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Hands-on Gear Review

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Review


Men's Sleeping Pad

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: March 24, 2015
Price:   $140 List | Varies from $84 - $120 online
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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.
Manufacturer:   Big Agnes
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 24, 2015  
The Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core is a slightly warmer, more durable, and heavier version of the Big Agnes 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 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.

RELATED: Our complete review of men's sleeping pads

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Performance Comparison


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.

Packed Size

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.

Best Applications

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

Click to enlarge
Big Agnes Q-Core SL
  • Moderately lightweight
  • Comfortable and warm
  • 4.5 R-value
  • $140

Big Agnes Air Core
Click to enlarge
  • R-value - 1
  • Cheapest inflatable pad tested
  • Comfortable
  • $70

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: March 24, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
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   Jan 20, 2014 - 03:33am
Audacious · Kayaker · Birmingham, Al
The Q-Core is a very good mattress. Working at an Outfitters company I have had several customers test out the various pad brands and give their opinions. Here is the bottom line assessments that may help you.
  • This website has billed the Big Agnes Q-Core as a winter pad and that is fairly accurate, however, it is important to note that while one side of the Q-Core is insulated with a Prim-aloft type fleece insulation, the other side is not. Thus, if you sleep on the insulated side and it is to warm, you can simply flip the mat over and have a colder uninsulated side.
  • This mattress is not for the extreme hiker who counts ounces unless he balances out the rest of his/her equipment which would allow them to carry a heavier mat. It is not heavy but compared to thinner mats out there and ounce counters it might be considered that. I have found that serious hikers can settle for the weight of this mat if it benefits a great nights sleep to recharge and start the next day.
  • This mattress is designed with off set rivet lines in the pad. The GREAT thing with this design is it distributes the air very evenly and allows the person to sleep on their shoulder and side without pressure points or touching the ground. This has been a huge plus to customers.
  • The sides are raised to keep the sleeper from rolling off of the mattress.
  • This mattress makes zero noise when you are moving on it versus some types of Thermarest pads that sound like crinkling wax paper or plastic every time you move.
  • A down side to this bag is that it does tend to slide a little on tent bottoms. If put inside a sleeping bag this problem is eliminated. Also, if you are not a heavy tosser when you sleep this should not be a problem.
  • This mattress has a valve to manually blow it up. With the valve design it is very easy to blow up and takes no time at all with minimal effort. We have had 70 year old men blow it up quickly with no complaints or problems.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core
Credit: Big Agnes
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