Sleeping Pad Comparison Big Agnes Review
Editor: Mark Brewer
I loaded up on Big Agnes sleeping pads and went into the Rockies to test them out. Nighttime temperatures for this outing were in the low 40s to low 30s. Some of the Big Agnes sleeping pads were insulated and some of them were not. At the temperatures noted, this was not a factor in sleeping comfort.
If you are not familiar with Big Agnes products, then consider yourself informed: these are beautifully designed products meant for the deep woods and rugged mountains, the creative genius of a wilderness-savvy company who has done its research and knows what the outdoorsman wants.
I led a backpacking group into the Wind Rivers of Wyoming. This was my 20th such year making these trips and it never ceases to amaze me how magnificent these granite peaks and lush mountain valleys. I was especially excited to be carrying in Big Agnes sleeping pads and bags to test them against the elements. I carried in a range of their products, from the budget priced to the more professionally designed and featured models mentioned. You can sift through these results and make your purchases and plans according to your own preferences and needs. I will say in advance that there were no failures or disappointments in the Big Agnes sleeping pads.
Here are my thoughts on each of these pad. You cannot go wrong with any of the Big Agnes pads!
|Model||Size||Weight/ R Value||Temp Rating/Price||Comments|
|22 oz/ 1.5||35F/$99.95||This is a budget-level pad with no frills. That said, it performs like a champ. I’d use extra tent site or sleeping site care and also add some insulation factor if you use it on colder nights.|
|Air Core||25x78x3.25 inches||31 oz/1.5||35F/F69.95||This is another simple non-insulated pad. It has rip-stop nylon on the outside and that helps a lot. The chambers are large, which felt a little weird when fully inflated. But that concern evaporated when I took a little air out.|
|17 oz/4.5||15F/$159.95||For the long backpack trip, or when weight is of primary importance, this is your go-to pad! Well designed and attention to every little detail. I highly recommend this pad.|
|24 oz/1.5||35F/$109.95||This pad performed extraordinarily as well. I wanted to test a few different configurations and this one did not disappoint. Lots of nice features and a reasonable weight. Not a lot of r-factor for colder climates.|
I’ve provided a summary of considerations and recommendations as you determine which of these Big Agnes sleeping pad models best accommodates your camping needs.
|The rectangular Green Ridge is probably the most lightly constructed of any of the Big Agnes pads that I tested. I was a bit apprehensive initially just doing a visual comparison of this pad versus the other pads mentioned in this review. That said, the pad performed admirably. It packs small and weighs in at under 2 lbs. This pad is the straight polyurethane without the rip-stop nylon coating. For this reason I recommend that you carefully prepare your sleeping site. You don’t want any sharp objects coming up from below that could puncture the pad.|
|The rectangular Air Core is designed for warmer summer temperatures. The I-beam construction adds strength and the wider air chamber on either side helps keep your body centered during the night. The first night I slept on this pad I filled it completely full, which made it pretty stiff and hard. The next several nights I took a little air out of it and slept much better. This pad is very reasonably priced. It’s biggest drawback for me (on a long backpacking trip) is its weight. But it packs to a small size and is easily managed.|
Q- Core SL
|The Q-Core SL was the best performing pad of the pads I tested. The Q-Core construction works! This pad is a bit pricier and well worth the money. It is strong, durable, and dependable. I liked it best just a little underfilled – it is plenty thick. I chose this pad in the 20-inch wide model so I could test it on a long backpack trip. It was simply superb.|
Double Z Insulated
|The mummy-style Double Z features a slick two-way valve that works to a charm. This bag is extra wide and contoured to deliver comfort. With the rip-stop nylon covering, it wears well and keeps your body comfortably in the center. The wide bag is best for shorter hikes but also means you sleep like a baby if the weight is not a detraction for you. You’ll have to decide, but for me, the weight of this extra wide pad is well worth the work.|