Home / Gear Reviews / Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL Sleeping Bag Review

Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL Sleeping Bag Review

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
349.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 17, 2015
Last modified:November 1, 2016

Summary:

If you are looking for a highly compressible summer weight sleeping bag that has a lot of interior space, is good for side sleepers, or you're not ready to take the plunge to get an custom-made ultralight quilt, the Pitchpine might be a good warm temperature option for you.


The Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL is a hoodless warm weather sleeping bag.
The Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL is a hoodless warm weather sleeping bag.

The Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL is a lightweight hoodless sleeping bag that only weighs 20 ounces. Perfect for summer or lightweight backpacking, the Pitchpine is insulated with highly compressible 850 fill power Downtek treated down which is more resistant to moisture and faster drying than untreated down feathers.

The Pitchpine has a sleeping pad pocket on the back to keep you warm at night.
The Pitchpine has a half pad sleeve on the back to keep you on your pad all night

The Pitchpine 45 SL is a Big Agnes System bag with a half pad sleeve to keep you from rolling off your pad at night. The sleeve holds any 20″ wide rectangular or mummy shaped pad with an adjustable strap that lets you use pads of different lengths. Corner openings help make it easier to pull an inflated pad into the sleeve and make it possible for you to adjust the inflation level as long as your pad has a corner air valve.

When inserting an inflatable pad into the pad sleeve, make sure the Pitchpine's side zipper is on top of the pad and doesn't run underneath.
When inserting an inflatable pad into the pad sleeve, make sure the Pitchpine’s side zipper is on top of the pad and doesn’t run underneath.

I’ve used the Pitchpine with two 20″ inflatable mummy shaped Therm-a-rest sleeping pads, the Xlite and the XTherm, and while they do fit into the Pitchpine sleeve, they tend to pinch the sleeping bag’s two-way, half-size side zipper, making it difficult to open or close unless you make sure it’s positioned fully on top of the pad. It’s not a showstopper, just something to watch out for because it’s a hassle to reposition at night.

The upper half of the sleeping bag is not insulated under your back, since you're already sleeping on a pad.
The upper half of the sleeping bag is not insulated under your back, since you’re already sleeping on a pad.

In order to save weight, the back of the Pitchpine is not insulated with down from your waist up where you lie on a sleeping pad. Big Agnes was one of the first companies to remove the insulation from this area (they only do it on some of their sleeping bags, not all) since it can’t actually insulate you by trapping warm air if you’re crushing it from above. As long as you have a sleeping pad, your back will be protected from the cold ground.

The lower half of the Pitchpine, from your waist down, is insulated with down to keep your feet and legs warm, since you may choose to use the bag with a 1/2 or 3/4 length sleeping pad.

Hoodless, the top of the Pitchpine cinches close with  shockcord. A pillow case is attached so you can stuff clothing into it to make a pillow.
Hoodless, the top of the Pitchpine cinches close with shockcord. A pillow case is attached so you can stuff clothing into it to make a pillow.

The Pitchpine 45 SL is a hoodless sleeping bag, with a length of shock cord that you can pull closed around your neck and upper shoulders to retain more warmth. Since there are no standard temperature rating tests for hoodless sleeping bags or similar ultralight down quilts, it’s a good idea to bring a fleece beanie and lightweight insulated jacket with you when using one, that you can put on at night if you get cool. I’ve taken this bag down to 50 degrees fahrenheit, but bundled up at 3 am with a lightweight synthetic jacket and fleece cap when the temperature dropped in the wee hours of the morning.

In practice, I’ve found that most hoodless sleeping bags and quilts are probably rated about 10 degrees warmer than they should be, since there’s no standard way to test them and people’s sleeping physiology is so individualized.

When flipped over, the pillow case stays in place all night since it's attached to the top of the bag.
When flipped over, the pillow case stays in place all night since it’s attached to the top of the bag.

The Pitchpine also has a pillow pocket that can be used to hold an inflatable pillow in place or that you can stuff with a fleece or loose clothing. If you flip the pillow “case” over, it will stay in place all night, which is a super nice feature if you’re thrash around when you sleep.

The Pitchpine is available in two sizes: a regular for users up to 5’/10″ in height and a long for users up to 6’/6″ (I’m 5’11’ and the regular size works fits fine for me.) The regular has a shoulder x hip x foot girth of 67.5″ x 64″ x 43″ and the long, 72.5″ x 69″ x 44″, which are both spacious, despite the product’s SL designation. For complete specifications, see Big Agnes.

I like the Big Agnes Pitchpine 45 SL sleeping bag because the it is hoodless, very roomy inside, and I can easily sleep on my side.  I also really like the pillow pocket, because it stays under my head all night and doesn’t wander around in my tent when I roll around.

If you are looking for a highly compressible summer weight sleeping bag that has a lot of interior space, is good for side sleepers, or you’re not ready to take the plunge to get an custom-made ultralight quilt, the Pitchpine might be a good warm temperature option for you. Filled with down, it compresses much smaller in size than a 20 or 30 degree bag is much easier to vent when it gets hot and steamy out later in the summer.

Disclosure: Philip Werner received a sample Pitchpine 45 SL Sleeping Bag from Big Agnes for this review.

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6 comments

  1. could you post a comparison pic of it compressed?

  2. I’d try this bag except it accepts 20″ pads, which are too narrow for shoulder comfort for me. If only they’d make it for a 25″ wide pad.

  3. I use the Pitch Pine SL, a 20 inch pad, an inflatable pillow, and a old Bibler Hooped Bivy all together. I use the pad inside of the bivy, placed in the Pitchpine pad holder. I have a size 50 inch chest but no shoulder issues. As a side sleeper, I find the bivy may press on the bag at times, reducing the insulation. A lightweight tent is superior in this regard.

    With a larger chest size, I am happily invested in a Big Agnes Blackburn SL bag, too.

    The pad holder, pillow holder and larger chest girth on both bags seem to make all the difference in the world to me.

    I have always found that sleeping bags are rated with no margin or a little warmer than actual, and these are no different. Getting inside of a tent, wearing some additional clothing, etc makes up for the difference.

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