The Big Agnes Rapide SL exceeded our expectations on our three-night camping venture. We went into our trip thinking that it would resemble “another sleep pad,” but we were blown away by the comfort of this product. Falling asleep on the Big Agnes Rapide SL mirrored what we assume feels like drifting to dreamland on a thick cloud; it was noticeably more comfortable than other light sleeping pads. Nights in a tent can be hit-or-miss, often falling under the “miss” category, but this sleeping pad allows for a relaxing, deeper sleep.
The Big Agnes Rapide SL is one well-thought-out sleeping pad with good design and thoughtfulness throughout. This sleeping pad provides the ultimate layer between the sticks and dirt on the ground and you. The first thing we noticed? Comfort. It was truly remarkable. The surface was super soft, and laying on it felt like laying in a cradle, thanks to the 3.5″ thick pad, with the outside being 4.25″. These features created a bit of a cocoon-like feeling for the tester.
Sometimes it can be annoying to blow up a sleeping pad, but not with the Big Agnes. We loved using the included inflation bag to pump air into the camping mattress. There was no huffing and puffing required, merely open the bag and squeeze the air into the sleeping pad. It took us twelve squeezes to fill up the pad. Best of all, the attachment to the sleeping pad was really good, so we didn’t deal with it separating repeatedly. There is also a one-way valve for inflating, which means air can’t seep out when you close it. When you want to deflate the pad, there is another deflation valve, which makes deflation easy, and we didn’t even have to press on the bag to let the air out!
To sum up our verdict: the Big Agnes Rapide SL masters comfort and practicality. The features paired with the cloud-like feeling elevated our camping trip. Nothing beats a good night of sleep, right?
The Big Agnes Rapide SL is a fantastic three-season, light, and insulated product and makes for a great addition to your camping gear.
When to use: This sleeping pad received an R-value of 4.2, meaning it will keep you cozy and warm when the weather dips—boasting the same rating as the NeoAir Xlite. While it holds in warmth, we still suggest using this during spring, summer, and autumn. Slip a Big Agnes Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pad under your sleeping pad for added insulation during winter!
Weight: The Big Agnes Rapide SL comes in numerous sizes! We tested the 20×78″, which weighed in at 21oz/595g. Our tester felt that for a backpacking adventure, the 20×72″ (19oz/539g) or the 20×66″ (18oz/510g) would be a better choice as you’d save some weight without losing much for functionality.
Pros and Cons
- Great design. From the efficient inflation bag, the easy deflation, the robust mattress, the cradling sides, the creators of this sleeping pad clearly thought of everything!
- Comfort. We can’t emphasize this “pro” enough! This sleeping pad exudes comfort, which, as we mentioned, is probably due to the 3.5″ thick pad, with the outside being 4.25″, creating the cradle-like fit. The quilted top always gives a nice cushion-like feel. The comfort propelled our tent sleep!
- Soft surface. We could’ve put this one under “comfort,” but creating a whole new section for the sleeping pad’s soft surface felt reasonable. Our tester uses a quilt instead of a sleeping bag, and often the feeling of sleeping pads is sticky or rough, but not this one, thanks to the pillowy texture.
- R-value of 4.2. This R-value means that the Big Agnes works to keep you warm throughout the three seasons!
- Robust. The Big Agnes sleeping pad felt solid and sturdy, surprising considering its low weight of 21oz/595g.
- Weight. Some may find the weight a bit too heavy if you’re going deep into the wild, despite it being a fairly light sleeping pad. For reference, it clocks in at 150g more than the Thermarest NeoAir XLite. This extra weight translates directly to comfort, in our testers’ opinion. So if you’re willing to pack an extra 150g for a super comfortable sleep pad, then this may be the one. We think it’s worth it! You could purchase the 20×72″ or the 20×66″ mattress instead, saving you 55g or 85g.
Construction and Materials
Everything about the Big Agnes SL is clearly designed for a quick and efficient set-up without compromising comfort. Some key construction and materials and features worth noting (and highlighting again) are:
- Durability, thanks to the aviation-grade TPU lamination technology
- Nylon double rip-stop fabric, creating the lightweight feel
- Great insulation (PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation) and heat reflective film layer to keep you warm
- Efficient inflation and deflation
- Soft surface due to the quilted top
It’s best to end this gear review here before we spend thousands of words raving about the comfortability, durability, and overall awesomeness of the Big Agnes Rapide SL. This is a great sleeping pad to use throughout spring, summer, and autumn, as it will keep you warm and grant relaxing sleep. Nights in a tent are already restless enough, but we found the features of the Big Agnes ensured rest more than anything else.