Big Agnes Rapide SL Insulated Tent Floor Review
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Big Agnes Rapide SL Insulated Tent Floor
$299.95 at Amazon
$171.93 at REI
|$125.96 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$65.60 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$47.95 at REI
|Pros||Incredibly comfortable, warm, large footprint||Superior warmth, small packed size, light||Lightweight, warm for the weight, packs small, comfortable, versatile||Great value, wide, reasonably light||Lightweight, affordable, great warmth adding supplement|
|Cons||Heavy, large packed size||Narrow, expensive||Expensive, edges not as stable as other pad designs||Low R-value, thinner than some||Breaks down over time, dimples gather dirt and moisture|
|Bottom Line||This sleeping pad is a high-performing option for two sleepers||A true jack of all trades sleeping pad with a highly effective updated valve system||This model boasts a big weight savings, is comfortable, and provides great all around performance||This pad boasts an excellent value in a light and compact package||An effective pad that offers decent three season warmth in a very lightweight package|
|Rating Categories||Big Agnes Rapide SL...||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...||Klymit Static V2||Therm-A-Rest Z Lite...|
|Weight and Packed Size (30%)|
|Ease of Inflation (10%)|
|Specs||Big Agnes Rapide SL...||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...||Klymit Static V2||Therm-A-Rest Z Lite...|
|Weight||52 oz||18.2 oz||16 oz||17.5 oz||14 oz|
|Thickness||3.5 in||2.5 in||2.5 in||2.5 in||0.75 in|
|Claimed R Value||4.2||6.9||4.2||1.3||2|
|Length||50 in||72 in||72 in||72 in||72 in|
|Width||78 in||20 in||20 in||23 in||20 in|
|Packed Volume (L)||6.02 L||1.8 L||1.8 L||0.9 L||1.8 L|
|Breaths to Inflate||N/a||15-20||15-20||12-14||0|
|Type||Air Construction/Synthetic Insulation||Air Construction/Baffled Insulation||Air Construction/Baffled Insulation||Air Construction||Closed-cell foam|
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you don't like to be comfortable, warm, and have every square inch of your tent floor covered in plush padding, this isn't the pad for you! Kidding aside, We struggled to find points in the Rapide double worthy of criticism. While it is on the heavy side, for couples heading out into the backcountry, or even just overnighters in the sidecountry, this is a fantastic sleeping pad.
Throughout our testing, we couldn't stop remarking on the supreme comfort offered by the Rapide Double. The pad more than filled the floor of our trusty BD Firstlight 4 season tent. We had ample room to roll around, cuddle, and truly use the entire space. Early generations of air pads had an annoying bouncy castle feel even with one user, but the SL Tent Floor dampened the bounce even when we were deliberately trying to pester our partner.
We also found this pad, with its deep quilted pattern, to feel more like a mattress than an air pad. The 3.5 inches of padding was more than ample to keep us comfortable while side sleeping or spooning and the 4+ inch outer rails kept everything nestled on the pad without experiencing any side collapse.
Weight and Packed Size
Like all good things in life, you can't have the Yin without the Yang. All of this plush tent floor-covering goodness is balanced out by the extra weight and packed size of the pad. On our kitchen scale the Rapide Double weighed in at 52 ounces. This is equal to carrying about two and a half or three typical single person sleeping pads.
There's no question when talking about backpacking, ounces do matter. We found the extra weight and space, however, to be more than worth the quality sleep and overall comfort experienced with this pad. When considering the health impacts that are now coming to light with diminished sleep, this pad could be a potential boon to your physical well being.
Snuggle in, this pad is toasty warm. Nearly every tent floor pad we have tested seems to outpace their single-pad partners in the warmth department. We suspect because the entire floor is covered in insulation and sharing warmth with a partner becomes much easier. The Rapide Double was so warm, we found ourselves outside our sleeping bags, opening vents in our four-season tent, and like an Adderall-fueled co-worker, we couldn't stop chattering about how warm this pad was.
Our testing revealed a sleeping pad that outperforms its ASTM R-rating, something we feel is worthy of praise. With its 4.2 r-value, this pad is firmly in the all-season category and we feel stretching into the cold season is very possible with the right tent and sleeping bags. Additionally, the 4 am wake up due to the chilling cold rising from the ground was non-existent. Even more than physical discomfort, getting too cold has proven to be one of the hardest things to recover from in the night for our testers.
Ease of Inflation
The Rapide Double is a bear to inflate. Since its volume seems to be about the same as three standard individual pads, we were afraid to attempt to fill with lung power alone. The included stuff sack is thick, durable, and locks onto the filling valve with a satisfying and secure feel. A slightly lighter material and a larger volume pump sack could help the inflation speed and ease a bit, but overall it doesn't detract from the overall usability of this pad.
The combined inflation and deflation apparatus is both effective and has a durable, chunky feel. We were able to fine-tune the firmness of this pad with the adjustment valve inside the one-way fill port easily, as well as add a few breaths to get the things right where we wanted. As with inflation, deflation and packing took some time, but luckily as it is a two-person pad, we had the necessary hands available to get it tucked in and back into the stuff sack without issues.
Comprised of double ripstop nylon and "aviation grade" TPU lamination, this pad is durable. One of the typically vulnerable areas of air construction pads is the inflation valve. We found the Rapide Double inflation/deflation valve to feel supremely durable. The material is on the dense side of heavy rubber and while it is rigid, it complies if compressed or stepped on. This is a huge bonus given the likelihood that it will be stepped on multiple times throughout its life cycle.
While our testing cycle didn't span multiple years, this pad feels as if it is up for a decade of use. We used and abused it, dug our elbow into it, had our dog run around on it, and had no issues. This level of durability should be expected in a sleeping pad you actually intend to use on a regular basis.
We found the Rapide Double to represent a solid value for backpacking couples looking for a double-size sleeping pad. It is about twice the cost of a single sleeping pad but offers significantly more comfort per dollar. Not only does it dish out some serious comfort, the warmth outpaces single sleeping pads with similar ratings which also boosts the value in our eyes. If you are in the market for a tent floor pad, this is an excellent choice.
The Rapide Double is an excellent tent floor sleeping pad if you value comfort, warmth, and the ability to snuggle up to your partner in the backcountry. There is a bit of a weight and packed volume penalty that we feel are well worth the positive attributes offered by this pad. If you haven't experienced a night's sleep camping where rolling off the sleeping pad is literally impossible, we highly recommend it.
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