Big Agnes Pomer Hoit SL Sleeping Bag
By Raymond Estrella
March 05, 2009
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Manufacturer: Big Agnes Inc
Web site: www.bigagnes.com
Product: Pomer Hoit 0 F (-18 C) down sleeping bag.
Year manufactured: 2008
MSRP: US $449.95
Weight listed: 2 lb 11 oz (1.22 kg)
Actual weight 2 lb 12 oz (1.25 kg)
Girth listed (shoulder, waist, foot): 72.5, 69, and 44 in (184, 175, and 112 cm)
Insulation type: 800 fill goose down
Fill weight: 23 oz (652 g)
Stuff sack size listed: 8 x 17.5 in (20 x 44 cm)
My stuffed size: 8 x 16 in (20 x 41 cm)
The Big Agnes Pomer Hoit SL sleeping bag (hereafter called the Pomer Hoit, or bag) is a light weight mummy shaped bag. As can be seen above, it is emerald green and black in color. The liner is black too. The bag's shell and pad sleeve are made of Toray fabric. Big Agnes says it is "ultralight, high thread-count, rip-stop nylon with Kudos FP super durable water repellency technology." It is very soft to the touch, and very quiet when moving around in it. The lining of the bag is made of nylon taffeta. It is very satin-y feeling.
At the top center of the bag is the Big Agnes (BA) logo. On the zipper side of the bag near the foot is an embroidered BA logo and the name "Pomer Hoit SL 0°".
The bottom of the bag has a double layer of shell material creating a "sleeping pad pocket". The bag has no insulation on the bottom, instead relying on the pad to provide it. A 20 x 78 in (50 x 195 cm) mummy-shaped sleeping pad is inserted into the sleeve. As the pad is in the sleeve there is no chance of the bag slipping off the pad.
On the right side (away from the zipper) the bag continues down past the edge of the pad pocket to prevent cold spots. To do the same under the zipper a down filled "No-draft" wedge insulates the connection between the sleeve and the zipper. It is backed by a wide piece of nylon to keep the zipper from getting stuck.
A 3 in (7.5 cm) wide down-filled draft stop (or No-draft zipper tube, as BA calls it) protects the zipper from allowing cold air in. Another chill fighting device is a U shaped "No-draft" collar that goes around the neck. A tightly sculpted hood tops it all off. A drawstring that runs around the opening of the bag goes through a cord-lock on the side away from the zipper. Adjusting it will decrease the opening size of the hood and neck, sealing in warmth.
There is a triangular shaped pillow-pocket made of the Toray fabric attached inside the bag just below the hood. This can be filled with a coat or spare clothes to have a pillow that stays put during the night.
The bag is constructed using offset baffles approximately 4 in (10 cm) wide running crosswise on the lower two thirds of the bag and vertically on the top section.
A 58 in (147 cm) single-pull, black nylon YKK zipper runs much of the way down the left side of the bag. (It is available in a right zipper also.) It stops 20 in (51 cm) short of the bottom. It sits a couple inches (5 cm) above the sleeping pad sleeve to about shoulder level, then the zipper climbs and curves in to its ending point at the side of the hood. There is a hook-and-loop zipper stay at the head end of the zipper.
The bag came with the large recycled nylon mesh storage sack seen above and a 1 oz (28 g) stuff sack that seems to be made of coated nylon taffeta for field use. Here is the Pomer Hoit in its stuff sack.
Jenn and I celebrated New Years Eve by spending the night in Round Valley in Mount San Jacinto State Park. We hiked in snowshoes 6 miles (10 km) and stayed at an elevation of 9100 ft (2775 m) on 5 ft (1.5 m) of snow pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C). Thankfully there was no wind to speak of.
I went on an overnight to San Jacinto State Park chasing storms. (They got stuck on the other side of the mountain though.) I stayed in Round Valley with a side trip to Tamarack. The temperature got down to 20 F (-7 C) and there was a lot of wind. Starting pack weight was around 37 lb (16.8 kg). The picture below is from this trip.
A couple weeks later I succeeded in finding a storm in San Jacinto State Park. This time I stayed in Tamarack at 9120 ft (2775 m) elevation where it dumped on me as I set up my tent, stopping 10 minutes after I got everything inside. It started back up again at 11:00 PM. I was on 5 to 6 ft (2 m) of snow when I made camp. The temperature was 22 F when I stopped, 19 F when I made dinner and 17 F and still falling at 9:30 PM, the last time I looked at it. (-6, -7, & -8 C) There was a lot of wind in the early morning hours. I hiked 7 mi (11 km) all on snowshoes. I checked the weather record at the Long Valley station after the trip to find that the humidity had been a whopping 92%.
I also used it on a solo overnight trip on Vivian Creek Trail to High Creek Camp in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. This 10 mile (16 km) round trip saw temps down to 16 F (-9 C) at 9200 ft (2800 m) elevation. I was on a lot of snow, probably in excess of 7 ft (2 m) base.
Since 2004 I have been a huge fan of Big Agnes' tents and pads. I have tried many of the bags over the years too but found they did not fit the lighter, tighter (less volume) style I was trying to embrace. I was very excited last year to see that they had done a major over-haul on their bags and introduced a new SL line-up that used 800 fill down. I had a good summer and was able to treat myself to a bunch of new gear including this sweet bag.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
First let me give some kudos to BA. I have been harsh to them in the past, some here, more on other forums for misstated weights. That seems to be a thing of the past. Yeah!
I bought this because of the weight. By switching to the Pomer Hoit I drop a full 21 oz (595 g) from my sleeping bag weight.
I really like the new fabric. It is soft and quiet. The Kudos DWR got tested heavily on one of my outings with it. The condensation was unbelievable as it was 92% humidity and very cold. Plus I had been forced to bring moisture into the tent as I had to set up in a storm and even though I tried knocking everything off there is a limit to what I can do before giving up and diving in the tent. Anyway, I had a very wet night. The tent inner was covered in frost, the bag had condensation heavy around my head and the body was covered by the tiny snowflakes that fall in the tent in these conditions.
The shell was wet when I packed up the next morning. It was still wet of course when I took it out once I got home, but the moisture had not gotten inside to the down.
The zipper tracks well although I had some snags as it got to the top, always on the upper section. The nylon zipper guard on the bottom works very well, but the one on the top is not as stiff. Maybe it needs another layer.
I have had the No-draft collar on a couple other bags and love it. It works much better in my opinion than the normal tube of down found on many of my other bags in the past. I think it is my favorite Big Agnes sleeping bag feature.
I also like the pillow pocket. I can only use it with my Phantom jacket as my bigger winter down coats are too big to stuff in it.
I really like how small the bag packs down. It allows me to take a smaller pack. Yet the down lofts up quickly once in camp. And it was pretty warm although I never got down to its stated low temperature. But I never would as I always bring a bag at least 10 degrees F lower-rated than the temps I expect to see. (Example; if I expect it to hit freezing I will bring a 20 F [-7 C] bag.) This is because I am a toss-and-turn side-sleeper. The Pomer Hoit is made to be slept in on my back. This will allow the hood to be closed around my face.
And this is where I have run into a problem, no fault of the bag. The first two trips were warm enough to be OK. The last two got pretty cold. I was fine when I kept my head in the hood, but because of the design of the pad-in-sleeve combination I cannot turn over without burying my face in the side of the hood. Loosening the hood makes it doable but then I am letting frigid air in and my precious warmth out. I have had other BA bags, all with higher temperature ratings that I did not mind the lack of being able to seal up. (Plus the fact that the Yampa and Mystic are semi-rectangular instead of tight mummy helps.) This makes me realize that I can't use their bags with my sleeping style at extreme low temps. Maybe my brother-in-law Dave, who is a back sleeper, can use it. I suppose I am going to have to go back to my old heavy bag.
Excellent down quality
Compresses very small
My sleeping style (side sleeper) does not allow me to use it properly
Sticky zipper at times
Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella