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Kelty Cosmic 20 - Women's Review

This competitively priced down sleeping bag is a good entry-level bag for backpackers looking to hit the trail on a budget
Kelty Cosmic 20 - Women's
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $180 List | $179.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good price for a down sleeping bag, warm, comfortable
Cons:  Low quality down fill, heavy, packed size, no storage sack
Manufacturer:   Kelty
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2021
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 17
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weight - 25% 3
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Packed Size - 15% 6
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

We took the latest version of the Cosmic for a spin in a rugged desert environment and were pleasantly surprised. The Kelty Cosmic 20 - Women's is one of the least expensive down bags in this review. If you're looking for an inexpensive down, mummy-style sleeping bag to break into the backpacking market, this could be a good choice. Admittedly, though, we preferred older versions of this bag that were more lightweight. The Cosmic's fill has gone back down to a lower-quality 550-fill duck down that is heavier than we want on backpacking trips where mileage hits the tens, though the down is treated with a hydrophobic coating to help it retain its loft when wet. If you're happy paying the least you can for a decent down bag, then the Cosmic 20 may be what you've been looking for.

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Price $179.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
59
77
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61
Star Rating
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Pros Good price for a down sleeping bag, warm, comfortableComfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constrictingLight and compressible synthetic, keeps you warm when wetComfortable, warm, roomyComfortable, inexpensive, recycled materials
Cons Low quality down fill, heavy, packed size, no storage sackComforter sometimes does not stay tucked inBulkier packed size, heavier, small fitHeavy, bulkyHeavy, bulky
Bottom Line This competitively priced down sleeping bag is a good entry-level bag for backpackers looking to hit the trail on a budgetA great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfortAn inexpensive and versatile synthetic bag, this is an excellent choice for breaking into backpackingThis middle-of-the-pack sleeping bag is comfortable, warm, and fine or short backpacking trips and car camping excursionsThis well priced synthetic bag is a great choice for your car camping needs
Rating Categories Kelty Cosmic 20 - W... Sierra Designs Clou... The North Face Cat'... Mountain Hardwear B... Marmot Trestles Eli...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (25%)
3.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Packed Size (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Features (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Kelty Cosmic 20 - W... Sierra Designs Clou... The North Face Cat'... Mountain Hardwear B... Marmot Trestles Eli...
ISO/EN Comfort Rating (F) 25 F 26 F 22 F 15 F 20 F
Fill Type 550-fill duck down PFC-Free DriDown Heatseeker™ Guide synthetic insulation 650-fill-power down HL-ElixR synthetic fibers
Measured Weight (in lbs) 3.4 lb 1.7 lb 2.5 lb 2.5 llb 2.8 lb
Total Weight (oz) 54 oz 27.4 oz 40.2 oz 39.7 oz 44 oz
Fill Power 550 800 Synthetic 650 Synthetic
Women specific features Increased foot room More insulation per square inch than men's version Women's specific cut Additional insulation Women's specific fit
Fill Weight (oz) 20.7 oz 14.8 oz Unspecified Unspecified Unspecified
Material 20D 400T nylon, PFC-free C0 DWR finish 15d nylon risptop 20D Nylon Ripstop/taffeta 20D Ripstop Nylon 20-denier recycled ripstop polyester
Neck Baffle Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Pocket Yes No No Yes Yes
Sleeping Pad Sleeve No Yes No No No
Zipper Length 59 in N/A 59 in 66 in 53/15"
Shoulder Girth 58 in 59 in 58 in 60 in 58 in
Hip Girth 52 in 58 in 58 in 50 in 58 in
Foot Girth 40 in 39 in 40 in 40 in 45 in
Stuff Sack included? Stuff sack only Stuff sack and storage bag included Compression sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Cosmic Down has once again had a makeover, as Kelty continues to tweak this long-standing product in their line-up. Some of the things we like, like the PFC-free water repellent coating and extra efforts to increase warmth with "trapezoidal baffles" (although we're not sure how they're supposed to be warmer). On the other hand, the quality of the down fill decreased with this iteration, which increased the weight significantly. This inexpensive option works best for car camping and overnight backpacking trips of shorter length.

Performance Comparison


The Kelty Cosmic is a good choice for someone looking for an...
The Kelty Cosmic is a good choice for someone looking for an inexpensive bag to take on short backpacks.
Photo: Kate Britton

Warmth


The bag is EN tested to 25°F, so the "20" beside its name is a bit misleading. We spent two nights out in below-freezing temperatures, and this bag fared okay. We were definitely wearing all our layers and were on a warm sleeping pad. Paired with a high R-Value sleeping pad, the Cosmic could be stretched from spring to fall use in warmer climates. We think most people will feel comfortable sleeping in temperatures around the 30 degrees Fahrenheit and up range in the Cosmic. The low-quality 550 down fill did loft up quite nicely once it had time to recover from being crunched in the stuff sack. Kelty has introduced "Trapezoidal Baffles" to their design intended to keep warmth in—we're not sure if they worked, but the bag was pretty cozy.

The Cosmic incorporates a draft collar to keep warm air in and cold drafts out. We think this feature adds an element of warmth, although the Cosmic's draft collar does not have drawcords to enable you to cinch it down around your neck, but we could cinch the whole hood close around our faces for extra warmth. Several other bags have this feature and we find it helps to stay warm. We discovered that this bag incorporates synthetic materials into its neck baffle and draft tube, which could potentially be because these areas are more prone to receiving moisture, and down doesn't hold warmth when it's wet. While this ultimately provides more warmth in the wake of precipitation, it contributes to its weight and bulk, too.

The Kelty Cosmic kept us relatively warm on cold desert nights below...
The Kelty Cosmic kept us relatively warm on cold desert nights below freezing.
Photo: Kate Britton

Weight


The Cosmic Down has put on some weight over the last year, going from a reasonable 2.71 lbs to currently 3.4 lbs, and is among the heaviest of the down bags we tested. While most down bags boast a great warmth-to-weight ratio, we are disappointed by its weight. Once competitive with other bags in weight and price, this latest version is now only competitive in price.

The Cosmic uses lower fill power down that is more cumbersome for the amount of warmth it provides, as well as more substantial synthetic fill components (which we suspect are in there to cut costs), both of which add weight. A heavier bag is an unseen price you pay when getting a budget sleeping bag.

Comfort


We think the latest version of the Cosmic is quite comfortable. Interestingly, we think the materials Kelty used for the shell are slightly softer than the lining materials. The lining is still soft and comfortable enough. It fit our 5'5" tester well, and she had enough room to put on additional layers without it feeling too restrictive. We think this bag would be comfortable for ladies up to 5'7" or 5'8".

The Cosmic is comfortable with enough room to lounge in and read a...
The Cosmic is comfortable with enough room to lounge in and read a book.
Photo: Kate Britton

Packed Size


This bag was difficult to get into the provided stuff sack. Its packed size is slightly larger this year again because of its downgrade in fill power. Compared to a synthetic bag, it compresses relatively well because it is down, but does not compress as well as the other down bags we tested.


The synthetically filled draft collar and zipper draft tubes make the bag less compressible as a whole and contribute to its overall packed size. It comes with a small, lightweight stuff sack, but not a compression sack. We would recommend purchasing a compression sack to keep your pack smaller. While it does get relatively small, it's not our top choice for those looking to go slim down their backpacking kit. Bags with higher fill power have the best compression and warmth-to-weight ratios.

The packed size of the Cosmic isn't as small as the other down...
The packed size of the Cosmic isn't as small as the other down models with higher, more compressible down.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Features


The Cosmic is a smaller and narrower version of the men's version, and has two ounces more fill to add warmth, concentrated around the hips and foot box areas. Kelty has addressed the low-quality zipper that caught on the material of previous models and improved this feature, adding tougher material to the side of the zipper. We like the small stash pocket inside the bag. All of the Cosmic models now come with water repellent treated "DriDown" fill which helps this bag retain its loft when it gets wet.


This bag only comes with a small stuff sack; we think every down sleeping bag should also include a large storage sack so that the down does not stay compressed when we're not using the bag. Compression contributes to a shorter lifespan for the down fill and it's important to store down bags fully lofted to help with their longevity. For this bag, we recommend hanging it in a closet to maintain its loft longevity, since there's no storage sack. Otherwise, the Cosmic does not have any exceptionally unique bells and whistles, which is fine since extra features often add to the weight of a sleeping bag.

We like the Kelty Cosmic's interior stash pocket, as well as it's...
We like the Kelty Cosmic's interior stash pocket, as well as it's sunny yellow lining color which makes it easier to find that lost sock at the bottom of your bag.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


The price tag on this hydrophobic down bag is hard to beat. It is a great value for a budget-conscious camper who wants a down sleeping bag and needs a go-to bag for all of her camping needs. If you primarily car camp, but go on occasional overnight backpacking trips, the price, warmth, and coziness of this bag might provide more value than spending more money to get a smaller and lighter sleeping bag.

Conclusion


We wish Kelty would consistently continue to upgrade the features of this bag, instead of flip-flopping between higher quality down and weight savings, then reversing that the next year. We think the value of the Cosmic Down 20 is good, but the value decreases for dedicated backpacking use. It is still an attractive choice for someone on a budget or new to backpacking and camping, though. It is warm, comfortable, and versatile enough to take on short backpacking trips, in moist climates, or just for camping out in the backyard. Our test team prefers previous versions of this bag that were less weight, and feel that a few other options on the market now beat out the Cosmic Down for the best value in a backpacking sleeping bag.

Jessica Haist