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Big Agnes Air Core Pads

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Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby John Harper » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:55 am

Looking to replace my old Thermarest Trail Lite Regular. I checked out the insulated Air Core at REI, but I will probably only use during summer. I see there is an Air Core SL that weighs only one pound, or a standard Air Core. Any one have one of these? Can you recommend anything else I should maybe consider. I'm a side sleeper, the 3" thickness is appealing. The Insulated Air Core seemed pretty comfortable when I tried it at the store.

John



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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:43 pm

If it doesn't have "insulated" on the box it's not insulated at all. I would not use just an Air Core in the Sierra in summer, or anywhere else it can get below 50 or so at night. You'd have to add a foam pad or something to stay warm.

Have also seen a lot of reviews of the Insulated Air Core that it can feel cold for a lot of people around freezing, despite its R rating. I use sometimes a Q Core and find that plenty warm, but, it's also got an R rating of 5, aka 15F, and I've never used it down to those temps.

I picked up an Exped Synmat for three season use and find that the valve system is pretty nice, the comfort is there, and it comes in medium wide - I didn't really think the extra five inches would make that much of a difference, but it does. And the extra width means it works better in the hammock too.
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby gary c. » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:53 pm

I was using a BA insul pad and loved it. I got several years out of that pad without ever having a leak. To save some weight I've started using a Therm Rest NeoAir XLite and really like it except I'm still trying to get comfortable with how fragile the materiel seems to be (no leaks yet tho). In any case I'm a big believer in at least something to increase the R-value of your pad, especially if you are carrying a down bag. Even in the summer you are going to get plenty of nights at altitude where the temps drop down.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby rlown » Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:16 pm

just a small note. Air is actually a great insulator and a poor conductor of heat. I see the R factor as a placebo. I use a Neo. It's fine. even subzero.
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:17 pm

We used to camp on cheap pool mattresses that were less durable but pretty much the same as the Air Core. Want to be cold? give it a try. In our ignorance we blamed the sleeping bags, and no, wasn't that either... on the right pad my quilts without insulation underneath work great. The Neo Airs have a different system of retaining the heat - a basic plastic air mattress doesn't cut it. My original Neo Air still works tho not so comfortably as the other pads I've used.
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby gary c. » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:24 pm

Another option is too use both the Air Core and a foam pad. The problem then is that it would be a little bulkier. The combination would still save a few dollars but weigh about the same as the BA Insul.
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby John Harper » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:28 pm

I agree with AlmostThere, having slept on air mattresses car camping, could not understand why I was still cold even in my 15* bag, and I am a warm sleeper. Planning on using my 30* bag, so insulated pad sounds like a logical choice. I guess the BA insulated Air Core seems likely.

Thanks for the input, I heard the NeoAirXL is like waxpaper feel and noisy. Also, anyone have experience with the NeoAir Xtherm?? Less than a pound??

John
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:20 pm

good luck, and post a report on how that works for you.

My bag is almost never zipped (15 degree as well), even in Sept/Oct And it was on a Neo. The important part is that your body doesn't hit the ground, esp when using a tent or cowboy camping. As AT swings in a sling at night, she doesn't anyway. Carrying an extra base pad unless really, really thin seems superfluous. The only caveat to that is if you do get a leak and you're flat on the ground. That's always fun. Then, the extra pad would be nice.

on the "waxpaper" comment.. go check them out at REI. Two of my backpacking partners bought the earlier version, and very happy. Cascade designs will help with any problems. Pretty sure i snore louder than a wax paper problem. :D
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby John Harper » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:02 pm

rlown wrote:good luck, and post a report on how that works for you.

My bag is almost never zipped (15 degree as well), even in Sept/Oct And it was on a Neo. The important part is that your body doesn't hit the ground, esp when using a tent or cowboy camping. As AT swings in a sling at night, she doesn't anyway. Carrying an extra base pad unless really, really thin seems superfluous. The only caveat to that is if you do get a leak and you're flat on the ground. That's always fun. Then, the extra pad would be nice.

on the "waxpaper" comment.. go check them out at REI. Two of my backpacking partners bought the earlier version, and very happy. Cascade designs will help with any problems. Pretty sure i snore louder than a wax paper problem. :D

Are you responding to me? I'm just asking questions, long way from spending my money. Just looking to spend wisely and proper for my needs, as we all are.

John
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:09 pm

yes, i'm responding to you John.

If I'm on the ground as I always am, the Neo line works fine for me. Nothing against BA Air Core, but go somewhere and test them.

My main question to anyone is if you're trying to save weight, why would you carry a main pad and then a second under it?

Neo is good. Big Agnes is good. I forget what oldranger carries, but it was good until feathers started coming out of the input tube. EDIT: looked it up he's carrying this or i think he is based on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7599&p=64950&hilit=+sleeping#p64949

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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby gary c. » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:03 pm

Russ, I wasn't suggesting that carrying a combo of pads was a good solution. I pretty much said there was no benefit except to save a couple dollars. Some people just don't want to spend the extra dollars.

John, I own both types of pad and both make noise. Neither of mine make enough noise to be a problem to me. I had read the on-line reviews and had my concerns when I ordered my NeoAir XL pad. The NeoAir does make a little more noise but not much, maybe I got lucky. The important measure for me is the fact that I often share the tent with my wife who also sleeps on a NeoAir XL and neither one of us wakes the other tossing and turning at night.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Big Agnes Air Core Pads

Postby John Harper » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:16 am

Thanks everyone, I'll see if my local REI carries the NeoAir Xtherm, I only had a chance to lay on the BA insulated air core last time I was there.

I really appreciate the input. So, there's also an Exped Synmat UL to look into.

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