Big Agnes Yampa Sleeping Bag
By Raymond Estrella
February 20, 2006
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
Web site: www.bigagnes.com
Product: Yampa, 40 F (4 C) down sleeping bag.
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 159.00 (US)
Weight listed: 1 lb 13 oz (.81 kg)
Actual weight 2 lb (.9 kg)
Size listed 20 x 78 in (50 x 195 cm)
Actual length 77 in (193 cm)
Insulation type: 650 fill goose down
Fill weight: 10.5 oz (294 g)
Compressed size: 8 x 7 in (20 x 17 cm)
Warranty: 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The Yampa is a semi-rectangular shaped bag. The outer shell is black predominantly, with a gray band to either side and a blue foot section. The same blue trims the top around the bag opening. This trim contains an elastic drawstring, allowing the bag to be drawn close around the shoulders. The company describes the shell as follows, “IJT3- Down proof, Nylon microfiber rip stop (Tactel), 330T, 40D x 30D, WR (water repellant) surface treatment to repel water.” (Manufacture’s quotes) At the top center of the bag is the Big Agnes logo. On the zipper side of the bag near the foot is a stitched small BA logo and the name “Yampa 40*”.
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.
There is a pillow-pocket comprised of the same material as the outer shell. It is attached at the top of the bag. Here is a picture of the bag stretched out. The pillow-pocket is folded out from the body.
The inner liner is “300T nylon. Soft, breathable, and down proof. Treated with a stain resistant finish.” It is black in color, and very silky in feel.
The bag came with a large cotton storage sack, and a nylon stuff sack for field use. Here is the Yampa in its stuff sack.
I bought this bag directly from Big Agnes in March of 2004. Over the past 2 years I have used this bag more than any of my other bags. I have around thirty nights in it at this point. The Yampa has seen use in Death Valley at -200’ (-60 m) elevation and temperatures over 100 F (38 C) to a cold night at the foot of New Army Pass at 11170’ (3351 m) elevation and temps of 42 F (6 C). I have used it in the Domeland Wilderness in spring and summer. At the Bristlecone Pine forest in early September I was surprised with a pre-winter blast. It was 30 F (-1 C) at 8500’ (2550 m) elevation. I used it on a hike from Death Valley to Lone Pine California, and in the Sierra Nevada mountains, climbing Middle Palisade, and Mt Langley.
It is my main car camping bag also, seeing use by the Kern River, Cleveland, San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Sequoia National Forests.
I bought this bag as part of my transition to smaller volume, lighter weight packs. I really liked the weight of it, and how small it packed. Shortly after I got it I bought a Big Agnes Insulated Air-Core pad to use with it. (See link below for pad review). They make a great combination. The Yampa works with any 20” (50 cm) wide pad though. At first I used a Therm-a-Rest Guide-Lite pad with no problems.
When the pad is inserted, the down at the sides goes under me a little bit, so as not to have cold spots. It works fine. As I am a flip-flopping side sleeper, I like having the pad attached to the bag.
The pillow pocket is a nice touch. I need a pillow to sleep good and normally carry a little pillow case to put a light-weight down sweater in at night. Stuffing the sweater in the pillow pocket works even better. Because it is attached the pillow does not squirt away during the night.
The zipper is double ended, and runs the full length of the bag. For the most part it works smoothly. Occasionally it sticks, as there is so little insulation that the side droops over. When this happens I will run the zipper over the outer shell fabric causing it to stick. I do not ever remember it sticking on the liner though, which is surprising as there is not a zipper-guard inside the bag.
Because the zipper is full length quite often I unzip it and use it as a dual-sided comforter. While it was still blazing hot I would lay directly on my pad, and have the pocket that the pad goes in over me, kind of like having just a sheet covering me. Then when it gets cooler in the wee hours of morning, I will shift to the other side to have the down filled section over me. On the desert trips, I would hardly ever actually get inside the bag.
One thing I found out is that the microfiber shell is not wind proof. While climbing Mt. Langley I was in a Seedhouse tent with no fly, using it to keep the mosquitoes at bay. The temperature was around 50 F (10 C) which should have been fine for the rating of the Yampa. But around midnight the wind came up. And it went right through the bag. It was a full moon that night, and when I looked inside of my bag I realized I could see right through it. There is not a lot of down taking up all that space.
It also does not have the most down-proof material of my bags. It seems to lose more feathers than any of my bags or coats. In fact while writing this paragraph I stopped to inspect the bag and found five feathers poking out.
I am a very warm blooded person. I hike “hot”, and am always wearing less than others I hike with. But I seem to be a cold sleeper. For me the rating on the Yampa is more like 45 -50 F (7 – 10 C)
The stitching has held up very well. The bag shows no signs of wear or tear. It does not show dirt, and cleans very easily with a damp cloth. I have not had to launder it yet.
Over-all I like the Yampa. It will continue to be my warm weather bag for, I hope, many years to come.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella