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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey


Big Agnes Clearview

Initial Report - July 4, 2008
Field Report - September 26, 2008
Long-Term Report - November 21, 2008

Initial Report: July 4, 2008

Name: Sheila Morrissey
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email Address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA

I have been backpacking since 2005. My trips are typically weekend hikes in Los Padres National Forest or in the Sierra Nevada with friends and my dog. My pack weighs around 25 lb (11 kg), including consumables, for a weekend trip. I always carry a tent.

Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Model: Clearview Air Pad Mummy
Temperature Rating: 35 F (2 C)
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer’s Website:
MSRP: 42.95 USD
Listed Weight: 14 oz (397 g)
Measured Weight of Pad: 12.8 oz (363 g)
Measured Weight of Stuff Sack: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Listed Dimensions: 20 in x 72 in x 2.5 in (50.8 cm x 182.9 cm x 6.4 cm), verified accurate

The Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad is a transparent, lightweight, polyurethane sleeping pad rated to 35 F (2 C).

Big Agnes Clearview
The difficult-to-photograph Clearview Air Pad.

The pad is available in seven different sizes with different lengths, widths and shapes (rectangular or mummy). All of the Clearview Air Pads are 2.5 in (6.4 cm) thick. The various sizes are designed to be used with Big Agnes sleeping bags, which have sleeves for inserting a sleeping pad on the bottom of the sleeping bag. Each Big Agnes sleeping bag requires a specific-sized pad. The 20 in x 72 in (50.8 cm x 182.9 cm) mummy-shaped pad that I have is designed to work with the Big Agnes Elbert SL 35o sleeping bag that I am also testing.

Big Agnes Clearview
Inserting the Clearview Air Pad through the sleeve of a Big Agnes sleeping bag.

The pad is not self-inflating, but requires about eight of my full breaths through the plastic valve to inflate completely. The pad does not have any insulation and Big Agnes suggests using it with a closed cell foam pad in cold temperatures.

The pad came with a mesh stuff sack. In its stuff sack, the rolled pad is about 4 in (10 cm) in diameter and 8 in (20 cm) in length. The pad is supposed to be stored unrolled with the valve open.

The Clearview Air Pad did not come with a repair kit.

Big Agnes Clearview
Rolled Clearview Air Pad.

I was already a big fan of Big Agnes sleeping pads before the Clearview Air Pad arrived. My other pad by Big Agnes is much more durable-looking, so I was a bit shocked to open up the Clearview Air Pad and find what essentially looks like a dry cleaning bag welded shut with a valve on one end. Okay, maybe a thick dry-cleaning bag, but still...

The Clearview Air Pad really doesn't look or feel any more durable than that. I'm afraid that I'll pop this sleeping pad. I'd feel a little more secure if it came with a repair kit like some of the other Big Agnes sleeping pads do. I most often camp with my dog and he's one of those dogs that feels the need to scratch at the bed before he can lie down. My other Big Agnes pad has put up with this sort of abuse beautifully, but I'm planning on being a lot more careful with my Clearview. Also, while the mesh stuff sack might save a tiny amount of weight, I'd feel better if it weren't mesh. It looks like it's just inviting pointy little pine needles to come and pop the sleeping pad.

The 2.5 in (6.4 cm) of cushioning feels just as comfortable as other Big Agnes sleeping pads and I would hate to sleep on a thinner sleeping pad. At 2.5 in (6.4 cm) thick, I can't feel the hard ground underneath me at all. This pad is wonderfully comfortable.

Pairing this Clearview Air Pad with a Big Agnes sleeping bag will be a new experience for me during this test period. I'm used to having a little more room to roll around on my sleeping pad, but this pad does fit perfectly with my Big Agnes Elbert SL 35o.

Field Report: September 25, 2008

I have so far used the Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad for a total of four nights, including
one night near a trailhead and three nights on a trail. The pad only held air on the first three of these four nights.

I used the Clearview for
one night at a walk-in campground and three nights of backpacking on California's Lost Coast. I paired the Clearview with a Big Agnes Elbert sleeping bag and slept inside a tent. The elevation was near sea level and the overnight low temperature was about 50 F (10 C).

When I put the Clearview Air Pad together with my Elbert sleeping bag for my Initial Report, I noticed that one channel of the eight air channels making up the Clearview was popping up.  I just assumed that wouldn't happen when I laid down on the pad overnight. Instead, what happened was that one or two of the channels along the side popped up, rolling me off the pad. I don't know whether the pad is too wide or the pocket on the sleeping bag is too narrow, but they don't fit together well, making it hard to sleep on this pad. In order to keep the pad from rolling me off of it, I tried not inflating it all the way one night, but then I could feel my hips digging into the ground, so that wasn't comfortable either.

The rolling problem was far from the worst problem I had with this pad.
All that worrying about popping this pad was for naught. It lasted three nights before the welded seams just slipped apart. I had an absolutely terrible night trying to sleep on the cold, hard ground with no padding beneath me.

Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad
Here's the hole where the welded seams pulled apart.

I went back to the Big Agnes website to see what I should do about this busted pad. The website incorrectly states that every pad comes with a repair kit. However, this pad doesn't have a repair kit. 

Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad5
The seams are coming apart all around the pad. The hole is on the upper left corner, but the seams are also pulling apart across the top and side of the pad as shown in this photo.

I was extremely careful with this pad and the hole that developed was entirely Big Agnes' (not my) fault. However, I had to pay to ship it back.

Two weeks after I sent the pad back to Big Agnes, they mailed me a new one with a note that they "haven't seen any other Clearview Pads come back with a defect like this so in terms of durability [I] shouldn't have any issues with [my] new pad."

Long-Term Report: November 21, 2008

used the Clearview on one backpacking trip of about 6 mi (10 km) in Los Padres National Forest at an elevation near 4,000 ft (1,200 m). The weather was dry and the overnight low temperature was around 45 F (7 C). I slept in a tent. I carried a second pad as well in case this one broke.

My replacement pad did not pop during the one night that I used it. On its own, the Clearview Air Pad is thick enough and wide enough to be comfortable, but I still don't like the fit of this pad with the Elbert sleeping bag that it was designed to work with. I was warm enough using this pad with the sleeping bag and warm clothing at 45 F (7 C).

I cannot recommend the Clearview Air Pad. My first Clearview busted along the seams after three nights of use, I spent an absolutely miserable night on the hard ground and still had to carry the useless 13.4 oz (380 g) of materials on my back. When it did hold air, it didn't fit properly with a sleeping bag it was designed to be used with. I didn't trust my new Clearview enough to carry only one sleeping pad.

This pad should be made of a stronger material and with more durable seams. I should not have had to pay for shipping to replace an obviously defective product.

  • None!!!
  • Doesn't fit well with Big Agnes Elbert sleeping bag (designed to be used together), makes me roll off of it
  • First one fell apart at the seams after three nights of use
  • I don't think it's worth the money, weight or pack space
  • Disappointing customer service
This concludes my test series. Big Agnes and provided me with the Clearview Air Pad for testing.

Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Sheila Morrissey

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad > Test Report by Sheila Morrissey

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