Down ‘N Dirty: Big Agnes Flume UL 30

Most years, the Colorado ski season is unbeatable, with feet upon feet of snow dumping across the state from early November until late spring. That’s right: free refills, run after run, day after day on most days, anyway. Needless to say, I had high hopes for some early season trips, so naturally, I prepped early. I scouted backcountry routes to new huts and yurts and I picked up some new gear, like the Big Agnes Flume UL 30 sleeping bag. It is an ultralight bag and the perfect size for all of the backcountry overnight trips I was dreaming up — and then the snow gods decided to smite us. But rather than shaking my fists at the sky, I made lemons out of lemonade, and took on my first overnight bikepacking trip.

The Flume UL 30 is a traditional mummy bag with some impressive specs and features. Weighing in at just 1 pound and 6 ounces, the down bag features vertically structured side walls and contoured hood baffles to trap heat closer to the body, and a water repellent down fill and rip-stop inner and outer shell to keep moisture at bay.

MSRP: $469.95 (regular length)

Pros: The Flume is a an wonderfully light option for a very packable, cold-weather down bag. Space was limited on our trip, but I was able to comfortably fit the Flume and a sleeping pad inside a 10L Oveja Negra Gearjammer Seat Bag. I also appreciated the water-resistant rip-stop shell fabric and DownTek™ technology since traveling with kids and dogs means unpredictable spills — which totally happened — and a lot of hot breath. This trip included my husband, 2-year-old and two ornery cattle dogs, so our condensation game was strong. Additionally, overnight temperatures dipped well below 30 degrees (between 10-15 degrees above 9,000 feet), but the bag performed great. I threw on a down jacket to before falling asleep and stayed comfortable.

Cons: When I think about Big Agnes’ sleeping bags, I think about their signature integrated sleeping pad sleeve featured on every model bag. Unfortunately, the Flume series does not have that feature (which is highlighted upfront on their website). It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but I did slip off my pad a few times while battling a toddler for floor space.

Where We Took It: Winter camping on the Rio Grande National Forest along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail in southern Colorado. 

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