View Full Version : Big Agnus Sleeping System

09-15-2007, 19:11
Iím fairly new to WhiteBlaze and planning to attempt a thru-hike in 2009. I have some experience hiking on the southern part of the AT and on various trails between the GSMNP and Asheville NC. Iíve slept in both tents and hammocks and experienced both the positives and negatives of each and decided to use a tent on my 2009 hike. Iím also going to replace my synthetic sleeping bag with a down sleeping bag. Iíve researched down bags and like the Western Mountaineering bags. Iíll be using a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad with whichever bag I choose.

My question has to do with the Big Agnes sleeping bags. Their concept seems to make sense with all the insulation on top and none on the bottomóyour pad provides the insulation on the bottom. Has anyone used this system on their AT hike and if so, how did it work? Thanks in advance for your help.

09-15-2007, 20:45
I'd like to hear from someone that has used the Big Agnes bag and pad also, hence the bump on this thread.

09-15-2007, 21:40
Im using the Big Agnes Yampa 40 bag and the insulated pad on my trip thursday. I'll fill everyone in once I get back.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
09-15-2007, 22:03
I've used the BA insulated pad and a quilt on some really cold nights. I stayed toasty.

09-16-2007, 12:32
Likewise, I used a BA insulated pad and a Speer down blanket during a September-October trip in the North Carolina mountains last year. I also wore fleece pants, a long sleeved shirt, and wool socks; and had access to my Marmot PreCip jacket, a lightweight fleece jacket, and a stocking cap. In a tent, this kept me warm into the mid thirties.

I havenít done a lot of hiking in the summer, but the tentative plan is to just use the insulated pad (mainly for its comfort value) and a blanket when the weather turns warm. Iíll send the sleeping bag home.

09-16-2007, 19:09
What I am wondering about is their sleeping bag/pad combo. BA makes a sleeping bag that has all the insulation on the top and sides and a sleeve on the bottom for the pad. Has anyone used this setup? It seems like a good idea. I just wondered if the theory met the reality test.

little bear
09-16-2007, 20:19
I use the BA Lost Ranger 15* bag with the 4 season BA pad. Love the set up...the pad is nice and thick and kept me warm in temps dowm in the 05-15* range while backpackinh in NC mountains in December. Also im 6' 01" 245 lbs and like that the BA bag has a lot of girth room and gives me the ability to sleep on my side with out leaving me closrephobic(?) feeling. Love the BA sleep system and would recommend it to anyone.


Auntie Mame
09-17-2007, 09:36
Just came back from Baxter and used the BA RA bag with BA insulated aircore mat. Its bulky as a pack item, and heavier than I'd want to use on a long distance hike.
OTOH, it sleeps like a bed. It was in the 30's when I used it, and though labeled 15 degree bag, I needed longies and socks and 2 thin layers on my torso to be comfortable. Its so wide that its hard to get it tucked around my body sufficiently to block out the cold. I love the wiggle room, but its not the best design for winter/fall temps, I think. Great camping bag, though.

09-17-2007, 13:10
I have been using the Horse Thief 35 degree or a Zirkel 20 degree bag and the pad setup for a couple of years now (took the Horse Thief and pad to Glacier last year). A lot of folks seemed to have problems with the pads going bad. Most apparently had these replaced by BA. My pad took a lot of abuse (I weighed 300 lbs) and held up well until recently. It finally developed a small leak at one end. I just bought another and I'll eventually fix this one or whine my way into a replacement from BA.
Overall, I like it just fine.
BA advertises these bags as some of the wider bags (it's like...72.5" in girth) but because of shoulder room, I had to add the "wedge" for about 7" of extra space.
The pad is only 20" wide, making the whole arm thing a bit tedious, i.e., they want to rest on the ground when/if I sleep on my back, but I sort of offset this by stuffing my clothes along the edge and I haven't had too much trouble.
I deflate the pad and leave it in the bag and stuff the whole thing in my pack. Can be a bit...confusing...the next time I use it when I shake it all out and the pad is not properly aligned. Haven't yet really been in a situation where "immediate" usage was required so I take my time, air it up, line it up, and use it.
Even with the wedge (and the added weight of longer bag and pad as I am also 6'1", the combination still weighs less than 5 lbs with the 20 degree bag, less than 4 with the 35.
Zippers are holding up well. The "pillow" pocket is more or less useless. Seems like the down in the Horse Thief is flying the coop faster than I thought it might but I wash it in the ReLoft stuff and it always comes back.
I'm sure there are lighter, surely even better sleeping arrangements but as a BA product, it is just fine with me.

Dirty Harry
09-18-2007, 00:14
horalble set up for small/light set up. Not good for at, to big and bulky.

09-18-2007, 00:14
I have a Big Agnes Lost Ranger (15 degree bag) that I use with a Wally World CCF full length pad. I haven't had a change to use it yet on the AT, but I have done some testing in cold wx. Last winter I spent a night in the teens with that bag and pad inside a HH with a JRB underquilt while on a Scout outing. And also last winter while out in Idaho (for work) I took a night and snowshoed to the top of one of the foothills in the Sawtooth mountains with the same setup. Again temps in the teens. Both times I slept with just long underwear, socks and a stocking cap. Both times....comfy warm.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a week backpacking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior using the same bag and pad w/o the underquilt and extra clothing. I slept with the bag half unzipped most nights, but on some cooler nights I zipped the bag up but didn't cinch the neck closed. Again, very comfy.

The thing I really like about this setup is that with the pad inserted into the sleeve in the bottom of the bag the whole setup becomes one unit. One of the annoying things I originally discovered with my hammock is it is difficult to keep the pad and sleeping bag perfectly aligned all night. The Big Agnes solves that problem for me.

This is the setup I will use when I attempt my thruhike.

:) T minus 17.5 months....and counting :)

09-18-2007, 00:50
I thruhiked using the BA system in 06. I started with the 15deg Mystic and then switched over the the 40deg Yampa, along with the insulated air core pad. Yes, it might be a "horalble" set-up for those concerned with small/light set ups but if you actually dont mind being really comfortable in the woods for a minimal price it works just fine.

Obvious benefits are the comfort of the insulated air core pad especially for those who sleep on their side, and the warmth it provides if you have to tent on snow which I did. Also, it was nice to have a sleeping pad that didnt consume too much volume inside my pack. For those who toss and turn, you never have to worry about rolling off your pad.

The drawbacks were the durability of the air core pad and the hassle of blowing up/deflating the pad. I was concerned with my pad getting a leak, and indeed it did. Started as a slow leak in central VA, and by the time I got to Shenandoah it was basically useless after 45 minutes. I had about 8 nights with no pad, and no insulation on the bottom of my bag which wasnt too fun but I dealt with it. Big Agnes replaced it for shipping costs, and they sent it to me in Harpers Ferry. The second one has a small leak as well, and Im not sure if they would replace it again since Im not a thruhiker anymore. If you have problems, use your "celebrity" status.

Overall, Id use it again on the AT if they continue to replace the ones that develop a leak without reason. I always used a groudsheet if I was sleeping in a shelter or cowboy camping, which was rare. I searched for the leak, and couldnt find it. I wouldnt fold it down as small as I did which might have put too much stress on it. About 2 months in, I got sick of blowing it up so I would set up camp right away and blow it up a little. Then while my water was boiling Id blow it up a little more, and then fill it just before bed. I think I remember it taking me a good 25-30 breaths total.