Features (Zippers, Draft Collar, Hood, Etc.)
The 58” locking zipper features dual-sliders, which are a nice touch for easy venting when the temps aren’t nippy. This is a Must-Have feature for me, and I often pull the bottom slider up to vent on warmer nights. However, I would love to see a full-length zipper on the Ignite; it’d be nice when drying the bag, or when serious venting is necessary.
But sometimes you want to preserve heat rather than dump it, and zippers are a major source of escaping heat. Kelty incorporates a full-length draft tube that covers the zipper’s entire internal length to help prevent warm air from escaping and drafts from entering.
A draft collar with cinch cord fits snugly around your shoulders and neck, holding valuable warm air inside where it belongs. I was bummed to find that after three weeks of hard, daily use and toggling the cinch cord, the cord gave out and pulled itself from its stitched anchor around the draft tube. (More on this in the durability section.)
The ‘form-fitting’ hood of the Ignite is a little smaller / shallower than the hoods on other bags I’ve used, but it works just fine. And another cinch cord tightens the hood around your face to really let you batten down the hatches when thermal efficiency is the last resort between you and hypothermia.
Kelty uses a box baffle construction on all their bags, meaning the bag has walls of fabric perpendicular to the top and bottom layers of the covers, creating actual 3-dimensional boxes of space where the fill lives. The baffled walls allow the down to expand to its fullest potential for the highest loft and no cold spots.
I never once felt a cold spot in the Ignite.
If you roll around a bunch at night and need to strap yourself to your sleeping pad, the Ignite comes with ‘security loops’. I personally don’t use them when sleeping, but they do make for easy hanging when you need to air out the bag.
Kelty provides a simple nylon stuff sack for the Ignite, and when stuffed, the regular size bag becomes a somewhat large 9”x16” cylinder. A compression sack will bring those numbers down. I used a Sea to Summit 15L compression sack to get the Ignite down to a more reasonable 8”x14”.
I’m basically a human solar flare, and get my best sleep when it’s as cold as a meat locker. I have no problems sleeping in bags rated warmer than the temps I often sleep in. My go-to, all-purpose (and all-time favorite bag) is a Western Mountaineering Versalite, rated as a 10° bag that I’ve used in temps closer to 0°.
Since sand infiltrates everything around the Colorado River, I chose to use a silk sleeping bag liner for my Canyon trip, which is actually something I’ve started doing regularly so that I don’t have to frequently go through the painful process of washing down bags.
I started out the test sleeping in long johns, medium weight socks, and a thin, long-sleeve base top; typical attire under my thick fleece union suit and dry suit worn every day.
For late-December / early-January, temps in the Canyon were consistently in the teens at night, with a few nights hitting as low as 5º F. I had a thermometer with me every night to see just how chilly it was, and to monitor the tipping point for adding more layers.
To my surprise, I was toasty with the minimal long-sleeved layers, even when the mercury sank six days in. That time, I had luckily set up my rain fly, since overnight we got a sprinkling resulting in snow halfway down the canyon walls.
Later in the trip, we had a few overcast days and nights which were considerably warmer. I wound up stripping down to just shorts on these nights, and venting heat with the dual-pull zippers.
In short, I had no complaints with the warmth of the Ignite, and from the first day to the last, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the bag seemed to heat up, making the scramble from insulated pants and puffy jacket to snoozing that much more bearable.
When we had good high pressure on the trip I’d sleep out, resulting in frost forming around 9pm (even before I’d crawl in) and an even heavier frost in the morning. In total, I spent fourteen of twenty days out under the stars in the Ignite.
The Ignite usually got about an hour to dry in the morning before it got stuffed away for the day, and more often than not, I’d have to put the bag away slightly moist. If this were my Western bag, I’d have an ulcer by now, thinking I’d destroyed the loft with no hope of a comfortable night’s rest to come.
To my surprise, the Ignite seemed unfazed after being pulled out and left to dry for an hour before bed. The loft returned quickly, and a noticeable amount of moisture evaporated before I would climb inside again. I experienced minimal clumping, even when the bag was unable to completely dry out for days at a time.
As far as sleeping bag tests go, I’d say a 20-day Grand Canyon trip in the dead of winter is about as hard as they come. The only failure I experienced was when the draw cord for the draft collar pulled out a couple weeks into the trip. In all honesty, this is of little concern to me, as I rarely rely on the draft collar for thermal advantage.
The shell, zippers and other features have held up well.
Kelty has bridged a gap by offering a down bag that is compressible, has the feel of down and actually combats condensation. DriDown is no joke. It works far better than any untreated down I’ve come across.
If you recreate in areas with a lot of rain but want a sleeping bag that’s more compressible and lighter than current synthetic offerings, Kelty’s DriDown Ignite 0° bag may work well for you.