User Review: Big Agnes Q-Core
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $170
Very comfortable, very warm. Lighter than any self inflating pad, heavier than most air pads.
- Hard to inflate/deflate
- Heavy for ultra-lighters
I used the long/wide Big Agnes Q-Core pad on an early April hiking trip in Northern Michigan. Not only was it the most comfortable back country sleeping experience I've ever had, it helped keep me warm on a low 30 degree weekend.
This is my first experience with an inflatable pad but I tested a few of them in the store. I couldn't justify upgrading to any of those 2.5 inch air pad that was only slightly more comfortable than my 2 inch Therm-a-rest Self Inflating Trail Comfort Large until I found this pad.
Compared to my Therm-a-rest 2-inch self inflating, the Q-Core is about 50% more comfortable, especially when laying on your side. And while the Q-Core is thicker, it is also lighter and packs smaller than the self inflating pad. So increased comfort plus lighter weight equals no-brainer.
Compared to the other inflatable pads I tested, the Q-core was thicker than most. The "quilted" surface of alternating horizontal and vertical baffling is absolutely genius. It supports your back while keeping warm air against your body. The Q-Core is also very quiet, no crackling.
On the downside, compared to the other inflatable air pads, this pad is heavier than most of them. If you are going for ultralight, you're going to have to trade off some comfort for a lighter pad that may also pack down smaller.
Compared to self inflating pads, the Q-Core is a pain to inflate and deflate. It took me about 25 big breaths to fully inflate the large/long pad. Do yourself a favor and try to find the Big Agnes Pumphouse pump or other compatible pump to inflate it. Using a pump instead of your breath will also prevent extra moisture building up in the pad. Deflating is less of a pain, but certainly takes twice the time and effort to get all the air out in order to pack it up tightly.
I found that I did slip a bit on the pad during the night, a little more so than on my Therm-a-rest. The Q-Core is made of a lighter and more slippery material. The slipping was minimal and it didn't bother me much.
I feel like this pad is as durable as any other of the inflatables. The material is thinner than what you would find on a self inflating pad, but this is tradeoff is what makes it so much lighter. Overall, I am not worried about puncturing it under normal conditions and while being generally careful.
The Q-Core appears to be on the higher end of the price scale for a sleeping pad. For me, it was completely worth the cost for such a comfortable pad. It truly added to the enjoyment of a long hiking weekend in the back country when I slept so much better than normal.