How many geese does it take to stuff a sleeping bag with 800-fill down and not break the bank? Kelty, it seems, holds the secret with their lightweight and affordable SB 20, and they’re not telling anyone how they’ve managed to crown the TraiLogic collection with this technical of a sleeping bag while keeping the price reasonable.
Kelty TraiLogic SB20 Sleeping Bag Features:
- Revolutionary DriDown™ water-resistant down fill
- Box baffle construction
- Thermal-comfort hood fit
- Waterproof treatment at hood and foot
- Top draft collar
- 60 inch dual-slider locking zipper
- Zipper draft tube with anti-snag design
- FatMan and Ribbon™ drawcords
- Mesh storage sack included
- Stuff sack included
- Weight: 2lb. 40z
- MSRP: $299.95
SB 20 is a tech savvy bag, wallet-friendly pricing
Like I said in the introduction, it’s rare to see a bag with 800-fill DriDown and high-quality nylon in the $300 price range. Kelty, being the outdoor giant that they are, is able to bring some significant savings to the consumer just by virtue of their bulk. That said, there’s no use saving money on mediocre gear so the SB 20 has received extra scrutiny throughout my testing period.
First of all, it should be said that the bag was quite thoroughly tested during the rainy Spokane spring and its subsequent temperamental June. It’s been everywhere from icy blue snowy lakesides to mosquito-infested Okanogan and, really, most climates in between. It’s a 20 degree bag with hydrophobic down and, by virtue of these traits, it’s really quite a versatile little sleeper.
The bag itself is constructed with a simple, traditional design. There’s a mummy-style hood, box baffles, a rather generous toe box and a full length, two-way zipper. Kelty’s design team threw in a twist by siliconizing the head and toe of the sleeping bag, with the idea being that these areas tend to be the most prone to rubbing up against condensed water on the tent walls. The fabric definitely has that slightly rubbery feel to it, but it definitely proves its worth when things get damp inside of a crowded tent. That said, it’s a little redundant with the DriDown insulation but I’m never one to fret about a second line of defense when it weighs absolutely nothing. I do rather wish that they had extended this treatment along the side of the bag to ward off condensation on the sides of the tent, but that would doubtless add to the cost of the bag.
As far as 20 degree bags go, this one is a bit of a lightweight. It has a respectable fill weight (just over a pound of down) but the box baffles seem so large that you can easily see light coming through the sleeping bag. To reinforce the theme, the bag felt like it was stretched when things got below freezing. Generally, when I was approaching the 20 degree mark I had to wear very substantial base layers (midweight fleece, Chili Pepper socks, thick wool hat, etc) and that’s really not necessary on other 20 degree bags. Of course, there’s always a bit of variety between sleeping bags of the same rating and this particular one happens to be not as warm.
Temperature quibbles aside, Kelty made sure to check off all of the right boxes when it came to the SB 20’s features list. One point of particular merit is Kelty’s decision to use differentiated pull strands for the hood and chest drawcords. The hood drawcord is flat (Kelty dubs this ‘ribbon’) and the chest is a round ‘fatman’ pull. This is very handy when you’re tired and fumbling dully at the drawcords at night – it’s much easier knowing which cord goes where simply by the feel of the string. There’s also a nice little draft collar which has been stuffed rather plumply indeed – it lacks any anatomical tailoring but it does the job acceptably well.
My only real complaint here is that the draft tube running the length of the zipper feels insufficient – it’s small enough that it’s easily brushed out of the way when moving around in the bag and that really damages its performances. That said, the anti-snag zipper track itself is top-notch with reinforced fabric along the length and for an easy pull. I appreciate the decision to use a two-way zipper since it adds the option to vent out heat from the foot of the bag. Lastly, the sleeping pad loops made it a breeze to keep the bag firmly on top of my pad, though I wish Kelty had included the necessary runners for that. I made do with a pair from an old Sierra Designs bag of a similar design.
The big picture
While the SB 20 is certainly a huge part of the TraiLogic’s overall success, it’s probably the one that is least-integrated into the overall package. It really is just a normal sleeping bag, albeit with nifty waterproofing at the head and toe to complement the DriDown fill. That said, Kelty made sure to include a very aggressive compression sack that perfectly fits the SB 20 and can shrink it down smaller than a soccer ball. This tidy package slots neatly away into the sleeping bag compartment on the PK 50, making for a quick and easy haul solution.
Good SB 20:
- Excellent technical performance, especially at this price point
- DriDown coupled with Kelty’s ‘Head 2 Toe Dri’ waterproofing makes for a killer combination
- Full slate of features – again, great to see at this price point
- Included compression sack is a perfect fit for the SB 20 and is a step up from the normal stuff sack
- At just 2lb. 40z, it still clocks in at a highly competitive weight
Bad SB 20:
- 20 degree rating is a little optimistic
- Draft tube doesn’t stay in place well – should be more substantial
The Bottom Line
As the piece of the TraiLogic collection that will undoubtedly be the closest to your heart during a long, cold night, the SB 20 doesn’t fail to impress. Its full slate of features and extraordinarily competitive pricing make it stand out from the crowd. For a bag with 800-fill DriDown and all of the other goodies to boot, the SB 20 will doubtless find its way into many adventurer’s gear closets this summer.
Buy Now: Available from Backcountry.com