Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Warm, moderately compact, moderately comfortable.
Cons: "Pot hole" surface is not as comfortable as the mostly flat NeoAir series, slippery surface, bumpy side rails, low quality mesh stuff sack.
Best Uses: Winter use when weight isn't a top concern.
The Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core is a slightly warmer, more durable, and heavier version of the company's Q-Core SL pad. We tested both over a winter of climbing and skiing, on a month-long expedition to Greenland, and were largely disappointed with their comfort, which we expected to be much better. The Big Agnes website boats, "The most comfortable pads on the planet." But such is far from our test results. PANTS ON FIRE!!
The review below is a brief synopsis of the pad's performance. We share more details in the Big Agnes Q-Core SL review, which performs better in our ratings due to its lower weight, so check that review out, too. In short, the Q-Core could be the best value cold winter sleeping pad we've tested. But for most people, it's likely worth ponying up the extra cash to get the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.
We compare all of the pads tested in our Backpacking Sleeping Pad Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The pad weighs 25.5 ounces on our scale. That's a full 10 ounces more than the equally warm Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, as much or more than most top-tier three-season down sleeping bags, and more than nearly all ultralight tents.
Far from tiny, but acceptable.
We suspect the pad to be highly durable.
Far from what we expected and less than the NeoAir series. See the Big Agnes Q-Core SL review for a detailed discussion.
This is a full value winter pad. It's very warm.
Winter use on trips where weight isn't a top concern.
Moderate value. It's relatively cheap for its warmth.
The Q-Core scores above average in our ratings. Though it is a high quality sleeping pad we expected much more from it.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Big Agnes Q-Core SL is lighter and arguably a better pad.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 20, 2014
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