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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    Bags with pad slots

    So after a nap in my Warbonnet Blackbird today, my girlfriend is now convinced she wants to start hammock camping, and I've already sent my PM to place an order for her hammock.

    We both do a fair bit of camping in areas where going to ground will be necessary, though, so she's looking to do her own experimenting with insulation systems. Specifically, she's in love with the idea of getting one of the Big Agnes bags with a pad slot in them. Has anyone tried one of these, specifically in a hammock?

    I just picked up an Exped synmat 7 DLX, and I'm completely sold on the idea of an insulation-filled inflatable mat, so the mat-bag combo seems appealing. However, the DLX is extra-wide, great for hammocking but bad for putting into the 20" wide pad slot on the big agnes bag. Any thoughts on how well this combo is going to work as far as shoulder coldness?

    Also, is anyone aware of any other companies that make sleeping bags with pad slots instead of insulation on the bottom? I'd be especially interested if they have the capacity for a wider pad.

    I also seem to remember seeing some quilts that can be attached directly to pads, any thoughts on those?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    Big agnes is the only brand I have heard of that does this. I have not personal tried it but have read from a few others that it is in their opinion the best of both worlds (bag and quilt). I am hoping to get this system as I have to go to the ground a lot as well. Big agnes does make the "park" series which will accommodate a 25" pad which is what I have and I believe you have. Most bags in this series are to heavy to backpack with but the summit park is still light enough to do some back packing. This is the one I have my eye on.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    My son had a kids BA bag...it was pretty convenient (especially for kids b/c I never had to worry about him coming off the insulation). Like Roadtorque said, they're a bit heavier than other backpacking options out there.

    Sometimes I just use the Exped Downmat 7 and a quilt...much lighter than the BA and I've never had problems staying on it or anything. Used it on the ground with no problems as well. So the BA is a good idea if you're willing to pay the weight penalty, and they're not very expensive compared to the high-end lightweight bags, but I never saw the benefit worth the weight for me.

    FWIW, I don't need a SPE or wing pads when I use the Downmat 7. I inflate it fully so it sits me up high enough in the hammock that the hammock can't squish my shoulder insulation. You may find the same thing with the 25" version even if you don't inflate it fully.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member CajunHiker's Avatar
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    I ordered a Exped DAM 7 short for my son and have a couple of BA bags on the way. My thoughts were to start with 40 degree bags. Cross Mountain for him (sythenthic) and Yampa for me (down). These bags are designed to be used either alone or as overbags to allow you layer your insulation for the occasion. I'm planning on using some homemade quilts as liner also. For where I live this seems to be the best approach, especially considering we may need to go to ground from time to time.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member RAW's Avatar
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    I've been using BigAgnes stuff for a few years now.
    I really like it.

    I was a ground-dweller until this year. And the BA pad/bag combo always served me well.

    In the hammock, the BA stuff isn't quite as convenient to get into as a topquilt, but . . . . otherwise, I think it's a perfect match for hammocking.

    I've got a 20" wide BA pad in my down BA bag. You are correct about getting some cold spots on your upper arms with this combo if you're broad through the shoulders. I'm a fairly big guy, so when the temp drops into the 50's, I do start to notice a little cold on my upper arms at times. Usually, I can adjust my body position to get rid of that.

    This is in a Clark NX-200 hammock, btw.

    Anyway, I really think the BigAgnes stuff is well made and well thought out. They've been pretty good to me with customer service too. Never had any problems, but I've had various questions that they've been quick to answer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Greg Dunlap's Avatar
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    I have the Big Agnes Cross Mountain which is rated to 40 degrees F. I used the Air Core pad which was supposed to be rated to 35 deg F. I woke up (camping in 45 deg F weather) cold along the bottom of my torso. So a trip to Wally World and a egg crate camping pad solved that problem. Now I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm too warm and have to unzip the bag a little.

    I like the Big Agnes series. I'm 6 foot tall and I got the long bag which gives me more than enough room to get in and stretch out in, yet still cover up over my shoulders without having to assume the fetal position. And the Cross Mountain series has a little more room at the feet so they don't feel cramped when I'm sleeping like some of the mummy bags I tried out did.

    I shopped for a while online and found a retailer selling both of them together for $40 less than what they cost individually. One of the better purchases I've made.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if I could use my synmat 7 dlx in a standard-sized BA bag's pad slot if I don't inflate it all the way. I figure the baffles could compress horizontally and still fit inside the slot. Well worth an experiment, methinks...

  8. #8
    Senior Member CajunHiker's Avatar
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    USPS and UPS just came! Exped 7 short off of ebay, and Yampa from MooseJaw. I think I'm going to like the combo. There's enough girth that I don't feel quished even with the pad fully inflated. I only wish the Yampa came in a short. The Exped bag should give me a nice inflatable pillow also.

    What's the hole on the bottom foot end of the bag for?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member RAW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CajunHiker View Post

    What's the hole on the bottom foot end of the bag for?
    It's to help with pulling your inflatable pad through the sleeve.

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