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Hands-on Gear Review
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's Review
Cons: Heavy, less compressible than competitors
Bottom line: Inexpensive while offering comfort and warmth, this award winner is unbeatable.
The Kelty Cosmic Down is the least expensive down bag we tested, besides the Slumberjack Boundary 20. It's a great value for a budget conscious lady looking to purchase her first mummy-style down bag for a backpacking trip. Retailing for a mere $160, it wins our Best Buy Award. The Cosmic Down has low quality 600 fill duck down that is heavier than we would have liked, though the newest iteration of this classic bag now has hydrophobic down. It is very similar to other inexpensive down bags like the Mountain Hardwear Heratio and the Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15; if you're willing to sacrifice a bit of weight and quality, you can save yourself a lot of money.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Cosmic Down was updated for 2016, and all the changes were for the best. In addition to being available in a new color and style, the materials and fabrics changed. The fill power increased from 550 to 600 hydrophobic DriDown, and the list price has decreased to $160 (from $200). The Cosmic Down is giving its competitors a run for their money. Kelty has eliminated the very similar Women's Ignite and instead transferred over the Ignite's best qualities to the Cosmic Down.
The bag is EN tested to 25°F, a significant step up from the old Cosmic that was 32°F. We did not experience temperatures that cold while testing this bag, but this new 600 fill power bag feels just as lofty as the Marmot Angel Fire and we think it would do ok down to at least the 30's.
The Cosmic Down is one of the few down bags in this review (along with the Angel Fire and Roxy Ann) that 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. 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 moisture; unfortunately, this also contributes to its weight and bulk.
The women's version of the Cosmic Down has two ounces more down fill included, upping the warmth in a smaller package. All of the Cosmic Down models now come with water repellant treated "DriDown" fill which helps this bag retain its loft when it gets wet, better competing with synthetic budget bags like The North Face Cat's Meow.
The Cosmic Down is by far the heaviest of the down bags tested at almost two pounds. We were disappointed by how heavy this bag is because one of the great advantages of down is its high warmth-to-weight ratio.
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 (we suspect are in there to cut costs), both of which add weight. It also uses a relatively heavy shell material, which makes it more durable in the long run, but again adds to its weight. A heavier bag is an unseen price you pay for a budget sleeping bag (and ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain!). If you are looking for a great lightweight sleeping bag that doesn't break the bank, we recommend the REI Joule.
We think the latest incarnation of the Cosmic Down is quite comfortable! Kelty has upgraded their liner materials for a softer hand, and the bag feels lofty and cozy. 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.
This bag compresses relatively well because it is down, but does not compress as well as the other down bags we tested, like the REI Joule 21.
The synthetically filled draft collar and zipper draft tubes make the bag less compressible as a whole and contribute to it's overall packed size. It comes with a small, lightweight stuff sack, but not a compression sack. We would recommend purchasing your own compression sack to keep your pack smaller. Check out our The Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack review to find a compression sack that works best for you.
The Cosmic Down is a smaller and narrower version of the men's version, and as we mentioned before, has two ounces more fill to add warmth. To learn why women sleep colder and the advantages of choosing a women's specific bag, check out our How to Choose a Women's Sleeping Bag article.
Kelty has addressed the low-quality zipper that caught on the material and seems to have improved this feature, adding tougher material to the side of the zipper. We like the different thicknesses of drawcords for the hood and chin baffle, so it is easy to tell them apart in the dark. This bag only comes with a small stuff sack; we think every down sleeping bag should include a storage sack so that the down does not stay compressed when we're not using the bag, as compression contributes to a shorter lifespan for the model. Otherwise, the Cosmic Down does not have any exceptionally unique bells and whistles, which is fine since often extra features add to the weight of the bag.
This bag is somewhat versatile. Paired with a high R-Value sleeping pad, it could be stretched from late spring to early fall use in warmer climates. The hydrophobic down allows it to be used in a slightly wider range of conditions, like in humid or rainy climates. It is heavier than the other down sleeping bags we tested, such as the Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's and we would not want to carry this with us on extended backpacking trips. This inexpensive bag works best car camping, during sleepovers, and on short backpacking trips.
At $160 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. The Cosmic Down has taken the Best Buy Award for its 2016 upgrades to the fill power and made it more of a competitor to the other more expensive down bags in this review like the Mountain Hardwear Heratio and Big Agnes Roxy Ann.
During our testing period, we ran into a woman on the John Muir Trail who was using this award winner. We polled her for her opinion, and she said: "so far so good, good value for the money."
We commend Kelty on the upgrades to the Cosmic Down line and think this bag is now deserving of our Best Buy Award. We think this bag is an excellent choice for someone on a budget or new to backpacking and camping. It is warm, comfortable and versatile enough to take on backpacking trips, in moist climates or just for camping out in the backyard. If you are looking to get yourself into a down bag that is lighter than any of the synthetics we tested like the Mountain Hardwear Laminina Z Flame, the Cosmic could be the right choice for you.
— Jessica Haist
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