Gear Review: Kelty Ignite 20

The affordable three-season down bag from Kelty.

Brand: Kelty

Model: Ignite 20

What’s a good night’s sleep worth? Testers were prepared to shell out for the Ignite’s velvety lining and plush feel. “More like a featherbed than a sleeping bag,” says one. “It’s so all-around cushy, I could get away with a thinner sleeping pad.”

Surprise: The ultrawarm Ignite rings up at just $200—a steal in the three-season down category, with or without treated feathers. Kelty lowers the cost by using 600-fill DriDown (cheaper but bulkier than premium feathers), but core performance doesn’t suffer. One cold-sleeping tester expected she’d need backup booties, extra fleece layers, and a puffy jacket on a night in Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness when the temperature dipped 5 degrees below this bag’s 20°F rating: “Surprisingly, the only thing I had to add was a fleece top,” she says. A plump draft tube and cozy draft collar also help fortify against chills. The top and bottom of the hood adjust separately via a single cordlock, allowing for fine-tuning without fumbling.

Our warm-sleeping testers also lauded the Ignite’s breathability: “I was never clammy or hot, which says something because I’m a big-time sweater,” said a backcountry skier after a 30°F night in Montana’s Absarokas. The full-length, two-way zipper also makes for easy venting. More comfort cred: A soft, 50-denier polyester lining and a forgiving cut (62 inches in the shoulder; same as the Cal, but the Ignite is roomier through the legs and in the footbox by 2 inches) that accommodates midnight twists and turns. One tester slept out in the open on a 30°F Washington night and reports: “By midnight, I was completely engulfed in a cloud of fine mist. While the 30-denier, DWR-treated ripstop nylon exterior felt plenty damp by morning, the bag never actually got saggy wet. I stayed comfortable inside, and was able to shake off all the dew. The bag dried within minutes.”

Gripes: It’s bulky (soccer ball-size when packed) and the zipper tends to snag on the draft tube. $200; 2 lbs. 7 oz. (women’s); 20°F;

Overall: 4.3

Warmth to weight: 4.4

Comfort: 4.6

Packability: 3.4

Water resistance: 4.0

Tester Notes

Ted Alvarez: I hopped in this one after shivering through the night in an inferior bag. It warmed me up in a flash, even as the temps kept dropping and it started to snow.

Laura Katers: The heat-saving features came in handy in the Cascades, where every Nalgene bottle froze solid, except for the one I had tucked in the bag with me. Another nice feature: The 2-way zipper allows one to zip their feet out and put on boots, walk around, and basically get going in camp on a cool morning while still literally bundled up in the bag.

Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan: Very warm, very comfortable, dries quickly, zero clam factor, perfect size/cut, and at 200 bucks, is a freakin’ steal. Dings for the snaggy zipper and smallish hood.

Evelyn Spence: Tons of loft and a very soft feel to the fabric inside. The hood cinched down nice and tight. I often have an issue with cold feet, and my tootsies were very toasty all night. Packs down to a moderate size.

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