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June 2019 Issue
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Big Agnes Spike Lake -9



Our Rating:

At a glance
 Price, heat retention features.
Minuses: Weight, bunny ears can become annoying.

1190g, Big Agnes Temperature rating -9°C

Features: This bag uses 610g of 600-loft water-repellent duck down and carries the Responsible Down Standard certification. It has a tapered mummy shape and a contoured hood with a single drawcord located on the outside of the bag. It has a large anti-snag zipper backed by a nylon fabric to help prevent the zipper from catching. The ripstop nylon shell fabric has a water-repellent finish. An unusual feature is the down-filled paddles – or neck collar – which cup the face when the bag is zipped up. The bag is not EN-rated, so the temperature rating is supplied by Big Agnes.

Fit: The bag has a stronger taper than the other bags tested. This makes it slightly tighter across the chest and shoulders, but also has the effect of reducing dead space and making it warm up quickly.

Comfort: The soft touch nylon taffeta lining is super comfortable against the skin. It breathes well to reduce the clammy feeling that comes when you perspire slightly. There is a lot of down in the bag which makes it nice and soft to sink into.

In use: This bag has an effective heat-trapping design. The tight fit means there’s less area to be warmed. The combination of an over-the-shoulder zip, well-designed hood and the neck collar paddles make it a super warm option. The hood drawcord simultaneously pulls the hood and collar of the bag tight to create a small opening that still leaves space to breathe and see. The drawcord is positioned on the outside of the bag and I found it difficult to pull tight and then to release it with my arms trapped inside the bag.

With the hood tightened, the neck collar further encloses the face, wrapping the head in luxurious warmth. However, I found this feature a little annoying when I didn’t want to use it as the paddles tended to flap around and get in the way. They can be folded down into the bag, but a separate pocket might better keep them out of the way. The only venting is provided by the two-way zipper, which did a reasonable job of letting warm air out of the bag.

The bag can be easily put into its stuff sack, but it is quite bulky and takes up a reasonable amount of space.

Value: The bag has been made with durable materials, including a chunky YKK zipper and the DownTek fill which is said to stay dry 90 per cent longer than untreated down. It has an attractive price for a winter-rated bag..

Verdict: If you’re looking for a cheaper bag for winter tramps, this could be just the ticket. There’s no doubt it will keep you warm, but the compromise for the low cost is the near 1200g weight.

See some of the highlights of this bag in our video summary: