The Kelty Light Year XP is a well-featured and inexpensive twenty-degree synthetic sleeping bag for backpacking in wet conditions. We recommend this bag if you frequently venture into very wet climates with a high probability of getting your get wet and want to spend as little money as possible. Other synthetic bags found in our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review offer more warmth when wet and many other down bags offer greater performance for nearly the same price as this bag. See our Camping Sleeping Bag Review for the best bags for car camping and general use.
Kelty Light Year XP Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky, drafty foot box, finicky hood closure, bad stuff sack.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Kelty Light Year XP 20 is a budget synthetic bag for wet weather backpacking. We recommend it for camping in very wet conditions. For all other conditions down bags offer more performance for as little as $20 more and other synthetic bags offer more warmth when wet.
It's important to underscore that the Light Year XP is a budget bag that squeezes under the three pound barrier that separates our backpacking bags from general use bags. This is a very basic bag that places little emphasis on performance; it's viable into the lower forties and cold below that. It's best application is as a wet weather summer bag. Below we list some of its drawbacks.
The draft tube on the foot vent is attached at the bottom of the zipper, making curious feet and gravity itself accomplices in cold air invasion. Our taller (six foot) testers found this to be a problem regardless of the temperature; their feet lifted the draft tube and rested along the zipper. Due to this problem, warm socks are mandatory in colder temperatures. Second, the cinching mechanism for the hood pull cord is miniscule in comparison to its counterparts on other sleeping bags. Loosening the hood requires either a delicate touch with dainty fingers, or a powerful outward force. A larger adjustment would benefit the bag. Third, the bag is a bit on the bulky side. The neck baffle and foot vent add weight and bulk.
While the bag maybe nice, the included compression stuff sack is terrible: its made of a thin nylon, the stitching on the straps is weak (we broke one after two months), and its too large to significantly compress the bag. See our Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack Article to compare our favorite sacks.
The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 offers budget conscious campers and hikers a screaming deal of a sleeping bag. Of the 70+ bags we've tested, in all categories across down and synthetic insulation, no other bag provides as much value as the Cosmic Down 20. At 42 ounces the bag isn't particularly lightweight, nor is it made of the best materials, but it is only $100!!
If you're looking for a warmer bag, the Kelty Cosmic Down 0, $250, is rated to 0 and weighs 3 lbs 12 oz.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale