Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This middle of the road mummy bag has low quality down fill power and is heftier than many of the other women's models we tested.
Big Agnes rates this bag to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is not EN tested. Although we don't necessarily think the EN rating is the be-all and end-all of measurements, we do not think this 15 degrees Fahrenheit temperature rating is accurate in comparison to bags that are EN rated to 15F. We would put the Hazel SL somewhere in the 25-degree range.
We do like the insulated hood shape, and interior draft tube that prevents drafts coming down the front of the neck and the "petite" size fits our 5'5 tester like a glove with no room for extra cold air to hang around.
The Hazel SL weighed in at a hefty 2.61 pounds, almost a full pound heavier than our lightest bags. Most of the down bags in this review are lighter than the Hazel with a few exceptions. The bag feels heavy on top of us, and we can tell the difference in down quality between the Hazel and other bags with high quality 850+ down that feels way lighter and fluffier.
The removable pad sleeve weighs an additional 3 ounces. We think the contributors to the high weight of this bag is all the additional features and a lot more fill weight is required with low quality 600 fill down than a higher fill power to achieve the same warmth.
This product is quite comfortable for a standard mummy shaped bag. We were surprised to see that our 5'5 tester fell at the upper limits of the "petite" size and we were apprehensive that this bag would be too small. However, we were pleased that the sizing was right on and the bag fit our 5'5 tester perfectly. It has just enough room in the hips and shoulders without being too roomy.
Since this is a down sleeping bag, it does compress down relatively small in comparison to the synthetic products we tested. However, this isn't our most compressible product by a long shot. The Hazel is even less compact when you factor in the huge pad sleeve to the equation, which thankfully is removable and you can choose to leave at home.
Big Agnes is known for feature-laden bags. We're not impressed. In general, we believe that most features add to the weight of a bag and don't add much functionality; which is the case with the Hazel. We think that pad sleeves are the biggest culprit of weight adding and we're thankful that you can remove the included pad sleeve - although it is challenging to do so and to put it back together.
The Hazel also has an "exterior cinch system" that's meant to help with sizing your bag. We think it just compresses the down to make the bag less warm although it's meant to shrink the size of the bag, so there is less air inside to keep warm, but by compressing the loft of the bag, it makes it less warm overall.
We do like the Hazel's small stash pocket for evening needs like headlamps and earplugs.
We were disappointed to see that the Hazel rings in at a relatively high price tag. We do not think this is a good value for such a heavy bag with low quality 600 fill down and would recommend some of the other products at the same price point that are warmer and lighter.
The Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 is a relatively warm and comfortable product. However, if this bag had a lower price tag we would be more inclined to recommend it, but it is heavy for a backpacking sleeping bag, and we don't think the included features do much to increase its functionality. There are many other high-quality bags in this review that we would reach for before the Hazel at a similar price point, or we'd pay much less for similar quality products from other manufacturers.
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