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Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad

in Sleeping Pads - Inflatable

Average Rating
4.13 / 5 (46 reviews)

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Stephen Parmenter
( parmens )

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core on 12/17/2006 15:41:18 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have never had a leaking valve and my BA air core has always given great comfort and warmth down to about 20°

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Big Agnes Insulated Air Core priced at: $56.21 - $129.95
Scott Smith
( mrmuddy )

No Cal
You gotta have one of these on 12/29/2006 21:47:57 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Super comfort . Am I sleeping on my own bed ?

Warm .. been down to 20 degrees with no hint of cold

Packability ..not an issue ..similar to the Thermorests that I've used in the past..

2 years old and still going strong..Granted, I sleep in a tent most of the time ..however, again, no issues on durability !

Kevin Denlinger
( ktdenlinger )

Great Lakes Region
Big Agnes in a deep freeze on 01/16/2007 17:31:47 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I'v use my air core pas in weather down to 40 degrees F repeatedly. It is extremely comfortable. I usually have to sleep on my side to avoid snoring. Most pads result in severe pain over my greater trochanter (hip) that lasts for days. With this bag I have had much less discomfort and improved sleep. Recently in the upper peninsula of Michigan I used this pas down to 4 degrees F. Alone it wasn;t warm enough, but still comfortable. Placing a Z-rest underneath gave my excellent warmth abd great comfort. I would recommend this combo for any cold weather fans.

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Everitt Gordon
( Everitt )

North of San Francisco
Over inflation disaster on 01/17/2007 12:11:13 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I over inflated my air core pad and the sun did the rest- in less than 5 minutes resulting in over twenty pinhole leaks on the side seams and a very long ten day trip. I can't blame BA for that fiasco-but I'm a lot more wary of anything inflatable now.

Douglas Hus
( Hustler )

Ontario, Canada
comfy on 01/26/2007 13:32:07 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Three different types of therm-a-rests and two blue foam pads later. I have arrived.
A truely comfortable sleep.
I don't leave home with out it.

I'm not sure if they make one for the lighter weight crowd, but that would be nice. Say a 3/4 length. 2" thick.

-A lot of wind is needed to fill it.



Richard Sullivan
( richard.s )

Supernatural BC
BA IAC on 02/01/2007 22:56:56 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

With 25 reviews already, not much more to say except to add a few comments. Certainly interesting that in terms of the sheer number of reviews and the high average score, this is a very popular product.

1. The R-Value is published as 4.1, but there is no-way-Jose on that, more like a 1.4. This mattress is chilly at 5C/40F. One thing to keep in mind is the substrate you'll be sleeping on. Rock and/or wet conditions will suck your heat much more quickly. One thing I think is worth a try is to use a Space Blanket underneath the mattress to reduce radiant heat loss. The Primaloft can only help with convective heat loss (convection is a special form of conduction).

2. Do not inflate you IAC and hold it vertically. The Primaloft batts are NOT anchored and will flop down on themselves at the top if you do.

3. The 06 model has stronger and less (i.e. non) slippery fabric than the 05. Yes, at 27.5 oz it is 3.5 oz heavier. In part this is due to the new brass valve which I don't like. It's "low flow" and makes the mattress slower to inflate. Send me a PM if you are successful at retrofitting a high-flow valve such as the Thermarest one!

Updated April/09 - This is a decent product but is not warm and is not lightweight. With the release of the Thermarest NeoAir I have downgraded my rating to a 2.

Edited by richard.s on 05/19/2011 13:35:45 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir priced at: $90.95 - $112.45
Michael Coulter
( azhiker )

Finally, a good night's sleep on 02/14/2007 07:56:36 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

When I started backpacking several years ago, I slept on a full length Thermarest. I just accepted the fact that I was only going to get a few hours of sleep a night and those hours would be restless.

I friend of mine turned me on to the Big Agnes Insulated Aircore and I was sold. The first night out with this pad and I slept all through the night. It was the most comfortable pad I have ever slept on. If you are a side sleeper like I am and you're tired of your shoulder and your hip digging into the ground then Big Agnes is the solution.

I have used it down to 30degF and it kept me well insulated from the cold ground. I found that I only needed to inflate it to maybe 50-60% for ideal comfort.

The only thing I am worried about is getting a hole in it. So, I am very careful to inflate it while it is in the tent and not on the ground. I am also careful to sweep out the tent before inflating it to avoid anything that might puncture it. It does come with a patch kit.

This pad is well worth the extra weight and I consider it to be my one creature comfort among all the other light weight gear I carry.

Shop Big Agnes, Therm-a-Rest products at GearBuyer
douglas girling
( dgirling )

Heavy but comfy on 04/20/2007 06:42:56 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

A seriously comfortable pad, and I think that a good nights sleep fully justifies the extra weight. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to a foam mat - so goodbye 5 pound base weight.

I too feel cool on it when the Temperature starts dropping below freezing (thankfully I never threw away my foam pad) I use the foam pad on top of the Big Agnes, works much better that way.
The surface is very slippery (designed that way I suppose to slip inside BA sleeping bags) I placed strips of duct tape on the channels and this seems to help.
Mine is an older model as well (3 years) perhaps some of this has been improved in later models.

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joseph daluz
( jfdiberian )

Columbia River Gorge
Awesome except for the eventual leak. on 04/23/2007 21:23:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Owned a BA IAC pad for over a year, and finally it seems the inevitable: mysterious leakage. Replacement by customer service is pending. Question to readers: has anyone tried pairing the uninsulated BA pad with a thin lite pad. It seems the net wt would be the same.

T. Sedlak
( busotti )
Comfortable for side sleepers, Hard to stuff on 07/06/2007 17:58:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My wife and I both enjoy these pads. As a side sleeper I'm frequently uncomfortable on foam pads. Far from "ultralight" - I prefer to go "light" and comfortable - this item is a worthy compromise for its meager weight penalty.

The only drawback is that it is fairly difficult to get back into its stuff sack -- you can spend more time than you would like squeezing out all the air. I wound up buying a slightly larger stuff sack.

A luxury (weight-wise) that many other hikers seem to indulge themselves in as well.

Edited by busotti on 07/06/2007 17:59:39 MDT.

Benjamin Smith
( bugbomb - M )

South Texas
comfy but heavy on 07/07/2007 07:42:10 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I've slept on this pad and on the similar POE Max Thermo (both full-length). The BA is more comfortable for back sleeping, and the POE is more comfortable when side sleeping. There's something about the larger air tubes and the big grooves between then on the POE that just fits my hip right when on my side. I chalk that up to preference, but my wife agrees with me - that typically indicates some sort of objective universal truth.

I've never experienced any leaks, but I also haven't used it much. This pad basically gets pulled out when the wife and I go on short base-camp style trips. For that application, the extra weight is worth the extra comfort. For fast/light trips, there's no way this thing makes it into my pack. The weight is one thing, but it's frankly just not THAT amazing.

And for those who don't like wrestling it back into it's stuff sack - good point. I don't bother. Fold it to the shape and size of your pack's backpanel and stick it down there just like a closed-cell foam pad in a frameless pack. No stuff sack wrangling AND it seems to be easier to fit everything into the pack that way as well.

Shop Max products at GearBuyer
Jon Rhoderick
( hotrhoddudeguy - M )

New England
Nice pool toy ya got there on 07/26/2007 00:37:34 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

The BA insul aircore is nice, but I am a very very figity sleeper, and have to ride the tubes of the Aircore during the night is a nuisance. Its also pretty heavy, but I'm also not ready to go all the way to a foam pad either. If I could do it again, I think id rather get the 3/4s length prolite 4 instead, as the pool floatie construction just isn't my cup of tea, I recommend you try any of these types (balloon beds, some Pacoutdoors, the BA pads...) before you buy them. On the other hand, if they aren't inflated fully, I find I do get alot of relief from the problem, but I still may seek an alternative.

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Bob Bankhead
( wandering_bob )

Oregon, USA
superb! on 08/20/2007 20:20:06 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Beats all I've ever used.

I'm a side sleeper, and this thing is a tired, sore, backpacker's dream. Yes, it is WAY heavier than almost any other pad of comperable size, and YES, you do have to blow it up manually. I accept those factors willingly; even took it with me to the Sierras this summer despite having to carry a 2 pound bear canister as well.

My wife and I have a pair of them - one mummy and 1 rectangular. Gotta take the mummy back and exchange it for a rectangular. I like (need) the extra width at both ends. I don't like my arms or feet touching the ground when I sleep.

No leaks so far.

Edited by wandering_bob on 08/20/2007 20:21:08 MDT.

Nacio Brown
( njbnjb )
Just like home on 08/21/2007 18:49:38 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

As noted by other reviewers this pad provides superior comfort. One thing I didn't see mentioned is the effect of the longitudinal channels in keeping you from rolling off during the night. Body weight down the center displaces air into the side channels creating a slight cradle effect that keeps you in place. BTW, my postal scale measures the 20x72" at 25 oz.

Sab .
( sabme - M )

Better than POE Max Thermo - Request TORSO INSULATED AIR CORE. on 08/29/2007 13:59:35 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

First pad was a bit slippery, too slippery for my girlfriend.

Much better design than POE Max Thermo as has proper chamber walls rather than just top welded to bottom.

Not had trouble with leaks for insulation coming adrift.

Wish they would make a generous torso sized pad or BPL would commision one!

Shop Max products at GearBuyer
Greg Vaillancourt
( GSV45 )

A trick for comfort on 10/08/2007 23:47:56 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've found that placing my shoes near the mattress so my elbows have a place to rest makes for a much more comfortable night.

I hate having my elbows dangling off the sides or locking my fingers together.

FWIW 1 of my 2 pads has started the leak.

November 22 2007 - BOTH of my pads started leaking. I spent 2 cold nights essentially sleeping on my old blue foam pad. After this I was properly motivated to contact Big Agnes. Both pads were replaced in a week. Great service!

Edited by GSV45 on 11/22/2007 08:18:44 MST.

Joshua Billings
( Joshua )

Santa Cruz,Ca
i like to sleep all night on 10/20/2007 22:49:34 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I really like this pad. It rolls up really small and doesn't have to ride out side my pack. I consider myself a light weight hiker, not an ultralighter, because of this pad. The 66"insulated rectangular 20" pad that I use weighs in at 20 oz. I have tried many of the thermarest pads and only had light sleep. I sleep all night now. I use a REI minimalist bivy in conjunction with this pad and I use a stuff sack filled with my jacket or something ,for a pillow, to make up for the shorter pad length. I also stuff something under my elbows to make up for the narrow width. I only inflate my pad so that my back is about 3/4 of an " of the ground. I have not used this pad below 30 deg. so I can't say how I felt in cold weather. I do know that Big Agnes recommends using a closed sell pad with it's pads in cold weather. Maybe a 1/8" pad would go a long way. Another nice thing about this pad is that it can be turned into a chair with a chair kit that can be purchased separately. Goes with the multi-functional theme. Overall I will not be leaving home without it anytime soon. Also my bivy keeps me away from leaks.

Edited by Joshua on 10/20/2007 22:51:34 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Rei Stuff Sack priced at: $5.23 - $11.50
Shop Big Agnes, Therm-a-Rest products at GearBuyer
Steve Skinner
( skskinner )

mid west
Best pad I own, wish I could stop doubting it will last. on 10/22/2007 21:51:38 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I should have to give this a five because I don't think anyone could make it any lighter and do the job it does in giving a great night's sleep. I have had no leaks this summer and fall, but I am a pessimist (hense the 4). The leak is coming someday!!!!! So I always have to carry an extra pad. But once you sleep on one you might do the same. Very cushy!

Frank Deland
( rambler )

On the AT in VA
very comfortable on 04/12/2008 20:44:53 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Very comfortable and a pillow not needed. But, you are not supposed to blow this up by mouth because moisture will get into the fill. So, there is a blow-up bag arrangement that does work, but it is very time consuming. There has to be a better way or different pump arrangement. The best success I had was when there was a wind at my back which immediately filled up the pump sack with air. A partial solution was not to empty the pad completely of air when stowing it in the pack for the day.

Mark Mendell
( mmendell - M )

Not as warm as I'd hoped on 06/27/2008 18:57:11 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I'm 5'10" 45 and weigh 180. I own the full-length Air Core.

I just finished a fun-filled week post-holing through Wind River snow drifts, but found clear, relatively dry ground on which to camp. Temps dropped into the mid-30's at night, and I found it difficult to stay warm. I was wearing 1 later of mid-weight thermals and Patagonia R1 pants on the bottom, 2 layers of mid-weight base layer plus a therma-wrap jacket on top, gloves, and a Patagonia R1 Balaclava, and using a JRB quilt. Despite what I considered adequate, if not surplus insulation, I found myself chilled from below. I'm a bit disappointed. I can't imagine this thing being enough by itself for winter camping.

Aside from the cold, comfort was very good. I had my doubts, as I had been hanging before this trip. I went to ground because of my concerns with staying warm in a hammock!

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Patagonia Balaclava - Kid's priced at: $17.50 - $35.00
Patagonia R1 Pants - Men's priced at: $44.50 - $99.00
Patagonia R1 Pants - Women's priced at: $44.48 - $89.00
Shop Wind River products at GearBuyer
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