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Custom Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes ‘Hazel’ Review

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Big Agnes newest women’s sleeping bag stands apart due to a ‘customizable’ fit. We tested it in northern Minnesota for a review.

Big Agnes Hazel

The Hazel sleeping bag does a couple things differently than similar bags on the market. Two examples: its “customizable fit system” and REM Pad Sleeve.

Big Agnes released the Hazel, a cold-weather bag this spring. I headed north for cooler climates and a test. On trips to the North Shore of Minnesota, the customizable fit system impressed me with its ability to extend the range of the bag from warm conditions to cold.

Although to be clear, temperatures ranged between about 40 degrees F to 50 degrees F, which is pushing the upper envelope of a cold-weather bag.

I’ve largely slept in the bag with it open like a quilt. But I did try to use the customizable fit to get a sense of how it’ll work in colder temps.

I’ll be testing more as the temps drop this fall, and will update this article with more impressions at that time.

The Customizable Fit System

Big Agnes Hazel
Side hook and clasp closure system.

When I first saw this bag, I climbed in and tested the custom fit system. The concept seems so simple that I’m surprised the industry has taken this long to develop a customizable sleeping bag.

The system works with hook and loop closures along the length of the bag on both sides. Feeling cold? Simply reach down and close the cold spots closer to your body.

REM Pad Sleeve

Big Agnes Hazel
Sleeping bag stored inside REM pad sleeve.

Traditional pad sleeves consist of a layer of nylon fabric permanently attached to the under side of a sleeping bag, designed to keep the bag from sliding off the pad.

The Hazel offers this, but with the option to detach the sleeve. This makes it easier to store.

Unlike other Big Agnes bags that don’t have insulation on the pad-facing side, the Hazel SL 15 offers insulation on the pad side.

Big Agnes Hazel
REM sleeve with pad inserted

While a small detail, I really love the sleeve design. Gone are the days when I lose my storage sack in the wind and have to use a garbage bag! Plus, I never had to worry about sliding off of my sleeping pad (which can be downright uncomfortable in winter).

I used the sleeve with my Big Agnes Air Core Ultra and never had issues with fit. It should work fine with most sleeping pads.

Face Fabric And Down 

Big Agnes Hazel
Buttery face fabric and zipper system

Big Agnes builds the Hazel SL 15 with nylon rip-stop shell fabric and a water repellent finish, but it might as well be butter. From the moment I felt the fabric, I knew I would enjoy nights I could spend inside it. Seriously, I loved the fabric so much that I used the bag as a throw on my couch.

Inside, you’ll find 650-fill DownTek water repellent down insulation. 650-fill is high quality, but not quite top shelf. It’s darned good, compresses well, but still keeps the price in the realm of reality for most people (compared with higher fill-powers that cost a fortune).

The bag got wet on one trip and I was still toasty all night, despite unfortunately smelling like a wet dog. The down didn’t clump, and it didn’t absorb much water although it was still damp in the morning.

Big Agnes committed to down sourced according to the Responsible Down Standard. This outlines ethical treatment for ducks and geese. Personally, this made a difference for me. I felt better using the bag knowing they adhere to the organization’s standards.

The Bottom Line: Big Agnes Hazel Sleeping Bag

I would recommend this bag to someone who sleeps outside year-round, as the customizable fit system allows for a tighter fit in the cold and a looser fit for warmer nights.

At $300, this bag isn’t something you pick up on a whim. But it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone needing a versatile sleeping bag, all year around.

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