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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Big Agnes King Solomon double bag > Owner Review by Katy Welter

BIG AGNES -- King SOLOMON 15 DEGREE “DOUBLEWIDE” SLEEPING BAG

By Katy Welter

Date: April 12, 2010
Owner Review
Name: Katy Welter
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight: 135 lb (61 kg)
Email address: kwelterATuchicagoDOTedu
City, State, Country: Chicago, Illinois USA

Backpacking Background:
I became an enthusiastic backcountry backpacker after taking a 70-day Rocky Mountain National Outdoor Leadership School course in 2007. My husband and I camp about 20-30 nights per year. My backpacking style is lightweight (typical pack weight under 40 lb (18 kg) for a week-long hike) and I use an ultralight 3-season tent for shelter. Food is my heaviest item; I love backcountry cooking! My husband and I typically do 3-5 day hikes, but have completed several longer treks, including the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii, and the Overland Track in Tasmania.
PRODUCT INFORMATION (per www.bigagnes.com)
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bigagnes.com
MSRP: $329.95 US

Listed Weight: 5 lb 3 oz (2.35 kg)
Measured Weight: 5 lb 4 oz (2.38 kg)

Height Accommodated: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Our heights:
5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
We both prefer cold sleeping weather (we crack a window in our bedroom during Chicago winters!).

Materials:
Shell: Down proof, nylon microfiber rip-stop. Water repellant surface treatment.
Lining: Soft, breathable down proof nylon with stain resistant finish
Pad sleeve: Nylon rip-stop. Water repellant surface treatment

Specifications per Big Agnes website:
Fill Weight 2 lb 4 oz (1 kg)
Shoulder Girth 110 in (279 cm)
Hip Girth 96 in (244 cm)
Foot Girth 80 in (203 cm)
Stuff Sack Size XL-10 in x 21in (25 x 53 cm)
Actual measurements (by owner):
Length from toe to shoulder (head opening): 66 in (168 cm)
Width at widest point (slightly below shoulders): 48 in (122 cm)
Width at narrowest point (foot box--square, not “mummy” shaped): 45 in (114 cm)
Width of head opening when fully zipped (but not cinched): 31 in (79 cm)

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION (by owner)
The Big Agnes King Solomon is a two-person, down-filled, roomy 15-degree sleeping bag. It has two zippers--one on each side--for handy in-and-out. It also has draft doggies blocking zipper draft along each side, as well as individual draft collars. There’s even a draft “flap” that fills the space between two people’s heads, which I can pack away handily in a little pocket with hook-and-loop closure. It also has toggles to cinch the bag opening, making for an even toastier sleep. The King Solomon also has a couple of signature Big Agnes features on the underside: no insulation, and two slots for holding standard 20 in (51 cm) width sleeping pads. These slots don’t require Big Agnes brand pads: we use REI and Therm-a-Rest brand 3/4 length pads. The King Solomon also has built-in pillow pockets, but we usually just use our clothes stuff sack as a pillow.

Since the King Solomon packs into a large mass (and even that, with some effort), we found that we need at least a 70 liter (4300 cu in) backpack (or a wide 60-65 liter (3600 - 4000 cu in pack) to stuff it into. My Gregory Deva 60 (circa 2005) can’t hold it without a serious workout. We use an attack/compression sack and don’t fully compress it because it takes a long time and effort to get that last inch of compression.

FIELD TEST

My husband and I purchased the Big Agnes King Solomon (or “Bagnes,” as we call her) 2 years ago because we wanted to sleep together when camping. Frankly, there aren’t many doublewide bags out there, let alone lightweight ones. We’d had great success with Big Agnes tents, so we decided to give the King Solomon (“King” from here) a try. We’ve used the King in countless environments because we took it with us on a 7-month backpacking trip in the Eastern Hemisphere. Counting this and many other backpacking trips, we’ve probably slept 150 nights in the King. 

We slept in the King in temperatures ranging from 0 F (-17 C) and 30 mph (48 kph) wind at 17,000 feet (5180 meters) in Nepal in a drafty teahouse on a wood bed to 85 F (29 C) and high humidity in Thailand and Hawaii. Presumably because there were always two of us sharing the warmth, the King certainly seemed more like a 0 F (-17C) bag (or warmer!) than a 15 F (-10 C) bag. We often wished we had a 30-degree version of the bag because we were so warm (obviously it’s overkill for the tropics, but there are no lighter doublewides, to my knowledge). My husband slept in the King alone in 20 F (-7 C) weather on snow in Colorado for about a week, and he reported that it was still warm, though he put his pack inside to block any drafts.

Our tent, a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2, is almost entirely mesh, and the King inevitably draws moisture from the walls because its footprint is the same as the SL2. When this happens, it can be annoying to pack a slightly wet bag, but the fabric dries quickly in the sun (we toss it on bushes and have never had a tear). We never noticed loss of warmth due to condensation issues, nor a significant weight gain.

To clean the King, we have chosen to only wipe down the inside with a damp cloth and lay it outside on a dry, sunny day. That has proved very effective: the King looks great and has no unpleasant smell. When not in use, the King hangs in a closet, using the two loops on the outside of the bag's foot. The cleaning instructions on the tag say to be "extremely careful" and to consider using a specialist in cleaning down bags.

In over 150 nights of use, I cannot think of one problem with the King. Considering we only carry one bag, it's a very reasonable weight (not ultralight, but the snuggle is worth any  marginal extra weight). The sleeping pad slots on the back are extremely useful and have spoiled us. We’ve tried going back to the old method of putting the King on top of our pads, and even the slightest movement now annoys us. The absence of insulation on the back doesn’t seem to impair warmth at all, and makes me wonder why all bags aren’t made this way. Why waste the down and the weight?

The only difficulty with the King is compressing it. It’s just so large that it can be difficult to force into even a large stuff sack. Inevitably air pockets get trapped in the sack during the process, and sometimes we have to pull out some of the King and then give it another try. This is not a tiny, ultralight, mummy sleeping bag. It’s more like a down comforter hiding in a backpacker-style bag. Though it’s bulky, it is unquestionably our favorite piece of gear. We strive for minimalism in other aspects of our packing to make up for the bulk and slightly higher weight.

SUMMARY
The Big Agnes King Solomon is one of the few backpacker-friendly two-person bags on the market. Fortunately, it’s a winner. The thoughtful details like two-sided access, draft tubes, draft collars, and sleeping bag slots make it warm and comfortable all night long. After over 150 nights of use, the King shows no signs of wear or loss of warmth, and continues to be my favorite piece of gear.

PROS:
No drafts, good access.
Lightweight compared to other doublewides.
Durable (over 150 nights of use with no visible wear).
Handy sleeping pad slots.
Roomy, even with two adults. Nice wide foot box.

CONS:
Bulky.
Unexpectedly too warm, even in cold temps.

Scout showing that the King Solomon can accommodate 2 adults . . . or 1 dog!

Scout is a 90 lb Golden Retriever, and is modeling to give you a size reference.Scout's a big dog (90 lbs (40 kg)), but the King Solomon looks huge with her on it.





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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Big Agnes King Solomon double bag > Owner Review by Katy Welter



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