This ain't roughin' it.
Anyone who has had the chance to snooze in a Big Agnes
Doublewide Series sleeping bag -- as my wife and I did this past weekend while
car camping near Lake Superior -- can attest to the fact that sleeping on the
cold, hard ground can be quite luxurious.
Indeed, the bag we employed -- the Dream Island from Big
Agnes ($239, www.bigagnes.com) -- is a simulacrum of a queen-size bed on the
floor of your tent. It measures about 50 inches wide by 80 inches long. There
are built in no-draft collars for each snoozing person, and Big Agnes rates the
bag to be adequate to temps down to 15 degrees F.
The company uses an unheard of 4 pounds, 8 ounces of fill in
this bag, making it quite the cozy, quilted experience.
On each side of the bag is a zipper to allow easy access for
both sleepers; built-in pockets up high hold your fleece jacket or other
clothes to create an ad hoc pillow.
The Dream Island -- like all Big Agnes bags -- mates with a
sleeping pad via an integrated sleeve underneath, letting you slip the pad
inside to create a solid, stationary platform. You physically cannot roll off
this pad, as it's pinned in a sleeve, unmovable.
We went with the Hinman Pad, a 50 x 78 x 2.5-inch air
mattress that has a high-density solid foam core. It goes for $139.95.
To inflate the Hinman, you open two valves, roll it out, and
let the air suck in. I had to huff and puff a few breathes in to get it firm.
Only one real bummer with this setup: Its size. Together,
the Dream Island and Hinman Pad weigh nearly 20 pounds, and rolled up they're
each the size of a large tent.
But Big Agnes didn't design this setup for anything other
than car camping. And for that circumstance, as we discovered last weekend, this
bag is about as good as it gets.
For this comfort you do pay a premium: Together, the large
Hinman pad and the Dream Island will run nearly $400 after taxes. Ask yourself:
What's a good night's rest on the cold ground really worth?
Availability: Dream Island bag, July 25; Hinman pad, Aug. 20.
Contact: Big Agnes Inc., www.bigagnes.com