User Review: Big Agnes Amber SL 30º
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
I like the Big Agnes design in general, but this bag falls a little short in a lot of respects.
- Fairly lightweight
- Roomy in the shoulders
- Pad sleeve system works great
- Leaked a lot of down through seams
- No full zipper or foot venting
- Zipper snags
I have the 2011 version (wine with yellow stripes). In general the pad sleeve system is great. I toss and turn a lot and you never get tangled up in a Big Agnes.
I have another Big Agnes Yampa that has the full length pad sleeve and was sceptical of the half sleeve with a strap to secure the pad on the amber, but it works very well and allows your legs to be unrestrained to curl up or move around.
Also the bag has a good cut with a lot of room in the shoulder area, but trimmer in the foot to keep heat in. This is a 800 fill bag (recomended) and weighs 2 lbs 4 oz in reg size (fits to 5'10" well).
Drawbacks, I have found the temp rating on both my Big Agnes bags optimistic. I would say this is 15 degrees colder than the rating or a 45 degree bag (not 30) ( I would say the same about the Yampa at 55-60 degrees, not 45 as rated). Maybe I sleep cold, but compared to my other Marmot and MTN Hardwear bags they seem colder for the same rating. This alone is OK if you know it in advance and get a bag with a warmer rating by about 15-20 degrees warmer or are using it as a summer only bag.
This bag has a 3/4 zipper that is not a two way. I have warm feet and found I had to hang them out the side up by my knees for a while till later in the night, meantime I could only drape the top over my torso not just unzip the foot like a two way zipper will allow.
Also the zipper would pop off track at the bottom if you unzip completly, so now you have to rethread in the dark to zip it up again (sucks). Also the zipper snagged all the way up, but to its credit was very smooth opening down toward your feet! (It should be full length and two way all around the bottom of the foot or have a separate foot zip.)
Also the attached pad sleeve is set up to end at the end of your neck, this can make your head hang off the pad if you use a separate pillow and don't zip the hood around your face. If you try to put the pillow inside it must be tiny otherwise when you zip up the bag and draw the hood it forces your face is down into the bag body and your mouth and nose don't match the opening.
There is a small built-in pillow sleeve on the inside, but it is attached kinda funky, I tried stuffing my Primaloft sweater in it but it has no closure so it pops out in the night. It could be a better design if it was attached under the head of the bag, and more securely and zipped up. Then it would stay in place all night and not take up room in the hood. I have an Exped mat over cover/chair kit designed like this and it works super!
The only way I could get this to work was to stuff my inflatable pillow between the bag and pad (but it slipped around and was annoying!). I guess I will modify it somehow.
Anyway, hope to find a replacement in the Big Agnes design that's built better.