BIG AGNES KING SOLOMON SLEEPING BAG
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
January 09, 2010
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week-long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
|Photo courtesy of Big Agnes website|
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)
5' 6" (1.68 m)
5' 10" (1.78 m)
Shell: Down proof, nylon microfiber rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water
Lining: Soft, breathable down proof nylon with stain resistant finish
Pad sleeve: Nylon rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water
Specifications per Big Agnes website:
Fill Weight 2 lb 4 oz (1 kg)
Shoulder Girth 110" (279 cm)
Hip Girth 96" (244 cm)
Foot Girth 80" (203 cm)
Stuff Sack Size XL-10" x 21" (25 x 53 cm)
Compressed Bag Size 10" x 10" (25 x 25 cm)
The Big Agnes King Solomon is a 15 degree F (8 C) double-wide mummy-style down sleeping bag. The insulation is 600 fill goose down. There is no down insulation in most of the underneath portion of the bag that contacts the ground. However, there is a portion of the bag that extends past the pad pocket at the foot that contains down on the bottom side. And there is a draft wedge on the pad side of the sleeping bag that provides insulation between the lower portion of the zipper and the pad. Otherwise, most of the insulation on the bottom is provided by the mattresses. There are two sleeping pad pockets that fit a rectangular 20 x 72 in (51 x 183 cm) mattress in each. The pockets have an opening on the corner to let the mattress valve stick through. The pockets are each closed with 2 hook-and-loop tabs. There is a slit at the bottom of the pocket to allow air to flow out as the pad is being pushed in.
The bag has a nearly full-length zipper down either side which opens from either the top or bottom. Behind the zipper is a no-draft tube which is a wide down-filled flap to keep drafts out. There is a no-draft collar for each person at the top of the bag and a center no-draft flap that attaches the top of the bag to the hood of the bag with hook-and-loop. The hood has the same 600 fill insulation and has a drawstring and cord lock on one side. The bag is treated with a water-resistant finish.
The hangtag and website claims that this bag has a pillow pocket for each side. However, my bag does not. I contacted Big Agnes to inquire about this and found out that the very first bags in 2007 (one of which was mine) did not come with pillow pockets. They offered to install them free of charge with free shipping if I would ship it back to them at my expense. I probably will do this when I have a window of not needing my sleeping bag.
The bag comes with two stuff sacks. One is a smaller nylon sack appropriate for use in a backpack. The other is a large cotton sack for storage between trips.
I have used the bag (with my husband) for backpacking and camping over the past 3 seasons. In total I'd estimate that we used this bag for 35 nights of backpacking and 22 nights of camping. Locations ranged from the Northeast (Maine and New Hampshire) to the Southwest (Utah and Arizona) to the Northwest (Washington) with most of the use being in the Sierra Nevada of California. Conditions varied widely from below freezing to summer warmth and from rainy to clear skies and from sea level to 12,139 ft (3,700 m) elevation.
Some examples of backpacking uses include:
Tahoe Rim Trail (Northern Sierra Nevada mountains, California): 2 nights; Elevations were from 7,390 to 9,010 ft (2,252 to 2,746 m); 50 to 65 F (10 to 18 C).
King's Canyon National Park (Southern Sierra Nevada mountains, California) : 6 nights. Elevations were from 5,000 - 11,978' (1524 - 3651 m); 22 to 65 F (-6 to 18 C).
Mount Whitney, Southern Sierra Nevada (California): 2 nights; camped at 12,139 ft (3,700 m) elevation; 35 to 55 F (1 to 13 C).
Mount Rainer Northern Loop (Washington): 5 nights; 1,700 to 6,740 ft (518 to 2054 m) elevation; 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C).
Arizona Superstition Wilderness: 2 nights; 3,620 to 5,360 ft (1,100 to 1,630 m); 32 to 85 F (0 to 29 C);
We purchased this double-wide bag because we don't like sleeping separately just because we're backpacking. Having separate sleeping bags seems like sleeping in twin beds. No, thank you. Because individual bags can be quite light weight, it is a bit of a compromise to use this bag instead of two individual bags. However, we have found the additional weight to be well worth the advantage of being able to sleep together and to have such a cozy sleeping arrangement. The lack of down on the underside keeps the weight to a reasonable level. We typically use Big Agnes air mattresses with this bag and have found the combination to be very comfortable.
We have in the past tried individual bags that can be zipped together. However, these have had the disadvantage of being non-mummy style and thus end up being larger overall. This method also puts the zipper in the middle which I do not like because I do not like touching a cold zipper at night. It also does not allow one person to regulate their air flow and temperature without affecting the other person. With the King Solomon, each person has their own full-length zipper and can open either end or open it fully while the other person can have theirs completely zipped up. This allows full control for both people.
We also have used the hood in a similar manner. When the weather is warm (or one person feels warm) the hood can be used as part of a pillow. In cold weather (or if one person is cold) the hood can be put over the head. On some nights, I used the hood while my husband did not and it worked well for both of us. I mentioned that there is a tab in the middle of the sleeping bag which has a hook-and-loop section to attach it to the hood. We never really use this attachment and find that the hook and loop scratches our faces. So, we fold over the tab and tuck it away into the pocket provided. The hook section (on the hood) is easy to cover with clothing or a towel to avoid touching it at night.
Another thing that I like is that the sleeping bag never gets twisted from changing positions like I have encountered with an individual bag. Since there are two mattresses and another person involved, it is impossible to have the bag get flipped and twisted so everything stays in place all night long. Due to the sleeves in the sleeping bag, the mattresses stay in place so there is no problem with sliding off the mattress during the night.
The size of the bag is somewhat large. It is plenty long for me and is wide enough that I can sleep with a knee (or both) completely folded up and not encroach on my partner's space at all.
The durability of the bag has been quite good. After all of these uses, there is no sign of any damage or wear. The zippers work well and move easily. There are always a few feathers that sneak out during use.
While the bag has only been exposed to a minimal amount of water, I could not see any sign of a water resistant finish. A couple of times rain dripped into the tent onto the foot of the bag and a few times the hose from my hydration bladder leaked onto the bag. In both cases the water did not bead and seemed to absorb right into the fabric.
I have used the nylon stuff sack for all of our backpacking trips. When we get home, I air out the bag for several hours. Then I place the bag into the large cotton sack. I fluff it up to fill the sack and throw the small nylon stuff sack in on top so that I can find it for the next trip.
I have not washed the sleeping bag due to concerns about losing loft. It does not have any foul aromas. I believe that this is due to our wearing thermals while inside the bag rather than allowing our body oils to directly touch the bag. We have not used a sleeping bag liner with this bag.
We love this bag! The compromise of being somewhat heavier than two individual bags is well worth it to us for the advantage of being able to sleep together. The bag in combination with the Big Agnes air mattresses is extremely comfortable.
I would love to see a lighter weight double-wide bag. It could easily be a bit shorter and narrower, have a minimal hood and a higher temperature rating. This would be an ideal bag for long backpacking trips in the summer.
THINGS I LIKE
Sleeping next to my husband
Comfort of a down bag
Bag staying put on mattress
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Not light weight (but reasonable)
Nylon can be sticky in warm weather
The hook and loop section on the no-draft flap scratches my face
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
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