AT hotmail DOT com
||Salida, Colorado, USA
||5' 11" (1.80 m)
||200 lb (90.70 kg)
||42 in (107 cm)
||36 in (91 cm)
started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy
Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading
backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take
short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I
have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or
two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18
kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken
lightweight trips as well.
Information & Specifications
|Image courtesy of manufacturer
Manufacturer: Big Agnes, Inc.
MSRP: $249.95 ($229.95 for regular)
lb 6 oz (1.54 kg)
lb 4.8 oz (1.50 kg)
Bag: 3 lb 3.6 oz (1.46 kg)
Listed Packed Size: 8 in x 8 in (20 cm x 20 cm)
Stuff Sack: 1.3 oz (37 g)
Measured Packed Size: 8 in x 8 in (20 cm x 20 cm)
Color Tested: Grey / Burnt Orange
15 F (-9 C)
fill goose down
21 oz (595 g)
(also available in Regular)
Warranty: Can be returned if not
satisfied for repair, replacement or refund.
Agnes Insulated Air Core 20 x 78 x 2.5 in (51 x 198 x 6.4 cm)
27 oz (765 g)
30.8 oz (873 g)
15 F (-9 C)
Other Details provided
half pad sleeve with unique design keeps you securely attached to the
pad from the hips up while allowing freedom of movement for your legs,
more like a traditional mummy bag. Never roll off your pad again
- Half pad sleeve with adjustable strap holds ANY 20" wide
rectangular or mummy shaped pad
- Mummy shape decreases weight & packed size
- Cotton storage sack & nylon stuff sack included
- Built in pillow pocket holds a fleece or Big Agnes pillow
- Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners
- 70" YKK #8 zipper. Mate together any of our left and right
zip bags with the same size zipper
- No-draft collar seals around neck to keep cold air from
- No-draft wedge insulates the connection between the bag and
- No-draft zipper tube insulates along the length of the
- Shell: Down proof, nylon microfiber rip-stop. WR surface
treatment to repel water
- Lining: Soft, breathable down proof nylon with stain
- Pad sleeve: Nylon rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel
Construction: Insotect Flow™ is a flow-optimized insulation system that
delivers uniform heat distribution and natural body contouring through
its revolutionary baffle design. Flow Construction eliminates lateral
and vertical down shifting by using vertical chambers with Flow Gates
to regulate fill positioning and density. Strategically placed Flow
Gates minimize vertical down shifting while vertical chambers minimize
lateral shifting. With continuous vertical Flow chambers in place of
traditional side seams, Flow bags eliminate potential cold spots which
can occur with side seams. Vertical baffles now flow with your body for
more rapid and uniform body heat distribution.
The Big Agnes Grouse
Mountain is a down mummy-style sleeping bag rated
to 15 F (-9 C). The sleeping bag arrived with several hang
attached to the bag as well as a cotton storage sack for when
am not on the trail. It also has a smaller, nylon stuff sack
so I can
pack it small! The Grouse Mountain is part of Big Agnes'
of sleeping bags. The bag uses the Insotect Flow system for
construction, which is unlike any other down system I have seen.
Unlike traditional baffle designs, this system appears to
vertical chambers for the down. According to the
are gates within the chambers to regulate the flow of the down.
to say, I am pretty excited to see how this works! Did I mention that
it comes with a Big Agnes sticker?
|Sleeping pad sleeve
Big Agnes sleeping bags are designed to be used with sleeping pads and
the Grouse Mountain is no exception. The bottom of the bag
includes an integrated sleeve for the pad to slide into. The
sleeve measures 23 x 37 in (58 x 94 cm), pictured to the left.
There is also a 0.50 in (1.27 cm) piece of webbing with a plastic strap
adjuster that holds the pad in place. The sleeve is designed
accommodate any pad up to 20 in (51 cm) wide, however Big Agnes
graciously provided an insulated, rectangular pad for me to use.
This is important to point out since there is a portion of
sleeping bag that has no insulation whatsoever. This is right
under my torso and measures 18 in wide by 20 in tall (46 x 51 cm) and
having some protection from the ground is a must in the winter.
unique feature about the Grouse Mountain is the integrated pillow
pocket. The pocket is sewn into the inside of the bag and is
large enough to accommodate a fleece jacket. The bag also has
three fabric loops sewn into the bag to hold a sleeping bag liner
should I need it; two at the top and one in the foot box. The
zipper is a two-way #8 YKK and extends a full 70 in (178 cm)
a draft tube. The hood has an anchored cord lock that allows
to pull the elastic cord taught and close the hood on cool nights.
At the top of the zipper is a 2.5 in (6.4 cm) wide tab with a
hook and loop closure that secures the zipper in place. The
also has a draft collar for my neck as well as one for my forehead.
The fabric is 100%
nylon inside and out and is
"down-proof" according to the manufacturer. There are two
loops on the exterior at the toe box for me to hang the sleeping bag.
This is my preferred method of storing the bag, so I
that! The toe box also has two tags sewn into it; one states
fabric and fill content while the other has care instructions and
states that the bag is fire resistant. In the center of the
near my torso is a Big Agnes patch sewn into the bag. On the
side (laying down) of the bag is "Grouse Mountain 15" embroidered into
The Grouse Mountain is
a well-made sleeping bag. There were no
loose threads, bad seams or any other defects that I could find.
Not even one stray down feather! The fabric lining
comfortable even when I tried it at home in shorts and a t-shirt.
I really like the colors of the bag as well! At 5
ft 11 in
(1.8 m), I am right at the top of the range for the regular.
glad I sized up to the long since the girth of the bag is a bit larger.
I do like to toss and turn when I sleep so the extra room
make it easy to roll around.
The integrated sleeve
new concept for me and I set up the sleep system several times to see
how easy it would be inside a tent. Time will tell once I am
in the cold, but in the warmth of my home it is pretty easy.
0.50 in (1.27 cm) strap is just the right length for the pad that Big
Agnes provided and it looks like it will help keep the pad in the
Reading the Instructions
As I mentioned
earlier, the sleeping bag came with two hang tags.
The first is product specific to both the Grouse Mountain as
as the women's version, the Fria. It shows how the pad strap
works, even though it was intuitive to me. There is a warning
stating that Big Agnes bags require a sleeping pad to ensure insulation
from the ground. The other hang tag is specific to the
Flow system, complete with diagrams!
I found Big Agnes'
website very easy to navigate. In addition to in depth
information about the technology used, there is product care
information provided as well.
I am very excited to
take the Grouse Mountain out into the backcountry.
It is well made and has many intriguing qualities.
Pros: Lighter than synthetic bags I
am used to using, sleeping pad sleeve and pillow pocket.
Cons: none yet!
receiving the Grouse Mountain, I have spent four nights
backpacking with the sleeping bag. The first trip I took was
the Sangre de Cristo
Wilderness in Colorado along the Rainbow trail near Bushnell Lakes.
I have previously been up this way and after the long cold
the temperatures of 20 to 40 F (-7 to 4 C) were a welcome respite from
what we have encountered here locally. This trip was cut
short by the amount of downed trees in the area and was a 7 mi (11
km) round trip. The trail was snow packed with an average of
(61 cm) and at elevations up to 9,600 ft (2,900 m). Clear
skies adorned this beautiful hike, making the meteor viewing
The next trip I took was in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness on the
Simmons Peak Trail. Overnight snow persuaded me to forgo a morning
summit due to the shaky snow conditions in the region but the
temperatures were reasonable; between 20 and 40 F (-7 and 4 C). I
camped at Salamander Lake at 11,000 ft (3,350 m) which was about 3.5 mi
(5.6 km) from the trailhead. The trail was snow covered; plenty of it
My next trip was a
trip to the Lost
Creek Wilderness in Colorado along the Colorado Trail. This
12 mi (19 km) out-and-back. This relatively mellow trail
around 10,000 ft (3,050 m) and was a mix of snow covered trails and
some brief bare spots of a rocky trail. I had fair weather
temperatures between 20 and 35 F (-6 to 2 C) and mostly sunny skies.
This trip was fairly breezy, although I had no drafts in my
final trip was back to the Sangre de Cristo's for an exploratory trip
toward Mt Lindsey. I am glad that I did since with the road
closure I logged 13 mi (21 km) along snow-packed roads and trails.
I camped near 10,700 ft (3,260 m) just beyond the summer
trailhead in a meadow. The overnight temperature was only 25
(-4 C), but still cold enough that I was glad to be in the Grouse
of my trips were in the same tent and pitched at least partially
protected by trees. My last trip was the most exposed of my
trips, but the winds were relatively calm overnight. Also, I
the same sleeping pad, a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core.
am a toss-and-turn sleeper and frankly I was a little worried going
into this test. I had no idea how I would handle an
pad in my sleeping bag, but I am happy to report that I am a true
believer now! My first night in the Grouse Mountain I think
the hardest, primarily because there were so many new features to get
used to. What I really like so far is that despite my rolling
around, I stay put on my sleeping pad, which can always be a concern in
winter camping conditions. What makes the system work for me
the integrated pillow case. I have used this with both extra
clothing for a pillow as well as an inflatable camping pillow I
purchased just for this series. I think without the pillow
integrated, it could be hard for me to stay comfortable throughout the
night, or else I might wake up with a seriously crooked neck.
image to the right shows me settling down for the night.
|Falling asleep at night!
sleep pretty warm; a curse of a high metabolism I suppose.
Despite this, I have been comfortable being bundled up tight
this bag. On my overnight to Simmons Peak, I think either I
sweating too much at night, or perhaps I had worn slightly damp base
layers to bed because I had some brief chills sometime during the
night. I suspect that the weather played a part too, but the
other trips I remained quite comfortable. I should point out
I have been taking temperature readings from inside my tent, not
outside. I could only guess if temperatures dipped lower than
F (-6 C) at some point in the night. If they did, I stayed
draft collars on the hood and neck do an adequate job of keeping out
cold air. The draft collar on the hood that lies over my
also has a nice bonus of blocking out some early morning sun on those
mornings that I just don't want to get up! The draft collar
neck does slip around from time to time, but it still keeps the cold
air out and the warm air in. However, since I toss and turn,
I wake up I notice it is twisted sometimes.
and packing the bag is very easy. The size of the stuff sack
the Grouse Mountain comes with is fine. I have several
that I use and so far that sleeping bag has fit easily into the
sleeping bag compartments of the two I use for winter backpacking.
I have taken care to store the sleeping bag in the cotton
sack that was supplied by Big Agnes when I get back from my trips.
Despite these precautions, I have
found an occasional feather when I unpacked the sleeping bag.
every time, but once was enough to make sure I keep an eye on this.
So far I have seen no loss of loft.
the sleeping pad into the sleeve is not as big of a chore as I would
have thought. Normally I lay out my pad and my sleeping bag
"loft up" before arranging them for bed. This requires a
extra forethought in tight quarters of a closed tent and snow falling
outside! Again, it was easy of enough to do without much
in all, I am very happy with this sleeping bag. I have a
of trips planned in Colorado this spring and it is likely that I could
still push the lower limits of the bag within the next two months.
Pros: Lighter weight than I am used
too, small size when packed, keeps me warm and I don't fall off the pad!
Cons: The draft collar at my neck
slips around at night.
the past two months I have been on an additional 2 backpack trips as well
as a couple of "car camping" ventures. This brings my total
to 6 nights backpacking and 2 nights car camping. My
first trip was a return trip to La Plata Peak in the San Isabel
National Forest in Colorado, USA. As I have done in the past, I
packed in a little over 1 mi (2 km) and then hiked the remaining way to
the summit. Unlike before, I made it to the summit for a round
trip of 10 mi (16 km). The trip was especially cold overnight, with
temperatures dipping to 15 F (-9 C) but it did get better as the day
went on. The trail was still snow-covered and I slept in a
three-season, three-person tent at an elevation of 11,200 ft (3,400 m).
other trip was an overnight in the San Isabel National Forest near Mt
Shavano in Colorado. I was once again stymied by the amount of trees
downed by winds this past fall. I thought that if I packed in far
enough I could snowboard down the mountain. Boy, was I wrong!
Dragging a snowboard and along with my camping gear for 2.5 mi (4
km) wore me out and I turned around shortly after starting the
following morning. Overnight temperatures barely dipped below 30
F (-1 C) with clear skies and nice views. The trail was full of
snow and trees, but I did manage to find a level spot to camp in with a
three-season, three-person tent at 10,600 ft (3,230 m). Hey, it was
technically spring for these trips!
My other two trips were
intended to be backpacking trips, but my partners for these hikes were
not so inclined to hike into the woods so I slept at trailheads.
Both camping spots were snow free at elevations of between 9,800
and 10,500 ft (2,990 and 3,200 m). The overnight temperatures fell to 30
and 40 F (-1 and 4 C). I slept in the same three-season
three-person tent as before.
Over the past two months I have come to enjoy sleeping in the Grouse
Mountain bag. The bag is roomy enough for me to move freely and
yet I don't quite feel as though my body is struggling to keep warm.
The draft collars do a good job of keeping out the cold air as
well. When I slept in the backcountry, I generally slept in long
underwear with socks on. On the trip to La Plata, I did get
pretty cold at night and I ended up throwing on an additional layer.
I generally am a "hot" sleeper, and it was the case for this
night as well. I think that because I was hot when I climbed in
my bag, I perspired some and then that caused me to get some chills.
I monitored this on my other trips and as before, I noticed
myself unzipping the bag only to zip it up tighter as the night went
on. I have had similar experiences with my other sleeping bags as
well and have commented on this in my Field Report as well.
Overall, I rate the warmth of this bag right on the money.
At 15 F (-9 C) I get a little cold but it is manageable.
|Sleeping like a baby! Well, until the flash that was...|
zipper is a little hard to use when I wake up in the middle of the
night. I usually have to pee at least once during the
night, so when I get up and do my business, I am anxious to crawl back
into the warm sleeping bag. The zipper is a little difficult to
zip up as it snags a little. This is surprising since there is a
stiff piece of fabric that I thought would help prevent this.
Alas, I have not found a sleeping bag zipper that doesn't snag
but I was hoping this one would be up to that task.
thing that I have found great about this bag is that the integrated
sleeping bag sleeve really does make for a comfortable night in the
backcountry! As a side sleeper who flip-flops throughout the
night, this bag really does a great job of keeping me on my pad.
I intentionally pitched my tent on a slight incline when I was
car camping to see if there would be a noticeable difference.
When I have done so in the past, I have slipped off my pad or
ended up sliding down toward the lower end of the tent. This time
I stayed put. I think I slide a little, but the pad and bag
stayed together just the same. Keep in mind that the pad is held
in place by a nylon webbing loop that extends to the bottom of the pad.
Big Agnes, I love you!
Grouse Mountain has held up quite well. I see no issues with
loose threads, fraying or any other signs of wear. I have seen a
loose feather here and there, but nothing that has me really concerned.
I have no major complaints about this bag, and there are many things I
love about it. While I think it may be a bit on the warm side for
my summer camping I will definitely make this my bag of choice for the
spring and fall. I think I am going to look closely at other Big
Agnes sleeping bags for my summer bag as well! Nonetheless, this
sleeping bag has a permanent spot in my gear closet.
I love this sleeping bag a lot. I only have only one item to add to my Field Report.
Pros: same as above
Cons: Zipper gets stuck when zipping up for me.
concludes my long term report. I
would like to extend my sincere thanks
not only to Big Agnes for their generosity but also
to the folks at
me to be a part of this series.
Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin