Sure glad I decided to sleep with Big Agnes |

Sure glad I decided to sleep with Big Agnes

Scott Condon

Big Agnes came through for me Saturday night, just like the guy on the phone promised.

Big Agnes is the maker of a new sleeping pad I purchased. The guy on the phone took my order earlier this summer at REI, all the while gushing about the Big Agnes REM Sleep Pad.I finally used it during a trip to the upper Fryingpan Valley and now I’m singing Big Agnes’ praises too.I purchased the insulated air core pad that Big Agnes, a Steamboat Springs company, touts as its lightest, most comfortable and most compact three-season pad. It won the 2004 Editors Choice award from Backpacker magazine.The pad stuffs into a sack about 10 inches long and 5 inches in diameter. I wrongly assumed the pad itself was a flimsy thing that would work well for backpacking and OK in a pinch for car camping. I haven’t backpacked since I purchased it in an REI closeout sale and have used other pads for car camping.

But that changed when my wife, daughter and I headed out for a weekend up the Fryingpan.I volunteered to take Big Agnes while they used our other pads, which we assumed were beefier.Wrong! Big Agnes stacked up well. The insulated air core pad doesn’t self-inflate but it blows up pretty easily. It’s got eight or so chambers that run the length of the pad and create an extremely plush cushion. My hips never scraped ground; the pad never lost air on a relatively cool night. I also stayed warm. I tossed and turned a few times but avoided the bouncy feel that pads sometimes create.The pad was enough of a success that it won’t be my second choice anymore for car camping. And its small size, acceptable weight and plush performance make it a must for backpacking.

It will also be perfect for my daughter Hannah’s field trip to Camp Hale next week: small size with big comfort.The insulated air core pad is listed on the Big Agnes website for $74.95. Better bargains can be found by shopping around.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is