Review Date: June 19, 2007
The sleeping bag arrived in a heavy duty plastic bag and once opened appeared to be in perfect condition. The sleeping bag came inside a large cotton sack. This sack is to store the bag when not on the trail. Attached to the storage bag was an informational card for the sleeping bag and a separate card for information on the Polarguard 3D filling. I then removed the sleeping bag from the storage sack. I opened the sleeping bag up and first noticed the care instructions sewn into the bottom. Inside a small stuff sack was also included for storing the sleeping bag while on the trail. The stuff sack is made of nylon and has a drawstring top. At the bottom is an extra flap of fabric to make it easy to pull the sleeping bag out. Sewed into the top is a flap to place across the opening to keep the sleeping bag protected when in the stuff sack.
The sleeping bag is a standard mummy shape. This includes a tapered foot area and a hood to cover the head. I quickly noticed that the bag had maintained its shape very well during transport. I was unable to find any bunching or fill movement. In the foot area of the bag is a zipper that can be used to provide ventilation for your feet. This opening is approximately 14 in (35.5 cm) in length. My feet have a tendency to get hot so I’m looking forward to trying this feature out. Attached along the outside seam are small snap loops that can allow this bag to be used as a liner within a larger sleeping bag. There are also loops inside the Kelty bag so that a separate liner can be used inside this bag.
The main zipper starts about half way up on the right side. This zipper can be opened from either the top or the mid point. This makes it easy for the occupant to adjust the zipper as he or she wants. The zipper handle can also be used from the inside or the outside. When I opened the zipper I was very interesting in the backing that Kelty put behind the nylon fabric around the zipper’s teeth. I am assuming this was done so that the lightweight nylon can not be caught in the zipper teeth and cause a jam. I zipped and unzipped the bag many times in a row trying to cause a jam but the zipper was very smooth and the stiffness of the fabric around the zipper kept the fabric out of the teeth. At the top of the zipper is a large reinforced hook and loop tab used to lock the top together, preventing the zipper from being pulled open. The hood, when open, is large and roomy. It has two separate draw cords, one that goes under the chin and across the neck, the other goes around the top of the head. Both cords are fed through the same cordlock that is mounted on the left side. Since the drawcords are separate it should be very easy to custom fit the hood around my head.
The sleeping bag is stuffed with Polarguard 3D lining made by Invista. The included information tag states that Polarguard 3D is water resistant, durable, warm and lofty. The sleeping bags shell is made from a ripstop nylon-polyester blend. The liner is 100% polyester. The fill is attached to the shell and lining with chevron stitched through the bag.
Lying the sleeping on the ground I climbed inside and laid down. First off, I was very surprised at how roomy the bag felt. I guess I was expecting a cocoon type feeling with my arms trapped at my sides but I felt like I had room to move my arms around. Since I’m a pretty big guy this was a very welcome surprise. I zipped the bag up while lying down with my left hand across my body. This took a little effort to do at first because the zipper had separated at the bottom and I needed to start the zipper. Once the zipper was started it closed without much effort. I closed the hook and loop tab at the top. After this I used the two hood draw strings to snug the bag in tight and fastened them with the captured cordlock. The cordlock was easy to reach and operate. The bag gave me plenty of room around my legs and my chest did not seem constricted at all. I was able to move my arms around easily and felt comfortable. Also, because of the lightness of the fabric it stayed close to my body to help keep the warmth in. Overall the fit was very good and I’m quite happy with it.
The Cleaning Instructions:
The care instruction were a little confusing for me. Below are the three separate instructions attached to the sleeping bag.
“Hand wash in warm water w/ mild soap or detergent. Rinse in warm water. Air dry by hanging over the line.”
“Alternate machine washing instructions: Use only commercial heavy duty front loading tumble maching on gentle cycle. Wash in warm water with mild soap or detergent. Air dry.”
“Care Instructions: Machine wash warm/cold with mild soap. Front load machine only. No bleach. Tumble dry low - warm. No heat over 120 degrees farenheit. Store unstuffed.”
As of right now I have two separate camping trips planed. One will be several days in Maine (final destination is still undetermined) and the other will be in Western Massachusetts. This sleeping bag will be used mostly in a Big Agnes Parkview 3 tent. At this point I have no plan to use a pad of any sort with the bag.
While using this bag, the following are the questions I would like to answer. I’m sure other question will come to me during usage also.
- The bag fits well now in a controlled environment but when used for a full night in the rough and tumble, is it too small? Does the bag get too restrictive around my body?
- Can I fit extra clothes or items in the bottom of the bag but still leave enough room for me?
- I have a tendency to overheat easily, do I have to keep opening and closing the bag to regulate my temperature throughout the night? Is the foot vent enough to keep my temperature comfortable?
- I usually do not use a pad with a sleeping bag. This sleeping bag is pretty thin; do I need a pad with this bag?
- I sleep in shorts most of the time while camping. Is the fabric comfortable against my skin or does it get too clingy?
- How quickly can I roll the bag up and get it in its stuff sack?
- How well does this bag pack? Can I squeeze it down real small or does it take up a lot of room in my pack?
- After being packed down then opened, how long does it take the bag to loft out?
- How well do the zippers help prevent cold air from getting in the bag?
- Since I do overheat I’m pretty positive I will sweat in this bag. How does the bag do when it is slightly damp? Does it still keep me warm? How long will it take to dry out after?
- I usually only sleep with a tent. With this bag I would like to sleep without a tent or cover. How does it do? Does it repel dew and moisture? How does it perform if it gets a little wet from dew?
- After repeated use, how strong is the fabric? Are there any wear marks or tears that shouldn’t be there after normal use?
- Are the seams lasting? Are they starting to pull and loosen up?
- How is the zipper working? Does it still move freely? Are there any problems with the teeth?
- How are the drawstrings and cordlocks doing? Have the drawstrings frayed or broken? Do the cordlocks still hold the drawstrings?
- How has the stuff sack faired over the usage period? Any seams fraying? Does the drawstring still work well?
- After some use, how does the bag look? Any wear and tear?
- Does the sleeping bag attract dirt and get dirty quickly?
- How easy is the sleeping bag to clean? How does the bag perform after repeated washings?
Review Date: August 24, 2007
The Kelty Light Year 3D 45° Sleeping Bag has been used on two separate trips. The trips occurred in Maine and Western Massachusetts. I used the sleeping bag in a tent both times and the temperature at night got down to approximately 55 F (13 C). During both trips the nights were dry and clear. During the day the temperatures reached a high of 85 F (29 C). I did not use any sort of pad underneath the sleeping bag.
The first thing I would like to comment on about this bag has to do with the preparation for my trips. I am very impressed at the low-weight and compact size of this sleeping bag. When the bag was compacted and stuffed into its trail bag it hardly took up any room in my 5450 cubic in (89 L) backpack. The sleeping bags lightness wasn’t even noticeable in the pack.
Once at the camp site the sleeping bag quickly lofted to it original size once it was pulled out of its trail sack. I am usually a very good and sound sleeper so when camping in the summer months I rarely use any sort of padding for my sleeping bag. The sleeping bag lies directly on top of the tent floor which is on the tent’s drop cloth. Even with the close contact with the tent floor, I did not suffer from any moisture problems at all.
During the night, the sleeping bag did quite well in keeping me nice and comfortable. I would take a few shirts and stuff them into the sleeping bag’s stuff sack to use as a pillow. I have a tendency to always be a little hot (I like to sleep with the windows open in New England in January some of the time). Because of this, when going to sleep, I usually like to lie down on top of the sleeping bag and then at some point during the night I would generally slide into it when the temperature began to drop. The bag ended up being the perfect weight for keeping me comfortable at night. On one morning I slept in for a short bit and the sun warmed the tent up a bit. The heat made me sweat while I was in the bag and the inside got a little damp. When I did get up I just left the bag open while I packed up the tent and it was quite dry by the time I packed it up.
Another thing to note in this bag was its size. If the night got cold enough and I had to zip the sleeping bag up all the way the bag became a little tight in my shoulders. Not tight enough to make sleep difficult but tight enough to make it a little constricting so rolling over and tossing around at night was a little tough. The version of the bag that I was given to test was the long one and I have a shoulder girth of about 56 in (1.42m). During the test though I rarely kept the bag fully zipped and I was very comfortable throughout the night.
In the remainder of my test time I will use this sleeping bag with some sort of a pad to see how it changes the bag’s dynamic. I also plan on using it in some cooler and possibly wetter conditions. When I get close to the time when my long term report is due, I plan on giving the bag a good washing to see how it fairs.
The Kelty Light Year 3D 45° Sleeping Bag is an extremely well made sleeping bag. The seams are very well stitched and all the components are of high quality. The bag compacts into the small included stuff sack and is barely noticeable when packed. When taken out of its bag it lofts quickly and is quite comfortable to sleep on and in. I am very happy with this bag so far.
Long Term Report
Review Date: October 30, 2007
During the time remaining in this test, I used the Kelty Light Year 45 3D sleeping bag for an additional two nights in the Massachusetts area. For both nights the sleeping bag was used inside a Big Agnes Parkview tent without any sort of pad underneath. During the night my sleepwear would range from boxers to sweat pants depending on the outside temperature. Overnight temperatures got down to approximately 50 F (10 C). Both nights ended up being dry with a slight breeze.
Overall I have been very impressed with this sleeping bag. I want to use this final section of the test review to discuss my overall impression with the sleeping bags performance, durability, and maintainability.
The Kelty Light Year 45 3D sleeping bag’s performance has been spot on throughout the test period. During field tests the low temperature stayed within the bag’s acceptable limits and when the temperature did drop on the colder nights the bag kept me comfortable and warm. When bedding down for the night, the sleeping bag came out of its compression sack and quickly lofted back into its original shape. The bag was easy to get into once I got used to how the different closures worked. When I was done with the bag in the morning getting out was quick and painless and I was very impressed with how easily I was able to get it quickly back into its compression sack. Once it was in the small compression sack I was able to throw it into my pack and really didn’t notice its weight at all. Also, when in its compression sack, the bag is so small it easily fits into my pack amongst my other equipment. One small problem I did have was with the bag while sleeping. After getting into the sleeping bag I noticed that the sleeping bag was a little snug around my shoulders once it is all zipped up. When I say snug I do not mean that it is cutting off circulation. I can still turn around in the bag and move my hand up to scratch my nose, etc. I probably have an extra 4 in (10 cm) or so in the circumference. The tightness does not keep me awake or hamper my sleep but if you are someone who is large and likes a lot of freedom and room while sleeping this is something you should watch for.
The Kelty Light Year 45 3D sleeping bag’s durability also got good marks in my book. Recently I gave the bag a very close inspection and I didn’t notice any problems with any premature wear anywhere on the bag. This surprised me because I used this bag directly on the floor of my tent without a pad. I also wanted to test how well the bag did with some abuse so for one of my trips I left the bag out of its compression sack and shoved it in my pack with everything else. After the long hike and with the rest of my equipment banging around inside the pack I gave the bag a close inspection and did not see any problems except for a few dirty smudges. Other then a little dirt here and there this bag, including all the zippers, hook and loop fastener, and attachment points, is still performing and looking like new.
The maintenance for this sleeping bag is as problem-free as its usage. The bag ended up picking up a little dirt during its use and was washed in a standard home washing machine. The washing machine I used was normal sized and I had no problems at all getting the bag clean. I used a low temperature setting on the electric dryer and the bag came out looking like new. I tossed the bag and its compression sack in the large storage sack to await its next use.
I also wanted to mention the overall design of the Kelty Light Year 45 3D sleeping bag. The one thing I thought was very good about the design was how easily I could get myself into and out of the bag. The first couple time it was a like tricky but once I had done it a few times it was a cinch. My only compliant is that I wish the bag had a full length zipper that would make it a little easier to get in and out. Also it would allow it to be opened fully on a hot summer night. With the addition of the full length it would also allow the bag to connect with another similar sleeping bag. The last item is not a big deal, just a preference my wife has when we camp together.
This bag is very impressive. Very rarely, as a large guy, can I find a sleeping bag that I can comfortably sleep in. The bag’s sizing is not ideal but it is very close and I can still use it. This bag now has a permanent spot in my standard late spring, summer, early fall equipment list.
- High Quality construction.
- Low weight.
- High compactability.
- Quick Lofting.
- Shoulder Girth is a little tight.
- I wish the sleeping bag's zipper would open the full length of the bag.
I want to thanks Kelty and BackPackGearTest for letting me test the Light Year 45 3D!