Cosmic Down 20 Updates
Kelty revamped their sleeping bags this year, and our Best Buy winner was graced with some new fabric, a lighter weight, and the addition of a stash pocket. The price has increased by $10, from $160 to $170. Compare the new and old bags below (the updated version is on the left.)
- Fabric Update — The new Cosmic line features a softer 50D taffeta liner and 20D nylon taffeta shell.
- Stash Pocket — The version we tested lacked a stash pocket, but Kelty's latest incarnation of the bag includes one on the outside of the bag.
- 6 oz Weight Drop — The new bag weighs only 2 lbs 6.6 oz, dropping over 6 ounces from the previous bag's 2 lbs 13 oz weight.
Since we haven't tested out the latest Cosmic 20 yet, the following text refers to last year's model.
Hands-On Review of the Cosmic Down 20
The Cosmic Down 20 is not a top-of-the-line backpacking sleeping bag; however, it is an affordable bag that gets the job done. We're continually impressed with the versatility and quality of this bag, especially considering its $170 price point.
The Cosmic Down isn't the nicest bag out there, but you'd have a harder time finding a better performing down bag for $160. Even then it offers respectable weight and packed size for the budget conscious backpacker.
The Cosmic Down 20 is not as warm as other 20°F bags in our review. It features 21 ounces of down insulation, but due to its fairly roomy cut and lower quality 600 fill down, most people will find this bag a lot more comfortable when used closer to 25-30°F, rather than 20°F. It features a passive (AKA non-cinching) draft collar that certainly offers more warmth; if it didn't offer this feature, we'd expect that this bag would be even less warm. We think as a whole, adjustable draft collars are warmer most of the time, but may not be as comfortable as the one featured on the Cosmic Down.
While the Cosmic Down's large hood could be of higher quality, it does a respectable job of keeping the heat in, especially when compared to other models. It's not quite as warm as the 25°F REI Co-op Igneo 25 or even close to as warm as the 20°F Western Mountaineering UltraLite. All that said, we think that most folks will be toasty enough for a majority of summertime camping and backpacking trips. If temps drop below 30°F, backpackers will simply need to layer up.
The Cosmic Down is warm enough for most 3-season backpacking trips, but our testers think it's more comparable in warmth to most 25°-30° F bags rather than most 20° F options.
A regular sized bag weighs 2 lb 13 oz. It's heavier than most down bags and several performance-oriented synthetic models. The Cosmic is about a pound heavier than the 35°F Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark 35 and the The North Face Hyper Cat and even more so than some of the lightweight options made by Western Mountaineering or the Marmot Phase 20.
While we would not consider it a lightweight option, especially when compared to more expensive down bags in our review, the Cosmic Down is lighter than many bags that are available for the same price, regardless of insulation type. This contender uses 600-fill down, lower quality fabrics, and has a fairly roomy cut; all of these factors contribute to its heavy weight. While it's slightly on the heavier side, this bag is hardly what we would refer to as oppressively heavy, especially for shorter than average distance backpacking and car camping trips.
The spacious cut Cosmic Down (right) offers above average leg room and is an excellent option for tummy and side-sleepers of for folks who just want a little more room. Shown compared to the Western Mountaineering MegaLite (left) and Western Mountaineering UltraLite (center).
This bag offers slightly wider than normal dimensions, providing a spacious interior in which to sleep. Stomach and side sleepers loved this bag because they could bring their knee higher than they could in most bags, increasing the comfort while resting in those positions. The spacious design is certainly bigger than average among backpacking oriented mummy-style bags; for folks who feel like they don't like most mummy bags, this might be an appropriate option to consider.
While the fabric on the Cosmic feels okay, it's just above average for "feel" among other bags in our review. It's also much more comfortable to sleep in a down bag versus a synthetic bag if given the option; we enjoyed sleeping in the Cosmic from a coziness standpoint more than any of the synthetic bags we tested.
The Cosmic Down shown here packed into its included stuff sack with a one liter Nalgene bottle for size reference. The Cosmic Down can pack about 25% smaller in with an aftermarket compression sack.
The 600-fill down and the lower quality fabrics do not compress as well as bags with higher fill power down and lighter weight fabrics. That said, the Cosmic packs down reasonably well for the price. Overall, there are few, if any, bags that offer similar warmth in addition to the level of compressibility and a $170 price tag.
If you're searching for a bag that will offer better packability, we would suggest the Western Mountaineering Ultralite, Western Mountaineering Megalite, Marmot Phase, or Sea to Summit Spark III. Ranging in price from $330-500, these four contenders scored much higher for packed size.
The Cosmic Down (far right), while not ultra-small, offers a pretty respectable packed size among comparably rated bags we tested (and to other options on the market). It's worth noting that for the cost it's very hard to find a comparably warm down bag that compresses as small as the Cosmic Down.
For an entry level sleeping bag, we were happy to see a down insulated option like the Cosmic Down 20. Down allows this bag to be lighter, have a greater level of packability, and offer more comfort than most synthetic sleeping bags. Most importantly, down is more long-lasting; even though the fill-power isn't super high in this bag, the insulation will maintain its loft and insulation 2-3 times longer than that of a high-quality synthetic bag.
It features differential pull cords on the collar that are easy to use. We're not convinced that there is a huge benefit to this, but it is nice that Kelty uses water-resistant DriDown, which we feel adds value to this bag and allows it to dry marginally quicker.
The Cosmic Down will work well for car camping and moderate length backpacking trips, but it lacks the warmth, weight, and level of packability for us to consider it a well-rounded 3 season sleeping bag. It is roomy enough to add several layers once the temperature dipped between 30-40°F; conversely, its full-length zipper allows for the bag to be completely unzipped and used as a blanket for warm summer nights.
The Western Mountaineering bags, along with the The North Face Cats Meow offer a higher level of versatility. The Cat's Meow excels on all sorts of trips.
The Cosmic down is a reasonably versatile bag. It's warm enough for most 3-season excursions, comfortable enough for car camping, and light and compact enough for shorter-range backpacking trips. It's not a super warm 20° F , nor is it as compressible or as lightweight as we'd like for long range trips. All that said, if you're on a budget, the Kelty Cosmic Down will work for most trips and is the best bag you can get your hands on for the price.
The Cosmic Down is best suited for car camping or backpacking trips where its weight and packed size won't be a hindrance. It is a good introductory down sleeping bag for novice, occasional, or budget backpackers, and is warm enough for summer use at low to mid-elevations.
At $160, the Cosmic Down is pretty unbeatable. For new hikers or folks on a tight budget, we don't think anything comes close to the Cosmic Down for $160.
This contender wins our Best Buy Award for its exceptional value. We love the low price, the use of down insulation, and the overall simple design of the bag. At $170, you'd have a difficult time finding a better down sleeping bag that compares in warmth, weight, and packability. For the price, the down insulation will maintain its warmth over time at least twice as long when compared with synthetic models.
Winner of the Best Buy award yet again, we feel that it is a good entry-level, budget-conscious backpacking sleeping bag. It sacrifices some weight and packability by using lower quality materials to meet its low price-point. However, it's not way lower in performance when compared to other bags of similar quality and price. This bag is still a good choice for summertime use at low to mid-elevations, whether it's in your pack, or at the campground.