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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Kelty Light Year 25 Down Bag > Owner Review by Sophie Pearson

Kelty Women's Light Year 25 Down Sleeping Bag

Owner Review
July 20, 2008

Reviewer Information
Name: Sophie Pearson
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 8 (1.71 m)
Weight: 179 lb (81 kg)
Sleeping bag length: Long
Email address: sophiep3 at gmail dot com
Location: Tampa, Florida USA

Backpacking Background
I first started backpacking as a teenager in England. I did a month-long trip in the Arctic but most of my backpacking experience has been weekend to 10-day trips, in a range of terrains and climates. I am a volcanologist so also do day hikes carrying loaded packs over intense terrain. Nowadays I am nearly always in sub-tropical or tropical climates. I am heading more and more towards ultralight packing, and unless I am sharing I use a bivy rather than a tent. I try to pack under 20 lb (9 kg) for long weekend trips but have carried over 50 lb (23 kg).

Product Information bag
Manufacturer: Kelty
Year of manufacture: 2006
MSRP: $190
The bag they now make is specified to a lower temperature and has slightly different dimensions but the design is identical.

 ManufacturerMy bag
Minimum temperature20 F (-7 C)25 F (-4 C)
Length80 in (2.03 m)79 in (2.00 m)
Width at shoulder59 in (1.50 m)50 in (1.27 m)
Width at foot 13 in (0.33 m)
Weight2 lb 9 oz (1.20 kg)2lb 1 oz (0.94 kg)
Weight in stuff sack 2 lb 2 oz (0.96 kg)
Stuff sack diameter7 in (0.18 m)7 in (0.18 m)
Stuff sack length14 in (0.36 m)14 in (0.36 m)
Storage bag diameter  12.5 in (0.32 m)
Storage bag height 20 in (0.51 m)

Product Description
The Kelty Women's Light Year is a 3 season down sleeping bag designed specifically for women. It has 650-fill goose down, with extra padding at the feet and torso, and a synthetic polyester shell. It has slant-baffle construction and ground-level side seams to minimize heat loss. The outside top is light blue (the newer ones are yellow) and the bottom and inside are grey. The bag is mummy style and has 2 pull-cords around the head opening. The one across the front of the bag is yellow and black string, the one around the top of the hood is a 0.25 in (0.65 cm) wide flat black ribbon cord. They both go through the same cordlock but can be pulled separately. The cordlock is attached to a loop on the outside of the bag about 2 in (5cm) from the opening. The opening zip is on the right side from the inside and reaches half-way down, to about level with the hips. It is backed by a grey and white patterned fabric zipper guard. There is a hook and loop fastener across the top of the zip to secure the bag shut. The zippers have the yellow and black string attached to them to make them easier to pull. There is also a zip running along the bottom of the bag. There are 2 loops on the outside of the bag near the head and 2 near the feet made from the outer fabric of the bag. There are also 2 on the inside attached to the liner. On either side of the foot zip are similar but larger loops to hang the bag. There are also 4 loops made of grey ribbon cord about 1/3 and 2/3 down the sides of the bag. The bag comes with a large orange cotton bag for storage, and a much smaller black stuff sack for packing.

Field Information
I first got this bag for a 10-day trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in summer 2006. The temperatures averaged around 45 F (7 C) at night but dropped to about 30 F (-1 C) when we hiked up to higher elevation, where there was snow on the ground. I have also taken it on numerous trips around Florida, backpacking and car camping, where temperatures have reached 90 F (32 C) and rarely drop below 50 F (10 C). I used the bag during a four-day trip to Georgia in the fall, where it was consistently damp and drizzly and temperatures were around 45 F (7 C) at night. I have used it in my 2-person backpacking tent on my own and sharing, and in my bivy bag.

stuffed The first thing I noticed about this bag is how light it is. Compared to my synthetic, 4+ season bag the difference is incredible. It also packs really small, without having to fight with the stuff sack or use compression straps. I like the fact that it came in a large bag for storage too, so that the down doesn't lose its fluffiness.

The bag is rated for 3 seasons, down to 25 F (-4 C). I have used it in temperatures from 90 F (32 C) to about 30 F (-1 C). With my feet sticking out of the zip at the end I have not found it too hot, even in Florida in the summer. I have however had some problems with getting cold. Because it is designed for women, there is extra padding at the feet and this really has made a difference. The problem for me is my bottom - I tend to sleep on my side and my bottom ends up touching the bag near the bottom of the zip and has got so cold it has gone numb in the past! This happened one night in the Grand Tetons, when I was sharing a tent and temperatures got down to 30 F (-1 C), and a couple of times when I have been sleeping on my own in my 2-person backpacking tent in Floridian winter, at temperatures of around 40 F (4 C). I haven't noticed it when I am sleeping in my bivy bag. I don't know if this is a problem with the sleeping bag, or a peculiarity of mine, but I have not found it with other bags, and I have plenty of padding in that area! For me it's an acceptable trade-off because my feet have always got really cold really quickly until I bought this bag, and I find it easier to warm up my bottom than my feet.

I'm not sure how much difference the half-zip makes in weight but it actually suits me really well because I have a habit of catching zips and there is less zip to catch, plus less draft tube that can let air in. I don't use a mummy style sleeping bag as a quilt because of the footbox, so the half zip is not a problem there. The bag has ground-level seams and slant-baffle construction that are supposed to increase heat retention, but I can't really tell if they help.

I initially thought that the number of loops was a bit over-kill, but I found I have used them more than I realized. I initially used the loops 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down to strap my bag to my pad, until I realized that the shell of the bag is much less slippery than my old one and doesn't need it. The foot loops are great for hanging up the bag to air when I get back from a trip. Kelty says that some of the loops are designed to allow the bag to be used as a liner, but I haven't tested that. One complaint I have is that the hood cordlock is attached to an outside loop and I have not found a way to pull the hood tight without my hand sticking out. This is a bit awkward, and leaves a gap where cold can get in.

The bag is really soft and feels fairly padded. Over the 2 years I have had it the down does not seem to have lost much loft. The shell of the bag rustles much less than my old synthetic bag, which I really like because I tend to be the last to bed and move around a lot in my sleep. I initially worried about getting a down bag because of how long it takes to dry off and become usable again if it gets wet. I have kept the bag in the stuff sack in a plastic bag whenever I am outside, and have not noticed any moisture issues even in damp, drizzly fog. I (reluctantly because of the moisture issue) took the bag on a 3 day kayaking trip but the dry bag did its job perfectly. I have therefore not tested the performance when wet yet (and hopefully never will!) but my tent has ended up with quite a lot of moisture in it during rain storms and the moisture-wicking synthetic shell seems to have kept all of the damp out of the down.

The Kelty Women's Light Year Down sleeping bag is a small, light-weight 3 season sleeping bag that appears to have suffered little from 2 years of use and many outings. The right-opening half-zip has kept weight down and warmth in while a foot zip has kept me cool in hotter weather. Extra padding at the foot and torso really keeps me warm, although when the temperatures drop below 40 F (4 C) my bottom sometimes gets cold. My only other complaint is that the hood cordlock is on the outside which means that the tightest the hood can be pulled is with a hand sticking out. Overall a really nice backpacking sleeping bag, but not quite warm enough for me at the lower end of the rated temperature range.

Packs small
Foot zip for ventilation

My bottom gets cold in this bag at low temperatures
Cannot pull the hood as tight as I would like

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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Kelty Light Year 25 Down Bag > Owner Review by Sophie Pearson

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