I'm an avid southern California camper but I'm looking to get into backpacking. I'm on limited funds and am trying to keep my bag under $100. On paper, both the REI Trailbreak 30 and the Kelty Cosmic Synthetic 40 look pretty similar and would fit my bill. The biggest difference I notice is the Cosmic does offer a little more room in the hips at the expense of not packing down as small. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi @aguy - Thanks for reaching out! 

You are spot on that the Co-op Trailbreak 30 and Kelty Cosmic Synthetic 40 bags are similar in many ways. With the Cosmic's wider hip girth, that bag also has a larger volume. This may be what you're looking for if room to move around within your bag is important to you. If you are planning on going backpacking with your new bag, the Trailbreak 30 will take up a bit less room in your pack, allowing you to bring along more of other supplies.

Let us know if you have any additional questions and we'll be happy to help!

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Unless you have an objection to down, you should consider the Kelty Cosmic 40 down in either reg or long depending on your height.  These will be more packable and lighter for the same warmth than an inexpensive synthetic bag and are within reach of your budget.

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/187401/kelty-cosmic-40-sleeping-bag?sku=1874010001

https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/product/187402/kelty-cosmic-40-sleeping-bag-long

You do have to keep down dry for it to be effective but for Southern California where rain/dampness  is not usually a problem, down will generally be a much better choice.   Kelty bags are generally well made and a good value for the price.  I have the now discontinued Kelty Lightyear 20 which has been more than adequate for my 3 season Sierra trips although it has slightly better spec'ed down and is heavier than the Cosmic due to the temp rating and more generous fill weight. 

I suspect the ratings on these bags are a bit optimistic but that is often a matter of personal perception.  Long underwear and a bag liner can extend the range but it is important to get a good sleeping pad that will provide sufficient insulation for the conditions.  An R value of around 2 is a good starting point for extended summer use.

 

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Thank you for the input. I do understand the benefits of down, but I do not use animal products. My wife is showing interest in trekking with me so I may just end up getting both and letting her decide which one she likes better, and I'll take the other as I'm less picky.

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I have both the Cosmic 20 and Cosmic 40, and I'm very pleased with both. I generally take the 40 if the forecast lows are around 40 or more, and the 20 if they're less than 40. I've used the 20 without problems down to around 5, with heavy baselayer and light puffy. They're well made and durable. They're supposedly "hydrophobic" down, and I've never had an issue but have never gotten them more than damp.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Ah, and I missed the synthetic part, I have the down ones. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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