Our Review: Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX
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This is a part of our review series, where we give detailed reviews of all of the gear that we use on our trips. You can see the full list of gear here.
One of the most important parts of a backpacking trip is your sleeping setup. Usually, you can’t go too light and still be comfortable and warm. Although in our experience, the Big Agnes has taken the insulated Q-Core SLX and combined it with high-quality insulation to keep the weight down, increase heat retention, and boost comfort levels – something you don’t often find in many other sleeping pad options.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX. As well as fill you in on why we think it’s such a great option for your next overnight hiking or camping trip.
Overview: Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX
Perfect for: those hikers and backpackers that don’t mind sacrificing just a touch of weight for a really decent night’s sleep.
- Rip-stop nylon offers great waterproof protection
- Synthetic insulation and reflective material trap body heat to keep you warm
- The internal offset i-beam construction and quilted comfort outer pattern offers incredible multi-directional support and consistent stability
- The pad also deflates easily and rolls up into a small and compact package
- It’s three seasons
- The pad can be a touch too heavy for some backpacker’s preferences
- The rip-stop nylon as durable as we’d like to see
- Not technically self-inflating
|Dimensions/length||20” x 66”||20” x 72”||20” x 78”||25” x 72”||25” x 78”||40” x 72”|
|Rolled size||4″ x 7″ / 10 x 18cm||4″ x 7.5″ / 10 x 19cm||4″ x 8″ / 10 x 20cm||4″ x 8″ / 10 x 20cm||4″ x 8.5″ / 10 x 22cm||5.5″ x 11″ / 14 x 28cm|
|Weight||17oz / 482g||18oz / 510g||19oz / 539g||22oz / 624g||24oz / 680g||36oz / 1.02kg|
Who the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX Is For
If you’ve ever rolled around in your sleeping bag struggling to get comfortable, you’ll definitely appreciate just how much of a regret buying a cheap or wrongly fitted sleeping pad can be.
Enter the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad.
This sleeping pad is super comfortable, offers great back support, and is forgiving on the hips, neck, and shoulders – all joints that have it tough while out on the backcountry trails.
The Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX is available in a variety of size options, including petite, regular, wide, wide-regular, double-wide, and wide-long sizes. This makes the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad great for many different body types and hiking, camping, and backpacking applications.
Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX Key Features
As you come to expect with Big Agnes’ products, the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX comes with a ton of great features. Here’s a deeper look at the best ones.
Rip-stop Nylon Fabric
The superlight double-nylon rip-stop fabric has become a staple of many of Big Agnes products – the Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad included. This fabric is lightweight, offers plenty of warmth, and, thanks to the offset i-beam contours, offers consistent stability and a ton of comfort.
Primaloft® Silver Insulation
Complimenting the rip-stop nylon fabric is the layer of Primaloft Silver Insulation that lines the interior of the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX. Primaloft Silver Insulation has a few distinct advantages. For one, it’s super packable. This makes it easy to squash down into tight places like the Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad’s protective storage sack.
In addition, unlike other insulation types like feather down which are notorious for staying wet and cold, Primaloft® Silver Insulation is also water-resistant and super breathable. And lastly, Primaloft has a fantastic weight ratio. This makes the material great at retaining body heat without excessive heaviness or bulkiness.
To top off the benefits of the rip-stop fabric and Primaloft Silver Insulation, an i-beam construction has been used in the design for ultimate comfort. Simply put, the i-beam construction is essentially a cut-in, contoured pattern that has been designed to stop campers rolling off the top of the 3.5″ thick sleeping pad. This also cradles the body and ensures optimal comfortability and an excellent night’s sleep – even for us side sleepers.
High Volume Valve
In our opinion, the design of the high volume valve used in the Insulated Q-Core SLX is one of its best features. For one, the valve is recessed into the body of the sleeping pad allowing it to sit flat against the top layer of its exterior. This makes rolling and storing the sleeping pad very easy and eliminates any chance the valve will get caught on a camper’s sleeping bag or when being packed back inside its storage sack.
The valve is also fitted with a pressure adjustment button. This makes inflating and deflating the pad super easy. Plus this makes fine-tuning and making micro-adjustments during the night very easy.
Upcycled Inflation Sack
Unfortunately, the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX isn’t self-inflating. To make up for this, and to save your breath for the trails, Big Agnes has included an upcycled inflation sack with every Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad. The inflation sack has been manufactured from upcycled excess pad material and is very simple to use.
Although if you ever find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open, the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX sleeping pad can still be inflated with your mouth. This is thanks to an interior lining of an anti-microbial coating, meaning no moisture build-up will develop in the interior of the pad. That way you won’t have to worry about mold and mildew growing underneath you while you catch those much-needed ZZZs.
The Big Agnes team offers limited warranties on all of their products. In the case that your product was manufactured improperly, Big Agnes will refer you to a local service provider for a replacement product or repair. In the case that Big Agnes considers your claim invalid, they will provide you with a list of closeby facilities that offer repair services. These services are all reasonably priced and come with various shipping and repair options.
How Do You Clean Sleeping Pads?
- First off, never put your sleeping pad into a washing machine. A washing machine is likely to rip it to shreds.
- Ensure the valve of the sleeping pad is tightly closed. You’re not trying to make yourself a new waterbed.
- Grab yourself some specialized gear wash or mild hand soap and mix it in a bucket with warm water.
- Next, grab yourself a cloth and use the warm soapy water to wipe down any dirt, dust, or grime off of the sleeping pad’s exterior.
- And lastly, simply hang the sleeping pad out to air dry just as you would any regular item of clothing. Just don’t use a clothes dryer, it will have the same effect as a washing machine.
In our opinion, the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX is an exceptional product that is well worth checking out. It is lightweight, comfortable, and has the added benefit of also having adequate insulation necessary for three-season use. Plus in our experience, it’s easily stood up to the harsh conditions of both the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park with little complaint.
If you are in the market for a high-quality sleeping pad, we think the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX is a fine choice.