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January 2018 Issue
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Big Agnes Q-Core SLX



Our Rating:

At a glance

Plusses: Comfortable quilted construction, warmth to weight.
Minusses: Quite bulky, doesn’t come with pump, squeaks when you turn over.

Features: This is a lightweight (465g) three-season quilted sleeping pad. Built from a new double rip-stop nylon shell, Big Agnes claims it to be 25 per cent more resistant to tearing than the brand’s previous Q Core. The minimalist ‘I-beam’ offset baffle construction keeps weight down while providing comfort, stability and insulation rated to -10°C.

Fit: The Q-Core is available in six different sizes, including three lengths ranging from 167cm to 198cm and four widths ranging from 50cm to 101cm for couples or those who have been armchair trampers for too long. 

Comfort: The quilted construction creates a comfortable, pillowy surface. With most baffled inflatable mats, sleeping on your side tends to be uncomfortable as shoulders and arms sink through to the ground. Not so with the Q-Core: the latticed I-beam construction is stable and supportive. The mat is quite thick however, and people who prefer a firmer surface may find it too soft. The dimpled surface helps reduce sliding. Enlarged side baffles cradle the sleeper to help prevent them from rolling off.

In use: The 50cm medium mat tested packs down to about the size of a three-layer raincoat. it isn’t the smallest or lightest sleeping pad, but its comfort and the warmth-to-weight ratio is impressive. The mat is easy to inflate with your breath, but that can lead to mould developing on the insulation (moisture from your breath dampens the insulation). An antibacterial treatment offers resistance, though.

Value: The cost reflects its versatility in a range of uses: from summer camping to transalpine snow camping.

Verdict: A mattress for all-season use, it strikes a balance between weight, durability and comfort. It would benefit from a pump to ensure the maximum life of the product.