Kelty Ignite 0° DriDown Sleeping Bag
EN Rating: 7° F
- Length: 78″ / 198 cm
- Shoulder girth: 62″ / 157 cm
- Fill weight: 2 lbs 3 oz / 0.98 kg
- Total weight: 3 lbs 9 oz / 1.60 kg
- Stuffed diameter: 9″ / 25 cm
- Stuffed length: 16″ / 38 cm
Reviewer Info: 5’10’’, 165 lbs., Wilderness Ranger for the past seven seasons.
Days tested: 20 Consecutive Days
Test Location: Colorado River, 20-Day Grand Canyon Raft Trip
As a full-time Wilderness Ranger in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, I’ve logged thousands of hours in sleeping bags in every condition imaginable.
I prefer sleeping in down bags over synthetic bags, for several reasons: down is lighter than synthetic; it compresses far smaller; and to date, the down bags I have used have been more comfortable than synthetic bags.
Kelty’s Ignite 0° DriDown Sleeping Bag has all of these attributes, while also claiming unmatched performance in the presence of humidity, condensation, and sweat, by using “DriDown” – a natural down insulation treated with a hydrophobic finish.
Kelty explains DriDown as a process where a hydrophobic treatment is applied to the down after it has been cleaned and sorted. Raw down is delivered, cleaned, and inspected for quality, then goes through a chemical treatment process resulting in a moisture-wicking down that Kelty claims dries 33% faster than non-treated down.
It’s sort of the holy grail of down technology. It creates garments that are lighter, more compressible, and longer lasting than synthetic, but combat moisture and condensation more effectively than untreated down. Sleeping bags that use DriDown move perspiration from inside the bag to the outer membrane for evaporation.
Kelty and Sierra Designs are the only two companies that use DriDown in their sleeping bags. They’ve started offering models across a number of price points and temperature ratings, and will be offering 800-fill bags this year.
The Ignite is currently Kelty’s top-tier 0° DriDown bag, and retails for $289.99. But given the Ignite’s price and features, it is more comparable to mid-range bags.
Sleeping Bags 101 (Synthetic vs. Down)
Before we dive into the Ignite’s performance, here’s a little general background on bags. Feel free to skip this section if this is familiar territory.
The human body radiates heat. Sleeping bags keep you warm by trapping and holding a layer of “dead” (non-circulating) air next to your body. Your body heat warms this dead air, and the bag forms a barrier between it and the colder outside air. The less air space there is to heat, the faster you warm up and stay warm.
Length, width, materials, design and fill all have a huge influence on how well a bag works.
Synthetic bags can be filled with several trademarked stuffings, and companies choose to use these fills depending on price, licensing, and purpose.
Generally speaking, synthetic-filled bags are less expensive than down; are more water resistant and retain warmth when wet; dry quicker than down; are easy to care for; are hypoallergenic; and come in more shapes and sizes. Synthetic bags are a popular choice for the average outdoor consumer.
The disadvantages of synthetic bags when compared to down are that they tend to not be as compressible, they’re heavier, have a tendency to lose loft, shape, and warmth after time, and fit options can be tricky depending on price point.
Goose down (which is actually the plumage found under feathers, not the feathers themselves) has been used as insulation for various applications far longer than synthetic fibers. Down ranges in fill measurements from 500 – 900; the higher the number, the more fill and loft the bag has. Higher-fill numbers equate to quality as well, with a noticeable difference in compressibility between a high loft, 900-fill bag (extremely compressible), and a lower-loft, 600 fill (fairly compressible) bag.
Down-filled bags offer a superior weight-to-warmth ratio over synthetic; will last a lifetime if properly cared for; retain shape and loft (when dry) longer than synthetic; and are much lighter (sometimes up to a pound) than synthetic bags. Down bags are often the choice of avid backpackers or the weight- / space-conscious.
The downsides (pun intended) are that they tend to be slow to dry, and lose insulation properties when moist. They are a pain in the ass to clean, can cause allergy issues with some folks, and are considerably more expensive than synthetic bags of the same “EN rating.”
In 2005 some European dude decided to test the actual temperature at which various sleeping bags keep people warm, as opposed to what the company claims. Thus, the EN rating was born and ever since companies have included this rating when referring to how warm their products are. The EN test also confirms that women sleep colder than men in the same environmental conditions.
The Ignite is marketed as a “Zero Degree” bag, with an EN rating is 7° Fahrenheit.
Fit / Sizing
I’m a measly 5’10” and on a good day weigh 165 lbs. I’ll claim average build status, not particularly broad in the shoulders, 30×32” pants fit me well.
I’ve been testing a size “Regular” Ignite which, according to Kelty, should accommodate someone up to a 6’ tall.
I found the regular to fit very well, but on the coldest nights with the hood deployed and cinched down, my feet were bottomed out while my head felt just right in the hood. If you hover around 5’11” – 6’, or like a little extra room to dry clothes at night, you might want to consider the “Long.”
Weight (and Price)
The Ignite weighs in at 3 lb 9 oz, which isn’t exactly light by modern standards. But Kelty is in the business of making affordable products for the average outdoor consumer. So you probably won’t find a PCT hiker using an Ignite, but you will find someone who likes car camping and the occasional river or backpacking trip with one, and that’s Kelty’s target market. For comparison, a high-end Western Mountaineering 0° bag weighs 2 lb 12 oz, but costs twice as much as the Ignite.
NEXT: Features, Warmth, Durability, etc.