Big Agnes is a brand founded on innovative solutions that help us go further into the backcountry. The brand’s co-founder Bill Gamber created the company after discovering a radically new way to design sleeping bags. His design significantly reduced the weight of a sleeping bag without decreasing its warmth. Suddenly, Gamber was able to reduce his pack weight without sacrificing sleeping comfort. He could get into the outdoors and carry less. And getting out into the outdoors is what Big Agnes is all about; in fact, the company is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, surrounded by thousands of square miles of wilderness. The company itself was named after a rocky peak in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, and all of its products share a name with a nearby peak, creek, river, trail, or even an infamous moment in local history.
That first big idea back in 2000 is now known as the Big Agnes System; it’s a method of eliminating the insulation in the bottom of a sleeping bag to reduce weight and bulk. Because this insulation usually compresses after it’s slept on, the Big Agnes System uses a sleeping pad to provide warmth on the bottom of the bag. This design, along with the innovative Insotect baffling system, has garnered Big Agnes a lot of attention from the outdoor industry and gram-counting backpackers alike. Today, the company offers a full line of bags, filled with high-fill DownTek waterproof down or high-quality synthetic insulation, in both its proprietary design or a traditional sleeping bag style. And since a pad is an integral part of its bags, Big Agnes naturally carries sleeping pads in a range of sizes, weights, and styles.
Big Agnes tents like the ultralight Fishhook, Fly Creek, and Copper Spur have also rack up awards. These tents uses designs that bring the weight of a backcountry shelter down to nearly unheard-of levels. On the other end of the weight spectrum, the Big Agnes Big House car camping tent provides ample room for a crowd of campers, and its Mine Mountain line of mountaineering tents offer protection from extreme weather.
Recently, Big Agnes took its nearly fifteen years of experience in perfecting sleeping bag insulation and applied it to high-performance apparel. Utilizing its waterproof DownTek high-fill-power down, the company has created a line of jackets with a remarkable warmth-to-weight ratio. The designers also found a way to incorporate the Insotec Flow vertical baffling that further enhances the jackets’ warmth. The Hole in the Wall and Shovelhead jackets for men and women were instant successes when they hit the market.
Between the mountainous location of its headquarters, the names of its products, and its understanding of what people need from their outdoor gear, it’s evident that Big Agnes has a strong connection to its surroundings. The company backs up this commitment with the use of recycled and environmentally friendlier materials and processes, as well as supporting the work of non-profits dedicated to better stewardship of our environment. This is a brand that believe that the outdoors aren’t just where we get away, but where our stories are made.