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REI Sub Kilo 20 Down Sleeping Bag Review

I’ve owned my REI Sub Kilo 20 down sleeping bag for about 2 years. It’s a pretty utilitarian mummy sleeping bag that provides good value at a good price ($239). Like all down bags, it  compresses down very well and takes up little room in your pack. It is also fairly lightweight weighing 28.7 oz. The Sub Kilo 20 contains 750 goose down fill and has a comfortable polyester tafetta lining. The outer shell is ripstop nylon. The bag also has a full length zipper, but I’ve found that this snags fairly easily and you need to be careful with it.

However, in my experience the Kilo’s temperature rating is over-rated. This is not a 20 degree bag. Personally, I think that rating is probably closer to 30 degrees provided you have a thick sleeping pad underneath you. I have spent many a cold night in this bag and would not recommend it to someone who is looking to make an investment for serious 3-season backpacking use. It is fine for use in high summer but if you plan on camping in early spring or late fall, get yourself a better bag. I’d recommend checking out a Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 bag which has 850 fill goose down and is amazingly warm. It’s a bit more expensive, but I expect mine to last for many years to come.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.


  1. Can you compare this bag to the Kelty Lite Year 20 bag you reviewed ( which I happen to own) This bag weighs a little over a pound less than the Kelty. I am trying to reduce base weight on a budget and this bag is on sale for under $150, but not sure it is worth spending the money to save the weight, especially if the Kelty is the better bag. Thoughts?

  2. Depends on you define better. The kelty has a much better hood, but zippers tend to add a lot of weight and reduce the thermal effectiveness of a sleeping bag. In my opinion, you’d be better off saving your money and buying a much better and lighter weight better bag – like a montbell or western mountaineering when you can afford it. The performance differences are huge and quality are huge, but it is well worth the expense. Net net, I don’t think buying this sleeping bag ( which I don’t think is still manufactured) is worth it.

    • I have had this bag for several years. I agree about the zipper. It is not as sturdy as similar loft bags, but it compresses to 2/3 the size. Although it is not as sturdy or warm, it is convenient for travel. It takes up very little space in the pack or trunk. I love it for fair season backpacking and outdoor road trips, such as when we drove to Jasper, Glacier, & Yellowstone. When in parked in town, it is a relief to have gear that packs up into the trunk without leaving a lot of gear in view.

  3. I bought this bag in 2002 for $200. Women’s model sub kilo, 20° rated — back before there were separate ratings for women! I still use this bag regularly 17 years later. From time to time, including in the past week, I do a little looking around to see if I should replace it. Nope. I might be able to shave off a few grams or a couple oz, but at pretty considerable expense. At some point, some year, it will be replaced with a down quilt. But not yet. Possibly my best-ever gear purchase.

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