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Thoughts on Big Agnes sleeping bags

Old 03-07-10, 04:48 PM
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Thoughts on Big Agnes sleeping bags

I am in the process of putting together the basic equipment for my first bike tour.Bought a BOB trailer and a tent.Now I'm researching sleeping bags and sleeping pads and I'm a little overwhelmed.I'm looking at a Big Agnes with a sleeve built in to the bag for the pad to slide into so you supposedly don't roll off the pad at nite.Can anyone out there comment on this pad sleeve feature? Is it a nice feature or just a gimmick?
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Old 03-07-10, 04:56 PM
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Big Agnes bags with the sleeve work well as a system. Instead of having insulation on the bottom of the bag... the pad is the insulation. So purchase the appropriate pad for the temps you will be experiencing.
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Old 03-07-10, 05:16 PM
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I don't have their sleeping bag but I use their insulated pad. Most comfortable pad for my lower back and I use it inside of my old mummy sleeping bag. Sleeping bag is not an Agnes but the pad works well with my bag, although a little tight when the pad is fully inflated. The bag still rolls up nicely with the deflated pad inside.
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Old 03-07-10, 05:21 PM
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No experience with the Big Agnes, but I use a North Face Cats Meow with a Thermarest Trail model in the 6' length. I have heard nothing but good reports on the Big Agnes bags and tents.

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Old 03-07-10, 05:58 PM
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I have the Big Agnes Mystic sl and the Air Core pad. The only thing I'm not thrilled about is that the pad isn't self inflating, but it is 2.5" thick, so.... Outside of that, I am very happy with both.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:31 PM
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I use an Air Core pad as well, and I love it. It packs down so incredibly small and weighs very little, it's perfect for touring. Never used the system w/ slipping the pad inside the bag, but I never roll or slide off of the pad. Works perfectly.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:33 PM
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IMO, the Big Agnes design is most sensible: Puts the loft where it's effective, on top. Couple with a high R rated pad like a Thermarest Prolite. Good nights sleep.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:54 PM
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good to hear the feedback on the pad/bag system. My recent bag purchase was a Montbell 30degree down bag with elastic inner liner, at first I thought it would be claustrophobic but it's not
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Old 03-07-10, 07:34 PM
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I tried out a Big Agnes Encampment bag briefly from REI. I only did a brief tryout, but quickly decided that it just didn't feel very warm, even inside the house. This may be related to the fact that it is synthetic - but then again none of the synthetic bags I have tried out recently "feel" warm when you get inside.

But another thing struck me as I lay in it: You can't really sit up like you can with a regular sleeping bag, since the bag is attached to the mat. Also, when you turn over, the bag stays where it is, which may not be what you want in relation to how the bag sits around your head.

On the plus side, you can never slide off the sleeping pad in the night - that's always annoying if you happen to be a restless sleeper, so it might be a big plus in the BA system's favor for some. If you like to move around without the bag moving with you, then this system might work for you.

Another thought: With a regular sleeping bag that has a full-length zipper, you can always just fully open it out and use it as a quilt on warm nights. But since the Big Agnes only has insulation on the top, not the bottom, and it needs to be used in conjunction with the pad, this isn't really so feasible (though of course you can still open up the zip to let in more air).

It's a nice system in theory, and it actually works in practice for many people. But it's good to be aware of these things, just in case they matter to you.

This is all from memory, by the way, so anybody who knows the BA better than I can feel free to correct me if I have any of this wrong.

Neil
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Old 03-07-10, 08:24 PM
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I have the Lost Ranger and the insulated air core pad.

1.) The comfort of this system is amazing. I am a side sleeper who tosses around a fair bit, and I love waking up still on the pad. Also, amazingly well rested.

2.) The Lost Ranger is in no way a 15 degree bag. On Big Agnes's own website they say it has something like 14oz of 650 fill down. They sell a much more expensive bag which has the same size cut as the lost ranger, but is filled with 15 oz of 800 fill down. Temperature rating? 15 degrees. Go figure. At any rate, I've been cold in my Lost Ranger at 32 degrees. The silver lining is that with 70" of girth, there is ample room for layers and liners.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:29 PM
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Big agnes are some of the best bags out there as far as quality and durability. My only dislike is you almost cannot use the bag without also using a pad. They dont put insulation at all where the pad goes so without the pad the bag is useless.

Last edited by PedaltheGlobe; 03-09-10 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 03-08-10, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton
I tried out a Big Agnes Encampment bag briefly from REI. I only did a brief tryout, but quickly decided that it just didn't feel very warm, even inside the house. This may be related to the fact that it is synthetic - but then again none of the synthetic bags I have tried out recently "feel" warm when you get inside.

But another thing struck me as I lay in it: You can't really sit up like you can with a regular sleeping bag, since the bag is attached to the mat. Also, when you turn over, the bag stays where it is, which may not be what you want in relation to how the bag sits around your head.

On the plus side, you can never slide off the sleeping pad in the night - that's always annoying if you happen to be a restless sleeper, so it might be a big plus in the BA system's favor for some. If you like to move around without the bag moving with you, then this system might work for you.

Another thought: With a regular sleeping bag that has a full-length zipper, you can always just fully open it out and use it as a quilt on warm nights. But since the Big Agnes only has insulation on the top, not the bottom, and it needs to be used in conjunction with the pad, this isn't really so feasible (though of course you can still open up the zip to let in more air).

It's a nice system in theory, and it actually works in practice for many people. But it's good to be aware of these things, just in case they matter to you.

This is all from memory, by the way, so anybody who knows the BA better than I can feel free to correct me if I have any of this wrong.

Neil
Really didn't expect to see Neil Gunton over in this forum?

Last edited by PedaltheGlobe; 03-08-10 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 03-08-10, 06:45 AM
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Any insulation on the bottom is going to be compressed and worthless no matter what bag. Thats one of the reasons for a pad - any pad. All BA did was integrate the pad into the bag via a sleeve.
I use a BA, along with several other bags and the BA works best. I have a 35 degree rated bag and with the air core insulated pad was able to sleep comfortably at 28 degrees inside the tent. But I could feel the cold creeping in and don't think it would be comfy much colder. I pack along a aux thermal liner though for times like that, just didn't get around to it. i like the 35 degree bag because its light, packs to nothing and works to a bit past the rating.
I have no problem sitting up in my bag with either an insulated air core or uninsulated air core mattress. Not sure why it wold be a problem.
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Old 03-08-10, 09:51 AM
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I spent nearly two weeks finding the perfect bag (or best bang for buck), and was steered away from Big Agnes. I ended up with a Marmot Helium, which is hugely suggested by many of the Appy trail / ultralight backpackers. 850 fill goose down with huge, lofty baffles, 1lb 13oz (under 2 pounds), compresses into a TINY bag (but comes in a nice huge cloth sack to alleviate loft loss) and rated to 15 (tried and true from the many reviews). Often I find that most mummy bags leave little room inside, and I'm a bit claustrophobic; the Helium has lots of room inside, surprisingly (I'm told BA bags are meant to do that as well). I've spent the last four nights out in it, and while the temps have been in the 30s, I've had to keep it unzipped. I have a huge problem with circulation when camping. Even when I was a young scout (and had what I thought was extremely good camp gear), I could never get my feet warm at night, no matter what I did, no matter what the temps. With this bag I've had no problems with that, even with my head uncovered completely. This is the first sleeping bag I've felt adamant about, and I've had countless.

Sleeping bags and tents are two places skimping doesn't get you very far. If you intend to do a fair bit of touring, bite the bullet and spend nicely - You won't regret it.

Edit: No matter what bag you go with, a pad is a necessity if you wish to stay warm.
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Old 03-08-10, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by PedaltheGlobe
Really didn't expect to see Neil Gunton over in this forum?
Yeah. Bicycle touring is bloodsport. We hate those @$$|-|0|_3Z over at crazyguy.
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Old 03-08-10, 12:32 PM
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I don't know about the BA bags but I use the air core pad and it is super comfortable with no sore shoulders or hips from bottoming out. I've even used it inside on hardwood floors with no problems. The only complaint I could see other than the time to inflate it is slipping off. I use it with a Sierra Designs bag that has pad loops so I stay connected.
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Old 03-08-10, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Thasiet
Yeah. Bicycle touring is bloodsport. We hate those @$$|-|0|_3Z over at crazyguy.
LOL. No its just funny to me, because he does not allow in any shape or form his members to link to competing sites. Hes banned many for trying it. Yet hes registered on this site participating on it as a member and his profile links to his neilgunton.com page and the first link on that page is cgoab
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Old 03-08-10, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PedaltheGlobe
LOL. No its just funny to me, because he does not allow in any shape or form his members to link to competing sites. Hes banned many for trying it. Yet hes registered on this site participating on it as a member and his profile links to his neilgunton.com page and the first link on that page is cgoab
Now you're just making stuff up. But regardless, can we get back to discussing Big Agnes sleeping bags?
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Old 03-08-10, 06:01 PM
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My wife and I have been using the King Solomon bag for about 11 months now. We love it. The pad sleeve is a great idea that works very well, especially for a doublewide.
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Old 03-08-10, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kazer
My wife and I have been using the King Solomon bag for about 11 months now. We love it. The pad sleeve is a great idea that works very well, especially for a doublewide.
Hey Kazer,
I saw that bag on your site a few days ago. Definitely an interesting bag. Does it also integrate the sleeping pads?

Last edited by PedaltheGlobe; 03-09-10 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 03-08-10, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton
I tried out a Big Agnes Encampment bag briefly from REI. I only did a brief tryout, but quickly decided that it just didn't feel very warm, even inside the house. This may be related to the fact that it is synthetic - but then again none of the synthetic bags I have tried out recently "feel" warm when you get inside.

But another thing struck me as I lay in it: You can't really sit up like you can with a regular sleeping bag, since the bag is attached to the mat. Also, when you turn over, the bag stays where it is, which may not be what you want in relation to how the bag sits around your head.

On the plus side, you can never slide off the sleeping pad in the night - that's always annoying if you happen to be a restless sleeper, so it might be a big plus in the BA system's favor for some. If you like to move around without the bag moving with you, then this system might work for you.

Another thought: With a regular sleeping bag that has a full-length zipper, you can always just fully open it out and use it as a quilt on warm nights. But since the Big Agnes only has insulation on the top, not the bottom, and it needs to be used in conjunction with the pad, this isn't really so feasible (though of course you can still open up the zip to let in more air).

It's a nice system in theory, and it actually works in practice for many people. But it's good to be aware of these things, just in case they matter to you.

This is all from memory, by the way, so anybody who knows the BA better than I can feel free to correct me if I have any of this wrong.

Neil
Nice review, appreciated here on a free thought forum ; )
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Old 03-08-10, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gregw
Nice review, appreciated here on a free thought forum ; )
LOL I know what you mean. Comparable to the difference in America and Nazi Germany. Only allows his own propaganda, own profits, and those who voice anything resembling disagreement are exterminated. Then much like Hitler attempts to hide the evidence, but naive to the fact a million people know the truth.

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Old 03-08-10, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PedaltheGlobe
LOL I know what you mean. Comparable to the difference in America and Nazi Germany. Only allows his own propaganda, own profits, and those who voice anything resembling disagreement are exterminated. Then much like Hitler attempts to hide the evidence, but naive to the fact a million people know the truth.
Whoops! You brought up Nazis. You lose.

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Old 03-08-10, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PedaltheGlobe
LOL I know what you mean. Comparable to the difference in America here and Nazi Germany on his site. Only allows his own propaganda, own profits, and those who voice anything resembling disagreement are exterminated. Then much like Hitler attempts to hide the evidence, but naive to the fact a million people know the truth.
I have no idea what you are talking about, Neil reflects the kind of thinking exhibited on his site, tolerance, open-minded exchange, and inclusive of differing points of view, right Neil ; )
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Old 03-08-10, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gregw
i have no idea what you are talking about, neil reflects the kind of thinking exhibited on his site, tolerance, open-minded exchange, and inclusive of differing points of view, right neil ; )

haha.

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