Big Agnes Sleeping Giant Memory Foam Review
Cons: Expensive to buy both parts of the system
Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Big Agnes Sleeping Giant is one of two single-person, adaptable inflatable mattress combinations that we tested in this review. The Sleeping Giant is merely a cover for a sleeping pad that you already own (or purchase separately). The memory foam in the Sleeping Giant is an upgrade over that in the NeoAir Dream, and it is held in place within the cover by mesh netting, eliminating the bunching effect of the loose foam in the other pad. Unfortunately, this means that it is not as easy to wash.
The face fabric on the Sleeping Giant is slippery nylon material that feels soft against the skin but is perhaps not quite as decadent as the velvety plush of the NeoAir Dream. That said, the QCore SLX sleeping pad that we paired our Sleeping Giant with was thicker and more comfortable than the NeoAir mattress in the NeoAir Dream. Considering all the various attributes of the two mattresses, this one would probably be the preferable choice only if you already owned a Big Agnes sleeping pad, due to the much higher cost and slightly lower overall rating.
Topping a sleeping pad with a memory foam mattress significantly increases the comfort level, though how much will depend on how plush your existing sleeping pad is. While the memory foam certainly adds to the insulation of our air mattress, we have to admit that it mostly adds cushion rather than support, much like putting a memory foam topper on a mattress at home. It relieves pressure points and disguises uneven sleeping surfaces. The Sleeping Giant, unlike what the name suggests, is the narrowest of all the choices in this review because it has to pair with a smaller sleeping pad, meaning there is less room to sprawl.
Ease of Use
There is no doubt that the Sleeping Giant is simple and easy to use, but it certainly takes more work than other mattresses, mostly because you need to set up both parts of the system. Once your sleeping pad is inflated, you are intended to slide it into the envelope that holds the memory foam. We found this to be kind of a pain and not worth the effort. There is a flap at the top of the Sleeping Giant that can slide over the top edge of the sleeping pad, and we found this to stay in place perfectly adequately.
To deflate, simply pull the sleeping pad out of the Sleeping Giant, open the air valve, and store as usual. It is possible to roll up the Sleeping Giant cover with a deflated air mattress in it, or not, depending on your preference. Regardless, it easily rolls up into a protective cover that stretches over the roll and tightens with side toggles.
The warmth of the Sleeping Giant system will depend on the thickness and density of your existing sleeping pad. Truly, the added insulation of this memory foam cover is one of its great benefits, however, and will extend the use of your sleeping pad into the colder seasons.
Versatility is truly where the Sleeping Giant shines. After all, what can be more versatile than a do-anything backpacking sleeping pad paired with a warmer, softer, more comfortable memory foam cover for car camping comfort? The adaptability of this pad is what makes it a worthwhile purchase. While it is a two-part system, each of these parts are relatively small, and thus it is very easy to find a place for them amongst all the other gear in the car or truck. While versatility is certainly not the most important assessment criteria in this review, it is the single reason that you would choose the Sleeping Giant over any other pad.
The Sleeping Giant mattress cover by itself rolls up into a single tube-shaped roll, like many of the other mattresses. It doesn't have a separate stuff sack but includes a protective cover sewn into the end of it that wraps around your completed roll and affixes the whole enchilada nicely with a buckle strap. Cinch straps wrap around either end of the roll to ensure it stays as one neat little package. Of course, this system is actually two mattresses packed up, making it more flexible than other mattresses but not necessarily making it smaller.
The size Wide and Long Sleeping Giant cover is a relatively low-cost purchase. If you already own a backpacking sleeping pad to pair it with, then this is a good value, adding warmth and comfort for less money than a brand new, dedicated car camping mattress like many in this review. However, buying both parts of this system, depending on the cost of your sleeping pad, may end up being far more expensive than any other single person pad in the review, and since it is not the highest performing pad, it would not present great value.
The Big Agnes Sleeping Giant is a sleeping pad cover combined with memory foam that enhances the comfort and warmth of a regular sleeping pad. This is an adaptable system that allows you to have car camping luxury with a sleeping pad you already own. Since you must purchase the two parts separately, it only makes sense to buy the Sleeping Giant if you already own a backpacking style sleeping pad. If you don't, we would recommend you look at some of the other options in this review.
— Laurel Hunter & Andy Wellman
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