Author Topic: Big Agnes vs Theramrest  (Read 5133 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mucknort

Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« on: January 27, 2010, 02:37:50 pm »
Looking for opinions regarding Big Agnes Air pads vs Thermarest self inflating pads.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 04:09:27 pm »
I bought the ThermaRest 1" self-inflating pad and slept on it a few nights. I took it back and exchanged it for a Big Agnes 2.5" non-self-inflating pad. The later was much, much more comfortable. I'm a side-sleeper, so I think I need the extra thickness. The extra comfort is a small price to pay for the couple of minutes it takes to blow it up by mouth. The Big Agness as also longer, cheaper, thicker, and came with the stuff sack and repair kit at no extra charge (the stuff sack and repair kit are sold separately for the ThermaRest).

If you prefer, ThermaRest also makes thicker pads you blow up yourself. They are a lighter and more expensive than the equivalent Big Agnes pads.

Offline trout

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 07:07:44 pm »
It's a personal preference, but I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2008 and spent 5  months sleeping on my Big Agnes and I loved every minute of it. It's the most comfortable sleeping pad I ever used.

There's even a picture circulating somewhere of me dancing with Big Agnes.... hmmmm.... Maybe I did get a little too attached.

I love that girl!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 10:43:10 am »
I think either works.

It really comes down to how much cushion do you need, and how much bulk are you willing to carry.  It is not fair to compare 1" pad from one manufacturer with a 2" pad from some other manufacturer.

I have a 3/4" 3/4 pad, a 1" mummy pad, and 2" extra wide pad.  These days, I tour with the 1" mummy pad (I have toured with all of them).  The 1" mumlmy pad works great on the ground, but you have sweep up rocks, acorn, pine cones, etc.  You should do that anyways, if you don't want to fatigue the bottom of your tent.

On my last tour, it was raining quite hard one night, and we set up out tents under a picnic pavilion.  A 1" pad is not comfortable when the base is a cement slab.  I carry too much stuff as it is, so I am not willing to make room for the 2" pad.  But the 2" pad is really nice to sleep on.  :D
Danno

Offline staehpj1

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 12:34:41 pm »
I found my Thermarest Prolite 4 quite adequate comfort-wise, never had a bad nights sleep on the entire TA.  That said I love my Thermarest NeoAir it is more comfortable, much lighter, and packs tiny.  Cost is rather high though.  The NeoAir provides adequate insulation for most conditions that I will tour in, but is not adequate for winter camping by itself.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 01:47:18 pm »
Thermarest Prolite Plus 1 1/2" pad, warm, comfortable, lite, and packs small. Not familiar with the other one.

Offline cgarch

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 02:40:40 pm »
I've had Thermarests for years but for our first Pac Coast trip in 2009 we got a pair of the Big Agnes, primarily because of space considerations. They packed well and we both slept quite well with the BAs.  Only drawback was I didn't want to be blowing the bloody things up everyday, so I brought a small hand pump that was originally for the Fit Ball and I made an adapter to match the BA valve. If I had had more time I would have made an adapter to work with tire pump then I would have only had 1 pump instead of 2. Regardless, it worked well. FWIW, my BA is the extra long and wide version - I'm a big guy - and again no complaints.

Trying to figure what we'll do with the ThermaRests.

Offline LoloPass

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2010, 03:53:09 pm »
I have both types of pads.  The plus for the thermarest is speed & convenience.  The BA is cushier but if I'm on a trip where I'm packing up every day I get tired of inflating and deflating.  If I'm going on a long tour and moving on every day I take the thermarest.  If I'm going to be camped in one place for awhile I take the BA.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2010, 04:48:43 pm »
I have both types of pads.  The plus for the thermarest is speed & convenience.  The BA is cushier but if I'm on a trip where I'm packing up every day I get tired of inflating and deflating.  If I'm going on a long tour and moving on every day I take the thermarest.  If I'm going to be camped in one place for awhile I take the BA.
I have hear a few people who say this so I guess maybe I am in the minority on this one, but...  I don't get it.

I have the medium sized NeoAir (same thickness as the Big Agnes) and it takes 15 breaths to fill it.  It takes maybe a minute, two minutes tops.  Really not a big deal especially since the Prolite 4 takes a few breaths even though it is self inflating.  The added ease of rolling it up makes up for any extra effort in inflating for me.

To me there are only two downsides to the NeoAir.  The first is cost, which is pretty high.  The second is that the R value is a bit too low for winter camping.

Offline jfitch

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2010, 07:01:33 pm »
Pete,
I tried a neoair at the local REI/ I liked the size, weight, and comfort, but found it to be very noisy -- it sort of crackled as I moved about on it. Have you noticed this? Does it quiet down with use?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2010, 08:34:22 am »
Pete,
I tried a neoair at the local REI/ I liked the size, weight, and comfort, but found it to be very noisy -- it sort of crackled as I moved about on it. Have you noticed this? Does it quiet down with use?
I hadn't really noticed that.  I am told I sleep like the dead though and don't move around much.

Also I tend to tune out noise.  Lots of places where folks said they didn't sleep well because of trains or traffic noise I didn't even notice the noise, so I may be the wrong one to ask.

Offline MrBent

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 08:32:20 am »
I've used both pretty extensively.  The BA is a good deal lighter and more compact, and it does provide more padding than the 2" Thermarest I carry otherwise.  I splurge a bit with sleeping gear.  If I can't sleep, the trip starts to suck.  What I like about the T-rest has already been mentioned, but one aspect that has not is the really excellent camp chair conversion.  I have the one that acts as a permanent sleeve/cover for the pad--another bonus in function and added weight.  I'm sure many here will recoil at the extra weight, but that thing was excellent!  Cooking, kicking back with coffee in the morning, rest days with a book, it was the absolute best.  I've been using the much lighter BA chair conversion, which is okay but not great.  The thicker, squishier nature of the BA makes the chair more unstable.

Our first pair of BA's managed to spring tiny leaks along the seams.  Fortunately, we purchased them from REI, so no hassles on the return.  The new ones seem to be holding up well.  Steaph is quite right about the r-value limitations, but BA makes some with synthetic insulation.  These pads, however, are not as warm as the T-rests.  I also find a tendency for the BA's to lose pressure in really cold camping conditions due to the cooling of the hot air used to fill them.  This winter on a tour from Bishop, CA, to Las Vegas, NV, most nights we camped out were in the low 20's.  Our coldest was 19 deg. F.  I think this is about the limit for BA's!  I find myself getting a bit light-headed inflating the beasts, too, but I do sleep better on them than T-rests.

Cheers,

Scott

Offline davidb

Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 10:28:47 am »
I have an old ThermARest standard self-inflating mattress and a newer Big Agnes mummy-shaped inflatable mattress.  The cush of the BA is awesome, but if you plan on using it for very cold weather outings, forget it.  It's COLD in the snow!  (or use a cheap blue foam backpacker as the insulating layer)  The old TAR is still very good in cold weather, and continues to provide moderate cushion.

If you never plan on using it in the snow or on frozen ground, the BA will probably give you a better night's sleep, especially if you sleep on your side. Get the rectangular if you toss and turn.  I have to wake up to re-position on the mummy-shaped one since my feet and hips seem to fall off.  

Fully deflated, the BA is small enough to pack into your bags.

I've never had a leak on either of these mattress types.

Keep in mind that there are thicker (and more expensive) TARs than I have, so if you can afford one and need the warmth, I'd go for a TAR thickie  I'm more than happy to pack the pad on my rack with my sleeping bag.  If you don't need the warmth, the BA will do nicely.

In short, BA gets points for cush and packability while TAR gets points for warmth.

Pleasant dreams!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 06:28:36 pm by davidb »