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June 2019 Issue
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Big Agnes Insulated AXL



Our Rating:

Weight: 337g

R-value: Unknown

Construction: This mattress is rated for use to -9℃ by Big Agnes, but it does not have an R-Value. The mattress uses PrimaLoft Silver insulation laminated with a heat reflective layer that directs warmth back to the user. It has an antimicrobial treatment to help prevent mould growth. There is a single inflation/deflation valve. It uses a double ripstop nylon fabric with a TPU lamination.

Weight: This is the lightest mattress in this review. It achieves its low weight with a lightweight nylon fabric and what Big Agnes describes as a ‘minimalist internal construction’, though there are few details on what this means. It is compressible and doesn’t take up much pack space.

Comfort: With a 9.5cm thickness, this is a lofty mattress and I could lie on my side comfortably. The valve allows precise air venting to reach the desired firmness, though care is required because it didn’t take the release of much air before my hips touched the ground. The mattress is quiet and didn’t squeak as I shifted in the night.

In use: It is inflated with a separate pump sack, which you blow into and then roll and squeeze the air into the mattress. It takes about 4-6 cycles of this, or roughly 90-seconds, to inflate the mattress. It’s a good system and easy to use inside a tent, but it would be made better if the pump sack was incorporated into the stuff sack.

I found the PrimaLoft insulation, laminated with a layer of heat reflecting material, to be very warm – even lying on it without using a sleeping bag I could feel the warmth.

On my third night, the mattress began losing air – enough to wake me in the night. I tested for a leak and found a tiny hole on the bottom. I put it down to bad luck, but because no other mattress also got a hole it made me wonder if the fabrics were too lightweight. Deflation and packing away is easy.

Value: It’s the lightest and most expensive. However, it also sprang a leak which puts a question mark over its durability.

Verdict: A lightweight, warm and lush mattress for those who prioritise comfort.

At a glance
Plusses: Pump sack inflation, warmth, weight.
Minuses: Durability.
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