.||62 in.|
|Hip Girth||Not stated||54 in.||53 in.||60 in.||56 in.|
|Foot Girth||Not stated||59 in.||Not stated||64 in.||Not stated|
Our Analysis and Test Results
According to our research, the Cosmic 20 was one of the most popular 3-season sleeping bags of the last decade. Recently, a new version was released. After thorough testing, we're sad to report that many of the new changes are for the worse. The proportion of down-to-synthetic insulation decreased from 83% to 75% and the quality of the down fell from 600 to 550 fill-power. These changes result in a new version that is heavier, bulkier, and less warm than in the past. Fortunately, the price also dropped. Shoppers in 2021 should be aware, however, that today's Cosmic 20 is not the same award-winning bag as a few years ago.
The Cosmic 20 is filled with a blend of 16.4 ounces of insulation; 75% of this is 550-FP down and the remaining 25% is polyester batting. The down is distributed throughout the bag, while the synthetic insulation is limited to the underside of the bag to resist long-term compression.
With this blend, this bag receives an EN lower limit temperature rating of 21°F. In our tests, this rating seemed a little generous. We suspect most users with a good sleeping pad will be happier down to a 25-30°F limit. This bag also features a passive neck baffle to prevent heat from escaping out the hood opening. Without this, the Cosmic would likely have an even harder time living up to its 20°F manufacturer rating.
A size long tipped our scale at 2.83 lbs. This is kind of heavy compared to some premium down bags, and it is average relative to similarly warm synthetics. The Cosmic's biggest advantage is its weight relative to its cost. For its list price, you do get a respectable warmth-to-weight ratio.
Although we've tested other affordable bags with similar EN lower limit ratings, in our tests the Cosmic felt like one of the warmest in its price range.
This bag's 50-denier nylon fabric lining is unlikely to win any awards for softness. Compared to the sub-20-denier linings found on many high-end down bags, it feels coarse and stiff. This fabric, however, feels far more durable than its softer competitors.
In terms of the dimensions and fit, the Cosmic is pretty spacious. Although its shoulder girth dimensions were unreported when we published this review, it feels like a generous 60+ inches. Like all mummy bags, however, it tapers toward the feet. This can be an issue for side or tummy sleepers who might prefer an hour-glass shaped or zipperless design. The Cosmic, in contrast, feels most similar to other loose-fitting, budget, mummy bags.
In a third-party compression sack, this bag packed down to 9.2 liters in volume. This leaves the Cosmic as one of the largest in our high-end sleeping bag review but better than average among budget-focused sleeping bags. Along with weight, packed size is one of the biggest differences between affordable and expensive bags.
Among budget bags near the same price point, we prefer generally other synthetic models for a range of performance characteristics including weight and comfort. The one area where the down insulation of the Cosmic is clearly superior though is packed size. So if packed size is important to you, the Cosmic could be the right choice.
An additional consideration for some will be that this bag only comes with a simple drawstring stuff sack that's ineffective at compressing it fully. To enjoy its reported minimum volume, you will need to buy a third-party compression sack that will cost you around twenty bucks. Unlike a lot of other bags, the Cosmic also doesn't come with a large storage sack for storing it when it's not in use. We recommend hanging this bag in a closet instead of storing it in its stuff sack when not in use.
In our tests, this bag's ¾-length zipper was effective at venting excess heat on warmer nights. This zipper, however, ends 18 inches from the end of the bag, which harms the ability to use it as a quilt. The passive neck baffle and decent hood give you a couple of ways to seal in heat in colder conditions.
Like all down bags, the Cosmic's down insulation loses its ability to insulate if it gets wet due to the feathers clumping together. The 25% of the insulation that's synthetic fiber is also unlikely to be much help because it's all located on the underside of the bag. If you plan to use your sleeping bag for particularly wet activities or environments, there are several great synthetic options in the same price range.
Features and Design
The latest version of this bag includes a convenient stash pocket on the inside that's great for storing a phone or headlamp. In addition, the fabric adjacent to the zipper is now a burlier nylon weave. This is helpful because it adds stiffness to the fabric to keep it out of the zipper's teeth and ensures that if the zipper does snag, it's unlikely to tear.
The fabric covering the rest of the bag is also a higher denier than many ultra-premium bags. On the one hand, this is bad because it's heavier and coarser, but on the other, it's great because the added strength means you don't have to baby the bag as much.
While the Cosmic provides only average performance in several areas, its price is excellent. It represents a good deal for a legit backpacking bag. Although it weighs a little more and doesn't pack as small as the top-performing bags, you could use the hundreds of dollars you save to cut weight and bulk from other pieces of your backcountry kit.
The prices of lots of backcountry gear can be pretty shocking. Charging several hundred dollars for a simple bag made of nylon, feathers, and a zipper is sure to sound like highway robbery to many folks. For those, the Kelty Cosmic 20 serves as a reasonable compromise. Although it doesn't receive the highest scores in warmth, weight, or comfort, its performance is more than adequate for many backcountry applications. We believe the benefits of a high-end bag are worth the added cost to serious backpackers, but for everyone else, the Cosmic provides acceptable performance at a more reasonable price.
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