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Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Review

Kelty Cosmic Down 20
Best Buy Award
Price:   $160 List | $112.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, great value bag, hard to find a less expensive 600+ fill down bag, lighter and more compact than most bags in its price range
Cons:  Heaviest traditionally designed down bag we tested, not as warm as other 20 degree bags, roomy cut is amost too roomy
Bottom line:  For budget conscious backpackers looking for a long lasting down bag, look no further.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Kelty
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor
Saturday

Our Verdict

Whether you're new to the outdoors or you're just due for a new bag that doesn't break the bank, the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is the best option for the money to get you going, making it our Top Pick for budget backpacking and camping. There are other bags in our review which are lighter, warmer, and more compressible, but the Cosmic Down offers decent quality for an incredibly good price. It is available in other temperature ratings too, just in case 20 F doesn't fit your needs. See how this sleeping bag compares to others in our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review.

Want more heat? Check out the warmer Cosmic Down 0
If you like the great performance-to-price ratio of the Cosmic Down 20, but want to push your adventures into colder climates, Kelty has you covered with the Cosmic Down 0. As the name implies, this bag's temp rating is 0F. All that added 600-fill power DriDown does make it pretty heavy at 4.13 lbs., but its $220 price tag is a great price for a 0F bag. The products in the Cosmic Down line from Kelty share the same design, fit, and materials, so if you like everything about the 20 but want more warmth, we think you'll dig the Cosmic Down 0.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Backpacking Sleeping Bags of 2017

up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
95
Western Mountaineering MegaLite $470
Editors' Choice Award
If we could only have one bag this would be it, as it's nearly the lightest and most packable model that offers spacious dimensions and above average warmth.
94
Marmot Phase 20 $459
Top Pick Award
One of the best overall sleeping bags on the market for its weight, warmth, and compressed size.
91
Western Mountaineering UltraLite $500
Top Pick Award
This is the warmest 20F we have tested while remaining one of the lighter and more compact models in our review.
88
Sea to Summit Spark III $469
Top Pick Award
If weight and packed volume are your biggest priorities, then look no further.
85
Nemo Salsa 30 $220
Top Pick Award
One of the most comfortable models; it's compressible enough for week long backpacking adventures.
85
Patagonia 850 Down 30 $400
This bag is high performing and is made with quality materials; it remains a high scorer across the board.
81
REI Co-op Igneo 25 $270
Best Buy Award
A solid sleeping bag that is close in weight and compressed size to many bags that are sometimes double the price.
81
The North Face Hyper Cat 20 $240
Top Pick Award
The best 20F synthetic sleeping bag for weight and compressibility.
78
Mountain Hardwear Hyperlamina Spark 35 $220
The lightest 35F synthetic bag we know of; it's 3 ounces lighter than the 20F Hyper Cat, though the Spark is significantly more compressible.
76
The North Face Cat's Meow $170
While hardly high-performance, the Cat's Meow remains a jack-of-all trades for general purpose backpacking, car camping, extended kayaking trips or when extended poor weather is a possibility.
76
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 3-Season $300
A super unique design that brings unparalleled comfort to the backcountry albeit with some (though not terrible) weight and packed volume penalties.
74
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 $160
Best Buy Award
For budget conscious backpackers looking for a long lasting down bag, look no further.
65
Kelty Tuck 20 $90
Likely the best 20F bag that costs less than $100.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Cosmic Down 20 is not a top-of-the-line backpacking sleeping bag; however, it is an affordable bag that gets the job done. We're continually impressed with the versatility and quality of this bag, especially considering its $160 price point.

The Cosmic Down isn't the nicest bag out there  but you'd have a harder time finding a better performing down bag for $150. Even then it offers respectable weight and packed size for the budget conscious backpacker.
The Cosmic Down isn't the nicest bag out there, but you'd have a harder time finding a better performing down bag for $150. Even then it offers respectable weight and packed size for the budget conscious backpacker.

Performance Comparison


Reference the chart below to see where the Cosmic Down ranks in Overall Performance compared to its competitors.


Warmth


The Cosmic Down 20 is not as warm as other 20F bags in our review. It features 21 ounces of down insulation, but due to its fairly roomy cut and lower quality 600 fill down, most people will find this bag a lot more comfortable when used closer to 25-30F, rather than 20F. It features a passive (AKA non-cinching) draft collar that certainly offers more warmth; if it didn't offer this feature, we'd expect that this bag would be even less warm. We think as a whole, adjustable draft collars are warmer most of the time, but may not be as comfortable as the one featured on the Cosmic Down.


While the Cosmic Down's large hood could be of higher quality, it does a respectable job of keeping the heat in, especially when compared to other models. We think this bag is warmer than the Kelty Tuck 20 and comparable to The North Face Cats Meow. It's not quite as warm as the 25F REI Co-op Igneo 25 or even close to as warm as the 20F Western Mountaineering UltraLite. All that said, we think that most folks will be toasty enough for a majority of summer time camping and backpacking trips. If temps drop below 30F, backpackers will simply need to layer up.

The Cosmic Down is warm enough for most 3-season backpacking trips  but our testers think it's more comparable in warmth to most 25°-30° F bags rather than most 20° F options.
The Cosmic Down is warm enough for most 3-season backpacking trips, but our testers think it's more comparable in warmth to most 25-30 F bags rather than most 20 F options.

Weight


A regular sized bag weighs 2 lbs 13 ozs. It's heavier than most down bags and similar in weight to several performance-oriented synthetic models, like The North Face Cats Meow (2 lbs 13 oz), and the 20 F Mountain Hardwear Hyperlamina Flame 20 (2 lbs 13 oz). However, the Cosmic is over a pound heavier than the 35F Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark 35 (1 lbs 13 oz) or the The North Face Hyper Cat (1 lbs 14 oz) and even more so than some of the lightweight options made by Western Mountaineering or the Marmot Phase 20.


While we would not consider it a lightweight option, especially when compared to more expensive down bags in our review, the Cosmic Down is lighter than many bags that are available for the same price, regardless of insulation type. This contender uses 600-fill down, lower quality fabrics, and has a fairly roomy cut; all of these factors contribute to it's heavy weight. While it's slightly on the heavier side, this bag is hardly what we would refer to as oppressively heavy, especially for shorter than average distance backpacking and car camping trips.

The spacious cut Cosmic Down (right) offers above average leg room and is an excellent option for tummy and side-sleepers of for folks who just want a little more room. Shown compared to the Western Mountaineering MegaLite (left) and Western Mountaineering UltraLite (center).
The spacious cut Cosmic Down (right) offers above average leg room and is an excellent option for tummy and side-sleepers of for folks who just want a little more room. Shown compared to the Western Mountaineering MegaLite (left) and Western Mountaineering UltraLite (center).

Comfort


This bag offers slightly wider than normal dimensions, providing a spacious interior in which to sleep. Stomach and side sleepers loved this bag because they could bring their knee higher than they could in most bags, increasing the comfort while resting in those positions. The spacious design is certainly bigger than average among backpacking oriented mummy-style bags; for folks who feel like they don't like most mummy bags, this might be an appropriate option to consider.


Despite its fairly large dimensions, our stomach sleeping testers still preferred the Nemo Salsa 30 for its spoon shaped design and stretchy seams. While the fabric on the Cosmic feels okay, it's slightly above average for "feel" among other bags in our review. It's also much more comfortable to sleep in a down bag versus a synthetic bag, if given the option; we enjoyed sleeping in the Cosmic from a coziness standpoint more than any of the synthetic bags we tested.

The Cosmic Down shown here packed into its included stuff sack with a one liter Nalgene bottle for size reference. The Cosmic Down can pack about 25% smaller in with an aftermarket compression sack.
The Cosmic Down shown here packed into its included stuff sack with a one liter Nalgene bottle for size reference. The Cosmic Down can pack about 25% smaller in with an aftermarket compression sack.

Packed Size


The 600-fill down and the lower quality fabrics do not compress as well as bags with higher fill power down and lighter weight fabrics. That said, the Cosmic packs down reasonably well for the price. Overall, there are few, if any, bags that offer similar warmth in addition to the level of compressibility and a $160 price tag.


If you're searching for a bag that will offer better packability, we would suggest the Western Mountaineering Ultralite, Western Mountaineering Megalite, Marmot Phase, or Sea to Summit Spark III. Ranging in price from $330-500, these four contenders scored a 10 out of 10 for packed size.

The Cosmic Down (far right)  while not ultra-small  offers a pretty respectable packed size among comparably rated bags we tested (and to other options on the market). It's worth noting that for the cost it's very hard to find a comparably warm down bag that compresses as small as the Cosmic Down.
The Cosmic Down (far right), while not ultra-small, offers a pretty respectable packed size among comparably rated bags we tested (and to other options on the market). It's worth noting that for the cost it's very hard to find a comparably warm down bag that compresses as small as the Cosmic Down.

Features


For an entry level sleeping bag, we were happy to see a down insulated option like the Cosmic Down 20. Down allows this bag to be lighter, have a greater level of packability, and offer more comfort than most synthetic sleeping bags. Most importantly, down is more long-lasting; even though the fill-power isn't super high in this bag, the insulation will maintain its loft and insulation 2-3 times longer than that of a high-quality synthetic bag.


It features differential pull cords on the collar that are easy to use. We're not convinced that there is a huge benefit to this, but it is nice that Kelty uses water-resistant DriDown, which we feel adds value to this bag and allows it to dry marginally quicker. For a bag that offers more features, consider the Sea to Summit III or the Nemo Salsa 30. Both offer various features, which earned them a 10 out of 10 in the features metric.

Versatility


The Cosmic Down will work well for car camping and moderate length backpacking trips, but it lacks the warmth, weight, and level of packability for us to consider it a well-rounded 3 season sleeping bag. It is roomy enough to add several layers once the temperature dipped between 30-40F; conversely, its full-length zipper allows for the bag to be completely unzipped and used like a blanket for warm summer nights.


The Western Mountaineering bags, along with the Nemo Salsa and The North Face Cats Meow offer a higher level of versatility. The Salsa provides great ventilation and plenty of room, while the Cat's Meow excels on all sorts of trips.

The Cosmic down is a reasonably versatile bag. It's warm enough for most 3-season excursions  comfortable enough for car camping  and light and compact enough for shorter-range backpacking trips. It's not a super warm 20° F   nor is it as compressible or as lightweight as we'd like for long range trips. All that said  if you're on a budget  the Kelty Cosmic Down will work for most trips and is the best bag you can get your hands on for the price.
The Cosmic down is a reasonably versatile bag. It's warm enough for most 3-season excursions, comfortable enough for car camping, and light and compact enough for shorter-range backpacking trips. It's not a super warm 20 F , nor is it as compressible or as lightweight as we'd like for long range trips. All that said, if you're on a budget, the Kelty Cosmic Down will work for most trips and is the best bag you can get your hands on for the price.

Best Application


The Cosmic Down is best suited for car camping or backpacking trips where its weight and packed size won't be a hinderance. It is a good introductory down sleeping bag for novice, occasional, or budget backpackers, and is warm enough for summer use at low to mid-elevations.

At $150  the Cosmic Down is pretty unbeatable. For new hikers or folks on a tight budget  we don't think anything comes close to the Cosmic Down for $150.
At $150, the Cosmic Down is pretty unbeatable. For new hikers or folks on a tight budget, we don't think anything comes close to the Cosmic Down for $150.

Value


This contender wins our Best Buy Award for its exceptional value. We love the low price, the use of down insulation, and the overall simple design of the bag. At $160, you'd have a difficult time finding a better down sleeping bag that compares in warmth, weight, and packability. For the price, the down insulation will maintain its warmth over time at least twice as long when compared with synthetic models.

Bottom Line


Winner of the Best Buy award yet again, we feel that it is a good entry-level, budget-conscious backpacking sleeping bag. It sacrifices some weight and packability by using lower quality materials in order to meet its low price-point, however, it's not way lower in performance when compared to other bags of similar quality and price. This bag is still a good choice for summertime use at low to mid-elevations, whether it's in your pack, or at the campground.

Ian Nicholson
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