The Air Core Ultra (an air construction pad) is a new take on a model that has been on the market for years and was a popular alternative to the self-inflating options of the day. Since that time, other pad designs have emerged that we like better (specifically: air construction with baffled insulation). In respect to keeping you off the ground, the Air Core we reviewed gives you three inches of comfort over rocks and pine cones and is pretty comfortable. However, the vertical baffles are deep and are much less comfortable than shallower baffles found on pads like the Exped SynMat 7. Further, several testers woke up on the ground with the Air Core beside them… with the slippery surface fabric to blame. This pad also left a lot to be desired. A 2017 update to this product, though, attempts to improve upon these weaknesses in warmth and stability.
Big Agnes confirmed that the Air Core was replaced with the new Air Core Ultra, and we have hopes that the latest version will improve upon the performance of its predecessor. Keep reading to get the full story on the updates!
Ultimately, the best reason you should buy this pad is because it is inexpensive and is often on sale. We think that the Best Buy Award winning Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture presents a better value and is quite comparable to the Air Core except that the Venture is warmer and more comfortable.