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EDIT Re: [BackpackGearTest] Edited Owner Review Big Agnes Zirkel report

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  • hhloth@msn.com
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1 9:38 AM
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      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
      Age: 55
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5’10” /1.8m
      Weight: 175 lb. /80 kg
      Email address: djdurham@...
      City, State, Country: Reston, VA
      Date: 1/30/03


      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


      Big Agnes






      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


      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.


      Dolly Sods, West Virginia, and Cohos County, New Hampshire and my back deck.


      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.


      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
      definitely supplies.

      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.


      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]
    • Graham Blamey <gg@higray.fsnet.co.uk>
      ... appreciated by our metric friends. Who say thank-you from across the pond. (if it s any consolation, we have to do it the other way :-) I enjoyed reading
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1 9:56 AM
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        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, hhloth@m... wrote:
        > Hi Douglas,
        > Those conversions are a bear, aren't they :), but they are much
        appreciated by our metric friends.

        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?
        Cheers, Graham.
        (Helen, I think Himalaya is as Sierra)
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