Slumber For Two — Big Agnes King Solomon 15 Double Wide Sleeping Bag


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 7, 2017      

Bridging mid-November to mid-December, fifteen good friends and I spent twenty-eight magical days rafting the Colorado River down the Grand Canyon. On this trip Jonathan Cooper and I put one of Big Agnes’ doublewide sleeping bags to the test to see how it would hold up on cold winter nights. Paired with a set of Insulated Double Z sleeping pads, we slept through torrential rain, gritty sand storms, and sub-freezing starry nights with the King Solomon 15 degree two-person sleeping bag.

The comfy 600 fill Downtek™ two person bed in a two person tent along the Colorado river.

The comfy 600 fill Downtek™ two person bed in a two person tent along the Colorado river.

The way I see it, there are two main benefits to having a two person sleeping system. The first is that you get to have all the same benefits you get at home from sleeping next to another person but in the backcountry. For people like me, this means that I get to sleep surrounded by someone else’s heat, use them as a body pillow, and enjoy reflecting on the day while cuddling up with my partner.

The second biggest benefit is, depending on you and your partner’s individual sleeping systems, this might be a lighter and easier to pack alternative than bringing your own kits. While I expect mostly couples would be looking for a sleeping option such as this, I can also see this being useful for climbing partners, best friends, parents and children, or just a lone person and their many dogs.

Snoozing on one of our final mornings of the trip after floating through the night under the full moon to this “bivy” campsite.

Snoozing on one of our final mornings of the trip after floating through the night under the full moon to this “bivy” campsite.

King Solomon 15 is designed like other Big Agnes sleeping bags, in that they don’t have insulation on the underside of the bag. One of the intentions behind this design is weight saving, with the idea that the insulation underneath the bag is compressed anyways. In theory this is a great idea, but the technology incorporated in the two-person sleeping bag seemed to cause a couple of issues. I’ll preface this by saying that my partner and I are not the largest people, and the King Solomon sleeping bag is fairly spacious for two people of our stature (we happily could have fit a dog in there with us).

Despite how enjoyable it was to have a two person sleeping bag for such a long trip, there were a couple of features that had us wondering if it would be the most effective in a different environment. The biggest one was the presence of a few cold spots in the bag. One of them was at the feet, and we think it has to do with the lack of insulation on the underside. The pad and bag combo left a space for cold air to sit. One way this could be solved would be to make a completely insulated foot/lower leg box (similar to a normal sleeping bag), that way any cold spots would be done away with.

The two pads side-by-side. Another contributor to our cold feet was the gap between the mummy shaped pads down at the bottom. Having two rectangular insulated pads would avoid this gap.

The two pads side-by-side. Another contributor to our cold feet was the gap between the mummy shaped pads down at the bottom. Having two rectangular insulated pads would avoid this gap.

The second most notable was at the top near the neck where normally you could cinch a mummy hood up tight around your head. However, with this type of multi-person hood, you can only tighten it around your collective heads and this creates some cold air leaks. Because of these cold spots, this sleeping bag didn’t quite feel like a 15 degree bag to me. In the future, I would only use this system in temperatures above freezing.

Big Agnes has added an easy to snap little bridge that helps the middle of the bag stay close to the hood. We found that this helped insulate our necks/heads a little, but wasn’t really capable of duplicating individual mummy hoods.

Big Agnes has added an easy to snap little bridge that helps the middle of the bag stay close to the hood. We found that this helped insulate our necks/heads a little, but wasn’t really capable of duplicating individual mummy hoods.

Other than a couple of cold spots, which we are largely contributing to the fact that we are smaller individuals, the bag has many noteworthy features that make it a great option for the right conditions. One of these features is the “pillow barn,” a small flap on either side that allows you to stuff a camp pillow or puffy coat under it, and holds it in place.

The Pillow Barn! This feature is  handy for keeping your pillow just where you want it. Plus, it keeps your jacket a bit cleaner.

The Pillow Barn! This feature is really handy for keeping your pillow just where you want it. Plus, it keeps your jacket a bit cleaner.

Another excellent feature is the ability to use two individual pads or one of Big Agnes’ doublewide pads with the King Solomon. I was worried that we would have the dreaded gap in between two individual pads, but the coupler straps under the bag solved that problem beautifully. As mentioned, we used 2 Double-Z pads, which were plenty thick and comfortable. My only gripe with these inflatable pads was the incredible lung capacity required to inflate them each night (so much so that we utilized our raft pump to inflate them).

Overall, Big Agnes King Solomon 15 was a good sleeping system for us on our trip down the Grand Canyon, and we’ll use it on other mountain adventures, and definitely for car camping.

A little dose of Havasu blue from my trip down the Colorado River.

A little dose of Havasu blue from my trip down the Colorado River.

Shop for Big Agnes sleeping bags here.


Comments

8 Responses to “Slumber For Two — Big Agnes King Solomon 15 Double Wide Sleeping Bag”

  1. Shane February 7th, 2017 11:46 am

    Good review. My wife and I recently bought a very similar bag from Nemo and I have the same gripes about the lack of insulation on the bottom around the footbox. I may take a look at modding something into the sleeping pad sleeve.

    I’m also an incessant “flopper arounder” so time will tell whether I get completely evicted from the system.

  2. afox February 7th, 2017 12:50 pm

    We;re using two kelty synthetic rectangular bags for car camping and river trips. When we want to have a double bag we zip them together, since they are truly rectangular they zip together no problem and the shape is great. When we are solo we can use them singularly. The synthetic rectangular bags are really comfy and I found that the insulation adds quite a bit of padding to whatever camp pad we are using. We use two exped 25″ wide rectangular pads in a nemo double wide sleeve (best product ever) typically with the kelty pads. The 50″ wide bed is pretty nice, for reference a full mattress is 54″ wide.

  3. Blair February 7th, 2017 5:13 pm

    Check out the Ray-Way quilt, a kit designed by Ray Jardine. He has been ‘doubling up’ for decades and has a seasoned arguement for doing just that, from polar explorations to light weight backpacking journies. His biography alone is worth the search.

  4. Steve February 7th, 2017 7:19 pm

    We got a 30 degree Big Agnes double this year, and my wife and I like it a lot. There is a significant potential downside of, um, escaping gas. Might want to skip the Mountain House chili mac.

  5. Greg February 8th, 2017 5:08 am

    I’ve had good luck with the Therm-A-Rest Vela Double quilt in temperatures near and above freezing. The quilt has an elasticized foot box that provides a good seal underneath your feet to keep cold spots away as suggested in the review. There is no hood, but I agree that the utility of a hood is limited when two people are involved. The Vela Double is comfortable down to about 40F by itself, but I’ve used it into the upper 20F range with the addition of a silk liner bag and extra clothing.

  6. Lisa Dawson February 8th, 2017 8:14 am

    Everyone, thanks for sharing your solutions. My favorite double bag is a classic, flannel lined Coleman. It’s way too heavy to lug any farther than the truck bed but it sure is warm and cozy. Lots of fond memories sleeping under the stars in that thing.

  7. Jason February 8th, 2017 1:01 pm

    Krissy and I have one of these and love it even for winter outings in the Cascades. We tend to be warm sleepers but the extra room lets us sleep in our puffy jackets on the coldest nights (in the single digits on the ridge near Coleman Pinnacle!) and stay comfortable. I haven’t noticed any issues with the footbox being cold but we are using two Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm pads with one turned around so there isn’t any gaps between them. I’m not a small guy but we’ve even been able to squeeze our 12lb terrier in with us on a few trips.

  8. corvcycleguy February 8th, 2017 4:17 pm

    My wife and I got ourselves a pair of Nemo Mezzo Loft Luxury sleeping bags with a pair of REI campbed 3.5 sleeping pads. The bag is 30″ wide and so is the pad, when zipped together it provides a really nice sleeping space (queen size mattress size) with individual foot boxes as well as head space with pillow sleeves. When out on our own individually we can expect reasonable sleeping comfort down to 35 degrees, but there is a penalty to having so much space to spread out on your own. That extra space is harder to heat up and maintain heat which does create the sensation of cold spots. I spent a week sleeping in my bag while mountain biking in Fruita Colorado this past October, with evenings in the low 30’s, I slept very comfortably with a wool top and bottom baselayer.

    Over all I would say I’m very pleased with these bags, especially since the use of these will be for mostly car camping in the spring, summer, and fall.

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