BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

Big Agnes Lost Ranger Frontal View
Big Agnes Lost Ranger
Big Agnes' Classic Series rectangular sleeping bag
Andrew Buskov

Initial Report - April 5, 2007
Field Report - June 18, 2007
Long Term Report - August 20, 2007

Tester Biographical Information

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 216 lbs (99 kg)
Shoulder Girth: 48 in (122 cm)
Hip Girth: 44 in (112 cm)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I started backpacking and quickly became hooked on the outdoors, hiking various environments from the green mountains of the Appalachians to the barren desert of Arizona. I enjoy the solitude of deep backcountry, and prefer colder weather but global warming is making that tougher all the time. I’m usually a moderate weight hiker, but as an Emergency Medical Technician I’m trained to be prepared, so my pack usually weighs between 30 to 40 lbs (13 and 18 kg) while soloing, to 60 lbs (27 kg) when leading. Additional information about the author can be found at http://www.corridor9.net.

Stuffsack SizeProduct Information:

Item: Big Agnes Lost Ranger
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Website http://www.bigagnes.com
Year of Manufacture: 2007
MSRP: $199.00
Actual Weight: Regular / 2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg)
Listed Weight: Regular / 2 lb 10 oz (1.19 kg)
Stuffsack Size: 8 x 17.5 in ( 20 x 44 cm)
Compressed Size: 8 x 7.5 in ( 20 x 19 cm)
Shoulder Girth: 70 in (178 cm)
Hip Girth: 66 in (168 cm)
Pad Length: 20 x 72 in (51 x 183 cm)
Fill Weight: 14 oz (.40 kg)
Color: Blue / Black

Product Overview:

{Paraphrased from Website}
The Big Agnes Lost Ranger is part of the classic series down sleeping bag line; the most popular bag style that Big Agnes sells. Their semi-rectangular design makes them great for car camping while still being light weight and offering a great deal of compression for backpackers. Like every other Big Agnes sleeping bag, the Lost Ranger has no insulation on the bottom (backside) of the sleeping bag. The design requires a pad to be used to provide insulation from the ground. This particular bag is designed to be used with a 20 in (51 cm) wide rectangular pad. Because the pad is required to provide adequate insulation, Big Agnes designed their bags to incorporate the pad into the sleep system. Instead of the sleeping bag lying on top of the pad, there is an integrated pad sleeve on the bottom of the bag. Some of the benefits that come with such a design are: weight savings, reduced packed size, increased girth and comfort, and the ability to roll or twist without rolling off the pad. In addition, because the bag is a rectangular design, there is more room around the shoulders and feet making it easier for those of us who roll often at night to get a more restful sleep without feeling like we're getting ensnared in the material.

Lost Ranger Logo{From Packaging and Website}
Some of the additional features that are found in the Lost Ranger are:
  • No-draft yoke seals around neck to keep cold air from sneaking in.
  • Built in pillow pocket holds a fleece or Big Agnes Pillow.
  • No-draft wedge insulates the connection between the bag and pad.
  • No-draft zipper tube insulates along the length of the zipper.
  • Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners.
  • 70" YKK #8 zipper. Mate together any of our left and right zip bags with a 70" zipper.

Initial Impression:

Pad PocketThis item arrived in good condition, complete, and very neatly packaged within a plastic bag. Included in the packaging was a stuffsack, shown above, a cotton storage sack, and Big Agnes Catalog. Also included in the package was a Big Agnes Dual Core inflatable air mattress that will be used during the test in conjunction with the Lost Ranger.

As usual, one of the first things I did when opening the package was to get initial weights and measurements before subjecting the Lost Ranger to any use. After getting all pertinent information I couldn't help but unroll everything, inflate the Dual Core pad, mate the two together and hop in. One of the first things I noticed was how breathable this bag seemed to be. I must admit, I was getting worried that I wouldn't have an adequate amount of cold weather to test a 15 F (-9 C) sleeping bag without sweating to death. However, I found that while I was warm and cozy, I wasn't exceptionally hot even after laying in the Lost Ranger for approximately 30 minutes in my 72 F (22 C) living room. While I'm sure that I'll need to find colder weather than what we've been experiencing lately, 80's F (27 C), I'm no longer worried about soaking the bag with sweat. This does bring another question to mind that I hadn't thought of before though; being as how there isn't any insulation on the bottom side of the bag, will I be able to regulate my body temperature if I get too hot simply by unzipping the bag and allowing the heat to vent?

Heavier Material around ZipperI don't normally think about the setup time for a sleeping bag, but with the Big Agnes system it isn't quite as easy as unrolling a bag and hopping in. This is especially true in colder weather as the bottom of the bag has no insulation. That being said, setup time for the bag was almost nonexistent as the majority of the setup time was spent inflating the Dual Core air pad. After the pad was inflated it was simply a matter of sliding the sleeping bag over the pad. At no point in time did the material snag or catch while sliding the air pad inside its designated pocket. I haven't had the opportunity to test my Therm-O-Rest with the Lost Ranger, but I will definitely try to get some additional information regarding different pad types and sizes. The Lost Ranger is sewn in such a way that the valve from an inflatable pad sticks out of the pocket. This allows quick and easy access to the valve in case adjustments are needed for comfort throughout the night.

No-Draft YokeThe zipper worked really well and didn't seem to catch as much as some other bags I've tried over the years. While any zipper has the possibility of catching on material, especially a draft tube, the Lost Ranger has a heavier fabric sewn right next to the zipper. This helps give some rigidity to the bag around the zipper and help prevent the zipper from catching on the fabric. I've found that this works especially well when zipping from the outside of the bag, but it has helped me a few times when I was inside the bag trying to zip it fully without catching any material. I'm sure I'll be able to comment on ease of use with the zipper in my Field Report.

So far I only have good things to report on in the way of fit. The wide rectangle shape offers me extra shoulder room while the foot box is large enough that my feet don't feel confined. Although I was only in the sleeping bag for roughly a half hour, I was able to move around freely and didn't at all feel constricted. I was even able to roll on my sides and raise my knees up without too much trouble. I did find that the yoke fit nice and snug around my neck; aka: tight for me. However, as this is the first sleeping bag I have owned with a no-draft yoke sewn inside, I'm sure this will take some getting used to. I'll give a bit more information on this in future additions to the report.

Pillow PocketAnother feature of the Lost Ranger is the integrated pillow pocket inside the head area of the bag. This to me seems quite ingenious as I'm always losing my "pillow" throughout the night due to tossing and turning. While the pocket was initially designed to hold one of Big Agnes' pillows, it is my intention to test this using my regular fleece jacket or other clothing. I'm hoping that this holds my clothing in one place and prevents it from ending up where it usually does after a night of restless sleep; at my feet.

One of the things that I wasn't happy with so far was the stitching on the inside of the bag. After laying there for 15 minutes I could feel the stitches on the inside of the bag scratching my arms and legs. It feels like Big Agnes used a heavy thread to stitch the baffle areas together. This heavy thread causes some discomfort when exposed to bare skin. While I'm not looking forward to getting scratched all night long, I'm definitely looking forward to testing this in the field. I'll definitely have a bit more information during the next phase of the report.

Free Radical FeathersAnother thing that I found a bit annoying was the amount of "free radical feathers" that were on, in, and around the sleeping bag when I unpacked it. While I understand that most down equipment is going to come with some loose down feathers, the fact that there was around 30-40 loose feathers floating around my living room was a bit disheartening. I ended up having to vacuum the bag to remove most of the feathers prior to use. After removing all the loose feathers, and inspecting the bag carefully, I can't find any down leaking from the insides of the sleeping bag.

I would like to thank Big Agnes and Backpackgeartest.org for allowing me to test this sleeping bag.

Field Report - June 18, 2007

Field Locations:

I've had the opportunity to test this bag a total of four nights so far. Two nights were in the Pennyrile State Forrest about 45 minutes south of here. The area has an elevation between 400 -700 ft (122 - 213 m). The second place I used the sleeping bag was in the South Cumberland Recreational area in southern Tennessee. Elevation change is a bit more pronounced here since it's basically a big gouge in the earth. The highest elevation is around 1800 ft (549 m) while the bottom of the canyon tops out at roughly 980 ft (299 m). While there was a bit of precipitation during the hike, it was merely a trace amount and the night was dry.  I was able to use both a tent, and bunks in a cabin.

Performance:


I am exceptionally pleased with the Big Agnes Lost Ranger! During initial tests around the house, I thought that the bag was going to be too warm for use as a summer bag, but I've since found out that because there is no insulation on the back, I am able to easily regulate my body temperature by opening the side of the bag to vent or simply removing the top and sleeping without covers. This is great for those nights when the temperature drops and you need that extra warmth but don't want to sweat while falling asleep.

The bag fits me very well, and I'm glad I didn't get the long version. While I am slightly cramped when fully zipped in my hood, I feel warmer and actually prefer that as opposed to excess material floating or hanging around my head or feet as I sleep. The bag is big enough that I am able to take a "special bottle" in for those cold nights when I don't want to leave the warmth of my bag to find the closest tree, but I have found that when I do need to leave the bag it will retain some of the heat so I don't have to rewarm it when I get back. I'm also able to have both my CamelBak and Nalgene bottles in and still have room to move around.

The hood, draft collar, and footbox area all feel nice and tight when fully zipped. I don't exactly like the amount of feathers in the draft collar as it feels a bit tight on my neck at times, but it does do its job at retaining the heat. The pillow pocket area is great for stuffing a sweater or some extra shirts for a makeshift pillow. This is great for me, especially since I don't like a big fluffy pillow anyway. I was a bit upset that the strings that cinch up the hood are the same. This makes it hard to tell whether I'm cinching the bottom or top of the hood area without trying them out. It would have been nice to have a ribbon for the bottom and a round cord for the top, but the cords that are provided do a good job at cinching up the bag and are easy to use.

This bag lofts up great! Even when I left it compressed for 2-3 days before finally heading out, upon reaching camp it lofted up quickly and without clumping the down. At no time did I feel that the down inside the bag was migrating to new areas or clumping. Even after the bag had become damp with perspiration and condensation the down was easy to manage. The bag dried real quick too after hanging from a tree the next morning. The next night, I could hardly tell that the bag was wet the night before. While the bag doesn't seem to breath all that well, it doesn't pose a problem since it is easy enough to vent during temperate weather. I've also not had any more problems with down feathers bleeding through the fabric.

I've found that the warmest I am comfortable using this bag is about 68 F (20 C). After that I tend to sweat more than I can comfortably evaporate. Of course, humidity, wind speed, and tent dynamics all play a part in comfort while using the Lost Ranger, but this is the figure I've come up with so far. In addition to the factors above, I've found that the pad style plays a big part in how warm or cold I get during the night. When I used the Big Agnes Dual Core pad, I stayed nice and cozy during cold nights, but during warm nights it was much more comfortable to use myself inflating short pad. However, this short pad tended to roam around a bit more during the night when I rolled over while the Dual Core stayed in the same place all night.

Long Term Report - August 20, 2007

Field Locations:

Unfortunately with this extreme heat wave we've been having the last month, anything but day trips were out of the question. I was only able to use this sleeping bag on one night during the Long Term phase. The location was the Pennyrile State Forest and the elevation for the area is between 400 -700 ft (122 - 213 m) with slow rolling hills and steep cliffs in some areas. The temperature was roughly 85 F (29 C). There was very little precipitation and the humidity was high.

Performance:

The first time I had ever been exposed to a Big Agnes designed sleeping bag was shortly after opening the package that the Lost Ranger came in. I had only limited knowledge about the design and construction, the fact that the back had no insulation, and that the sleeping bags were primarily rectangular as opposed to the classic mummy style cold weather bags. The first time I tried it out I was skeptical about the ability to keep my back warm with only a thin sheet of fabric. However, after coupling the bag with the Dual Core air mattress I quickly realized exactly how well this proved at insulating me from the cold ground.

The bag is extremely well constructed, and designed. The heavy duty material along the zipper prevented me from ever snagging this entire test period. Being as how I sleep on my stomach a lot, leaving only my left arm to pull the zipper with, I often snag simply because the awkward way my arm articulates while in that position. In addition, the heavy duty draft collar kept in a lot of warmth during the colder months. I also appreciated the ease of the drawstrings. I would have liked to see some way of distinguishing the drawstrings in the dark. I often found myself pulling the wrong drawstring and closing the hood down over my eyes as opposed to cinching up the neck area. I've seen other bags that had a flat, or ribbon style, drawstring around for the neck area and a round, or more of a rope style, drawstring for the head section.

When the Big Agnes Lost Ranger arrived at the beginning of April, I was a little hesitant about testing a 15 F (-9 C), cold weather bag, especially seeing as how the next few months were going to warm up considerably. With temperatures here peaking over 105 F (41 C), temperatures were scorching, humidity was high, and testing was hot. That being said, I wasn't as uncomfortable with this sleeping bag as I was my synthetic 15 F (-9 C) sleeping bag. For some reason, while the down provided a wonderful amount of heat retention, it wasn't a miserable experience. I would have to say that as it stands now, using the Dual Core  air mattress, I probably won't use this sleeping bag over 55 or 60 F (13 or 16 C). However, with a different non-insulated air mattress, this may be a bit more feasible.

The thing that really sticks out in my head though about this bag is it's compressibility. It is one of the factors that will keep me coming back to this bag every winter. I can compress this bag down to just about any leftover space I have in my pack and it is still fluffy and full when I unpack it. I no longer need a space the size of two basketballs for my sleeping bag. That makes all the difference when packing for a long trip. This bag was a joy to test, and I've been very pleased with all aspects of the sleeping bag. I'll definitely be using this bag for many years to come.

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Big Agnes for the opportunity to test the Lost Ranger.





Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson