BA Q-Core SL versus Exped UL7...

slim9300

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These are my initial impressions and observations of the Q-Core SL...

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Manufacturer specs (don't assume they are accurate):

The BA Q-Core is the 78"x20"x3.5" rectangular model. R-value rating of 4.5. Pad weight of 16.2 ounces.

The Exped SynMat UL7 is the 72"x20x2.8" model. R-value rating of 3.1. Pad weight of 19.0 ounces.

First off actual weight: (Keep in mind that both pads include the stuff sack and repair kit in the pictures. Also, note that the UL7 gained exactly 1 ounce when I added the seam sealer lines to it top and bottom.)

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As you can see, the listed weight of 16.2 ounces for the UL7 pad only is dead nuts. The Q-Core SL is listed at 19.0 ounces for the pad only. As you can see this is not even close to being an accurate weight. 1.7 ounces makes me wonder WTF happened to BA's scale. Below is the pad by itself...

u9yhyny3.jpg


Next lets discuss actual size when inflated.

The Q-Core SL measures in at 76"x19".

The UL7 measures in at 71"x21".

Obviously the Q-Core is not coming in as advertised. WTF. The Exped is pretty close on length plus you get an extra 1" of width, so I would say it's a wash. ;) I don't think it's a coincidence that the Q-Core almost measures correctly when deflated.

Based on these two glaring discrepancies, I am starting to question the R-value rating of this pad now. Let's just hope that I am wrong since I will be keeping the pad.

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In terms of noise they both make about the same amount of noise getting on to them. However, once you are on the each pad and moving around, the Q-Core SL is noticeably quieter. There is less creaking and crackling of the material. Finally a plus for the BA! lol. Compared to the NeoAir both of these pads seem silent.

In terms of comfort, if you are okay with the less than advertised width, the added thickness of the Q-Core is noticeably more comfortable for a side sleeper like myself at 85-90% inflation. When fully inflated there is no felt difference between the pads (big shocker). This was an important factor in me buying the pad, along with the added length.

Perceived toughness or durability... The Q-Core SL seems like a much more durable material. It seems thicker and more puncture resident. I have no real proof of this other than the feel and my observations. The UL7 has been a great pad and has never developed a leak or failed me in two years of use (until 5 minutes ago when I inflated the pad and noticed that one of the baffles failed). Shit! Good thing I'm taking it in tomorrow and getting a new pad for free! ;)

That reminds me, what is BA warranty of their pads? Exped's is 2 years on their UL pads. BA appears to be kind of subjective. Let's hope BA customer service is half as good as Exped's if need be.

https://www.bigagnes.com/Home/WarrantyRepairsAndReturns

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Other items I noticed:

I'm not a fan of the BA valve. It forces you to fight leakage while you blow up the pad. I guess it's the typical style most are used to though. The UL7 has a one way valve for inflation and its own separate value for deflation. This has been a great feature.

The Exped has two small eye-loops in the end that allow you to tie on your Exped Air pillow with some parachute chord. I liked this feature. The Q-Core does not have these loops.

The baffle design of the Q-Core seems like it may be less prone to the failure I just experienced with my UL7. Just a guess since they are reinforced in much smaller sections.

If you have any questions or there is something I forgot to mention, let me know.

-Conlan
 

armyjoe

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Wow man great review of these two pads. I was looking at the Q but I might skip it and just stay with my Exped UL
 

HellsCanyon

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Interesting! I would be sending an email out to BA to see WTF is up with their weights and size discrepencies... Solid review man thanks for posting!

Mike
 
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slim9300

slim9300

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Wow man great review of these two pads. I was looking at the Q but I might skip it and just stay with my Exped UL

I need the added length, so I am willing to live with the issues. My UL7 LW was too wide for my TiGoat Raven Bivy and my skinny ass (not that I would have complained if it wasn't for the bivy issue). :) Plus, the LW model weighed in at 24.3 ounces (with seam sealer) if I recall correctly.

Oh yeah, and comfort is important too I guess. Lol.
 
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slim9300

slim9300

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Interesting! I would be sending an email out to BA to see WTF is up with their weights and size discrepencies... Solid review man thanks for posting!

Mike

Sadly I think it's a moot point now. :) Could you imagine how wrong the weight would be if the pad came in measuring 78"x20"? Lol.
 

Backpack Hunter

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I would talk to them about the weight especially considering the size, that would burn me up....maybe I'm too anal about weight though.
There warranty states that it is covered against manufacturing or material defect. You will not have any problems with warranty if need be.
 
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slim9300

slim9300

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I would talk to them about the weight especially considering the size, that would burn me up....maybe I'm too anal about weight though.
There warranty states that it is covered against manufacturing or material defect. You will not have any problems with warranty if need be.

It does "burn me up" and I very anal about weight myself, but show me another 20.7 ounce pad that's 76"x20"ish, 3.5" thick and has an R-value of 4.5 (let's hope). Oh, and that doesn't sound like you are sleeping on a bag of potato chips. The options are non-existent. :(
 
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slim9300

slim9300

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Haha, yup, that's funny cause it is what I just picked up also, had the prolite so have to give a tiny break :)

I have laid on one and I realize how light they are at 16 ounces. However, the Large model is too wide for my bivy, only 2.5" thick, has an R-value of 3.2 and sounds like I'm laying on a bag of potato chips. :)
 

dotman

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I have laid on one and I realize how light they are at 16 ounces. However, the Large model is too wide for my bivy, only 2.5" thick, has an R-value of 3.2 and sounds like I'm laying on a bag of potato chips. :)

Ah the sweet sound of ruffles, always puts me to sleep. Actually only reason I picked it up is that Cabelas gave me full value on my prolite when I exchanged/returned it for the xlite, I never would have got that deal if I tried to sell the prolite.

Anyway once I fall asleep Rory will have to deal with the chip bag :)
 

Ramcam

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What about the xtherm?[/QUOTE
Xtherm is just as loud i was down looking at all the pads today.All of the inflatable Thermarests are very loud though the all season seemed a bit quieter i think because of the surface. I was hoping they wouldn't be as there very light but its going to be An exped or Big agnes for me.
The Exped Down mat ul 7 was quiet and had a lot of down in it but if it gets any condensation just from body heat transfer i think the R value would degrade quickly.Not sure if it's a problem or not with the down version.
 

sk1

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ah bummer im a little disappointed.....im in the same boat want a tall pad like the q core sl but not as wide as the synmat LW.....might end up getting one anyways we'll see!
 

Lawnboi

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This is going to be a tough pick for me, its either the xtherm, xlite, the BA or exped. Im still leaning twards the xlite just because of the weight, but im just hoping that the noise dosnt bother me.
 

pyroducksx3

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I have the regular q-core 72" model I wonder what that actually weighs in at. I was going to upgrade to the sl but if its only 6 oz lighter I may not.
 

dotman

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This is going to be a tough pick for me, its either the xtherm, xlite, the BA or exped. Im still leaning twards the xlite just because of the weight, but im just hoping that the noise dosnt bother me.

Depends, do you get irritated easily? Doesn't bother me and I don't think it is as bad as the older BA bags. I only have limited time with mine but I don't think it'll be a big issue.
 
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