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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Zero Impact Challenge: Big Agnes Tumble Down 20

Less bag where many hikers don't need it makes a big difference.

by: Berne Broudy

Big Agnes Tumble Down 20 (
Big Agnes Tumble Down 20 (

If you know this company's bag philosophy, you know that it starts with a leg up in a challenge like this: Many of its models replace most or all of the insulation on the bottom of the bag with a thin sleeve for a sleeping pad. Big Agnes figures that your body compresses the fill beneath it, so why not use a pad for insulation? The result: less fill, lower footprint. The company has also substantially reduced the carbon impact of transporting materials by sourcing everything it needs–from feathers and fabric to clips and straps–close to its factory. And when it sends bags to retailers, it packs several into one box. It also uses 100-percent recycled and/or recyclable poly for the shell, liner, trim, cords, webbing, and stuffsack.

This ultracompact bag was the favorite of minimalist-minded testers. The pad sleeve holds any 20-inch-wide rectangular or mummy mat; an adjustable cord secures the pad at the foot. In colder temps, you'll want an insulated mat, since there's no down under your torso. The setup is great for stomach and back sleepers, not so great for side sleepers, because the bag and pad don't roll with you. The yoke-style draft collar and thick draft tube along the 3/4-length zipper kept breezes out. Drawbacks: The one-way zipper slider eliminates leg venting, and the hood is positioned above and off the pad. (The solution: Shove clothes into the attached pillow pocket.) $260; unisex S-L; 2 lbs. 12 oz.;

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