The Big Agnes Pad and Sleeping Bag System


Big Agnes Q-Core Insulated Sleeping Pad

If you have followed my trip reports you may remember that my Big Agnes inflatable sleeping pad died on the first night of my seven day Sanguenay Fjord trip last July (click here to see trip report).  I had used that pad for more than five years, but wear and lots of use caused pinhole leaks just below the fill valve that I couldn't fix.  So I gave Big Agnes a respectful send off and recycled her (click here to view that video).  

That pad was not the first Big Agnes I had.  It was the third.  The first two early models both failed in the same way.  They had brass valves that were easy to cross thread.  This led to slow leaks, and one other seven day trip where I had to re-inflate the thing every two to three hours (click here for trip report).  Big Agnes replaced both of these pads without question, with the late Big Agnes, a pad made from recycled materials.  This pad had a cast aluminum valve which worked well.  It never failed and the pad was reliable for many nights on many trips.  

All of those earlier pads inflated to 2.5 to 3.0 inches and were insulated.  On the last pad, the insulation began to shift and migrate leaving some cold spots as it aged.  But overall I loved the pad.  It was so comfortable and mated well with my Big Agnes sleeping bag.  The pad rolls up small and packs in a tight case which, unlike a self inflating pad, is very easy to stow in a touring kayak.  

Yackman's Review

This new pad, the Big Agnes Q-Core Inflatable Sleeping Pad appears to have improved substantially over the pad I had.  It has a new, and I hope  improved, inflation valve.  The cover appears to be made of tougher material.  The insulation feels more robust.  The corners of the pad are rounded which makes the pad slip into the Big Agnes sleeping bag sleeve without catching.  The inflated pad has ribs along the sides to prevent roll off and quilted panels in the main section to offer a more comfortable rest.  And the new pad is thicker at 3.5 to 4.0 inches, which has got to make it even more comfortable.

Some folks object to having to inflate and deflate a mattress.  For those folks there are a variety of tools to help with inflation.  I simply puff away, taking 17 - 20 puffs on the old pad to fill the mattress, 20-23 on the new one.  

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 7.56.58 PM

I will be trying this pad on an eight day paddling trip in the Florida Keys in January.  I should be able to comment on its comfort and usability when I get back.

Here is another YouTube review of the Q-Core pad with different detail than mine.

A Review by Backcountry Edge

 © Don Yackel 2020