User Review: ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self Inflating Air Pads
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $44.79 USD
Warm pad that is both comfortable and lengthy. This product is best for weekend trips and maybe a 3-5 day trip.
- Easy to set up
- Doesn't slip around during the night
- Not the lightest
- Small bit of fraying
The Alps Mountaineering Lightweight Series is the Lightest of the six series (Lightweight Series, Comfort Series, Outfitter Series, Lightweight Double Series, Ultra-Light Series, and Armor Series) of sleeping pads that AM has to sell.
Made of Jet Stream Polyurethane open cell foam, it boasts a "Short" weight of 1 lb 9 oz and a "Long" weight of weight of 3 lb 14 oz; these are their two most popular sizes of air pad in the Lightweight Series. The Short dimensions are 20'' x 48'' x 1.5''; the Long dimensions are 25'' x 77'' x 1-2''depending on how fully you blow the pad up and will easily fit in my 6'10" tent. I am 6'0'' 150 lbs and I have no problems sleeping on my side, back or front (I prefer to sleep on my back when backpacking).
Ease of use gets a 10/10. Literally all that is required to inflate this air pad is to twist the one valve at the front and let physics take over. Within about three minutes, the air pad will be fully inflated. You can also expedite this process by self-inflating this pad. I've managed to self-inflate this mad in under a minute using my own breathing.
With no moving parts, not much can go wrong with this pad except for maybe the valve. The valves are made of non-corrosive brass so you don't have to worry about rust. The only problem that I could foresee with the valves is over-use, but that's true of any valve over time.
The top of the pad is made of lightweight Diamond Ripstop fabric, and the bottom is made of Polyester Tafetta fabric that makes for a lightweight, bendable and warm sleeping pad. Inside is Alps Mountaineering Jet Stream Polyurethane Open Cell Foam that provides an R-Value of 3.6.
Another thing I think is very noteworthy is the fact that Alps Mountaineering provides a stuff sack, compression straps, and a small repair kit with ALL their pads, something most sleeping pads do not. I have found that I don't even use the compression straps, stuff sack or repair kit to save an extra bit of weight. It also comes with a small instruction paper that tells you how to set up the pad for the first time. First time inflating takes around 15 minutes, but after that the 3 minute set-up time is pretty accurate.
Durability-wise, the pad holds up great. The only problem I've had in the year that I've owned it is some fraying of the ends of the fabric, but that can be easily snipped off and I haven't had any other problems with the pad. I have a friend who has even cut the pad and resealed it with no problems. AM obviously does not recommend this because doing so voids the warranty, so if you want a shorter pad, go with the short.
I have used this pad in conditions ranging from heavy rain to snow, super humid conditions, and beautiful nights and is not worse for wear. I have used this pad on long-distances treks (80 miles) to car camping and weekend trips and has performed consistently from day one out of the package.
I would recommend this pad to anyone for a variety of conditions. Well made pad at a great price that will not break your bank as will other products of similar construction and R-Value. Sure you can go lighter and warmer, but for a price up in the $100-130 range.