Big Agnes AXL Air Pad

Great news: I wrote back in August ‘Big Agnes were showcasing a new pad at the Outdoor Retailer show. It will be 20 x72 x just under 4 inches thick – 9 ounces ie 50 x 180 x 7.5cm –  270 grams. It will be available in uninsulated (US$140) and insulated with Primaloft Silver (10 ounces- 300 grams, US$180) versions they said. The fabric is 20 denier with random ripstop, and the pad has a large inflation valve that seals as you blow’.

There is now information about it on the Big Agnes site. It is available in their usual size choices, but I should be able to cut it down to  5’6‘ length (me) at approx 275 grams, and 5’ length (Della) at approx 250 grams or even 4’ length at approx 200 grams, a real game changer. The 3″ thickness should also add a new standard of comfort.

This will shave 155 grams off our combined pack weight compared with Thermarest’s excellent Neoair Womens (2 at 340 grams each). Given the savings I have been making lately with tents, our packs will soon be carrying themselves! You should be able to cut it down yourself to whatever dimensions you want:

I have always been a big supporter of Big Agnes’ excellent products, so I can’t wait really to get my hands (or back) on one: and it is now available (Jan 2018) – and the insulated version is here:

We have had two different versions of their Insulated Air Core Mats for many years – I guess 15 – a regular length and a petite at 5′ long, both in mummy shape. I am 5’7″ but a side sleeper so I can fit on the 5′ mat quite comfortably. It doesn’t matter if your feet hang over the edge so long as they don’t touch the ground. We have used them hundreds of times without any problems at all. They have been exceedingly comfortable. The only reason we have not been using them recently is that the Thermarest Neoair Women’s have been quite a  bit lighter (I guess nearly 200 grams), though perhaps not quite so durable. With this new pad Big Agnes have gazumped Thermarest by around 70 grams. I would have though that would be impossible. I will definitely want to try these new pads out soon.

The new (wider – 25″) AXL pad would be excellent for hammocking. That width should prevent your shoulders from flattening your sleeping bag against the hammock and creating a cold spot. Cut it down to the length you need. I would only need 5’6″ so its weight would be 395 grams. That is all you need to sleep in a hammock in cold weather.

While you are buying one of these great new pads why not also buy one of these great Cyclone Chairs too which I have recommended again and again. I guess ours have done 15 years service, many hundreds of nights and days. They are real comfort in the back country:

PS: Only available so far (Jan 2018) in two sizes at Rei – neither are the ones I need! No doubt more are coming.

PPS: Something I missed: These pads are 3.75″ (9.525 cm) thick. Such comfort!

PPPS: Note these pads are three season only. They do not (in my experience) cope well with temperatures of below say about 10 C.

PPPPS: Apparently I had an early version of this pad. I have heard from Big Agnes (Linda Curzon) today (05/03/2019). They have improved the AXL pad since I bought mine and are swapping them over for me. The new pad should weigh pretty much the same but have a better insulation rating. They are aiming for 0C when the ‘new’ standard comes into effect in 2020. I am eager to get my back on it! I will keep you posted.

I have bought a $20 pad from K-Mart to practice my cutting and resealing techniques on. I will at least make myself an air frame for my pack (if I don’t make a pack raft out of it!) I have an adjustable miniature hot iron for aircraft modelling should do the trick just right, but clearly i do not want to destroy the AXL pad!

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8 thoughts on “Big Agnes AXL Air Pad”

  1. Thanks very much for that info,unfortunately I dragged my heels on the warranty timeframe and the seller(australian) wanted all postage paid and i just reverted back to my swag in disgust.

    I still have mine somewhere though the brother threw he’s out.
    Will definitely try your suggestion.
    I live in Newry,close to Dargo area and have been meaning to see the Wonnangatta fron the water as opposed to the motorbikes perspective.
    Great website,very inspirational,shall make a donation in support!

    1. Thanks so much Andrew. These guys have excellent info on how to heat seal: Also you can buy a pack raft off them and do what I did: You will have to wait for rain and the right water level though. I’m wondering whether the seller had old stock or seconds. I have bought direct from Big Agnes and have always found their stuff great – particularly their cyclone chair:

  2. Beware!!!3 years ago I purchased 2 Big Agnes insulated mattresses for my brother and I at a cost of $184 each.
    We did a 3 day trip and found them comfortable. They were then stored in a rolled out manner till the next trip,both mattresses leaked profusely from the seams on the second night and failed to remain inflated for more than 20 minutes.
    Very disappointed.

      1. What a great tip – to fix with a hot iron… I must drag out some old leaky matresses and have a go… thank you as always for such good ideas. PS: This would work on seams. A repair elsewhere will need a patch or some tape.

  3. Great timing.
    Now that I have my tent, I am now in the market. These do look great, comfortable and lightweight.
    Thanks for the tip off, I’ll be on the lookout.

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