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Kelty Sleeping Bag?

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Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby chrismjx » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:45 am

I have decided that it is time to replace my old(er) synthetic mummy bag, a Kelty Lassen 0°, mostly because it doesn't pack down small enough into my 70L pack. When I cram it in there, I don't have enough room for my necessary gear.

I don't have any preferences OTHER THAN the most important characteristics, in this order:
A) It packs down to the smallest size possible
B) Minimal weight
C) Some way to secure sleeping pad
D) Rated ~0° (a real-world rating preferred to marketing BS)

I really don't know where to start; Synthetic or down? Mummy or semi-rectangular? I spotted the Kelty Coromell 0° on Steep and Cheap today and it piqued my interest. Seems like the "perfect" match except for possibly weight and real-world performance... Any thoughts?

I am primarily interested in a highly compressible bag that still manages to perform above-average in terms of warmth and comfort (i.e. good night's sleep). I know the perfect match is out there!

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:48 am

Down is lighter and more compressible. It's also more expensive and doesn't insulate as well when you get it wet, but this is easy to get around by keeping your bad dry.

I've had mixed results from Kelty bags. Typically (from my experience) they aren't as warm as other bags with similar claimed ratings.

Personally, I'd say spend the extra money for a better bag (which doesn't mean the bag you are looking at is bad), but that would depend on how often you plan on using it.
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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby chrismjx » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:29 am

Well, in warmer months I'd be using it like twice a month, maybe more if its a good month and I can get away with it! :) I was thinking that down was probably the way to go, but now I'm not so sure. As I mentioned, I have a synthetic bag that I mostly like; its just that my pack isn't all that big at 70L and when I stuff that bad boy in there, it doesn't compress nearly enough...

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby Dukietown » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:37 am

I have a Montbell spiral down 0 deg bag that I love. It compresses down smaller than a 2L soda bottle and weighs around 2lb. But a good 0 deg down bag is wayyyy to warm for the warmer months. I bought a 35 deg down quilt that I use most of the year that compresses smaller than the 0 deg bag and weighs about 1lb. The warmth/weight/compression of down is still far superior to synthetic, you just pay more for down because of it.

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby chrismjx » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:53 pm

I saw that (or similar) bag on Steep and Cheap the other day too! Caught my eye with the spiral design, seemed like a great idea.

I was just at REI checking out options, and the guy repeated what I've been reading: that down bags are quite susceptible to getting wet. Does anyone have any experience with a damp down bag? What about from the condensation inside the tent, will that cause a big problem? I assume there must be accessories that you can buy to mitigate this problem, and of course the bags are coated with the hydrophobic chemical. I also learned that I probably don't actually need a 0° down bag for the reason you stated; way too hot in summer time. So I'm thinking more like something in the 15-20° range since it can still get quite cold at night in the high country... My fiance has a synthetic bag, rated for 0°, that is much more compressible than my Kelty Lassen. I don't recall the brand but it was like $65 at Sportsmen's Warehouse on clearance, and I've actually used it quite a few times with great success. Wonder what the difference is?

Alternatively I could keep using my synthetic bag and just buy less space-consuming gear I suppose? :lol:

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby Dukietown » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:47 am

I really like the spiral design as a side sleeper/figure 4 sleeper I've never felt constricted by the bag or had spots get cold from compressing the down. I've never had a problem with down getting somehow soaked and being rendered ineffective. Just be cautious with your gear. People still summit the highest peaks in full down suits for a reason! The only time I could see it getting soaked is in your pack. I line my pack with a trash compactor bag and put anything that cant get wet inside that. Even if my water bottle were to suddenly burst my clothes, some extra layers and sleeping bag would stay nice and dry. And I don't have to worry about fumbling with a pack cover.

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby Dave B » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:09 am

chrismjx wrote:Does anyone have any experience with a damp down bag? What about from the condensation inside the tent, will that cause a big problem?


In Colorado, unless you get caught in a rain storm, the chance of your down bag getting soaked to the point of losing loft is, in my opinion, negligible. If you have any plans to travel to the PNW, Alaska or any other temperate rainforest regions a dedicated cold weather bag with synthetic fill would be worth the money.

Even with condensation inside a tent most down bags have a DWR treatment that will prevent the bag from getting wet. You just might need to dry your bag out during the day (if it's possible) on multiday trips.

Sierra Designs has had a couple of really nice 0 degree bags on S&C lately. It's hard to beat ~$150 for a good 0 degree down bag.

With that said, the newer bags with Primaloft one fill are marginally heavier than down and compress marginally less.

Then there's the new "dry down" options available through Sierra Designs, but from what I've heard the DWR they put on the down causes the weight and compressibility of the down to be reduced to that of synthetic fill. They're also pretty pricey.
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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby HuskyRunner » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:57 am

It's not hard keeping a down bag dry. All my bags are down and always will be unless I plan a trip through the Amazon or whitewater raft trip (but then I could stuff into a heavy duty dry bag). In over 30 years I've never had a bag get wet enough to loose significant warmth, even in the Cascades (although I might consider a synthetic bag there depending on the trip). Nothing wrong with synthetic but down holds up better, provides a broader temperature range, is lighter, and packs smaller. The negatives, as others have said are price and, if you're careless enough to get your bag wet then it will take forever to dry out.

Premium bags will typically have a more conservative temperature rating but whether or not you need a 'warmer' bag depends on personal metabolism, your other gear, and camping style. If you're really concerned about getting it wet spend the extra bucks and get water proof shell, my really cold weather bags have dry loft shells (aka Goretex). Get a bag from Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, the better Marmot models, etc. and you'll have a bag that should last you close to the rest of your camping life.

Keep an eye out and you can find a better deal than full retail on a good bag: lightly used, Feathered Friends occasionally has sales (discontinued colors), Steep and Cheap, and even Ebay (I got an almost new Marmot Pinnacle Dryloft bag for $100 a few years back).
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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby climbingaggie03 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:26 pm

I Have some synthetic bags, but I mostly use my down bags. In colorado, down is the way to go, it's rare that you get a rain that's hard and long enough to really get things wet. I use a sea to summit ultra sil dry sack, which has done a great job of keeping my bag dry. It packs up pretty small, but they make compression sacks to get it even smaller.

I used a down back in oregon for 3 weeks in june a couple of years ago and I was sleeping in a megamid tarp with 3 other people for several days. The bummer was I was usually on the side closest to the edge of the tarp which meant that the tarp was on my bag getting it wet. I definitely got cold because my bag was losing loft. I was usually able to get it mostly dry in the morning and evenings but it was a constant stress and it could have gone alot worse.

I've never had problems with my bag getting wet in colorado and I've taken it on several river trips, but I usually have it in my sil dry sack inside a dry bag so It'd take a couple of failures to get it wet.

I love down, it holds up well, is super light and super compressible, if you have the money, I'd get either a montbell, feathered friends, or a western mountaineering bag, but Most of my bags are REI brand. Sierra Designs has a new thing called Dri-down wich looks interesting, and their new bags look pretty awesome so that might be something to look into. I guide and camp alot and so I use my bags a fair amount, a down bag will hold the majority of it's loft/temp rating for 5 years for me. I wash them in a front loading washer every now and then but other than that, I don't do too much to baby them.

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:15 am

Dave B wrote:Then there's the new "dry down" options available through Sierra Designs, but from what I've heard the DWR they put on the down causes the weight and compressibility of the down to be reduced to that of synthetic fill. They're also pretty pricey.


I own a SD Zissou 15 (DriDown), as well as several jackets (SD Gnar Lite, LL Bean Ultralight 850, Brooks Range Mojave) with the "new" down (DriDown, DryTek, etc, they all come from 1-2 factories), and can positively tell you that they don't weigh any more than regular down and the compressibility is not affected one bit.

Cost is not much more, either, about $30 or so.

Backpacker magazine gave a few pieces Editor's Choice Awards.

http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-snow-awards-2012-sierra-designs-tov-and-ll-bean-ultralite-850/videos/246
http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-snow-award-2012-llbean-ultralite-850-puffy/gear/17042

My main concern is if it will hold up to extended years of use, or if they have to kill baby seals to get it or something.

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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby Dave B » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:02 am

pvnisher wrote:
Dave B wrote:Then there's the new "dry down" options available through Sierra Designs, but from what I've heard the DWR they put on the down causes the weight and compressibility of the down to be reduced to that of synthetic fill. They're also pretty pricey.


I own a SD Zissou 15 (DriDown), as well as several jackets (SD Gnar Lite, LL Bean Ultralight 850, Brooks Range Mojave) with the "new" down (DriDown, DryTek, etc, they all come from 1-2 factories), and can positively tell you that they don't weigh any more than regular down and the compressibility is not affected one bit.

Cost is not much more, either, about $30 or so.

Backpacker magazine gave a few pieces Editor's Choice Awards.

http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-snow-awards-2012-sierra-designs-tov-and-ll-bean-ultralite-850/videos/246
http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-snow-award-2012-llbean-ultralite-850-puffy/gear/17042

My main concern is if it will hold up to extended years of use, or if they have to kill baby seals to get it or something.


Good to hear a more positive review.

I'd read this less than glowing Outdoor Gear Lab review of the Zissou 15 several months back and pretty much wrote off the entire Dry Down thing as barely reaching past puberty. In re-reading the review, it seems much of their criticism is aimed at the fact that SD used 600 fill down instead of a higher fill power.

Nevertheless, it looks like the Zissou 0 degree can be had direct from Sierra Designs for just $209.

http://www.sierradesigns.com/p-518-dridown-zissou-0-hi.aspx

Might be a good compromise for the OP.
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Re: Kelty Sleeping Bag?

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:10 am

Yeah, in my opinion 600 fill down isn't worth spending money on, I'd rather have synthetic.
Synthetic insulation and 600 fill down are about the same to me, except the down costs more and the synthetic dries faster. So synthetic beats low quality down in my book.

But top quality down, whether in a jacket or sleeping bag, whether dry-coated or not, is good stuff.
And top-quality down (all those jackets are 800 or 850 fill) that is dry-coated is better (at least in the short-run, no idea about longevity) than regular down, although depending on your conditions it might be superfluous. I live in northern England, and with 2012 being the second-wettest year on record for the UK, it's been nice.

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