Big Agnes is a brand that I coveted
One of my early backpacking partners here in Las Vegas was a very loyal Big Agnes fan and he was the one that introduced me to the new pad sleeve design. I hadn’t seen this before but what could be more logical than a sleeve that would hold the pad in place especially useful for side sleepers like me.
I’ve been a hiker and camper for most of my life and backpacking was something I had ventured into for the first time just 4 years ago.
During an overnight on the Cockscomb Ridge in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness I was able to put my hands on my first Big Agnes sleeping bag. It had the pad sleeve and I remember thinking how brilliant that concept was. It may not be a truly innovative development but it certainly changed the quality of my sleep under the stars.
I decided that I needed to step up to a Big Agnes down sleeping bag when it was time to replace my North Face bag that had protected me and delivered countless nights on the trail over the past 6 years.
Testing the Summit Park 15° down sleeping bag
I received the Summit Park down sleeping bag last fall and was anxious to put it through the paces. Testing gear is a ton of fun and such a great outlet for the nerd in me.
A few nights in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness, a couple nights in Sedona, and an overnight in the Dixie National Forest and I had all that I needed to say this bag is better than any other bag I’ve used.
But I wanted to fight the urge to publish a gushing review based on just a half dozen nights. What would a full season reveal? Would my experience with this down sleeping bag get better or worse over time?
So I showed restraint, something that comes very hard for me. Temperatures are now in the 60s at night here in the desert southwest and my travel schedule shows little if any additional opportunities to use this bag until fall returns. So it was time to put my thoughts into a review.
Strengths of the Big Agnes Summit Park Sleeping Bag
- No surprise, the pad sleeve is the best feature of this bag for me. As a side sleeper, I would roll off the pad multiple times a night in every bag I used…except for this one.
- This down sleeping bag is wide. It’s 25″ wide in the shoulders which is roomy even for my 6’6″ frame. Rolling from side to side is a breeze and never woke me up like it usually did in other bags.
- It’s a rectangle design which makes for a very spacious foot box. Despite the room, I never experienced cold feet even in temps down to the low 30s.
- The pillow pocket is brilliant. I know other bags offer the same feature, but this is the first bag I’ve used with one. It fits a small inflatable pillow, a low profile down pillow, or even the one that Big Agnes sells. Tightening the hood also made it easy to use a waterproof compression bag partially filled with air as a pillow. Saved the day on the Narrows trip when I forgot my down pillow.
- No-draft collar and zipper tube worked perfectly. A windy night in the Dixie National forest tested those design features and they performed as promised. At no point did I notice any cold spots or the slightest draft.
Weaknesses worth mentioning
- In warmer temperatures I would expose my arms and shoulders producing a perfect fit in terms of the length of the bag. But when it was necessary to zip up completely and draw the hood in I barely fit in the bag. My head and toes touch making me aware of both. I would not suggest this bag for anyone over 6’4″ tall.
- The side zipper tapers as it nears the hood. The path follows the contour of the shoulder which made it difficult to zip the final 6 inches from inside the bag. This really only affected me when I needed to get back into the bag after a middle of the night bathroom break. It may not be the same for shorter users.
- Designed to work with 25″ pads
- 600 fill goose down
- Weighs 3 lbs 11 oz
- Should girth measures 80.5″, hip girth of 74.5″, and foot girth of 66″
- Interior fabric loops to accommodate a liner
- Shell: Down proof, nylon micro-fiber rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water
- Lining: Soft, breathable down proof nylon with stain resistant finish
- Pad sleeve: Nylon rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water
- Insotect Flow construction – read more about that here
- Left or right zipper to join bags