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Old 05-05-2017, 04:37 PM   #1
MrKawfey
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Big Agnes Little Red 15

Product Tested: Big Agnes Little Red 15 Kids Mummy Bag

Price paid: where purchased: $60 Amazon

Size/Weight: 48" 1lb 13oz

Similar products tried: Kelty Wooby

How long/where tested: 3 Years, various trips

Rating 1 to 5: 3

Summary: This bag is right on the verge of being a great bag for kids, but that just makes it's faults all the more frustrating. It has been used by my son for the last 3 years from 3 years old to his current age of 6. It is a true high performance backpacking bag for little kids. It uses the Big Agnes pad sleeve design with no bottom insulation. You can find all the basic tech specs and info on their website:

http://www.bigagnes.com/Little-Red-15-synthetic-RIGHT

For this review I will focus on the not-so-obvious

First the good:
Finding a really good bag for really little kids is really hard. It's hard to compare to other bags because no one else addresses this market. The bag has a 15 deg rating and based on my examination of the bag, I think that it's valid. Unfortunately it's impossible for my child to give me great feedback which is the only way to know for sure. We have used it down to Mid/High 30's with no nighttime wakeups.

The insulation is lofty and stays in place. It has a nice draft collar that can lock the air in. The hood can be cinched effectively as well. The pad-in-sleeve design keeps kids on the pad and off the ground.

It uses synthetic insulation which is great because kids can't be trusted to keep stuff dry. The extra size and weight of synthetic is offset by the lack of insulation on the underside. It compresses reasonably small and will fit in a kids daypack. The small size is perfect for really small kids who can't heat up the internal volume of a junior bag.

Now the bad:
The worst problem is that the pad sleeve is sized for a 48" pad and has no adjustability. For some strange reason the top of the pad sleeve is positioned roughly at shoulder height and the users head hangs off the top of the pad. This is a truly bizarre oversight. We cut the sleeve at the top and put a longer pad in which resulted in my son gradually scooting down the pad until he was off at the bottom. So we cut the bottom too and put in a full size pad which helps, but it no longer keeps him from getting the bag all goofed up.

Another problem is the pillow pocket built in. The idea is you can stuff it with clothes to form a pillow. However, it is gigantic and positioned in a way that keeps you from using the hood. If you don't use it, it is a giant section of fabric that is flopping loose in your face.

The last issue is more subjective. At first the pad-sleeve was great. For a while my son was freaked out by being restrained in the bag and not able to sit up. Now, when we talk about new bags, he only want's one with the pad-sleeve. Go figure.

Wrap up:
It's hard to say if I could recommend this bag. If you want a serious bag for a child under 6-7 years old, this is about your only choice for shoulder season camping/backpacking. So...It's better than options like the Woobie or a box-store type bag. And please don't take you little ones out during the shoulder season with "sleep-over" type bags. Kids will sleep through anything even if they are freezing.

If Big Agnes could fix the pad sleeve and add a small, underside pillow pocket this bag would be a grand slam.
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:21 AM   #2
MrKawfey
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UPDATE: It looks as if someone at Big Agnes was paying attention. The newest version of the little red seems to have fixed the issue with the pad sleeve location. it now appears that the head/hood of the bag fits on the pad at the top end like it should.

It's interesting that the bag is still sized for a 4" 5" sleeper despite only fitting 4' pads. This means that now that the head fits on, the feet fall off the end of the pad. However this is a much more acceptable arrangement. For kids under 4' tall, it's a total non-issue. Still not sure why they don't make a 4' bag for a 4' pad or make the sleeve accept up to a 66" pad if they want the 4' 5" length. It looks like the new Duster 15 addresses this issue with an adjustable pad length and bag length at the cost of an extra pound to carry. Also strange that the product page for the Duster makes no mention of the range of height this bag will fit.

The pillow pocket has, thankfully, been eliminated. Would have been nice to see it redesigned, but most kids that age don't really need a pillow. At least now the mess of pillow pocket fabric is no longer bunched up in the hood. The hood has also now been reshaped.

If you are looking to buy one of these for your kids I would now recommend it for sure. Just make sure that if you are buying from an online retailer you get the new version (2018) and not the older version.

Even though I have not tried the new version I think I can bump the rating up to a 4.
Good job Big Agnes, even though it's too late for me.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:47 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for the initial and follow up review. I have a 4 year old who I want to start introducing to some more serious overnights and am feeling flustered trying to determine where and how much to invest in her gear that will get even less mileage than what I put on mine. The lack of feedback out there on these items is limited. Thanks again, it is much appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2018, 01:52 PM   #4
MrKawfey
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You're welcome. This bag will now become my daughter's this season and I will be looking for a new bag for my 7yo son. Once I decide and try one I will post a review.
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