Peter H.wrote a question about Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad on September 26, 2018
How thick is this pad?
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How thick is this pad?
This is a very preliminary review, but there are some features of this jacket that are worth noting.
First off, the value offered is outstanding. Down distribution is uniform throughout the entire jacket, and there are no obvious flaws in the stitching. The combination of a 40d shell and almost 6 oz of 800 fp down make this a very warm jacket that should have better durability than some of the ultralight offerings with very light fabric. On my scale a size medium in the green color weighs 14 oz on the nose. The zippers all zip like they should, this packs into its own pocket easily into a size that would make a nice pillow when slipped in the hood of your bag, and the drawstring waist plus the generous elastic cuffs work together to seal out drafts. I tend to get cold hands so the cuffs are something I particularly like.
Now the negative: The hood is effing terrible. TERRIBLE. The way the neck area is shaped is nice because it easily allows you to layer with something that has a substantial collar (I wear a MH monkey man fleece as a midlayer often, this jacket layers over the substantial and very warm neck perfectly) but as you go up into the hood there is zero adjustment. If you wear this without a brimmed hat and turn your head, you will be staring at the inside of your hood. I would happily pay more money for the same jacket with some very basic hood adjustments that would allow the hood to move with your head and better seal out drafts.
I really wish Sierra Designs would figure out how to make a hood that actually moves with your head without being constricting. I have an Elite Cagoule from them that is better at keeping me dry than a $400 eVent jacket I used to have, but it also has a hood that is terrible in different ways.
I almost returned this, but since I wear a lightweight baseball hat almost every time I am outdoors I can live with it for the price. I would rate this jacket 3.5/5 if I could, the hood issue is that annoying and inexcusable. A simple shock cord running from the sides to the back of the hood would have made this a 5/5 for the outstanding value. There is a version of this jacket with no hood available at other retailers.
I don't spend a ton of time outside in the rain, but have worn these while walking through very wet, waist high grass and more recently in a light rain. If you brush up against wet vegetation or give it some time, the face fabric is going to wet out. The light rain I was in today is a good example. Just the pressure of the rain on my thighs for ~45 minutes was enough to see water passing to the inside of the pant. The hiking pants I was wearing underneath were not wetting out, but I would not trust these in heavier or wind driven rain. Once the factory DWR starts to fail, they will not be very useful.
They do breathe well for a rain pant, hiking at a moderate pace in cool temps saw no condensation from the inside. If one needs these for an occasional quick shower, they are up to the task. For prolonged time outside in the rain, you will want something more substantial.