Top positive review
236 people found this helpful
Now my favorite sleeping pad (bye-bye Therm-A-Rest)
on December 29, 2010
I've had Therm-a-Rest pads for years, and have always loved them. I never thought I'd ever like another pad as much, but yet here I am...
The truth is that I bought this pad for my wife as an add-on item when buying her pack, before her first real wilderness camping outing. I figured if she didn't take to the hobby, I wouldn't be out as much as I would have been had I bought her a comparable Therm-a-Rest, and I wouldn't mind passing this pad on to one of my boys (for Scout trips).
When it arrived, some things that caught my eye right away, namely the stuff sack, the repair kit, and the finish. Let's consider the finish first. One side has a micro-fiber feel, and the other has little rubberized bumps (the kind you often see on slipper socks or some winter gloves). I instantly thought of all the summer trips I had been on where the nylon shell of my Therm-A-Rest pad was simply not comortable in the heat--the micro-fiber finish on the ALPS comfort series pad would make those hot, sweaty days a little more tolerable (and use proved that hypothesis correct). Those little bumps on the bottom also meant I wouldn't need to carry a roll of that non-slip stuff you get on rolls (sometimes used under rugs or in drawers/cabinets)--at least not for my wife's pad.
The accessories, a stuff sack and a repair kit, may seem like no big deal to you, but those items are sold separately for Therm-a-Rest pads (around $15 for the bag and up to $10 for the repair kit--$25 in all), so that made this purchase an even greater bargain! I was actually really shocked to see that they sent the stuff sack and the repair kit with the pad.
I've been very impressed with the quality--no problems during the first year of use, from cabin camping on the floor to a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with much use in between. The valve is solid and it does inflate fast (faster than my other pad), and the non-slip side really does the trick. The only bad part about the pad is that it is still technically my wife's, but since she and I don't often get out together (I'm typically out with the guys or the Scouts), it has become my new favorite pad. Had I not just replaced my own pad just a couple of years ago, I'd buy another one of these to call my own.
Don't get me wrong--Therm-a-Rest pads are still great pads, but this one just far exceeded my expectations. It is of comparable quality, but those little extras (the finish, and the included stuff sack and repair kit) make this pad a much better buy. Sure, you can find lighter pads out there for your most extreme lightweight backpacking trips, but you can't beat this one as an all-around pad. Give it a try--you won't be disappointed!
(P.S. If anyone wants to buy my Therm-a-rest Trail Lite pad, let me know.)