Big Agnes Q Core SLX Review

Big Agnes Q Core SLX
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There is nothing more frustrating than having to sleep on uncomfortable portable mattresses and sleeping pads. This is perhaps the worst part of backpacking.

With the Big Agnes Q Core SLX, this problem goes away quickly and instantly. Practicality, compactness, and comfort are essential to every backpacker out there, and with the Big Agnes Q Core SLX, you will get all these features.

Big Agnes Q Core SLX

The Big Agnes Q Core SLX is an inflatable sleeping pad that is intended for outdoor and indoor sleeping purposes. The new version was released a few years ago and is a go-to choice of many backpackers and campers. The new Q-core version comes with drastically improved valves and much better tear strength.

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Who is this product for?

The Q Core SLX is clearly intended for backpackers, people who aren’t always certain that they’ll be able to sleep just about anywhere. With the Big Agnes Q Core SLX, you can easily sleep anywhere, wherever you find yourself at.

This sleeping pad is easy to use, quick to unpack, and designed with compactness in mind to take up as little space as possible in your backpack. Inflatable, lightweight, and conveniently small when deflated, this pad is a backpacker’s best friend.

The Big Agnes Q Core SLX also works wonders for people who tend to camp frequently. It works with any land type and is quite resilient. And yes, it will fit any camping tent out there, so you don’t have to worry about the weather and wildlife. This sleeping pad might seem a tad expensive, but there isn’t a better one for the comfort that you get here.

What’s included?

The Q Core SLX sleeping pad comes with a nylon bag for carrying around and a patch kit. The patch kit is a very useful perk, as it offers you the ability to patch any potential holes that may appear.

The only thing that the Q Core SLX lacks, really, is a pumphouse. However, it isn’t too difficult to inflate and Big Agnes also offers the fantastic Pumphouse Ultra that enables the user to inflate the Q Core SLX even faster.

Overview of features

Unlike many other manufacturers, Big Agnes doesn’t rate the warmth of their products with the typical, R-value. To make things simpler to understand, this manufacturer gives a minimum temperature at which their mats and other equipment will keep you warm. For the Q Core SLX, this temperature is 15°F, which is more than enough for winter camping, let alone backpacking, where you’ll usually find a roof to sleep under.

When it comes to comfort, the Q Core SLX is fantastic. When fully inflated, it is as firm as a self-inflating mattress. The Q-Core will lose some of its stability if you let some air out and will become a bit bouncy. Although this does sound like a downside, some people prefer using this sleeping pad a little deflated. It is also one of the lightest sleeping pads around, making it ideal when it comes to transport. Its valves are also a dramatic improvement compared to the earlier Q-Core version.

Durability-wise, the Q Core SLX definitely has better tear strength. In fact, it’s 25% better compared to the earlier model. Its light weight may make you think twice about the guaranteed durability, but the aviation-grade TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) that the Q Core SLX is made of will have you sleeping easy, so to speak.

How to use it

It is recommended that you get a tool to help you inflate the pad, as doing it on your own will take a lot of time and will leave you  huffing and puffing. The above-mentioned Pumphouse Ultra makes for a great addition to the Q Core SLX.

Attach the ‘balloon’ to the Q Core SLX’s valve, blow some air into it, quickly seal the open end of the Pumphouse Ultra, and squeeze the air into the sleeping pad. This will ensure that the Q Core SLX is ready for use within minutes.

If you don’t want to use an accessory to inflate the pad, set aside some time to have it ready.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Portable and compact
  • Excellent warmth rating
  • Quality build
  • Very comfortable when fully inflated

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an inflation tool
  • May lose comfort if deflated a little

Alternative

If you’re looking for a cheaper sleeping pad alternative that is easier to inflate and deflate, the REI Co-Op Flash may be an ideal choice. It is self-inflatable and features cushioning that provides comfort even if you let a bit of air out. However, the build quality here can’t be compared to the Q Core SLX, as this unit is both highly resilient and features a patch kit that can help you cover up any hole.

Conclusion

The Big Agnes Q Core SLX is a fantastic sleeping pad that can provide you with a comfortable night’s sleep regardless of where you are. Fantastic both indoors and outdoors, it is more comfortable and warmer than the majority of luxury beds. Although it doesn’t come with an inflating tool for a convenient setup, it is a fantastic and practical sleeping pad.

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