This sleeping pad's innovative design helps it to stand out from the pack, but it ticks all the boxes for an all-season backpacking mat too: it is warm, lightweight, packable and competitively priced.
Potential long-term durability issues
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The Klymit Insulated Static V-Lite sleeping pad is the latest product from the US outdoor brand known for outlandish pads – the ultra-minimalist Inertia X-frame being a case in point. The Insulated Static V-lite isn’t quite as unconventional, but it’s still pretty unusual compared to most other mats on the market.
Rather than longitudinal or transverse baffles, this mat employs a V-shaped design intended to improve comfort whether you’re a side, back or even a stomach sleeper. The edges of the pad feature two lines of cells that act as side rails to help centre you on the pad, whilst reducing the movement of air that can make you feel cold at night.
On paper, the specs are as impressive as the innovative design approach. Generous width and an accommodating rectangular cut as well as an inflated thickness of 6cm (2½ inches) all promise a comfortable night’s sleep. The weight and pack size are both competitive too, making this a viable mat for backpacking and wild camping, or indeed any adventure where space in your bag is at a premium. And unlike many ultralight air mats, the Insulated Static V-Lite has a pretty impressive R-value of 4.4, which makes it warm enough for use in sub-zero conditions.
The fabric is a 30-denier polyester that feels soft and inviting, even on exposed skin. However, for its weight, polyester doesn’t resist abrasion as well as nylon, so this mat may not prove to be as durable on extended trips as other more rugged mats.
Still, for your money, you seem to get an awful lot of mat here. It’s a genuine all-season pad priced at around £100 in the UK – not cheap, but significantly less expensive than other premium pads from rival brands like Exped, Thermarest and Sea to Summit.
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• RRP: $94.95 (US)/£89.99 (UK)
• Style: Insulated air mat
• Weight: 567g/1lb 4oz
• Variants: O/S
• Dimensions (regular): 183 x 58cm /72 x 23in
• Thickness: 6cm/2.5in
• Pack size: 8 x 20cm/3 x 8in
• R-value: 4.4
• Compatibility: 4-season
In its stuff sack, the Insulated Static V-lite is just a little larger than a standard 1-litre Nalgene bottle, which means it will slot nicely into the side pocket of a trekking pack. It’s lightweight too – okay, not as featherweight as the Thermarest Neoair Uberlite, but certainly comparable to most other mats in this line-up.
We really liked the mat’s reversible valve design, which flips over for rapid inflation and deflation. It’s intuitive and easy to use. This valve is also compatible with Klymit’s Rapid Air Flip Valve Pump, which isn’t packaged with the mat but is sold separately. But even using lung-power alone, inflating the mat is a quick and painless process, as is packing it away.
We were keen to stretch out on the mat and see how those unusual V-shaped baffles felt to lie on. It’s a novel sensation that is a little different to smoother-faced sleeping pads, but we found it comfortable, chiefly thanks to the thickness of the baffles, which absorb pressure points at the hips and shoulders well. Even though some other pads we tested are thicker, we didn’t find ourselves ‘bottoming out’ on this pad. That may be because the welded channels between the baffles are very narrow, meaning the baffles are tightly arranged, which results in excellent stability.
Overnight, we slept well in the tent. The mat itself is very quiet, with minimal rustling or crinkling, but once or twice we noted that when turning over in our lightweight down bag, a sudden escape of air from between those deep channels caused an audible squeak. Some other users seem to have likened this sound to a fart! We didn’t really experience that issue on test, but then maybe some people wriggle around a lot more in the night than we do – what can we say, we’d done a long day’s hiking, and we were dog tired.
We were up in the hills of North Wales in late summer, with overnight lows of around 8°C. As such, the V-Lite was plenty warm enough – as we’d expect from an insulated mat with an R-value of over 4. But its performance convinced us that we’d be more than comfortable camping with this mat in all weathers, particularly since those deep weld channels allow your bag to noticeably loft out beneath you. This improves thermal efficiency in cold conditions, unlike many other flat pads that, together with your bodyweight, tend to compress the insulation in your sleeping bag.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.