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Random Bits from the Outside World => General Outdoor Stuff & Camping Equipment => Topic started by: dprather on April 18, 2019, 05:42:52 PM

Title: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: dprather on April 18, 2019, 05:42:52 PM
I have LOVED the Big Agnes line of inflatable, light-weight air mattresses and the ingenious sleeve design of their sleeping bags.

HOWEVER...

I have noticed that my recent purchases of this product are not lasting very long - they bleed air after two or three years.

On-line reviewers are recognizing the same problem.

Are any of ya'll seeing the same thing?

Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: wrangler88 on April 18, 2019, 08:35:04 PM
I cannot yet attest to the longevity of BA pads. I have recently (6 months) started using the Big Agnes SLX large pad. It's by far the most comfortable backpacking pad I've used. I hope the air leaking doesn't become a problem.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: GaryF on April 18, 2019, 09:55:21 PM
I had a similar experience. After about 3 years, it would seep air. No significant leaks that I could find, it just seemed to turn porous, and I gave up on it at the 4 year mark.  I like Big Agnes, but in this case, I replaced it with an Exped SynMat as my car camping pad.


Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Quatro on April 19, 2019, 07:46:33 AM
Same problem here. Took about 3 hours to go flat.  Traced the leakage to the seams and the area surrounding the nozzle.  I gave up.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: dprather on April 19, 2019, 10:38:18 AM
This is, perhaps, an example of a product that was once great but that has now "gone flat."

My first BA lasted for 6 or 7 years - under hard use.

My succeeding BAs have all suffered with the problem of bleeding air after much less use.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: PacingTheCage on April 19, 2019, 04:19:54 PM
Mine is about 4 years old.  So far. So good. Fingers crossed!


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Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: GaryF on April 20, 2019, 09:07:50 AM
PacingTheCage,  do you use an inflator, pump bag, etc?   I always wondered if the moisture from inflating by mouth contributed to the demise of my BA matt.  Going forward, Iím sticking to using a pump bag.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: PacingTheCage on April 20, 2019, 12:00:50 PM
PacingTheCage,  do you use an inflator, pump bag, etc?   I always wondered if the moisture from inflating by mouth contributed to the demise of my BA matt.  Going forward, Iím sticking to using a pump bag.

Iíve always inflated by mouth.

You make a good point though. It does seem like bacteria from blowing into the mat could cause some damage especially around the valve.


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Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: 01ACRViper on April 25, 2019, 08:13:40 AM
I have one of the early generations Big Agnes air mattress, probably got it in... 2007? 2008?

It worked great for 3-4 years then started leaking like everyone talks about.  i usually just wake up halfway through the night to re-inflate it, but maybe 10 years is a good enough run :o

though I remember paying close to $100 when I got it, it looks like the same style is closer to $200 these days  :eusa_boohoo:
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: mule ears on April 25, 2019, 11:21:22 AM
PacingTheCage,  do you use an inflator, pump bag, etc?   I always wondered if the moisture from inflating by mouth contributed to the demise of my BA matt.  Going forward, Iím sticking to using a pump bag.

Iíve always inflated by mouth.

You make a good point though. It does seem like bacteria from blowing into the mat could cause some damage especially around the valve.


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All of the things I have read about the potential mold issue is that it really  doesn't happen, some folks have cut open pads to check and find none or maybe a little near the valve.  Just keep your valve open when it is in storage.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Ranger Tim on April 25, 2019, 09:56:34 PM
Sleeping pads remain the most difficult element of my backcountry kit. I have two BA pads, a thermarest, and a couple of variations on the solid foam pad, and I kind of hate them all. I simply do not have a solution beyond waking up every few hours and blowing up my pad. For truck camping I use a paco pad, which is LUXURIOUS, but nothing I would want to drag more than a few hundred feet from a truck or boat. Wish I had a better solution, but I'm not sure it exists until they skin inflatable pads in kevlar.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: dprather on April 25, 2019, 11:37:27 PM
+1 Ranger Tim.

My experience is really odd.  Some nights on the trail are fitful and restless - like I just cannot find a comfortable spot.

Other nights are as restful and as comfortable as any I have.

My frustration is that I simply do not have a handle on the variables.

My theory is that rushing to get on the trail and feeling rushed on the trail might be the culprit for bad nights' sleep.

Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Al on April 25, 2019, 11:53:39 PM
Sleeping pads remain the most difficult element of my backcountry kit. I have two BA pads, a thermarest, and a couple of variations on the solid foam pad, and I kind of hate them all. I simply do not have a solution beyond waking up every few hours and blowing up my pad. For truck camping I use a paco pad, which is LUXURIOUS, but nothing I would want to drag more than a few hundred feet from a truck or boat. Wish I had a better solution, but I'm not sure it exists until they skin inflatable pads in kevlar.

Back when Academy on Ben White had foam in various sizes, I bought the largest one they had.  I use it to this day.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Hang10er on April 26, 2019, 07:17:59 AM
One of the best tips I got off of BBC was about how much to inflate my air mattress.  I have a thema-rest which is very thin but I started using a thicker air pad during more temperament trips (also car camping so I'm not packing it around).  I found that I slept a lot more comfortable when I left my pad just short of "fully inflated".  That bit of softness allowed my hips and elbows to sink in a bit in different positions and I slept better. 

In the long run, it might also put a little less stress on the seams. 

Just throwing that in there...
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: dprather on April 26, 2019, 08:54:41 AM
One of the best tips I got off of BBC was about how much to inflate my air mattress.  I have a thema-rest which is very thin but I started using a thicker air pad during more temperament trips (also car camping so I'm not packing it around).  I found that I slept a lot more comfortable when I left my pad just short of "fully inflated".  That bit of softness allowed my hips and elbows to sink in a bit in different positions and I slept better. 

In the long run, it might also put a little less stress on the seams. 

Just throwing that in there...

My buddy and I have this very same theory.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Ranger Tim on April 30, 2019, 01:31:28 PM
+1 on that.

One of my BA pads is one of those "air core" style lack pretty much lack padding entirely and when that thing is fully inflated it's terrible.

With all of this said about the deep and abiding frustration of camping pads, I still sleep better on the trail than I ever do in a hotel room at least 90% of the time.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: elhombre on May 01, 2019, 08:13:21 AM
We have had our REI Air-rail pads for over 4 years now and have never had one leak.  Not to a valve problem, or a puncture.  The puncture WILL happen some day.  I've been carrying a repair kit all this time just for the occasion.  Between the 3 of us, I would estimate we have slept on those pads well over 150 nights (one night of all three of us backpacking and sleeping would equal 3 nights).  4.1 R factor for the use of a quilt.  Zero noise when moving around on it.  Less than 2#.  REI one year no questions asked warranty.  Give it a try.

I don't know if everyone does this, so it may be "preaching to the choir", but to help your sleep, do you kick out your tent pad site, and throw your ground cover down?  Then lay on it for 30+ seconds to make sure your head is up and your feet are down BEFORE you build your tent ? 

I believe the real crux to backpacking sleeping is still the pillow.  We all currently use the Sea to Summit Aeros.  Backpacking pillows is one of those "We can put a man on the moon, and take a picture of a black hole, but try to make a light AND comfortable backpacking pillow...."
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: PacingTheCage on May 01, 2019, 09:34:38 AM
I agree on the pillow. I have two and neither of them are very good.


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Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: Flash on May 01, 2019, 09:53:12 AM
For what it worth, I like my Exped air pillow. It's fatter under the neck which is great for side sleepers...

==> Sent from Flash's phone

Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: wrangler88 on May 01, 2019, 01:01:09 PM
I have 2 Sea to Summit Aeros Premium pillows. One regular and one large size. They are great. The fabric feel and the comfort of sleep. They are expensive to me for a backpacking pillow but when factoring the more comfortable I am when laying down are worth it.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: RichardM on May 01, 2019, 01:39:05 PM
I have 2 Sea to Summit Aeros Premium pillows. One regular and one large size. They are great. The fabric feel and the comfort of sleep. They are expensive to me for a backpacking pillow but when factoring the more comfortable I am when laying down are worth it.
Look what Google turned up:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FemMhpfCm2Y
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: dprather on May 01, 2019, 02:54:26 PM
I don't know if everyone does this, so it may be "preaching to the choir", but to help your sleep, do you kick out your tent pad site, and throw your ground cover down?  Then lay on it for 30+ seconds to make sure your head is up and your feet are down BEFORE you build your tent ?

Excellent suggestion!  I do not know how many arguments I have had with myself (I always lose) about which end is up when pitching my tent.
Title: Re: Big Agnes line of inflatable air mattresses
Post by: RichardM on May 02, 2019, 01:52:41 PM
https://gearjunkie.com/best-sleeping-pads-camping-backpacking