User Review: Big Agnes Encampment 15°
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: about $120 on sale at REI
Lots of room in this bag, but it comes at a price.
- integrated pad
- 15 degrees is pushing it
- zipper can stick
There's a good reason people complain about this bag not keeping them warm to 15 degrees — it doesn't. However, like nearly all bag manufacturers, Big Agnes takes the liberty of giving it a 15 degree rating based on the assumption you'll be wearing wool socks and base layers to bed, and maybe even that you have a bag liner.
One thing the buyer needs to take into consideration is that this is NOT a true mummy bag. What that means is you'll lose a fair amount of body heat to all the space you have inside it. A small price to pay for those of us who who equate sleeping in a mummy bag to being in a straight jacket. Give me my wool socks, base layers, a bag liner and enough room to turn over, please!
The bag/pad integration make a lot of sense. An insulated Big Agnes air core pad definitely improves the R-value, and insulating only the top half of the bag cuts down on weight and space. A continuous baffle along the full length of the bag stops cold air from leaking in between the bag and pad, plus the hood and draft collar block cold air and increase the comfort. I also love the fact that I don't slip off the pad in the middle of the night, even on an incline.
If you want true warmth, go with a 0 rated down mummy bag ($400) and an insulated pad, but don't get it wet. Water beads on the shell of the Encampment and even if the bag gets wet, synthetic fill means you'll still stay warm.
One final observation — I've had the Encampment for three years and I don't have a problem with the zipper, but it's a sticking point (pun intended) for my partner who has the same bag. We've switched bags and I still haven't had a problem so I'm guessing it's a user, not a product, related issue.