Kelty Galactic 30 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: True all-purpose bag, rare-to-find down-filled rectangle bag, warm, lightweight
Cons: More expensive than synthetic bags, problematic when water-soaked
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Feathers and fabric: There isn't much to it, but that's the whole point. Its simple, down-insulated design makes the Kelty Galactic incredibly practical, very warm for its weight, and relatively friendly to the pocketbook (when you consider it's a down bag). We feel its simplicity makes this bag very versatile.This bag is simply amazing when it comes to its applications. Perfect for everything from a backyard sleepover to a backcountry trip in the Tetons, the Galactic's rugged exterior and down insulation make it a perfect stuff-and-go bag for many occasions. This bag is not designed for cold weather camping but is a perfect bag for late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. It is also a viable option for summertime backpackers who desire a down bag but don't like the confinement of traditional mummy bags. The only drawback we found is the bag's width. Users with larger body types will most likely find this bag's 34-inch width to be a little confining.
The Galactic received generous marks for warmth. Our reviewers found the bag's down insulation to be entirely adequate for its 30-degree rating. In fact, we feel the bag outperformed its warmth rating. We also found it has enough room to slip in a combination of a down puffy jacket and base layers to increase the bag's warmth considerably. The Galactic isn't the warmest bag on the market, but it isn't designed to be. Down insulation makes it lightweight and allows it to easily compete against its larger and heavier synthetic peers for warmth.
It's important to note that Galactic's main warmth advantage could also become its greatest disadvantage. By nature, down looses nearly all of its capabilities to insulate when it becomes saturated with water. Although rare for this to happen, it is one potential drawback to down insulation. That being said, the manufacturer uses a high-performance down, called DriDown, to insulate this bag. The DriDown product is 100 percent down plumes that are treated with a spray-on polymer, which helps the down resist water, maintain loft and dry faster than normal, untreated down.
Given its thinner design, the Galactic has minimal natural padding. Therefore, sleeping right on the ground with this bag most likely isn't your best option. However, when combined with an RV bed or sleeping pad, this bag's down design creates an incredibly cozy sleep system. When compared to synthetic insulation, we found the Galactic's down system offers a more pleasant feel. Down is softer, cozier, and tends to encapsulate the shape of individual body types more easily.
One minor drawback we discovered is the bag's overall width of 34 inches. Many of the bags we tested have this same width. However, given the fact that down is much lighter, we feel the manufacturer could have made the bag a little wider without adding much weight or volume. Many of our testers felt a wider Galactic would simply offer a nicer, all-encompassing, luxurious fit.
We've already hinted at the fact that there's isn't much to this bag in terms of features. It offers a very simple, lightweight design. There is an ample, full-length draft tube, which effectively blocks cold air from entering through the zipper. The Galactic also has a drawstring opening, which allows users to cinch the top of the bag tightly around their shoulders and necks.
We still gave the bag relatively high marks for features based solely on the fact that it's insulated with 600-fill high-performance down. The fact that the Galactic is one of only a handful of traditional, rectangle bags that incorporate down fill, makes it a rare find and very unique. One simple feature this bag lacks is an internal storage pocket. We feel this is a simple addition that the manufacturer should have considered.
Lightweight, compressible down almost always equals high scores for packed size. We found the Galactic to be a dream in this area of study. Designed by the manufacturer to be ideal for car camping or backpacking, this bag has the smallest packed size of any traditional, rectangle bag we've ever tested. The Galactic has very few, if any, rivals for packed size.
We did find the stuff sack to be a little on the tight side, requiring just a little extra effort to pack the bag away. That said, once the bag was completely stuffed, it can be compressed even further through the use of a compression sack, making it a legitimate backcountry bag for backpackers who don't like the constrictive design of mummy bags.
Related: The Best Budget Backpacking Sleeping Bags
Versatility, warmth, size, and weight make this a nearly perfect grab-and-go bag. It packs up small, is rugged, and boasts 600-fill DriDown insulation. We feel the extra cost for a high-performance down bag of this nature is justifiable — especially when we consider its insulative capabilities, 2.3-lbs packed weight, and small packed volume. This bag is fairly priced for buyers who value the benefits of down insulation and are excited at the opportunity to own a rarely made, feather-filled rectangular bag.
Throughout our testing, we repeatedly compared the Kelty Galactic 30 to popular down jackets like The North Face Thermoball or the Patagonia Nano Puff. These jackets, and others like them, have become a household standard for outdoor clothing. We feel the Galactic offers a sleeping bag version of their function, style, and versatility. Simple in design, this bag is perfect for nearly any outdoor adventure, including everything from a simple backyard sleepover to a multi-day backpacking trip. The Galactic is a much-needed addition — and a complete standout — to the already saturated list of traditional camping sleeping bags.
— Jason Wanlass