BIG AGNES BATTLE MOUNTAIN SLEEPING BAG
TEST SERIES BY SCOTT WASLEY
April 26, 2008
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Idaho Falls, Idaho USA
5' 10" (1.78 m)
180 lb (81.60 kg)
I am an avid backpacker, kayaker, backcountry skier, and all around outdoorsman. I began backpacking thirty-five years ago at the age of 10. I have hiked or camped nearly every month, year-round. I have hiked mostly in the Western part of the United States (Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and Montana). I have a great love for the out of doors and enjoy all the seasons of the year. I am generally a mid-weight hiker, mainly because I like to take a little extra gear to be comfortable. I have recently spent a good share of my time in the Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Wind River Wyoming area.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Battle Mtn Bag|
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Year of Manufacture: 2006 (per Consumer Tag)
Listed Weight: (Long) 5 lbs 7 oz (2416 g)
Listed Size: (Long) 20 in x 78 in (51 cm x 198 cm)
Listed Temperature Rating: -15 F (-26 C)
Verified Weight: (Long) 5 lb 7.6 oz (2433 g)
Verified Size: (Long) 20 in x 78 in (51 cm x 198 cm)
Verified Loft: 8.5 in (22 cm) not including pad thickness
Stuff Sack Size: 22 in long x 11.5 in dia. (56 cm x 29cm)
Required Pad Length: 20 in x 78 in (51 cm x 198 cm)
Fill Material: Top, 600 fill Goose Down 37 oz (1049 g) (per Consumer Tag)
Fill Material: Bottom, Bamboo synthetic 11 oz (312 g) (per Consumer Tag)
Warranty: "Our #1 priority is to make dependable outdoor products. If you are not satisfied with any Big Agnes product, return it to Big Agnes for a repair, replacement of refund. Damage due to misuse will be repaired at a reasonable charge."
Color: blue and gray (top) Black (bottom)
Manufacturer's Web Site http://www.bigagnes.com/index.php
MSRP: $309.00 (U.S. Dollars) Size: Long
Origin of manufacture: China
The Big Agnes Battle Mountain (hereafter referred to as the bag) is a large rectangular shape with a slight tapering at the foot area. The bag has two types of insulation materials. The top portion is filled with a 600 fill goose down and the bottom portion is filled with a bamboo charcoal synthetic insulation. According to the manufacturer's web site, "This insulation is an eco-friendly, renewable synthetic insulation derived from bamboo which is burned at 800°C temperatures to create a charcoal that is then spun into a synthetic fiber." Also according to the manufacturer's web site, this is the only bag that the Big Agnes builds with insulation on the bottom portion.
On the bottom of the bag, there is a integrated pad sleeve that is designed to accept a 20 in wide by 78 in long (51 cm x 198 cm) rectangular pad of varying thicknesses. The sleeve has a Velcro closure at the top and a slotted opening at the bottom to provide access to pull the pad into position. There is a small opening at both top corners for the air valve to protrude out. This allows one to adjust the air volume in the pad when lying inside the bag.
To prevent cold drafts from entering the bag during use, there is a down filled yoke attached to the top edge of the bag. This yoke lays around one's neck to seal out the cold. In addition, there is a draft tube that runs the entire length of the zipper area. This zipper tube is down-filled and is approximately 2.25 in (5.7 cm) in diameter. There are two wedge shaped compartments on both sides of the bag where the pad and bag come together. This ensures that there are no cold spots. The zipper is a YKK #8 two-way separating x 70 in (178 cm) long and can mate together with any of their (Big Agnes) left or right zip bags with corresponding size zipper (This zipper data is according to manufacturer's web site).
(According to the manufacturer's web site) Shell fabric: Water resistant, down proof nylon rip-stop. Interior lining: Soft and breathable, down proof nylon microfiber with stain resistant finish.
Other features include a built-in pillow pocket that is attached to the bottom hood section of the bag. This pillow pocket is 15 in x 17 in (38 cm x 43 cm). One could roll up clothing, etc. or place a small pillow in the pocket for sleeping comfort. There is a zipper pull tab with the Big Agnes name and logo, making it easier to find the zipper pull and operate the zipper. Both sides of the zipper area have a stiffened type of nylon fabric to reduce zipper snag. At the head end of the zipper, there is a Velcro closure flap to keep the top edges of the bag together. This closure flap has a fold-over option to keep the hook part of the Velcro covered when not in use. This keeps the Velcro from catching on clothing, etc. The bag has an elastic draw cord and cord lock around the hood area. The end of the cord lock is attached to the bag utilizing a light weight webbing strap that aids in a one-handed pull operation. The bag also has two lightweight webbing loops at both corners of the bag for hanging it up. The bag also has four lightweight webbing loops located inside of the bag for attaching a bag liner.
Also included with the bag is a large storage bag 30 in long x 12 in dia. (76 cm x 30 cm). This storage bag is made from a light weave cotton muslin fabric and includes a nylon draw cord and cord lock. The round end of the bag has a stenciled label identifying manufacturer, model, and length of the bag. Provided with the bag is a stuff sack (see size dimensions above) This stuff sack is made from a coated, durable lightweight nylon fabric and includes a pull handle loop located on the round end of the sack, a draw cord closure and lock, and a protector flap at the closure end.
My first impressions when I saw this box was "How will I ever be able to carry this sleeping system?". The bag was neatly stuffed into the provided storage sack, along with two pads -the Big Agnes Sleeping Giant Pad Upgrade Kit and the Big Agnes Hinman Pad. These pads are addressed in a separate report. Attached to the bag was a product card identifying all the Big Agnes Classic Series down bags and warranty information. The card was ink marked identifying that this bag was the Battle Mountain -15 F (-26 C), Long, and left zip. Also attached was a card identifying sleeping bag pad installation and care instructions. These care instructions identified home cleaning of down fill bags, synthetic fill bags and proper storage recommendations. These product cards are written in English. The inside and outside of the bag appears to be manufactured from a soft, supple, lightweight, micro rip-stop fabric. The bag appears to be very high quality. I inspected the bag for any loose threads, fabric snags, broken seams, ect. The entire bag does not appear to have any defects. The bag was exactly as I had requested--a Long, left zip model. I had requested a left zip for testing inside my bivy shelter. Included on the shipping invoice was a note "Thanks for testing Big Agnes, call for any questions" with a contact name and phone number. I thought this was nice of Big Agnes.
PROPOSED TEST PLAN
The items I plan to evaluate during this test include:
· Overall Quality of Materials and Workmanship
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.
I would like to thank BackpackGearTest and Big Agnes for the opportunity to test the Battle Mountain sleeping bag system.
The first two times I slept in the Battle Mountain sleeping bag were in the Idaho Falls, Idaho area. Idaho Falls has an elevation of 4,700 ft (1,433 m) above sea level. The first night, the skies were overcast with a forecast of light snow predicted, so the temp should not drop dramatically. I decided to sleep in my NF Trek Bivy shelter. When I went to bed the temperature was about 35 F (2 C). On the second outing three days later, the night skies started out overcast and the temperature was warm, 27 F (-3 C). However, as the night progressed, the sky became clear and the temperature dropped to 7 F (-14 C).
The next trip was a cross-country skiing/snowshoeing trip in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Targhee National Forest. The skies were clear and the overnight low temperature was -10 F (-23 C).
The next trip was also a cross-country skiing/snowshoeing trip in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area. This time, the sky was also clear, with a bright half moon lighting the sky. The nighttime low temperature was 0 F (-18 C).
My most recent outing was an overnight cross-country ski trip to Harriman State Park. Harriman State Park is located 77 miles (124 km) north of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The nighttime low temperature was 20 F (-7 C).
On my first outing, I used the Battle Mountain bag inside my TNF Trek Bivi shelter. When I went to bed the temp was around 35 F (2 C). I slept quite comfortablely, the bag was not completely zipped up. I tossed and turned throughout the night, sleeping on my side and back with out any problem turning over. The pad obviously could not slip out from under the bag. When I awoke, it was snowing lightly and the temperature was 27 F (-3 C). The bag did not appear to be wet with condensation, etc.
On my next outing, I slept in the same bivy. Although the temperature dropped to 7 F (-14 C) I was still more than comfortable in warmth. I left the zipper down about 12 in (30 cm) all night and was still able to maintain warmth, the yoke collar is a very nice feature. The bag is quite large in the shoulders and foot area, but that did not effect my ability to keep warm. This time the bag had water droplets on the surface of the bag. The fabric did not soak up the condensation and I was able to shake off the droplets.
On my first trip into the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area, the overnight low temperature was -10 F (-23 C). We slept in the Warming Hut, a canvas tent with a wooden floor. I slept on an elevated wooden bunk in the far, rear, corner of the tent. With younger boys accompanying us on this trip, we kept the wood stove burning through the night. However, where I slept, the overnight temperature was approximately 15 F (-9 C). I was warm, and slept comfortably all night long. I did not even wake once during the night. I left stoking the fire to the others.
On my next trip into the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area, the temperature was slightly warmer at 0 F (-18 C). This time, we did not keep the fire burning through the night, so the inside temperature was nearly identical to the outside temperature. I slept on the same elevated bunk. Once again, I was comfortable all night long.
On my most recent outing into Harriman State Park, I slept in a six-person yurt. This being our first time in the yurt, we did not know what to expect in terms of furnishings. The yurt appeared to be insulated, had a wood burning stove, and two futon-style bunk beds. The Battle Mountain was overkill for these conditions. With the stove going through the night, I was forced to sleep with the zipper unzipped. In fact, I slept comfortably on top of the bag most of the night .
· I am very happy with the design and shape of this bag, it is very well throughout, very roomy including the hood design, which is large enough to accommodate a small pillow and still not feel confined. One part of the bag I am especially impressed with is the insulation tubes where the bag and pad transition together. During the field tests, I did not notice any cold spots along this entire area, very good design.
· The fabric and seams have performed very well to this point; there have been very few feathers migrate through. The fabric seems to repel water and not become water soaked. I have not had any problems with the durability of the fabric or seams.
· The zippers have functioned very well, occasionally it will get hung-up on the fabric, but I have not seen a piece of gear that this does not happen to. Not a big problem, just pull on the fabric and it easily comes out of the zipper slide.
· The installation of the pad can be some what of a challenge. During the field test, I have be using the Big Agnes provided Hinman pad along with a memory foam pad system. The total pad thickness is approximately 2 .5 in (6.4 C). When installing the pad in the sleeping bag pad sleeve it is quite tight. In fact, two people pulling on it makes it a lot easier. I wonder if over time it may cause damage to the fabric and side seams. It may be that the bag pad sleeve was not designed for this thickness of pad.
· During the field test I have easily stuffed the sleeping bag into the bottom compartment of my internal frame pack (Osprey Cresent 90). On the Harriman trip I easily stuffed the sleeping bag into the provided stuff sack so I could transport my gear via sled. The provided stuff sack is over sized by a third and I could put additional sleeping gear with it if I desired (small pillow, sleeping clothes, booties, etc). Although after compressing the bag multiple times, it seem to quickly retain its original loft thickness.
When I initally saw the Big Agnes bag and pad sleeve system I was a little skeptical about being able to toss and turn while sleeping. This has been one of the most comfortable sleeping bags in my arsenal and so far during this test, I have been very pleased with the Big Agnes Battle Mountain sleeping bag.
· Yoke Collar
· Draft Tubes
· Fabric / Seams are downproof
· It is heavy.
· Accessibility to the pad valve
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in approximately two months for additional test results.
During this phase of the test, I slept in the bag an additional night. I am very impressed with this type of sleeping system, with the exception of the weight. But with additional weight comes additional comfort, so there is always a trade off. One thing I really like about this sleeping system is that the pad is integral to the sleeping bag. I can move around, toss and turn and don't wake up looking for my pad. Prior to testing the BA system, I had read comments about the BA sleep system that one had to be a back sleeper only, I disagree with this. I slept most nights on my side with out any problem. During the test period I experienced very little feather loss through the fabric, no failures with the seams. Overall I think this bag is a very good product.
· Integrated pillow pocket & collar/yoke
· Integrated sleeping pad sleeve
· Inserting the pad in the pad sleeve is difficult
Once again during my LTR test period I used the Battle Mountain bag inside my TNF Trek Bivy shelter. When I went to bed the temp was around 20 F (-7 C). When I awoke, the wind was blowing strongly and the temperature was 30 F (-1 C).
On my latest outing, I slept very soundly, even with the bag partially unzipped. I tossed and turned throughout the night, sleeping on my side and back without any problem turning over. Once again the pad could not slip out from under the bag. I was cozy and warm throughout the night. I did not experience any colds spots. I was especially pleased that there were no cold spots at the intersection of the pad sleeve and bag. The bag had minimal condensation down at the foot area, but in no way did it affect the ability to keep me warm.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
I have compressed this sleeping bag multiple times during the course of this test. The bag compresses easily and continues to loft well after being removed from its stuff sack. I have stored the sleeping bag in the cotton storage sack. This sack appears to be an appropriate size, not compressing the bag thereby permitting it to breathe while stored.
Inserting the sleeping pad in the sleeve is still difficult. However, through trial and error, I learned that if the pad is only partially inflated inserting it is much easier. Once positioned correctly, I finish inflating the pad to the desired firmness.
The zipper continues to operate smoothly. I have not had any problem with it snagging during the test period. Likewise, the cordlocks continue to work well. The fabric and the eco-friendly Bamboo Charcoal Synthetic Insulation on the bottom of the bag have also performed well during the test period. In general, the insulation materials have not shifted or clumped with use. The fabric has not developed any pilling, snags, nor has is become soiled.
I like the pillow pocket. It accommodates either clothing, or a small pillow quite nicely. Another feature that I like is the draft collar/yoke. It does not require cinching of cords to make it function.
This bag is rated at -15 F (-26 C). With the springtime temperature rising, I have not been able to further test the lower limit of the Battle Mountain comfort zone. In fact, it is now probably too warm for my preferred sleeping comfort.
This concludes my Long Term Report. I would like to thank Big Agnes and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Battle Mountain sleeping bag.
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Read more gear reviews by Scott Wasley