Big Agnes - Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad

Category: Sleeping Pads, Cots and Hammocks


I purchased this pad hoping for a comfortable nights sleep. It did NOT disappoint. I'm a side sleeper and after adjusting the inflation level of the mat I was able to comfortably sleep. I am 5'8 235 lbs and did not bottom out. The double inflation/deflation valves made it easy to adjust the air pressure for sleeping and then storing the mat when finished. A little noise but not bad at all. The side rails kept me centered on the mat all night.


The only reason this got a 2 star instead of a 1 star is because the pad is pretty comfortable. We were in a 2 person tent and we both have the same pad. Absolutely zero sleep not only for us but for all the tenters around us...beyond embarrassing. Any slight movement and it sounded like we were rubbing 2 balloons together. I was so excited about these pads, but I will be returning them very soon.


Very rarely do I ever review products, but I felt compelled to let the masses know about this one.


So after hours of research and indecision, I settled on this sleeping pad. I was not disappointed. (Disclaimer: I used a Big Agnes Lost Ranger sleeping bag with a sleep system where the pad slides into the bottom of the bag so your experience may differ than mine). With the two pieces combined I was able to move freely without any problems like sliding. I'm a side sleeper and I didn't think I'd be able to find a pad to do that comfortably with, but this one did exceptionally well. The low hit about 44* Fahrenheit and it kept me very comfortable from the cold. I had high hopes for Big Agnes based of research and other reviews and so far I haven't been let down.


I've used this on 4 different trips in the year that I have had it. It makes so much noise squeaking against the floor of the tent that it wakes me up when I roll over. (It's a Big Agnes tent, for what that's worth) It wakes up the guys that are in tents within about 25' of mine. It wakes my dog up and sometimes he starts barking thinking there is a mouse in the tent. I finally tried putting a sheet of Tyvek between the pad and the tent floor and this helped significantly. However Tyvek makes a crinkling noise. I'll be selling it on craigslist or something I think. Very comfortable, packs down small but the bottom line is that its so loud it keeps me up at night.


I've waited to use this sleeping pad for a whole year before writing this review. I've got through two sleeping pads before switching to BA's Air Core Ultra. It is the comfiest by far, especially if you're a side sleeper. I like that you can slightly deflate it to hug your body, and still remain above the ground! It also stays in place so you don't fall off.


Very comfy but also very slippery. Slight slope and you were constantly repositioning.


Pro's: Very comfortable and light as all heck and packs up smaller than any sleeping pad i've seen. Great for multi day backpacking in *warmer* weather.


Me: 5'8 175 lbs. Only reviews after 3+ uses in non-vanilla conditions. This is a nice pad- compact, light, and compact as advertised. I does take some breath to air it up but so, far has kept inflation in warm and cold temps for the duration of the night. The only knock is the R-rating which I don't believe is stated. I thought it would have some internal insulation, but if it does it is minimal. Bottom line, good pad for the dollar and unless you are winter camping, it should be fine. Make sure to keep anything sharp from underneath, the light weight seems to be an easy puncture.


Not a bad pad by any means. I bought this for my girlfriend, whereas I bought myself the REI Long-Wide Air Rail 1.5 Core Pad. My girlfriend tried out both and ended up liking the REI Air Rail better. I took this back and purchased the REI women's Air Rail 1.5 Core Pad for her instead. This pad rolls up very compact which is nice, probably to less than half the size of the Air Rail. It does take a few minutes and many breaths to blow up and kind of reminded us of a pool floatie. We went with the Air Rails because they were self inflating (less breaths) and felt a bit more durable/sturdy.


I bought this several years ago to reduce weight from a traditional self-inflating pad that I had been using since the mid 1990s. The pros are the pad is lightweight, easy to blow up, easy to get out and put back and fits easily in your pack. The cons are that it also takes a little work to get the right amount of air so it's not too firm and so you don't feel the ground beneath you. Also, I tend to move around a lot when sleeping and when camped near others on the trail, I get self-conscious about the noise. Even small movements make a lot of noise. The best description I can give you of the noise is when you rub up against an inflated balloon. For this reason alone, I am looking for a new pad for the 2019 season.


I purchased this sleeping pad after losing my 3/4 thermarest pad. I was really bummed to lose the other pad and I did extensive research online for sleeping pads before purchasing this pad. This pad has a great combination of features, size, low weight and price. First off I love the new design for the intake/outtake valve. Although I loved the self inflating Thermarest I do like the new system on this sleeping pad. It does not take that long to blow up and it is easy to customize the feel of the sleeping pad. It deflates in seconds and is easy to roll up and put in its storage case. I now have a full length hiking pad for the same or better weight as I did with the Thermarest 3/4 length pad. Great bonus. The price is right also. I do not find this pad to be very loud or crinkly sounding when I switch positions in the night.


I had the thermarest prolite pad before and hated it just because of how thin it was and difficulty blowing it up. My dog walked over it and made holes right away. This pad is sturdy enough my dog could walk on it and was thick enough that I didn’t even need to blow it up again after a night of sleeping on it. I didn’t have high hopes for this pad but I’m glad I tried it out. It is very easy to blow up and easy to repack in its case! I highly recommend


I have used this twice for backpacking. Once when it got down to about 48 degrees. It was great. The second was when it got down into the 30s. The second time was horrible. I was freezing. I am returning this. So for warm weather it's great, but not for cold.


I bought this to replace my older Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad (the older purple/magenta one). It served me well, but I always struggled with a good nights sleep. This new one was thicker and lighter, so I went for it as a more comfortable backpacking pad. I use the Big Agnes sleeping bags with no insulation on the bottom and count on the mattress for insulation. My old pad was always comfortable down to 30-35 with my sleeping gear, but I recently used this in 40-45 degree weather in May (BWCA) and woke up very cold both nights. I suspect that the lightweight low bulk sacrifices on the insulation. I agree with all the other posts that it is a great pad, comfortable, lightweight and low bulk. But, I suspect if the insulation is needed for colder nights, than I just may need to buy a pad with more bulk. I was hoping this one would be the one that does all, but I guess I need to keep hoping and searching. (I had no issues with noise, but then again I was solo!)


I have used this on (4) 3 night trips and (1) 6 nighter. I have not had any issues at all. This is very comfortable and has not lost any air while I slept. I'm 280lbs, and like it a little softer, and was very comfortable. I bought a second one for my 14yo son, and he liked it as well. I did purchase the optional "Pump House" to fill it up quicker, and that too is a great tool to use. I'm please with it and highly recommend it.


After camping this year with a 20-year old inflatable foam mattress, I wanted more support. I tried the BA pad out in the store and was impressed by how well it supported me on my side, which is my preferred sleeping position. The difference in packed size from a foam pad is incredible. I tried it out on a trip and it worked great. It doesn't make a lot of noise, and I slept longer at night.


Finally breaking down & replacing my 17 year old Thermarest 3/4 pad I bought new as a poor college student way back when, I went BIG with the Big Agnes. Ironically it packs down smaller than it's elderly relative. It's also huge and thick once inflated with about 10 lung fulls of puff. I'm 6 ft zero and have plenty of room at both ends. The thermal insulation is wonderful...especially for high-elevation camping where temps plumett at night, and I can very comfortably sleep on my side...which is totally awesome. I do a lot of motorcycle camping these days, and space is at a premium when I disappear down forest service roads for a few days at a time. The Big Agnes packs down nicely, but doesn't cut corners when it's time to catch some Z's. It's worth noting that while the ribbing on the pad doesn't bother me at all, my wife dislikes it enough that she bought a different style pad...for what it's worth.


I bought this pad to upgrade from a heavy self-inflating sleeping pad and it's worth every penny. I slept on it a couple nights in the living room with great results. I actually caught my cat clawing into the mat and after shooing him away and investigating the damage I found that there was none. I couldn't believe that it didnt take any damage. Well worth the money.


I recently took this on a trip to the lost coast and had it set up in a tent on the Mattole River. This sleeping pad is very comfortable, and super durable! I did not bring a float this year, so I used this to float down the river (very mellow river) it with stood multiple river rocks and floated like a dream, which certainly is not its purpose!


While this pad is comfy (I’m a side sleeper and had no issues), you will slide around...a lot. I didn’t even realize my tent was on an incline until I went to sleep. I got in my sleeping bag, laid on the pad, and immediately slid to the side of my tent and off the pad. I couldn’t even move in the bag without sliding off. I eventually opened my sleeping bag and used it more like a quilt. It was the only way to stay on it. As long as you’re on completely flat terrain, or you use a quilt instead of a bag, it’s a great pad.


Short of bringing an air mattress, I think this is about as comfortable as you can get sleeping on the ground. It was quick to blow up and stayed inflated for 3 days with no problem. It also packs small so unless you are doing serious backpacking, the size shouldn't be a concern.


the sleeping pad was everything I expected. I am 6ft 195lbs and got the regular to save some weight. I am a side sleeper and this worked for me. Was everything I expected. Very easy to inflate and deflate. Would recommend this to anyone want to sleep well on the trail.


I paired this sleeping pad with my big Agnes sleeping bag and it was amazing. I got the regular wide because I’m so tired to the regular size just bing too narrow for me. I toss and turn a lot at night and the wide version is the best. This pad kept me so warm at night. I’ve had many sleeping pads before, this is my new favorite. Being able to stretch out and be comfortable is well worth the little bit of extra weight. I’m not an ultralight backpacker so being comfortable at camp is well worth it to me.


In the past 8 months, I've slept soundly dozens of times on this air mattress, outdoors and indoors, always placing a 1 mil plastic ground cloth under it. Valves have functioned flawlessly in temps ranging from 102F to -5F. Never had a leak. Inflation by mouth or by device has made no difference in reliability. Deflates fast. Folds, rolls and inserts into storage bag quick and easy; packs small and light. I've owned several Big Agnes air mattresses in recent years and this is the one I recommend.


I took this on a backpacking trip in Canada and slept on it for 8 nights in a row on the dirt, granite rock, and wood and never woke up with a sore back like I would have if I slept on the ground. I am so glad I bought this, so worth it!


I tried this in the store but was still surprised when I slept on it. Could not feel the individual chambers. It gave excellent support. Used the Big Agnes Pumphouse to inflate it. It worked great -better than huffing and puffing!


My wife and I both have this sleeping pad and we keep each other awake all night from the noise. Every little movement the outter layer seems to rub against the inside insulation creating a very loud rubbing noise. I highly do not recommend this pad if you value your sleep.


I recently went on a camping road trip across the country and went without a sleeping pad my first night. That was a mistake. I stopped by REI in Salt Lake City and tried several sleeping pads on the floor of the store and decided on the Big Agnes. It's price is a bit lower than the other options but there wasn't a noticeable difference in comfort or pack size (IMO). I used it the rest of my trip from Zion to Mt. Rainier. It's held up well and has provided me with nights of good sleep.


This makes sleeping on the ground comfortable. I hesitated to get an inflatable pad because I didn't want to have to blow it up by mouth, the idea of moist germ ridden air in the pad was a turn off and I really didn't want to have to carry a heavy pump. Big Agnes's pump house bag is the PERFECT solution. It sure beats trying to blow it up by mouth and being dizzy. So get the awesome comfy pad and make sure to add on the pump house bag. I use mine as my dry bag for my sleeping bag.


Pad is super noisey when moving around when sleeping :(


Have used mine ~ 30 nights over the past 6 mi. and it's going strong. Am a side sleeper, bleed off air until my spine is level, and appreciate the ease of using the integral bleed valve. We also have the new version of the Q-Core, both are comfortable and I can't tell the difference. Both pads are a little noisy but not a problem for us. Not hard to inflate by mouth but the new BA inflator bag makes it super easy (be sure to get the proper size bag).


A very good quality air pad. I'm 6'2", 220 pounds. I chose this size over the longer size, and it works well for me. I recently moved and have been sleeping on it for almost 2 weeks. I've only had to add air to it one time during that period. I have also slept with it on the boat (to test it's quality) and camping three nights at the north rim of the Grand Canyon at 33 degrees, and it does in fact keep you warm just like they say it will.


I've only used this once so far but it was great, it actually weights a little less then my old pad, and is so much thicker. I'm a side sleep some of the time, and using this my shoulders or arms didn't go numb. My old pad was a mummy shape, and prefer the rectangle cause who sleeps with their feet completely straight.


The first time I used the Air Core we made camp in the dark; inflation with the optional Pumphouse was fast and easy. True to other reviews, the pad was a touch noisy, but not so much that it woke me or my tent neighbors. Night one the pad was a little too firm, but I let a little air out for the second night, and had even better sleep. I appreciate how small the bag packs up in it’s own sack, which also accommodated the Pumphouse.


This thing was freezing cold bc it holds the cold air and i kept sliding right offof it every time I moved. I found it equivalent to a $2 pool floatie, hated it and got no sleep at all. It was promptly returned upon return from the mountain and not worth even $5 of the $100 purchase price.


I upgraded from a 1 inch basic inflatable pad and oh my goodness, what a difference this was! Much more comfortable, significantly less ground feel (and cold) gets to you with a pad this thick. Still packs down super small. Takes a bit longer to inflate though, and the optional “quick” inflator isn’t worth it in my opinion. Very happy with this purchase for both myself and my wife.


I got this a few weeks ago and I finally got to use it this weekend, it is super comfy. I was camping out at Pedernales Falls in Texas and even though it was about 100F and I was covered in sweat, I had a great night sleep! I was so surprised how comfortable I was able to sleep. The only downside to this pad is having to inflate it haha


This product is more comfortable and wider than most sleeping pads. It is also quieter than most when shifting positions. It is on the heavy side but if you are not backpacking long distances then you will likely not feel the extra weight. It is not self-inflating so the company should include a hand pump for the price.


This replaced my Q Core that has worked well but just seems to slow leak all the time, just got tired of looking for leaks after each camping trip. The model is about the same however seems a little more thin fabric and not as confident in but will give it a go. Did slip around more on my last trip.


Very comfortable to sleep on, even for a side sleeper. Nice and packable. However, as others have mentioned it's very squeaky whenever you move, very unpleasant for whoever is sharing your tent. Also, I ordered a regular length and it's too short even for me (I'm 5'8", not that tall.)


I purchased this because my self inflating pad wasn't comfortable in a recent bike tour. This packs smaller and with the increased padding I was very comfortable. Quick to set up and even quicker to pack in the morning. I was slow to switch pad style, and I am glad I made the change.


The temperature rating is a little optimistic, but I am a cold sleeper. Even with a Thermarest Zlite under it and a 20° BA down bag, I have been cold at 40°.


I like it. Just as comfortable as the larger foam/air car camping pads I have. It rolls up to the size of a 32 oz. nalgene bottle, which is why I bought it. I only wish it was a bit wider. I'm 6 foot, 180 pounds, and lying on my back my elbows are barely on.


My new Big Agnes pad is perfect for my older bones. It replaces an old thermarest, which I loved but I could not believe the difference in comfort. It is easy to blow up and deflate, lightweight for backpacking and quiet to sleep on. I'd recommend this mat.


this isn't the lightest pad, and i ended up going for the largest one they make (wide and long). the comfort and the packed size compared to my old self inflating pad makes this a no brainer though. it is super comfortable, and is warmer than your run of the mill inflatable pad without insulation. i can't speak to how cold it can go, but YMMV with your sleep system anyway. i am a large man and the 3" inflated depth of this pad keeps me comfortably off the ground.


My friends went to Walmart and bought a pool float for $5. I bought this. At the end of the weekend they had me send them a link because they were ready to buy this one since I slept great all weekend.


Only used it once this last weekend in an 'ice box' of a hut. The pad was warm, very comfortable and not noisey. Really happy with the performance on this one outing. REI's delivery was first rate to NZ.


First trip 2 nights, I took it was comfortable but very loud. Second trip I took to Moab was four nights and it had a slow leak tried to patch it, didn't work. Took it back and got a different brand.


I've now gone through 4 sleeping pads from Big Agnes. They are lightweight and comfortable but after about 20 days they get small air leaks. Not a sleeping pad for hardcore backpackers.


While this pad is quiet and well cushioned, it does not provide protection from the cold ground. At thirty degrees the pad was completely inadequate. Thank you for hassle-free returns.


Bought this for camping in Colorado. Relatively comfortable. Inflates quickly. My only qualms are that my pillow kept sliding off and it's pretty crunchy when you move around on it.


Bought this for my wife to replace another that wasn't thick enough. We primarily car camp or set this up in our friends cabin on the floor. 3 nights last week with no complaints.


Bought it when previous Big Agnes mattress leaked after only a year. This one didn't last a night. Returned it and bout $30 worth of patches. Real quality...not really.


Really light and easy to unpack/pack. Helped a lot since we were stuck sleeping on an uneven surface with a few rocks. Couldn't even feel them.


Quality product, well made, warm, comfortable, easy to use, but still leaves you on a ‘bouncy’ bed. Can’t say if others are any better, though.


Bought this pad awhile back and finally had the chance to put it to good use recently, it kept me warm and was super comfy! Highly recommend!


Bought this for use with my big Agnes 45 deg sleeping bag. Obviously this fits perfectly. It packs up nice and small and doesn't weigh a ton.


This product was great. I’m 6 1 and I took this to Joshua Tree NP and it got below freezing multiple nights and I slept like a baby!


Very comfortable. Easy to inflate, deflate, and rolls up small. It is noticeably warmer then the non-insulated version of this pad.


Packed nicely and easy to inflate. I found it very comfortable, I noticed a little noise, but nothing that kept me awake.


Pros - comfortable, insulated, small/packable Cons - incredibly loud especially if you move a lot in your sleep


Keeps you warm and comfortable in the Backcountry. It is loud when you move around though, but totally worth it.


Only things I can find wrong is it is not self inflating and moving around on it it is a bit noisy.


Great product- easy to inflate and comfy! Great addition to my AT hiking gear. Glad I got it.


This is comfortable, warm, easy to inflate and deflate, and is more compact than other pads.


Elk hunting at 10500 ft. Terrain protection was great. Cold, snowy, slept great.


It's so easy to blow up and so incredibly comfy to sleep on, on any surface!!


I purchased this from rei about 3 weeks ago. I’m 5’10, 185lbs . My main hiking or backpacking is done early winter or early spring . I tried this pad .. mythought are as follows: It’s very comfortable at 3.25 in thick in center baffles .. I’m a side sleeper and nothing touched the ground. Not even close. The material seems to be much more durable then my Therm-a-Rest Prolite plus. Which is a great plus as you can’t always find the perfect spot to set camp. The fabric is also much quieter then other air pads I tried in the store. It’s rated to 15 degrees and I have yet to get into some snow and try but I’ve gotten into the 30s combined with a kelts cosmic down 20 bag .. and actually slept a lil to warm. This is a newer version of the pad with a reflective layer not in the older models ( that I know of) newer valve which mean that you can blow it up and not lose air if you stop. That same valve allows you to release air and adjust to comfort. The quick release valve is really fast making packing up fast. ( now you can blow this up take about 1 1/2 mins but personally love big Agnes’s pumphouse ultra. 3 1/2 pumps fills mine in under a minute Though it’s not required I’m just lazy )


This review could be considered an initial report after a first use as based on a three night winter stay in Death Valley National Park.


Compared with other sleeping pads at this price point, these are my thoughts: -COMFORT: 9 out of 10. I am a side sleeper and have wide shoulders, and this is the first sleeping pad that I have found comfortable to sleep on my side. It was also more comfortable than any pad I tried at the store or on trail with a friend, except maybe the ThermaRest NeoAir XTherm (but it was LOUD) and one of the BA Q cores. The raised side baffles are a nice touch. Also, the little red button on the in-valve is super useful and works well to take a little bit of air out of the pad for better comfort - the easiest I've been able to adjust while laying on the pad itself (like in the middle of the night). -WARMTH: 8 out of 10. See note below on warmth. I have had no issues with warmth that could point to the sleeping pad...although to be fair, in the times I have gone out where I thought it would be below freezing, I have always used this pad on top of my old Thermarest Z-lite Sol foam pad (14 oz). Works like a charm. -SETTING UP: 10 out of 10. The one-way valve is amazing - it will hold air for hours while open. Blowing up has taken me between 17-19 good breaths when I've counted (which isn't that often). -PACKING UP: 9 out of 10. Pop the big valve open and it's literally empty before I make the first fold to roll it up. Pushing out the extra little pockets of air is really easy, and it rolls up easy into the stuff sack so long as you start the roll well. -SIZE (PACKED): 10 out of 10. It doesn't really get smaller, at any price point. -SIZE (IN USE): I bought the long and could have done without the length. The wide was amazing and would recommend it to people with wide shoulders or bellies or whatever else gets wide. -WEIGHT: 8 out of 10. Will be completely fine unless you're an ultralight thru hiker. I feel like this is about as light as you can get without starting to seriously compromise quality / thickness -NOISE: 9 out of 10. See note on noise below. Every ThermaRest I tried was way louder. There were Sea to Summits which were about the same, and among the Big Agnes pads, the Big Agnes Q Core pads are the only ones I have tried which make less noise, and those are $50+ more expensive. When car camping, I throw a thick blanket over the top and don't hear a thing. -DURABILITY: No leaks at all so far. It IS a air pad though so you gotta be careful on where you lay it down, esp in the desert or on granite. I use it with my Thermarest sol z lite at those times.

COMMENTS

LilMama

What size pad will fit the Buffalo Park Long sleeping bag?

The Buffalo Park long can take a 78" x 25" pad. If choosing this pad, go with the regular wide.

LMDLMT

What are the specs on the petite size?

The petite size is 20" x 66" and weighs 20 oz.

Thelonious Monk

would this work well with a hammock? If not, what type of pad would?

You can certainly use this pad in your hammock. Your comfort may depend on how much you tend to move around while sleeping. Another consideration that you can explore instead of, or in conjunction with the air pad, are the hammock underquilts. You can view our selection here:

Benji

One of the sizes on the dropdown choice is "short". Is this the petite as noted in the tech spec. I'm looking for the 48" long pad for my kids sleeping bag.

The short (20" x 48") is not available as of May 2019.

Oilcan

Does the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pads REQUIRE an air pump to inflat it?

No, you can inflate it manually by blowing into the valve. 

Mermaid

Is this the air core that you can also use in the water to float on? 

​This sleeping pad is not designed to be used in the water to float on.

Skyler L

When is REI expected to begin carrying the new double-wide size (50x78) of this sleeping pad, to be released by Big Agnes in April?

​As of March, 2017 we do not plan to stock the double wide. All available sizes are on our website.

jack 67

I own the Encampment 15 wide long bag. Which pad fits the pad sleeve ?

The standard Encampment uses the 20" x 72" size pad. The long wide uses the 25" x 78" size.

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