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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Kelty Galactic 35 F Sleeping Bag > Test Report by David Wyman

Kelty Galactic 35º Sleeping Bag
Test Series by David Wyman

Image from manufacturers website
Image from manufacturer's website



Test Phases:

Initial Report - September 10, 2009

Field Report - November 26, 2009

Long Term Report - January 23, 2010



Tester Information

NAME David Wyman
EMAIL wyman(AT)wymanhq(DOT)com
AGE 31
LOCATION Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
GENDER Male
HEIGHT 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT 175 lb (79.40 kg)


While I've been camping for years, I've only been backpacking for a short time. I'm trying to find the right equipment, alternating between tent and hammock. My dog usually comes along on the longer hikes, and my wife and toddler join me on the shorter ones. I tend to carry more gear that I need resulting in a heavier pack, but I'm working on that. When I hike with my dog and/or my wife and son, we take it a bit slower, stopping frequently to enjoy the forest. I rarely hike fast unless I'm trying to make up time.



Initial Report - September 10, 2009

Product Information

Bag in stuff sack

Manufacturer Kelty
Website http://www.kelty.com/
Product Kelty Galactic 35º Down Sleeping Bag
Size Tested: Regular
  Additional Sizes: None
MSRP US $149.95
Color Tested: Onyx / Silver
  Additional Colors: None
Temp Rating: 35 / 2C
Shape: Rectangular
Insulation: 600-fill-power duck down
Shell material: PR349T polyester, diamond cross-dye ripstop
Liner material: P300T polyester taffeta
Measurements:
  Listed Measured
Weight 2 lb 8 oz / 1.1 kg 2 lb 10 oz / 1.19 kg
Length 75 in / 191 cm 75 in / 191 cm
Shoulder girth 64 in / 163 cm 64 in / 163 cm
Fill weight 17 oz / 0.5 kg N/A
Stuffed diameter 7 in / 18 cm 7.5 in / 19 cm
Stuffed length 15 in / 38 cm 15 in / 38 cm


Initial Impressions

The Kelty Galactic 35º Sleeping Bag 600 fill power down to achieve its rating of 35 F / 2 C degrees. It's a rectangular bag, but with the drawcords at the head of the bag, this is the first "hybrid" bag I've ever used.

Drawcords and Side Baffle

There are two drawcords, one for the upper side of the bag and one for the lower side, which can be controlled separately. The drawcords and the cord-lock are located on the outside of the bag so I'm interested to see how easy these are to use once the bag is zipped closed. The bag is box-baffled and the baffles extend, as one complete unit, the entire length of the zipper, covering the right side and the bottom of the bag.

The zipper is double-zipped which allows the foot of the bag to be zipped open while the side remains closed. The main zipper has both exterior and interior pull strings, but the secondary (foot-box) zipper only has an exterior pull string. I'll be testing to see how easily the footbox is opened while zipped up in the bag. The full-length zippers also allow the bag to be opened flat and used as a quilt. I'm trying to hammock camp more often and I would love for this to be a more comfortable and easier to use alternative to my current mummy bag.

I'm also glad to see hang loops on the bottom of the bag. I'm hoping to be able to hang it easily to air out the bag. In addition to the hang loops, there are also liner loops/snaps on both the inside and the outside, allowing a liner to be used inside or the bag to be used as a liner for another part of a sleep system. I don't think I'll need the bag to be used as a liner, but I do see opportunities to slip a liner inside the bag and the loops should come in handy.



Field Report - November 26, 2009

Trips Taken

Made two trips to Raccoon Creek State Park, one in October and one in November. Both trips had ideal conditions - very little wind, no rain, and very few other people around. October's trip was two nights of car camping and had temperatures around 60 F (15 C) during the day and around 50 F (10 C) at night. November was a one night backpacking trip and got cold enough to really give the bag a test with temperatures falling down around 37 F (3 C) at night.

Thoughts and Impressions

With three nights in the Galactic, I'm very happy with it so far. During the October car camping trip I used the Galactic for two nights, inside of my tent and on top of a Therm-a-Rest Prolite. The temperature dropped down to 50 F (10 C) at night and I found that the Galactic was a bit too warm when fully zipped up. Unzipping it half way and using it as a partial quilt fixed the temperature issue and I slept very comfortably the rest of the trip. Unlike a quilt, being able to keep the footbox zipped up helped keep the bag from sliding off my feet at night and the rectangular cut of the bag gave my feet much more room than my mummy bag. I hadn't thought that the extra room at the feet would be very noticeable, but being able to shift my feet around at night made a huge difference and I will definitely miss that if I ever use a mummy bag again. The first night of the trip, my Therm-a-Rest kept sliding out from under my feet so, on the second night, I slipped the foot end of the Therm-a-Rest inside the footbox so that it was between my feet and the bottom of the bag and that kept it from sliding out from under my feet the rest of the night. That's another nice feature allowed by the large, rectangular footbox.

Since I didn't have much time to be out that weekend, the November trip was a short 1 mile (1.6 km) hike in to the shelter area. I had found that the stuff sack that came with it didn't compress down enough to make it useful so I stuffed the Galactic in the bottom of my pack inside a trash bag. This worked very well though I'll probably buy an actual compression sack for the bag for future use. At the shelter site, I located two nice trees and set up my hammock. Inside the hammock, I slipped into the Galactic wearing fleece pants, a fleece jacket, and a wool hat, and zipped up the bag. The temperature dropped down to 37 F (3 C) that night and I woke up feeling fairly cold in the middle of the night. I had brought a fleece sleeping bag liner (adds an additional 15 F (8 C) to the bag) with me and it easily attached to the inner loops. Those kept the liner in place and the combination of the two kept me almost warm during the night. The drawcords at the head of the bag were very effective in closing up the bag though the cords were a little hard to operate when the opening was cinched closed. It would be nice to have them accessible from inside the bag rather than having to stick my hand out of the opening to tighten or loosen them.



Long Term Report - January 23, 2010

Trips Taken

Due to a colder than normal winter, I was only able to get the Galactic sleeping bag out for two nights during this period of the test. I did a two night stay in Ryerson Station State Park in the south-west corner of Pennsylvania, just after we'd have several weeks of snow and temperatures that stayed between 0 F and 18 F (-18 C and -8 C). When the temperature was forecasted to have a high of 40 F (5 C) and a low of 20 F (-7 C), I figured that would be a good time to test the lower end of the bag's temperature rating. The actual temperature was around 30 F (-1 C) when I got into bed both nights and hit a low of 22 F (-5 C) the first night and 19 F (-7 C) the second night.

Thoughts and Impressions

The campsite was covered in approximately 5 inches (13 cm) of snow and, after packing down an area, I set my tent up. I also set up my hammock and planned to attempt to spend the night in that and only use my tent if needed. I hung the hammock, with the sleeping bag around the outside of the hammock, and had both a closed cell pad and an inflatable pad along with a fleece blanket inside. Ideally, this would prevent the bag from compressing under me and enable me to handle the cold temperatures better than if the bag was inside the hammock. I headed to bed the first night around 9 pm. I hoped my thin wool base layer, fleece pants and jacket, and wool hat, along with a water bottle full of hot water, would keep me relatively warm.

They seemed to work fine until around midnight. The temperature had dropped to 27 F (-3 C) and I was feeling pretty cold. I pulled out a 30 F (-1 C) rated mummy bag that I had also brought with me and put that inside the Galactic sleeping bag. I awoke again around 3 am when the temperature had bottomed out at 22 F (-5 C) and was a little chilly, but not too cold to fall back asleep.

The second night reached a low of 19 F (-7 C) and that proved to be too cold for my hammock setup and I found myself retreating to my tent around 1 am. After reheating the water bottle and moving my sleeping bags (the mummy bag inside of the Galactic bag), pad, and air mattress to the tent, I slept relatively warmly the rest of the night.

After using the sleeping bag over several cold nights, I've determined that for hammock use, the Galactic bag works reasonably well down to around 40 F (5 C) without additional insulation and, with a second sleeping bag, it can work down to around 25 F (-4 C). When using the bag inside a tent, it worked well until the temperature dropped below 32 F (0 C) or so and, with an additional 30 F (-1 C) rated sleeping bag, it was warm enough even at 19 F (-7 C).


Pros:
  • Packs down very small
  • Rectangular footbox allows a lot of room for my feet
  • Works very well as a quilt
  • Inner liner loops make it easy to attach a liner inside the bag
  • Roomy enough to allow a mummy bag to be placed inside and extend the temperature range
  • Packs small enough and is light enough for backpacking
Cons
  • Drawcords are a little difficult to operate after they've been tightened up
  • Doesn't seem to really live up to the 35 F (3 C) rating (at least not inside a hammock)
  • Supplied stuff sack doesn't compress down enough to be useful


This completes my test of the Kelty Galactic sleeping bag.

Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Kelty for this opportunity.


Read more reviews of Kelty gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wyman

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Kelty Galactic 35 F Sleeping Bag > Test Report by David Wyman



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