BIG AGNES FRIA
TEST SERIES BY ERIN M. HEDDEN
May 29, 2012
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
Erin M. Hedden
Southeastern Colorado, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
153 lb (69.40 kg)
Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking since 4 years of age, taking long trips into the mountains with my family. I hike various terrains from mountains and plateaus to grasslands and prairies. My excursions can be a day hike with a light-weight waist pack, a loop trail taking up to 5 days on which I keep my pack as light-weight as possible, or an in-and-out trip for a night or two where my pack can be heavy. Slow and steady is my pace and I use a tent or a hammock depending on weather and terrain.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Year of Manufacture:2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://https://www.bigagnes.com/
MSRP: US $229.95
Filled With: 600 Fill Goose Down
Size: Regular/ up to 5'10" (177 cm)
Listed Fill Weight: 19 oz (539 g)
Listed Weight: 3 lbs (1.36 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lbs (1.36 kg)
Stuff Sack Size: 8"x17.5" (203x445 mm)
Compressed. Size: 8"x7" (203x178 mm)
Pad Size/Shape: Any 20" wide / any (51 cm)
The Big Agnes Fria came wrapped in plastic with its own grey nylon stuff sack and another cotton storage bag included in the packaging. There was also the inclusion of a rectangular sleeping pad which came separately packaged in its own maroon stuff sack, but it arrived in the same box .
There is a half pad sleeve and it has adjustable straps so that it will hold any 20" (51 cm) rectangular or mummy shaped pad.
There are interior loops for sleeping bag liners which gives this piece of gear more options for me in case I have to bulk up on colder nights.
My bag came with a 70" (178 cm) YKK #8 zipper on the right side. There was the option to have it come with the zipper situated on the left side. This choice of where I wanted my zipper situated makes it easy to mate together with any other bags with the same size zipper on the opposite side to my own, if I so choose to do that. I like this option to the Big Agnes Fria but probably will not get to try it out within the testing period for this piece of gear, which disappoints me.
The collar is a snug seal around my neck so that should do well to keep any drafts out from around that opening. Also, there is a zipper tube that insulates the length of the zipper which should make this a warm bag to sleep in.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Reading the instructions on how to care for and clean this sleeping bag in case it should get dirty was easy to understand and follow should the need arise.
TRYING IT OUT
Out of the box I tried out the Big Agnes Fria and it fit my body very well with even a little foot room at the bottom. It was easy to zip up and get into the mummy mode for any anticipated cold nights, but testing it out in my living room wasn't enough, I just had to take it out to my winter camp and try it out for a night.
The night I took it out to my established winter camp was a partly cloudy night where the humidity was at 94% and the temperature dropped down to 28 F (2 C).
In summation I feel like this is going to be a great piece of gear. It's soft, warm, versatile and just plain cool. I look forward to the testing period for the Big Agnes Fria mummy bag over the next few weeks. I was especially impressed with the fact that they sent the insulation pad right along with the sleeping bag and I can't wait to see how that works out.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
The Big Agnes Fria sleeping bag accompanied me on three separate winter camp outings in Southeastern Colorado.
During one outing there was still snow on the ground all over the Comanche National Grasslands and the temperature dipped down to a balmy 23 F (-5 C).
During another outing into the prairies of Southeastern Colorado there was no snow on the ground to speak of but there was some cold wind blowing out of the southeast, gusting up to 15 mph (24 kmh) and the temperature dipped down to 25 F (-4 C).
On the third outing the temperature dropped only to about 34 F (1 C) on a calm and unseasonably warm night again in the Comanche National Grasslands of Southeastern Colorado.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Big Agnes Fria kept me warm on all three occasions that I had an opportunity to spend a night out in the wilderness in my surrounding area here in Southeastern Colorado. I did not find a need to use the extra wool blanket that I bring along during my winter excursions in the backcountry and feel that the Fria did a good job all on its own.
The Fria is a down sleeping bag which added to the comfort and warmth of the sleeping bag, also, I appreciated the softness of the outer shell of the sleeping bag much more so than the polyester fabric that most other sleeping bags are made of.
It was easy to store away in the backpack and wasn't hard to unroll and roll back up into its stuff sack. I have had problems in the past with other sleeping bags that once you take it out of the stuff sack it is a puzzle to fold and roll it just the right way to get it to fit back into its stuff sack, not so with the Big Agnes Fria.
To sum it up I feel that the Big Agnes Fria has outdone itself and proved to be a worthy sleeping bag to have along during the winter months here in Colorado. I did not need to add extra covering with a wool blanket to keep warm during the cold nights here and I did not need to add extra padding underneath in order to stop the cold leeching up from the ground below. The thermarest pad that I had brought along did just fine and I slept all through the night on all three occasions whether there was snow on the ground or not.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
The first time I took the Big Agnes Fria out in the field was while there was still snow on the ground in Comanche National Grassland in Southeastern Colorado when the temperature dipped down to a balmy 23 F (-5 C).
The second time I had the Fria out in camp was in the prairies of Southeastern Colorado while some cold wind was blowing out of the southeast, gusting up to 15 mph (24 kmh) and the temperature dipped down to 25 F (-4 C).
During a third trip out the temperature dropped only to about 34 F (1 C) on a calm and unseasonably warm night that I had spent again in the Vogel Canyon area of the Comanche National Grasslands.
Here in the spring I have had many more opportunities to get out and take the Big Agnes Fria along, but instead of using a tent, I used a Grand Trunk hammock. The fourth outing took me on a minimal gear trip into Picket Wire Canyon for a wild turkey hunt, here in Southeastern Colorado. On this trip the weather was unseasonably warm and the night started out at 74 F (23 C), but by 3:25 am the temperature had dropped to 41 F (5 C). The second night out the temperature again dropped to 43 F (6 C). The weather was beautiful and there was only a slight breeze blowing in from the southeast on both nights.
For three nights I used the Fria again with my ultralight hammock at Two Buttes near Springfield, Colorado in the eastern portion of the state. The temperature never sunk below 47 F (8 C), but it hovered between 47 F (8 C) and 50 F (10 C) on all three nights. The wind kicked up on the third night but I was camped at the bottom of the box canyon where I was essentially shielded from the worst of the wind. A thunder storm rumbled in the distance but never came my way, it just passed to the south and went on into Kansas. I never saw a drop of rain, but could smell it.
On Memorial Day weekend I used the Fria, hammock camping, at John Martin Reservoir and Wildlife Refuge near Hasty, Colorado for two nights. I found a good spot that was shielded from the gusty winds the plagued the area for the weekend and only experienced a low of 45 F (7 C) during the first night. I slept through the entire second night so did not get a reading of how cold it got, but it must not have gotten very cold because I never woke up from being too cold, even though my face and arms were exposed outside of the sleeping bag.
I got one more outing in before writing this report. Memorial Day was spent at a camp and fishing trip with my nephew at Ordway Reservoir. The weather was nice and perfect for fishing. The temperature was 43 F (6 C) at 2:30 in the morning.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the winter camp, in which case the temperature dropped down to 23 F (-5 C), I cannot report that I experienced any discomfort from cold, but can remember waking up three separate occasions on the latest trip to Ordway Reservoir, when temperature only got down to 43 F (6 C) at 2:30 in the morning, because I felt cold. Of course I can safely assume that this phenomena can be attributed to the fact that I was using the Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock, and did not use an under-quilt with the hammock. On all other occasions I cannot remember feeling cold at any time during the night, both using the hammock, and when using the tent.
When I used a tent to camp I also used an inflatable sleeping pad beneath me and the pad fit well into the slot sewn onto the back of the Big Agnes Fria, and it was easily secured and did not slip or slide around.
On none of the occasions on which I used the Fria did it get wet or damp from any rain or snow that had been on the ground or had been falling. When the wind blew during my Memorial Day weekend trip to John Martin Reservoir and Wildlife Refuge some sand and grit did find its way into the sleeping bag, but that was easily remedied and cleaned out by turning the bag out and down.
Hanging out and airing out the sleeping bag after using it was easily enough done.
The Fria did well in conjunction with the hammock and it was comfortable to sleep in and use. Zipping and unzipping the sleeping bag to get in and out was done without having any problems with the zipper getting stuck or jammed up. The zipper worked without incident, as did the ties that are attached to the back of the bag for attaching and securing a sleeping pad. I had no mechanical problems with the Big Agnes Fria.
In summation I feel that the Big Agnes Fria is a well put together and thought out piece of equipment.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
I like that it has an extra piece of fabric sewn onto the back of the sleeping bag so that a sleeping pad can be fitted into it, and then secured to the sleeping bag with the ties that are also built into the Fria, which in turn prevents the sleeping pad from slipping and sliding around underneath me as I turn and change sleeping positions during the night.
I cannot report feeling uncomfortable because of feeling too cold and this is a big plus for the Fria. The down stuffed sleeping bag stood up to the test of the cold successfully in my winter camp, and the only times I did feel a hint of cold nipping at my skin was more than likely due to the fact that the hammock I was using did not have an under-quilt attached. As for when the sleeping bag was used in a tent, I do not recall feeling the cold at all.
Big Agnes did a good job with the Fria in my opinion.
Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Erin Marie Hedden