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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Insulated Air Core > Owner Review by Andrew Hintz

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core REM SLEEP PAD


Reviewer Information


 Andy Hintz     



 6 ft 1 in (1.9 meters)

 185 lb (84 kg)


City, State, Country:
 Perris, California, U.S.

 May 30th, 2011



Backpacking Background: I started backpacking when I was 7 years old, starting with overnighters with my dad and as I grew up working my way up to weeklong trips.  I am not a lightweight backpacker but have been known to pack less than 30 lb (13.5 kg).  I have hiked all through the north/southwest U.S.  I have backpacked in all types of weather and terrain, from the wet lush forests of Oregon and Washington, to the snow covered peaks of the Cascade Range, and in the arid deserts of southern California, most of the time spent at high altitudes. 



Manufacturer: Big Agnes

Year of manufacture: 2009

MSRP: Not Available


Listed Weight: 24 oz (680 g)

Actual Weight: 23 oz (652 g)

Listed Measurements: 20 x 72 x 2.5 in (51 x 183 x 6.4 cm)

Actual Measurements: 20 x 72 x 2.5 in (51 x 183 x 6.4 cm)

Listed Packed Measurements: 4 x 8 in (10.2 x 20.3 cm)

Actual Packed Measurements: 5 x 10 (12.7 x 25.4 cm)

Estimated Insulation R Value: 4.1

Temperature Rating: 15 F (- 9.4 C)


Product Description

When describing the Big Agnes Insulated Core sleeping pad, I can only marvel at its construction and ingenuity.  It is an inflatable mattress pad that can be used in all seasons and at considerably low temperatures considering its makeup and lightweight design. 

The pad is made of red/brown nylon rip-stop on top and black on the bottom.  It is comprised of air compartments that run the length of the pad, and each compartment is insulated with Primaloft Eco insulation.  Primaloft Eco insulation is made from recycled materials and has also been treated with anti-microbial silicon to insure that the moisture from inflating it does not grow into mold or other funguses.  This insulation gives good protection against cold ground temperatures.  At the top left-hand corner is a brass air valve that allows for inflation and deflation.  The valve also has a grey plastic ring on the top that can be held in the mouth to maintain air pressure while screwing the valve closed.  The pad also comes with a stuff sack and repair kit.  

Field Testing

I bought this pad a year ago and have since put it to use in varying weather conditions on numerous trips, but mostly in the same geographical area, the San Gregornio Wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California. Here are a few recent expeditions:

The first trip was in late May and was a simple overnighter with a friend.  I hiked the South Fork Trail, 5.7 mi (9 km) to Dry Lake, with 2100 ft (640 m) of elevation gain.  Temperatures ranged from 40 F (4.5 C) during the day to 22 F (-5.5 C) at night with a snow pack of 3 – 4 ft (1 m).  My pack weighed in at 42 lb 6 oz (19 kg) with food and water included. The pad fit great in my Coleman Exponent Inyo 2 tent!

Next I took a 2-night 3-day trip to the same wilderness area via a different trail, the Fish Creek Trail to Fish Creek Camp, offering a 1000 ft (305 m) gain and a short 2 mi (3 km) hike to Fish Creek Camp.  I was attempting to break in my new trail dog and did not want to hike too far. This trip was in early June and the snow pack had diminished, leaving only patches and pleasant 50 F (10 C) daytime temperatures and what was supposed to be, according to the National Weather Service, 30 F (-1 C) nighttime lows.  During the night, however, the temperature decreased below 20 F (-7 C) and dumped a foot of snow on me by sun up.  My pack weighed in at 40 lb 10 oz (18.5 kg).  My pad insulated me well from the well-below-freezing ground temperatures. 

The last and most recent trip that I took was a three-day trip up the same Fish Creek Trail, but a further distance,  7 mi (11 km) to Trail Flats Camp with a gain of 2000 ft (610 m), putting my camp at 9700 ft (2957 m).  It was late June and temperatures were 80 F (27 C) daytime, and 40 F (4 C) nighttime.  My pack weighed 37 lb (17 kg) even with food and water.  I camped on pine needles under a big pine tree. My pad was placed directly on the pine needles, showing first hand the durability of the pad. I was toasty warm all night long in my 20 degree (-7 C) rated sleeping bag and on my pad. 

Test Observations

Since this is my first Big Agnes inflatable sleeping pad I had my doubts about how it would perform. But, in testing the pad proved that it can perform to the specifications stated by the manufacturer. 

The main reason that I like this pad is because it is comfortable and thick enough to get me off the ground and away from those pesky rocks/pinecones/sticks/etc that are always digging into my back and hips when I sleep.  I typically sleep on my side and the 2.5 in (6.5 cm) of thickness allows me to sleep in this position comfortably. 

I also love this pad because it is so lightweight and compact!  I have never had a sleeping pad that could pack almost as small as a liter water bottle before, but this one does!  I can even role it up with my mummy bag and put them both in the same stuff sack and into my backpack sleeping bag compartment with no difficulty. 

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Another great advancement is the valve technology and the ability to close the valve while maintaining air pressure with my mouth.  It does not leak when I try to close it.

I have never had any leakage or problems with wear and tear.  I use it often as a camp chair, by folding it into a chair position and leaning the back up against a rock/tree/or snow bank. Big Agnes also makes a chair kit that can be purchased and used to convert the pad into a camp chair, an item that I have been interested in but have not used as of yet.  It has never let me down, even when using it as a sled for a bit of fun during the winter season!

The only issue that I have had is when I sleep on it in well below freezing temperatures at high altitude (at or above 9000 ft (2743 m).  The warm air that I blow into the pad will condense as it cools and halfway through the night I need to blow it up some more so I am not sleeping on the ground the rest of the night.


I have owned this pad for a few years and have put it to good use in varying weather conditions and temperatures. I can not wait to see what challenges I can come up with for it next, and hope to enjoy using it for years to come. 









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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Insulated Air Core > Owner Review by Andrew Hintz

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