Sleep In The Dirt

From Development to Dirt: 3N1 Sleeping Bags

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Over 20 years ago Big Agnes started with the idea there is a better way to sleep in the backcountry. Now we are introducing our latest evolution of this concept with our 3N1 sleeping bags. Comfort and warmth in the backcountry, or anywhere you choose to rest your head for the night is the key to an awesome overnighter. With soft, technical fabrics, lofty, high-quality and sustainably sourced insulations, we designed bags that seriously compete with the comfort and rest-quality of your bed at home. 

Big Agnes System Bag
Never fall off your pad with a Big Agnes System Bag. Photo: Woods Wheatcroft

If you can sleep there, we’ve got a bag for you. Our System Bags provide a cozy comforter-like sleep experience like no other in the backcountry. When insulation material is compressed under your body, it loses most of its ability to insulate. By eliminating the unnecessary insulation on the bottom of the bag and replacing it with one of our pad sleeve designs, the pad insulates you while keeping you from rolling off the pad while sleeping. The top, fully insulated lofty layer drapes over you and meets the pad sleeve to create the feel of your own bed at home. Climb in, cozy up, and sleep like a boss. 

Developing One Bag for Every Season

Versatility was central to the development of the new Big Agnes 3N1 sleeping bag family, which includes the Roxy Ann, Lost Ranger, and Lost Ranger UL. Our team loves a design challenge; ‘How do we deliver a Big Agnes level of comfort in a wider range of temperatures than any sleep system we have previously developed?’ The result: a new sleeping bag system based on the simple clothes-layering principles we employ for day-to-day life in the mountains, with its big temperature swings. 

3n1 lost ranger sleeping bag
Trip into the Selkirk Mountains with the 3N1 Lost Ranger and Lost Ranger UL sleeping bags. Photo: Woods Wheatcroft

After establishing our project foundation, we moved on to our target temperature ranges and weight. The 3N1 bags needed to cover a wide enough range of temperatures to be used across multiple seasons, be light to bring along to mountain summits, and utilize high-quality sustainable fabrics that would be soft and cozy.  

Three Bags in One?

Putting one sleeping bag into another and getting a warmer bag is not difficult. Having the separate pieces integrate smoothly while hitting useful temperature ranges and specific weight goals was more challenging. We wanted the 3N1 to be as comfortable as your bed at home where you can move around and spin.  The solution: a mummy-style inner bag with a quilt-style outer bag that connects directly to the sleeping pad.

3n1 sleeping bags
One bag for every season, the 3N1 sleeping bags. Photo: Noah Wetzel

Early in development we experimented with many different insulation, hood, and zipper configurations for the inner bag. The winner was a three-quarters length, ambidextrous-zip mummy. A lightweight, minimalist nod to our award-winning Sidewinder line of bags. Being able to unzip the inner and then slide out of the quilt-style outer proved much more enjoyable than zipping out of two bags, and it felt more like a real bed. It took several rounds of third-party testing and design adjustment to get all six unique 3N1’s within our target temperature ranges. 

Evolving the Big Agnes System Bag

Our first product twenty years ago featured the first version of the Big Agnes Sleep System, which keeps you on your pad all night. The system has evolved over the years and its newest technology was developed alongside the 3N1 bags. New for Spring 2022 and featured on the 3N1 bags is the Pad Cinch System.

Pad Cinch System
Attaching bag to pad with the Pad Cinch System. Photo: Noah Wetzel

This update is adjustable and fits almost any sleeping pad, which was harmonious with the design ethos of versatility we followed for the 3N1. The Pad Cinch System acts like a fitted sheet on your pad while the over-quilt style outer bag acts as your comforter.  

The resulting three component sleeping system allows you to mix and match parts depending on your adventure. With the 3N1 you can comfortably camp in more than one season with one bag. For all our adventurers, travelers, and Type 2 fun people out there, we offer a Big Agnes piece of advice: Sleep well tonight, tomorrow could be rough. 

Comments (2)

2 responses

  1. Kelly Duffy

    Looks like a lovely system to use, as is all your quality sleeping systems! Now, how about another couple’s sleep system for us who like to sleep with our adventure in life partners???

  2. Darren

    Very exciting! When do we get to try them? Perfect timing too as I’m looking for a new bag and pad. New tent as well now that I look at my gear

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