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Big Agnes Torchlight UL 20 - Women's Review

This uniquely featured down bag is a good choice for folks who need more room in their sleeping bag, but it's heavy and not particularly warm
Big Agnes Torchlight UL 20 - Women's
Photo: Big Agnes
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Price:  $420 List | $419.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, high quality down fill
Cons:  Heavy for a down bag, not very warm, expensive
Manufacturer:   Big Agnes
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2021
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Packed Size - 15% 7
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

We were intrigued by the Big Agnes Torchlight UL 20 because of its unique design. The Torchlight has 2 extra zippers that allow you to expand the bag to a wider size that fits your comfort needs. We were disappointed in how heavy this bag with a "UL" (ultralight) designation weighed on our scale and don't think its specialized features hit the mark of being so great as to be worthwhile. We think this could be a decent choice for someone looking for a wider backpacking bag, but there are other, lighter products in our review that overall that are a better choice for the same price-point.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $419.95 at Backcountry
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$570 List$399.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Comfortable, high quality down fillHigh-quality down, warm, lightweightHigh-quality down, warm and lofty, light, a top tier productLightweight, warm, comfortable, versatileLightweight, compressible, comfortable
Cons Heavy for a down bag, not very warm, expensiveSizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisyExpensiveHigh price tagExpensive, not particularly warm
Bottom Line This uniquely featured down bag is a good choice for folks who need more room in their sleeping bag, but it's heavy and not particularly warmThis high-end bag will keep you warm and comfortable from Spring to Fall in all conditionsA high-tech, high-quality backpacking sleeping bag with more roomy dimensions than mostThis versatile, lightweight bag will keep you warm and comfortable on your extended backcountry foraysThis lightweight sleeping bag is a great choice for alpine climbing or fast and light adventures
Rating Categories Torchlight UL 20 Egret UL 20 Sea to Summit Flame 15 Alpinlite Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Warmth (25%)
6
10
9
8
6
Weight (25%)
7
10
9
9
10
Comfort (20%)
7
8
9
9
8
Packed Size (15%)
7
8
9
8
9
Features (15%)
6
9
8
8
7
Specs Torchlight UL 20 Egret UL 20 Sea to Summit... Alpinlite Rab Neutrino 400 -...
ISO/EN Comfort Rating (F) 24 F 20 F (not EN rated) 15 F 20 F (not EN rated) 21 F
Fill Type 850-fill DownTek Goose down Goose down 850-fill down Goose down
Measured Weight (in lbs) 2.4 lb 1.7 lb 2.0 lb 1.9 lb 1.7 lb
Total Weight (oz) 38 oz 27.5 oz 31.2 oz 29.6 oz 27.2 oz
Fill Power 850 950+ 850+ 850 800
Women specific features Expandable panel fits various body shapes Extra fill in footbox and chest Women's specific fit - more insulation in key areas This bag comes in a "Short" length, which is a standard women's size Women's specific fit
Fill Weight (oz) 22 oz 17.3 oz (medium) 22.9 oz 17 oz 14.1oz
Material Ultralight polyester ripstop Pertex Endurance UL Ultralight 10D Nylon Shell Nylon Pertex Quantum
Neck Baffle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pocket Yes No No No Yes
Sleeping Pad Sleeve No No No No No
Zipper Length 59 in 62 in 56 in 65 in 62 in
Shoulder Girth 54/62 in 54 in 60 in 63 in 60 in
Hip Girth 56/72 in 56 in 58 in 56 in 56 in
Foot Girth 36/48 in 38 in 40 in 39 in 38 in
Stuff Sack included? Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Compression stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included

Our Analysis and Test Results

The unique Torchlight UL 20 Women's has interesting features, like the expansion panels that increase roominess significantly. Unfortunately, they add unwanted weight and bulk to this good quality down sleeping bag. We aren't convinced this tradeoff is worth it for most folks, but backpackers consistently uncomfortable in narrow mummy sleeping bags may find some relief here.

Performance Comparison


The Big Agnes Torchlight UL has interesting expansion panels, that...
The Big Agnes Torchlight UL has interesting expansion panels, that are a unique innovation for folks who need the extra room. They also decrease warmth and add weight.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Warmth


Although the Torchlight has "20" in its name, this product is EN rated to 24 degrees. We don't think most people would be comfortable in this bag down to those temperatures and would not use it in lower than freezing temperatures. Because of the ability for this bag to get super wide, we think it is not very warm if it is fully expanded because of all the air that needs to be warmed up. In short, utilizing the expansion panels means decreasing the warmth of this bag. When the zippers are done up we believe that a lot of down is getting compressed and therefore is not as effective. We like that the Torchlight has 850 fill down, which will help contribute to its warmth, but only if it is not being compressed.

When not expanded, the Torchlight is a very tight fit around the...
When not expanded, the Torchlight is a very tight fit around the legs, so it's nice to be able to customize the fit.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Weight


We were disappointed at how heavy this bag is considering it has the Ultra Light designation. The Torchlight weighs 2.4 ounces, which is much heavier than the other down bags at its price point and with a similar amount and fill power of down feathers.

Comfort


This bag can definitely get very roomy. Folks with wider hips and/or shoulders will really like this fit. However, if the point of having the expansion zippers is to address the fact that some people feel claustrophobic in a mummy bag, they do not entirely succeed. By opening the expansion zippers up there's definitely a lot more room for your legs and torso, but it doesn't open the head/hood area up at all. When the bag is fully zipped up, it still feels claustrophobic and hard to get out of. This problem could be addressed by making the head/hood area wider and including a drawstring to cinch it down.

The Big Agnes Torchlight's expansion panels make the leg and torso...
The Big Agnes Torchlight's expansion panels make the leg and torso area very roomy, but we found the hood claustrophobic even with the panels opened since they don't extend to the face opening.
Photo: Ian McEleney

When the Torchlight's zippers are zipped up it's quite a tight fit, so you could undo one side and leave the other done up for a more custom fit. We also like how quiet and soft the shell material is. We tested the "Petite" size that is supposed to fit people up to 5' 5", and we found it fit our 5' 5" tester with room to spare, so if you're on the cusp of sizes we think this bag would fit up to 5' 6" or 5' 7".

Packed Size


The Torchlight comes with a lightweight stuff sack that is somewhat large. We think this bag could fit into a much smaller compression sack and would recommend purchasing one for this product. However, because of its extra zippers and material, the Torchlight is not as compressible as other similar down bags.

The Torchlight comes with a lightweight stuff sack, but this bag...
The Torchlight comes with a lightweight stuff sack, but this bag compresses to a smaller packed size if put into a third-party compression sack.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Features


This model has quite a lot of features. We like the internal pocket to stash things like our headlamp or earplugs in the night. We also like the Torchlight's high-quality down and soft liner materials.

The Big Agnes Torchlight 20 UL has a mesh interior stash pocket. We...
The Big Agnes Torchlight 20 UL has a mesh interior stash pocket. We like that there are no zippers, but don't like that it's located on the bottom side of the bag so you can't store things you wouldn't want to lie on top of, like a headlamp.
Photo: Ian McEleney

The expandable panel feature is the most prominent and we don't think that the extra weight and bulk of this feature is worth the added comfort, unless you plan to keep the bag expanded all the time to fit your body shape - in which case this could be a good "fit" for you. The small zippers used to open and close the panels are very delicate and often catch the shell materials.

The Torchlight has an anti-snag covering on its main zipper, but we...
The Torchlight has an anti-snag covering on its main zipper, but we still found that its delicate material was easily snagged.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


The Torchlight UL is one of the more expensive products in our review. Unfortunately, we don't think that it is a very good value. It does have high-quality down fill and nice materials, but it is heavier and not as warm as its competitors at this price point.

Conclusion


Although its unique design was intriguing, the Torchlight fell short of our expectations. It would be best for a backpacker who needs the extra space and is looking for a good quality down bag. We don't think the ability to compress the bag to a smaller shape is particularly useful and would choose a different, high-end product instead.

Jessica Haist