Kelty Light Year Down 20º Sleeping Bag Review
There is a reason that Backpacker Magazine recognized the Kelty Light Year 20º sleeping bag as a “killer three-season deal.” I received this bag in the fall and immediately fell in love with it. The Light Year 20º is a lightweight, but feature-rich 600 fill down sleeping bag.
The day I opened it up, I was sick, but couldn’t wait to use it, so I spent the next three days bundled up in it on the couch. Although it isn’t the most rugged situation to test a sleeping bag in, it did provide me with a couple of insights.
The materials are amazing. The shell is 40D nylon ripstop, which I found to be durable, feel great, and also not be too noisey when moving around. The liner is 50D polyester micofiber pongee which was comfortable, not sticky like many liner materials, and also quiet. I even went to the Kelty website to see if they sold a down blanket made of the same materials.
While I was sick, my body temperature was all over the board, but even when my temperature spiked I didn’t notice getting clammy or uncomfortable in the bag which often happens to me in sleeping bags even when I’m not sick. A feature I found very helpful was the two way zipper because it allowed me to open it from the bottom just a bit as a vent.
I have since had the chance to put the Light Year Down 20º bag through some more serious testing on a hut trip in Colorado’s backcountry. On this trip I was thrilled to find that the sleeping bag came with an ultralight compression stuff sack. The bag packed down much smaller than I expected – just taller than a nalgene bottle and about twice the diameter. The specs state that the stuffed diameter is 8 inches and the stuffed length is 14 inches. I would say that mine packed down even smaller. On the 7 mile skin in and out of the hut I was also very appreciative of the light weight of this bag – only 2 pounds 14 ounces.
The Light Year Down 20º bag also had additional features that even more expensive, heavier bags I’ve seen do not include such as a baffled collar and hood to ensure that the cool air stays out, slanted baffle construction which eliminates cold spots, two way locking zippers for the length of the bag, a zippered check pocket to safely store small items.
I definitely appreciated the baffled hood and collar when the temperature dropped to below zero outside and the fire inside the hut went out during the night. The hood also features a draw-cord for an even more custom fit and additional cold blocking. I am not sure what the inside temperature was in the morning, but it was cold enough to warrant wearing a down jacket when I got out of the sleeping bag.
One of the most standout features to me is the zipper. The inside flaps of material feature a rolled edge that protects it from being zipped into the zipper. I cannot believe this feature isn’t included on every single sleeping bag made. I have snagged my zipper and been stuck fussing with it in the cold with only a headlamp to see what I’m doing numerous times. Not with the Light Year Down 20º.
I also noticed that the loft of the bag was excellent, quickly expanded after being compressed and it remained full to maximize warmth.
A nice feature that Kelty has adopted to help purchase decisions is EN testing and rating their sleeping bags. This bag tested with a comfort limit for the average woman of 32ºF and a lower limit where the standard man will be comfortable at of 21º.
I don’t have a single negative to point out about this bag and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for an affordable, feature-filled, lightweight, three-season sleeping bag.