OR - Big Agnes IAC pad - Ray
- And here is another OR,
HTML may be found here;
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad
By Raymond Estrella
February 05, 2009
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in
many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and
average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to
lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike
hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a
freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I
am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Manufacturer: Big Agnes Inc
Web site: www.bigagnes.com
Product: Insulated Air Core Pad
Size: Rectangular, Long
Year manufactured: 2008
MSRP: (US) $84.95
Weight listed: 27 oz (765 g)
Actual weight: 26.3 oz (746 g)
Weight of stuff sack w/ repair kit: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Measurements listed: 20 x 78 x 2.5 in (51 x 198 x 6.25 cm) Verified
Packed size listed: 5.5 x 9 in (14 x 23 cm) Verified accurate
Estimated R-value: 4.1
Temperature rating: to 15 F (-9 C)
The Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad (hereafter referred to as the IAC
or the pad) is an inflatable air mattress intended for use as a cool
weather backpacker's sleeping pad. The pad is made of brown 50D nylon
diamond rip-stop on top, with the same material in black on the
bottom. The inner surface of the nylon has been given a polyurethane
coating. The IAC has the Big Agnes logo at the upper left corner of
the pad in white lettering, along with the product name and size. Just
below that is a Primaloft logo, also in white.
The pad is made up of seven air chambers, running lengthwise. The
chambers are described as being I-beam construction. The manufacturer
describes it as follows. "I-beam construction eliminates welded seams
to reduce cold spots and ensures quick inflation/deflation, consistent
air flow and stability."
The pad has PrimaLoft Eco insulation inside it. The insulation is in
sheet form and is attached to the top side of the pad. The insulation
has been treated with a "silicone treatment which serves as an anti-
microbial within the pad." Since one introduces moisture into the pad
while inflating by mouth, this is probably a good thing. It is very
important to remember to sleep with the brown side up (against one's
body) to make the most of the insulating properties of the PrimaLoft
In one corner of the pad at the top is a two-piece plastic-coated
brass screw-closed air valve. When turned clockwise it closes the
valve. Turning it counter-clockwise opens the valve, releasing the air
to empty the pad. Big Agnes calls the valve an "EZ-Flate mouthpiece".
The bottom section of the valve spins open or closed while the top, or
end, stays stationary in my mouth. The picture to the right shows the
valve and the pattern of the nylon.
The IAC came with a brown nylon stuff sack that closes with a draw-
cord and cord-lock. A pocket inside of the stuff sack contains a
repair kit consisting of a rip-stop fabric patch and a small tube of
glue. Here is a picture of it stuffed.
I have used this current model on the following trips to date.
First was two nights in Yosemite National Park for a very hot and hard
44 miles (71 km) of backpacking, and another 3 miles (5 km) getting
back to a road in temps up to 84 F (29 C) with 7790 ft (2374 m) of
gain carrying a 36 lb (16.3 kg) pack. The picture below is from this
trip. The pad is in my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2, but it works in other
company's tents too
Then came a 79 mile (127 km) 3-1/2 day monster hike from Sonora Pass
down through the Emigrant Wilderness to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite
National Park. This hike saw 15200 (4633 m) of elevation gain with
temperatures that ranged from 83 to 43 F (28 to 6 C). My starting pack
weight with food and 3 qt/L water was exactly 37 lb (16.8 kg).
Dave and I spent two days in the Tehachapi Mountains just south of
Sequoia National Forest. The temps were between 35 and 66 F (2 to 19
C). We went 42 miles (68 km). We had to carry all our water so my pack
weight was 35 lb (15.9 kg) starting out.
I used it on a backpacking trip with Jenn to San Mateo Wilderness in
Cleveland National Forest. We did a 9 mile (14.5 km) first day with an
all up-hill 3.5 mile (5.6 km) hike back the next day. It hit 75 F (24
C) for a high but felt hotter in the sun, and got down to a chilly 28
F (-2 C) at night. High elevation was 2000 ft (610 m) with a total of
1300 ft (400 m) of elevation gain and loss. We were camped on packed
This is my second Insulated Air Core of this shape and size. (I also
have the older mummy version seen above but am only writing about the
use of the rectangular here.) My first IAC was one of the first sold
by Big Agnes, and the subject of one of my first reviews for
BackpackGearTest.org. After using that one for many years it developed
a slow leak that I could not see. The leak got to where I had to blow
it up a few times during the night. I finally decided to buy a new one
and when I called Big Agnes they told me to send my old one in for
them to look at it. I did and they emailed me to tell me that they
were covering the old pad under warranty and sent me a new one. That
is my kind of customer service.
A few things have changed with the pad since my early version. The
insulation is now the recycled-content PrimaLoft Eco. It seems to work
as well or better than the original PrimaLoft. I can definitely tell
that the insulation sheet is much thicker than on my first one. While
Big Agnes suggests the useful low temperature that it be used at is
down to 15 F (-9 C) I have found that I will be cold on it any where
lower than about 25 F (-4 C). I have used the original to even lower
temps by placing a closed cell pad on top of the Insulated Air Core.
This works very well, but now when the temperature is expected to be
too low I just take one of Big Agnes' Dual Core pads instead.
There are two reasons I love these pads. First is the comfort. The
difference between the Big Agnes pads with their 2.5 in (6.25 cm) of
thickness and all my earlier pads is like night and day. The IAC
allows me the space to adjust the inflation level to hard or soft
support and still avoid hitting the hard ground with my hip and
shoulder. (As a side sleeper I am prone to this happening a lot.)
It is comfortable to sleep directly on the pad too. This past fall was
a much hotter than normal and for five of the nights on this pad I
just used my bag as a quilt to cover me as I lay on the IAC. I did not
feel clammy from my skin in contact with the nylon.
The second reason is how small they pack down to. They pack down to
about half the size of my standard self-inflating or closed-cell pads.
This lets me carry them inside of my pack instead of on the outside
where it snags everything and gets dirty.
The extra 6 in (15 cm) of length over standard pad sizing works great
for me too. It is so nice to not have my feet hanging off the pad
during the night.
While I do have some Big Agnes sleeping bags that the pads are made to
work with, I use them with all my other brands of bags too.
I have had no problems with the durability of this pad. (The older
version mummy-shaped pad has much more use with zero problems too.) I
was very worried on two nights in Emigrant Wilderness. The sites had a
profusion of the sharpest pine needles I have ever seen. (Four months
later I am still pulling broken off needles out of my blue foam sit
pad from that trip.) I tried to brush as many clear as possible before
setting my tent up but it was impossible to remove them all. To my
surprise I got through both nights without having to break out the
I love my Insulated Air Core pads and expect to be using them for a
long time to come.
- PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!
Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you
are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The
Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to
get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely
manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days.
All our Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben(at)hotmail.com
To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
Once your first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have
submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to start
applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with
the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Jenn K.,
the mentor coordinator, at mentor (at) backpackgeartest.org.
You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group.
These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered
carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your
review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
will usually result in a better review, as well as making things
easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject
line of your re-submitted review if you take this route or make any
changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit
Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups
list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an
Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post
their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you
have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in
the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they
will use APPROVED in the subject line.
If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR while it's in
the edit queue, the entire Owner Review Queue is posted to this
yahoo group list on either Thursdays or Fridays.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via
the list or contact me directly.
Edit Administration Manager
- --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
>Hey Ray! You're almost up to an OR a day. :)
> And here is another OR,
> HTML may be found here;
Here are your edits:
"This past fall was a much hotter than normal and for five of the
nights on this pad I just used my bag as a quilt to cover me as I lay
on the IAC."
EDIT: Please either remove the "a" (This past fall was much hotter
than...) or add the word "one" (...a much hotter than normal one...)
"I did not feel clammy from my skin in contact with the nylon."
EDIT: ...from my skin "coming" or "being" in contact...
That's it -- please make the edits and upload here:
Looks like you have an OR there from 2005 for your older IAC as well
-- let me know if you have any issues uploading this newer one.
Please be sure to delete your file from the Test folder as well.
Thanks for a great report!
"Not all who wander are lost"