The Kelty Callisto 30 is the perfect sleeping bag to wrap up in while gazing at the stars from your backyard or favorite campsite. It's appropriate, since the Callisto of Greek mythology was punished, turned into a bear, and cast out into the heavens as the constellation Ursa Major or Big Bear (aka the Big Dipper). Of course, that's not all. It's a cozy general-purpose bag that is just warm enough to be an excellent lightweight option for car camping, outdoor concerts, movies in the park, or even hanging out with friends all night around a fire on the Oregon Coastline. You get the picture, right? For covering the bases of what most folks need from a sleeping bag at the lowest price, this model wins our Best Buy Award.
Kelty Callisto 30 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Well made, comfortable fabric allows for ease of movement, good warmth to weight ratio, value
Cons: Maybe a smidge narrow, warmth rating is a little inflated, thin shell material could snag
Our Analysis and Test Results
Although rated to 30 degrees, we feel the Callisto is more of a 40-degree bag for basic camping in late Spring to early Fall. The bag is roomy enough for most people and comfortable enough for a decent night's rest in a tent, camper or RV. The bag is also light and compact enough that it can go with you just about anywhere. It's the Black Lab of sleeping bags. A loyal friend you can take anywhere.
We spent a chilly evening in Bryce Canyon National Park examining this bag for warmth. In the end, we gave it above-average scores. We feel its 30-degree rating is generous, but that doesn't change our overall opinion of the bag, which is high.
For basic camping, in comfortable to slightly chilly temperatures, this bag is an ideal choice for campers who don't want or need the bulk, weight or warmth of larger bags like the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 or the Slumberjack Country Squire 0. An average, tent-dwelling camper would stay comfortably warm in this bag down to a nighttime temperature of 40 to 45 degrees.
We plopped all of the bags down on a hard-packed, gravel campground road and rolled around in them for at least 10 minutes to assess comfort. We also spent several nights sleeping in each as well. In the end, we gave the Callisto comfort scores that are just a titch above average. This bag has more padding than a few of its lighter counterparts, but not much more.
Overall, it's comfortable and exactly what a basic bag should be — simple, warm and easy to grab and go. Additionally, we liked the feel of its silky Taffeta lining. However, if we give way to our nitpicky side, we do feel the bag's 32-inch width may be a little too narrow for active or larger sleepers. We admittedly felt a little confined at times. We think the bag would be far more cozy with a width of 36 inches or more.
At first glance, you would probably consider the Callisto a basic, no-frills bag — and for the most part, you'd be correct. However, it has enough of the basic features we look for to still score a little above average in this metric. Features like — A full-length zipper draft tube, an interior storage pocket, a double zipper, a lifetime warranty, and a water-resistant shell.
What it lacks in wow-factor, it makes up for in solid everyday features. We do feel the interior pocket is a little narrow, designed mostly for cell phones. The bag also lost a few points for not having any notable unique features like the removable liners in both the Slumberjack Country Squire 0 and the TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1.
We shoved our bright orange Callisto bag into its stuff sack more times than we can count, and we can say with confidence that its 190T Polyester Taffeta shell packs up like a dream.
For our packed size scores, we also asked ourselves whether the bag's stored size and weight would allow someone to use it in a pinch as a backpacking bag. The answer is somewhere closer to yes than to no. It doesn't have the smallest packed size, but we feel the Callisto packs up small enough and is relatively light enough to double as backcountry bag for a weekender in the mountains — be sure nighttime temps are at least 10 degrees above freezing.
When we consider its quality, general warmth, comfortable fabric, size, weight, and its straightforward utility, we feel the Callisto 30 is very fairly priced. There are cheaper bags on the market that have the same warmth rating and sizing, but we feel the Callisto comes ahead with superior materials and quality handwork. Performance per dollar ratio is very high here.
This is a quality, general-purpose sleeping bag with slightly above-average warmth, comfort, features, and packed size ratings. It lands in the middle of the road in just about every way, which could be considered its niche. Our only concerns are the bag's width (we feel it's a little skinny) and the bag's warmth (we think the rating should be 40 degrees).
— Jason Wanlass