EDIT Re: [BackpackGearTest] Edited Owner Review Big Agnes Zirkel report
- Hi Douglas,
Those conversions are a bear, aren't they :), but they are much appreciated by our metric friends. The review is much more readable now, thank you.
You have missed one or two conversions, I have noted them below along with a couple of edits Please repost one more time, sorry, so that Andrew can take a look at your metric conversions.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 8:16 AM
To: Backpack Gear Test
Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Edited Owner Review Big Agnes Zirkel report
TitleBig Agnes Zirkel
EDIT Big Agnes Zirkel Sleeping Bag
Name: Douglas J. Durham
Height: 5’10” /1.8m
Weight: 175 lb. /80 kg
Email address: djdurham@...
City, State, Country: Reston, VA
I did some outdoor stuff as a paratroop officer in the mid-1960s. Upon
returning to college I re-discovered the joys of a dry roof and three hot
meals a day and remained a rootless cosmopolite (urban dweller) for 30
years. In the late 1990s I took a brief trek to the Himalaya, carrying
conventional heavy gear. See this link for a description of that trip.
As described in the link, Indian sadhus, carrying a blanket and a pot for
water, were blowing past me. Thus, an interest in lightweight hiking.
EDIT Thus, an interest in lightweight hiking began OR Thus, I became interested in lightweight hiking.
I hike mainly in the West Virginia area-Dolly Sods etc.- from late
April/early May to the middle of October: a typical two-season hiker who
tries to avoid temperatures below 32F.
EDIT include metric 0C
My main goal is to get out and enjoy
the outdoors in reasonable comfort with a base pack weight of a little less
than 20 lb.
EDIT Include metric 20 lb (9 kg)
I probably get out about 10 times a season for a total of
roughly 40 days. I carry a McHale pack, a Big Agnes Zirkel, and a Bakepacker
and plan to get a Hennessey Hammock soon: comfort over other lighter weight
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE
Bag--2 lb. 3 oz./ 990 g
EDIT Was this weight spec on the materials that shipped with the bag? The web says 2 lb 2 oz for the regular, 2 lb 5 oz for the long
This would be a good place to mention whether you have a regular or long
One inch mummy REM self-inflating pad --1 lb. 11 oz /770 g
EDIT Was this weight spec on material that shipped with the pad? I couldn't find a weight spec on the website
Include metric - One inch (2.5 cm)
Air Core mummy Pad--1 lb. 3 oz./550 g
WEIGHT AS DELIVERED
The bag weighs 2 lb. 5.5 oz., 2.5 oz. (79 g) over manufacturer’s
EDIT the delta of 2.5 ounces converts to 71 g. Please double check all other conversions for accuracy. If you need help finding a good converter please ask Andrew to assist you - I'm metrically challenged myself. The 2 lb 5.5 oz needs a metric equivalent
The REM pad weighs 1 lb. 12.5 oz., 1.5 oz. (42 g) over manufacturer’s
The Air Core weighs 1 lb. 3 oz., over manufacturer’s specifications.
EDIT oops, the 1 lb 3 oz is the manufacturer spec. Metric is needed for both the REM and Air Core
The Zirkel is a mummy-shaped down sleeping bag with three distinctive
features: no down under the sleeper; a sleeve into which to slide the ground
pad; a built-in stow sack to create a fixed pillow by inserting clothing. It
is rated down to 20 F (-7C) for a moderate sleeper. The REM is rated down to
25F (-4C). The Air Core is rated to 32F (0C). The MSRP is $279 for the bag
and $65 for REM, and $54 for the Air Core.
The exterior shell is 30-denier Pertex nylon microfiber ripstop with a
fluorocarbon DWR treatment for a wind proof & water resistant shell. The
interior lining is 30 Denier Pertex nylon microfiber, soft and breathable.
The bag bottom is 210T nylon ripstop with a DWR treatment. The insulation is
775 down fill, good quality. This bag has a hood, useful in colder
temperatures. The workmanship is fine with no obvious gaps and well sewn.
The shoulder girth is 67.5 inches (1.7 m) for a 72-inch (1.8 m) long bag.
EDIT There is a little confusion possible here. Do you have the regular? if so reword the last sentence to "The shoulder girth...for MY 72 inch (1.8 m) regular length bag.
The REM is recommended by the manufacturer for the Zirkel. The Air Core is
not recommended for the Zirkel.
LOCATION OR LOCATIONS WHERE THE TEST WAS CONDUCTED
Dolly Sods, West Virginia, and Cohos County, New Hampshire and my back deck.
DESCRIPTION OF LOCATION
Both locations are similar. Typical Northern East Coast “mountainous”
terrain. Many ups and downs, bogs, a few open areas/meadows of great beauty.
Plenty of wild life.
Dolly Sods Elevation is 3000 to 4400 feet (915 m to 1340 m). The New
Hampshire area was roughly 1000-1500 feet (300 m to 460 m) lower than Dolly
Sods. However, it is several hundred miles further north. My back deck is at
an elevation of 900 feet (275 m).
Lows were about 35F (2C); Highs 75F (24C). One torrential rain and thunder
storm in New Hampshire. Otherwise, just the occasional bit of rain you
expect in the Summer/Fall in the East. I tested the bag and REM at 25 F
(-4C) on the back deck.
COMMENTS ABOUT TWO TRIPS.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
I camped overnight in the Dolly Sods area of West Virginia. For this trip I
did not have a thermometer; however, the low temperature was probably around
45F (7 C).
I used a Western Mountaineering bivy sack, as I usually do, and slept
outside without a tent or tarp. I was wearing Patagonia silk weight bottoms
and top. I did not zip the bag all the way up and was comfortably warm
throughout the entire night. For this trip I was using the REM pad. I found
it very easy to slide the pad into the sleeve of the sleeping bag. I had
plenty of room in the bag to sleep on my side or on my back. The use of a
full-length pad with the Big Agnes Zirkel provided excellent sleeping
Monday, July 22, 2002 New Hampshire
For this trip I had purchased the Big Agnes Air Core pad. The Air Core pad
is not self-inflating, but requires only two minutes or less to blow up. It
comes in a stuff sack roughly the size of a Nalgene bottle. I folded mine up
and slipped it into the sleeve of my McHale pack. I used this as the
cushioning against my back, rather than the foam pad supplied with the pack,
in order to save space and weight.
This trip was to the most northern part of New Hampshire, the Cohos Trail.
The first evening, after an exceptionally warm day, the temperature reached
approximately 55 F (13 C) for the low (as measured by a cheap thermometer)
and I slept with the bag largely unzipped, wearing the same Patagonia silk
weight bottoms and top and using the Western Mountaineering Fortress bivy
sack. I had a very comfortable night’s rest. I was still able to sleep on my
side and on my back quite comfortably. However, I did not find the Air Core
dramatically more comfortable than the REM.
Others have commented about how comfortable the Air Core is and it is very
comfortable. I would certainly use it rather than the REM because of the
decrease in weight and more compact size until it became too cold to use. At
that point I would simply switch to the one-inch pad. For me that point is
about 32 F (0C).
As I had on my trip to the Dolly Sods area, I used my Wild Things Primaloft
jacket as a pillow stuffed in the pillow holder of the sleeping bag. This
feature, along with the fact that the sleeping pad and bag stay together,
are in my opinion the main sources of the additional comfort which this bag
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
A cold front came through and the temperature reached a low between 35 and
40 F (2-4 C). I used the bivy sack, silk weight bottoms, tops, and liner
socks. I felt a bit chilly in the middle of the night and put on a Golite
Furr hat and pants and wind shell. After that, I was quite warm. I did have
the sack almost fully zipped up.
One possible reason for feeling chilly was that I had not eaten dinner nor
made a hot drink before sleeping and that I had hiked over very rough
terrain almost 30 miles in the preceding two days. In addition, a very
strong thunderstorm had rolled through that morning and although my torso
was dry, my legs were quite wet (and a bit cold) for several hours from
walking through high grass and such.
(I add these comments because I believe that such issues such as eating
something shortly before sleep, hydration, and initial core body temperature
are important. I have been comfortable or cold with the same pad and bag
depending on when I ate and core body temperature when I went to sleep.)
EDIT "I believe that such issues such as" take out first "such"
The best area that I could find to sleep on was not flat but slanted
downward and also slanted to my left. On my last trip with a traditional bag
and ¾ length pad, I had slept in a similar situation and had awoken two or
three times to find that I had slipped off the pad and was sleeping largely
on the ground. Because the Big Agnes pad is fixed in the sleeve, my night's
rest was much more comfortable and much less interrupted. I believe this is
a particularly useful feature for people who use a bivy sack and sleep in
areas that might not otherwise be usable as a campsite.
DEALING WITH THE COMPANY
Before I got the bag and pads I had several conversations with Brad who I
assume is one of the owners of this small company. He was very helpful, a pl
easure to deal with.
On several other trips to the Dolly Sods area of West Virginia, I had the
same experiences: great comfort-- perfectly warm with the Air Core to 40F
(4C). Below that I just put on pants and a top over the long johns and was
fine. Because I use a bivy sack, I did have a bit of condensation on
occasion on the surface bag. It dried quickly.
One of the trips I used a ¾ Z-Rest to try and save weight. It is also
comfortable when using a ¾ Z-Rest. One needs only to cut the corners to fit
the Z-Rest into the pad sleeve.
I slept on the REM pad at 25F (-4C) on my back deck and was quite warm.
The strengths of the Zirkel, like the rest of the Big Agnes line, are its
design for comfort: a full-length pad you cannot roll off; a bit more room
than some other mummies; and a built-in pillow sleeve. It also, for those
who can use a bivy sack or a tarp/bivy combination, increases the number of
sites on which one can sleep comfortably.
EDIT The last sentence is misleading - it is not the sleeping bag that allows for greater choices in camp spots it is the choice of tent or bivy sack. It might be nice to mention that in your opinion the cover of the sleeping bag resists condensation well enough to allow it to be used inside a bivy, thus increasing the number of sites... The sentence should be reworded to include this info or it should be removed.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, hhloth@m... wrote:
> Hi Douglas,appreciated by our metric friends.
> Those conversions are a bear, aren't they :), but they are much
Who say 'thank-you' from across the pond. (if it's any consolation,
we have to do it the other way :-)
I enjoyed reading your review Douglas, it's interesting that you note
what the temp's. were and what you needed to wear in addition to the
bag, to be comfortable. This helps in evaluating the bag/system and
in making comparisons, thanks again. Incidentally, have you noticed
any of the down filling 'clumping'(balling together and not
functioning well) when the bag get's the slightest bit damp?
(Helen, I think Himalaya is as Sierra)