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Big Agnes Green Ridge Sleeping Pad Review

Big Agnes Green Ridge Sleeping Pad

The Big Agnes Green Ridge Sleeping Pad is a full-length warm weather sleeping pad that only weighs 12.6 ounces (on the SectionHiker digital scale). It packs up super small and is a good choice when you want to go light but not skimp out on your sleeping comfort. It reminds me of the transparent Big Agnes Clearview Sleeping Pad that I used when I hiked the Long Trail in 2008..

Available as a mummy or rectangular pad, in 20″ or 25″ widths and numerous lengths, the Green Ridge is made using green-tinted polyurethane and looks a lot like a swimming pool mattress although it has a robust inflation valve and a solid feel to it. Being an inflatable pad, the green tint is useful to hide the moisture build-up that can occur inside the pad when you inflate it with your breath.

A whopping 3.75″ thick when inflated, the Green Ridge is super comfortable to sleep on for back or side sleepers, with diagonal shaped contours that conform to your shape and help keep you on the pad at night. As a side sleeper, I find the extra thickness of the pad helps cushion my hips much better than a thinner sleeping pad.

However, the Green Ridge folds flat when deflated, making it suitable for trips where you want the smallest volume load possible without sacrificing comfort. When rolled or folded up, the deflated pad just takes up about 1 liter of space, the size of a Nalgene bottle.

A whopping 3.75 inches thick, the Big Agnes Green Ridge is a super comfortable but lightweight backpacking and camping sleeping pad
A whopping 3.75 inches thick, the Big Agnes Green Ridge is a super comfortable but lightweight backpacking and camping sleeping pad.

If you sleep with a backpacking quilt, I do recommend that you sleep with clothing when using the Green Ridge sleeping pad, since the surface of the pad can be a bit slippery when it comes in contact with moist skin.

With an estimated R-value of 1.5, the Green Ridge is rated down to 35 degrees by Big Agnes, which is a bit optimistic since it doesn’t contain any form of insulation (See Sleeping Pad R-Values).  Based on my experience, I’d rate its minimum temperature at 45-50 degrees, although it does excel at keeping you cooler on hot summer nights.

Disclosure: Big Agnes donated a sleeping pad for this review. 

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  1. How durable did it feel? I need that kind of thickness… my neoair xlite is just a bit too thin. Is it a pain to inflate/deflate any more or less so than other mattresses?

    • No issues with durability. It’s thick polyurethane with a minimum number of seams. I used its predecessor the Clearview on the Long Trail in Vermont and never had an issue. Blowing it up takes me 22 breaths. No big deal. I’m not even winded. Pretty inexpensive compared to other pads too.

    • Sorry, deflation. Same as other mattresses except there is a little less resistance since there’s no insulation inside. Folds truly flat which always amazes me.

      • Hi Philip,

        I am fairly new to hiking and backpacking. I was wondering if there are options for home made sleeping pads? As an example, could I fix together a few plastic bags stuffed with leaves, or something like leaves, to create a soft “pad” to sleep on? Do you have any experience with something like this? If so, would there be an effective way to carry this on the outside of a pack? I am just looking to avoid buying a pad and I plan on doing some backpacking, but don’t want to incur large startup costs.


        • The problem with the bag of leaves trick is that it doesn’t work to well if the leaves are wet. I suggest going to Wally World and buying a “blue pad” for $7.

        • I understand that might be better, but I am really trying to avoid unnecessary costs. Couldn’t I just use dry leaves, or feathers, or something else to fill the bag that is dry? And then, are there hooks or something that would work to strap a plastic bag onto a backpack? Thanks.

        • Not without out harming the environment you’re hiking through. In other words, not in a non-survival situation. Suggest you read up on bushcraft.

        • Ok I certainly wasn’t suggesting to harm the environment. I am more wondering if you think I could fashion a hook (if it doesn’t exist) to stick through the ends of the plastic bag (i.e.”pad”) and then strap to my bag. What did you mean by hurting the environment?

        • RodHarp12, by the time you are done making your sleeping pad with leaves and strapping it onto your backpack it may cost you more than the $7 blue pad – not to mention that once your plastic bag gets a tear in it you will have to replace or repair it (possibly another expense). The leaves may be a habitat for animals/insects and they may be providing natural mulch or cover for other plants so it may be better not to move them.

        • Thanks Sharon. In addition to my concern for costs, I did want to try to stay as “natural” as possible. So that is why I am really interested in using leaves for a pad. I am not talking about pulling leaves from trees. I am talking about leaves that have fallen from the trees in my backyard. I would gather them right away before they become a home for animals or insects. But my primary concern at this point is how I would strap a plastic bag (like a garbage bag) to my pack so that I can hike with it. Do you have any ideas?

        • If you really want to try “hooks” on a plastic bag, use duct tape. You can put two pieces together, adhesive sides facing each other, with one piece longer so that the adhesive on it will stick to the bag.

          I have the feeling you’d be much happier spending seven bucks on the Wally World pad. You won’t have to worry about leaves escaping your setup or compressing down and giving no padding, it will be lighter, and you will escape the constant fiddle factor. The Wally World pad isn’t cushy but you’ll still find uses for it after you buy a better pad. You can cut off a section and use it for a kneel pad. They are also good pads to use when you have to crawl under your car for some maintenance or repairs.

          One advantage of frequenting sites like this is you get to tap into a wealth of experience and when experienced folks express reservations and recommendations, they generally have good reasons for doing so. I worry that if you try to get into backpacking with too much informal gear, you won’t enjoy the experience and get discouraged. If you want to get into bushcraft, that’s a different endeavor, with its own skillset and methodologies, many of which will be difficult to execute on a developed trail system because of the environment, regulations, etc.

        • Thanks Grandpa. I appreciate your first recommendation. I really do want to keep it natural and use a plastic bag filled with leaves. I am hoping to somehow insert hooks into the bags to strap to my backpack, and I like the idea of duct tape because that is stronger than the bag and might work for putting the hook through.

          I guess my thing is I want to limit the amount of formal gear I use, as much as possible. I really want to start bushwhacking, which is why I want a natural sleeping pad that I can use to sleep out, since I want to also avoid formal shelters and will not be bringing a tent. So the lighter, more natural, the better, I think.

        • RobHarp12. If you truly want to go natural, looks like just sleeping on the ground would be the way to go.

        • I follow your line of thinking a little better now. I was under the impression you were planning on using it for more mainstream backpacking. Go for it and have fun! If you don’t want duct tape loops, duct tape on both sides of the bag will help keep your hooks from tearing through.

          One thing about the Walmart pad is that it’s not going to give much cushion. When I got into backpacking almost a half century ago, I used a pad like that and frankly, couldn’t stand it and quickly migrated to cushier fare. With all my back and neck problems now, something like that is completely out of the question for me, although my grandkids sleep just fine on one.

        • Thanks Grandpa. I may also use it for mainstream backpacking, but probably just bushwhacking for now. I have no interest in giving Walmart any of my money.

        • Similar, but better (and more expensive), pads are available at Gossamer Gear.

          My brother and I even used bubble wrap pads early in our backpacking life. There’s newer versions of bubble wrap that are very difficult to pop, which would certainly work better than the stuff we (sort of) slept on.

        • I still have concerns about you using leaves. If you collect them from your own yard and transport them to wherever you are backpacking, you could unknowingly be transporting pests, diseases, non-native seeds, etc. Unless of course you are planning to backpack within a close radius of your home.

      • RobHarp12 – you can make your own sleeping pad from the kind of balloons that are used to make animals and a sheet of lightweight material. Put “balloon
        bed” in your search engine. Limitations: the longest pad will be 60″ and you need to bring enough balloons which effects overall weight. about 6 balloons per night for each night you plan to be out plus a few spares. Skinny balloons work for people under 180 lbs and the fatter ones for 180+ folk.
        1.2 oz/yd 2 (42 g/m 2) anti-static coated ripstop nylon
        Qualatex 260Q (includes 25)

  2. Please don’t buy this pad. It is the loudest pad on earth. A guy tried to sleep on it in the tent next to me and kept everyone up all night as this plastic rubbed on the tent floor.

    Curious how many nights the author spent on it on the trail.

    • I’ve never heard anything, but then again I don’t make a habit of sleeping next to other people at crowded tent sites since I prefer quieter sleeping spots (my wife has never complained about the pad when she’s slept next to me, although the same can’t be said about my snoring). When I’m awake and on the pad, I don’t hear a thing. The Green Ridge is *certainly* quieter than a Thermarest NeoAir, in that respect. As to how long I’ve spend with this pad, I received a sample from Big Agnes last year and have been using it on and off ever since. I’d estimate that I’ve had it out at least a half-dozen nights of backpacking and car camping, probably more, but then again I probably spend a lot more time sleeping outdoors than most people. I’ve also slept great using the Green Ridge, but I always sleep very well outside.

  3. I have owned a Therm-a-Rest for years – durable, but not especially comfortable. Seeking greater comfort, I bought an REI Stratus and a Big Agnes Air Core. Neither lasted long (broken valve and unlocated leak respectively). How do you test for toughness before purchasing?

    • I hope you exercised the product guarantee for the pad with the broken valve. I don’t buy inflatable sleeping pads or recommend that you buy them from companies without a lifetime guarantee. It’s not that they fail a lot, but if a component does fail, you should get a replacement or your money back. Of the components that do fail on a inflatable sleeping pad, the valve is the most frequent culprit. Stick valves, like the one on this pad, are more prone to failure than flush valves like Exped uses (although harder to use) – however, companies like Big Agnes and Therm-a-Rest tend to use the same components across sleeping pads and have worked out most of the bugs. As for durability testing, I’m not sure how you could do that in any kind of replicable manner that makes sense. It’s an issue that I have actually given some thought to. First – what is durability? Is it the ability to use a product in an inappropriate way and have it survive? Or is it the ability to normally (and carefully) use a product over several years, or hundreds of nights, and not have it break? The problem with such testing is that the products change from year to year, so by the time you finish a long term test, the same product has been modified to remove any defects and is no longer available. So, when I review the durability of a product like a sleeping pad, I take into account its performance in normal usage circumstances. You’d probably be amazed at how easily durability flaws crop up with just normal use. I also rely on my historical knowledge of similar products using the same materials and components from the same manufacturer, as is the case here, since this product is based on an earlier model that I have extensive experience with. I use and review a lot of products and have much more experience, going back years and years, with multiple products from a manufacturer than reviewers who just do one-off reviews.

      • Thanks, Philip, for this very complete reply. Absolutely think we should judge durability on “use” not “abuse”. Both the products I mentioned failed after reasonable use. You’ve given me good info for when I next buy a pad. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks Philip, I’m going to give this pad some serious consideration, I am also a side sleeper,,,and past 50…so my hips really ache in the morning sometimes. If the pad is noisy I would bet there’s some kind of a hack for that so that I don’t wake up my companion(s), a comfortable pad would be worth customizing. IMHO – a good night of sleep and fewer aches in the AM is vitally important.

  5. I have really mixed feelings about how long a BA inflatable pad will last. I have not had good luck with their insulated aircore. The original was great, you know the one with the brass valve and only 2.5 inches. After a year and a half, it finally went out. To BA’s credit, their warranty service is great. They replaced it with the equivalent pool floatie. Well….. after about 4 of these, which would last a week, and they would replace no problem, they upgraded me to their insulated double Z. Not much better. Each has failed me in the field, and yes I used their pumphouse to manually inflate, and stored it correctly as well..

    Needless to say. I have not had the best of luck with their pads. I hope others have. I will say this: they stand behind their warranty.

  6. Philip (and anyone else), have you tried the BA Q-Core SL? How does this compare? It looks like R value is biggest difference? I was going to pull the trigger on the Q Core, but after reading this review I’m now wondering if this may be better.

  7. Hi Phillip. Wondering how it would perform in a sleeve pad of a 90 degree hammock? I am thinking, if I go to ground, would be more comfortable than what I have for summer camping up in northern Minnesota and isle Royal. I, too, am a side sleeper.

  8. I have been looking for a new pad to replace my Thermarest for warm weather use and this one may fit the bill. In the review, you said that it folds flat but didn’t mention whether or not it had any type of carry sack. I was just wondering if it does.

  9. I like diagonal shaped ridges and find them comfortable: one reason I like Klymit pads. And 3.75″ is a great thickness for the weight. And the price is right.

    What a pity there is no wide version.

    There’s only one single version at 25″ wide: a large, 78″ long length, only in rectangular. All the other options are only 20″ wide.

    It’s the same failing as Thermarest, SeatoSummit, and so many other pad makers (Exped being the most notable exception) whose designers seem to disbelieve in the existence of average to stocky humans, despite a billion or so examples to the contrary. Maybe these designers only go hiking with Ukrainian supermodels and NFL interior linemen.

    At 3.75″, hanging my shoulders, arms, elbows off the side of such a pad defeats its main purpose, comfort.

    Show me a 25″ x 60″ or 66″ or even 72″ mummy, then I’ll hover over the Add to cart button.

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