Field test and review
Unless you are participating in the ultra-light movement and can be found sleeping under a tarp or snuggled up in a bivvy you would have to agree that the most important item required for an overnight hike is your tent. Coming a close second would have to be your sleeping bag, particularly when hiking in colder months and when you wake to a snow covered tent .
For years I placed all of my emphasis on these two items alone and happily carried my foam sleeping pad with me for overnight adventures without even giving that item a second thought. I was hiking and camping overnight, having an uncomfortable night’s sleep was all part of the adventure. Or so I thought.
In my experience sleeping pads are possibly the most under-rated piece of gear in the outdoors; they are critically important, but often an after-thought purchase. This was so true in my personal experience and it wasn’t until after waking up feeling still and sore on several occasions that I decided it was time to make a change. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my foam pad as it was one of the smaller pads on the market at the time but things have changed a lot in that space so if you are looking to make a purchase or upgrade your existing pad then do some research as there are a lot of options now available.
One such pad is the Klymit Insulated Static V Lite. I was grateful to have been sent one to field test.
When I first opened the box I was really impressed by the packed size. 127 x 203mm. It is certainly not the smallest that I have seen but given the features of this pad it certainly packs a lot onto this small package. It fitted easily and neatly into my pack, complete with its own storage bag which maintains compactness and provides protection while traveling.
My first experience with the V Lite was an overnight to Sealers Cover in Victoria. The weather was mild and the overnight temperature only reached five degrees so I couldn’t really test out the insulation qualities on this hike. Needless to say I had one of the better night’s sleep that I have had in a long time.
Removing the deflated pad from it storage bag I unrolled it into the tent. My initial reaction was one of slight disbelief as the pad extended the full length of the tent floor. We were using two on this occasion and side by side they engulfed the full width of the tent. This would be great if you didn’t want to store any of your packed items inside the tent but I always have things inside with me that require room at my feet.
Oh well, what could I do now. Popping open the single nozzle I puffed steadily into the pad. Quite amazingly it only took about 8 breaths and about 20 seconds to inflate. I do have large lung capacity so I would expect, at worst, for inflation to take 10-12 breaths and up to 30 seconds. Very quick, and certainly not challenging at all. After inflation the nozzle simply closes with a click and feels very secure.
Fully inflated, the pad covers an area of 1830 x 590mm and was certainly a lot wider than my mummy shaped foam pad. One feature that I really liked, and is worth mentioning, was the diagonal ribbing which creates a V-chamber in the centre of the pad. I have used pads in the past that have horizontal ribs and the problem I found with them was that as I tossed and turned at night I forced air into the opposite side of the pad which often resulted in me failing off the pad and onto the floor. Another thing I love about the Static V Lite is the texture of the poly top. Other pads I have used might be slightly lighter weight but the material used is like lying on a packet of chips. Whenever you roll over you generate a crackle that can be annoying, particularly if you are having a restless night sleep. The 30D poly top is softer and hardly makes a sound when you move about in your sleeping bag.
In addition to the V-chamber, the V Lite also has an inflated rib around the perimeter of the pad. This nice little feature helped my body to remain centred on the pad and further reduced the risk of me falling off onto the cold tent floor.
Even with the sealed sections between the ribbing the pad did a good job of raising me off the ground with an inflation height of 65mm. I have slept on pads with as little as 10mm thickness and believe me, this pad was like sleeping on my mattress at home in comparison.
As mentioned earlier, my first outing didn’t really allow me to test the thermal qualities. So I ventured back out on the trail, this time to Mt Ligar in Victoria. Time to experience a bit of Alpine chill.
Outside my tent it felt winter. The wind was howling, the rain was pouring and my tent was perched high on a saddle facing the full force of the chilling wind. Temps that night were predicted to hit sub zero but I was quietly confident as I had an insulated pad. Fighting off the wind chill I climbed into my tent and sub-zero sleeping bag, with the Insulated Static V Lite and thin tent floor serving as the only buffer between myself and the cold wet ground below. I closed my eyes and fell fast asleep, waking only when the sun peeked over the mountainous horizon. I am sure I tossed and turned during the night but I can’t recall and never once fell off the pad onto the cold ground.
It may have been freezing outside, but on this pad, I was warm and comfortable enough to sleep soundly.
When packing up in the morning the V Lite doesn’t present any challenges. Stowing the pad requires the air to be expelled and this is done simply by pulling the nozzle and pushing out the air from the foot of the bad. I do this by loosely rolling the pad up first. It then needs to be folded a couple of times before rolling. It’s not too challenging, but does take around 2-3 minutes and might need two attempts on your first go. The storage bag is slightly larger than needed which means you don’t need to roll it perfectly every time.
The pad also comes with a repair kit stitched in a pocket inside the storage bag. This is a neat little feature is you are like me and are constantly losing yours.
In my opinion there are a few important boxes to tick when selecting your sleeping pad.
- Is it large enough?
- It is comfortable?
- Does it insulate the user from the ground?
- It is compact and light to carry?
- Is it durable?
- Is it affordable?
I haven’t yet slept on every pad on the market, but from my early experiences this pad is certainly ranks among the best I have slept on and for the price is really is a great investment. It is large enough, comfortable, is insulated, affordable, compact and easy to pack. With regards to durability. As I have only used this pad on two outings I am not able to comment on that aspect. I have a few more hike planed over the coming months and will continue to test this pad in everything from icy cold nights to more temperate conditions and will update this review.
Buy direct from Klymit for $169
At just 556g and with an R-Value of 4.4, the Insulated Static V Lite delivers exceptional comfort and insulation for minimal weight. The V shaped chambers minimize air movement and are filled with light, warm Klymalite™ synthetic insulation for thermal performance in winter conditions. The ergonomic design and dynamic side rails cushion and cradle the body for a better night’s sleep. Advanced ultralight materials and smart construction shed grams without impacting performance, making this a versatile choice that handles for winter ski tours, summer backpacking and all season adventure.
- Weight: 556g
- Inflated Size: 1830 x 590 x 65mm
- Packed Size: 127 x 203mm
- Inflation Time: 8-14 Breaths
- Fabric: 30D Poly Top, 30D Poly Bottom with Anti-Microbial Laminate
- Accessories: Stuff Sack, Patch Kit
- Colour: Orange/Grey
Field Tested by
Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au