User Review: Big Agnes Insulated Air Core
Price Paid: $99
These pads are lighter and more compact to carry than any comparable Therm-a-rest style pad, and cushy to sleep on. Very nice in those regards.
But Big Agnes has a lot of nerve selling them on their insulation value. Except in low altitude summer conditions, they're unacceptably cold. Mine is a 25 inch wide model using "M3" insulation, btw. If the temps. drop into the 50s, I'll be carrying a closed cell foam pad to slip between the air mattress and sleeping bag. So much for the weight savings. Campers with synthetic sleeping bags may fair better, but those with summer weight down bags like mine should think twice.
Update: June 3, 2008
I'd like to know how people are staying warm with these pads:
1) Are your bags down or synthetic?
2) Are your bags summer weight or warmer?
3) What clothing do you sleep in?
Here's my report: When using the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad, any time temps dip into the 50s, I can feel the heat wicking right out from under me. I have two 650 fill goose down sleeping bags. One is rated for summer use only, the other is 3 seasons.
Admittedly these bags rely on a warm pad. The Big Agnes doesn't fit that bill. My Air Core is one of the "Wide/Longs" that has "M3" insulation. Maybe not as warm. I dunno. I sleep in tee shirt and boxers. Am I doing something wrong?
Comfort on these is every bit as good as their billing. Top shelf. Just like sleeping on a big heavy air bed. And the light weight and small packing are great ... but if you have to carry a closed cell pad to stay warm, you're giving back the weight and small packing advantage.
Knowing what I know about these, I would only recommend the Insulated Air Core to someone with a synthetic sleeping bag, who says they sleep hot to begin with.