Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big Agnes on the scene

The Amazon Outdoor Store
Sometimes ingenuity comes from the simplest of ideas. Such was the case for the breakthrough product of a Colorado backcountry gear company with Carbondale ties.A firm called Big Agnes managed in 2001 to squeeze into the camping gear industry by coming up with a revolutionary design for its sleeping bags.The product developers for the company, based in Steamboat Springs, were experienced backcountry travelers. They knew full well the frustration of thrashing around at night in a tent, slipping off a sleeping pad and paying the price by getting chilled to the bone.So they stripped the insulation from the bottom of their bags and replaced it with a sleeve that a sleeping pad slides into. That solves a couple of problems: first, sleepers don’t roll off their pads because it is integrated with their bags; second, there’s more guaranteed protection from the cold ground. The insulation on the bottom of a sleeping bag loses its warmth when a body compresses it. Their design replaces that insulation with a cushy pad. A person can go big with a 2 1/2inch pad when they are car camping or settle for a 1-inch when weight is an issue for backpacking. Pads made by other companies work with Big Agnes’ bags.Some of the insulation removed from the bottom of the sleeping bag was shifted elsewhere. But, overall, less insulation is used in Agnes bags so that means shedding weight without surrendering warmth.

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