User Review: Kelty Recluse 2.5i
Price Paid: sample for review from Kelty
I tested this pad during a four-day sea kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands over Labor Day. Space was limited in my kayak. It was essential that the chosen pad take up minimal space, could fit through the small hatches of my kayak, but still be comfortable to sleep on. And, because we would be camping on different islands each night, inflating it had to be quick and dirty.
Many demands were placed on a single camp pad. Did the Recluse 2.5i make the cut?
The conditions of the trip were ideal for testing a camp pad. The days in the kayak were relatively long and rough, even by Lake Superior standards. The waves ranged from gentle swells to four-foot beaming monsters. The winds blew anywhere from 10 to 20 knots. The nights were chilly. After a day paddling, I wanted to lie down on a camp pad that quickly inflated and didn’t require much effort from me. I honestly had none to give after a day on Lake Superior.
Inflating the Recluse 2.5i was a breeze. A unique, integrated hand pump fully inflates the pad in about three minutes. Just open the side valve and pretend you’re giving CPR. If you spend a lot of time camping above 10,000 feet, this is a nice feature because you won’t have to blow air into the pad and suffer a head rush. This ease of inflation scored the Recluse mega bonus points because, like I stated earlier, the days were long and physical and we camped on a different island each night.
For comfort after a day paddling, the Recluse 2.5i has multiple air channels that cradle your body and keep you centered on the pad. I didn’t slide around on the pad, like I’m want to do on other pads. The pad itself is sized perfectly. It is not too narrow that you can’t be comfortable, but not so wide that it makes a tight fit inside the tent.
Deflating is also simple and fast and getting it back into its storage sack is a lot easier than other camp pads I’ve known. Open the air valves, flop on the pad, listen to hissing of deflation and then fold it into thirds, like you would a bath towel. It packs down small to fit in any pack or the woefully undersized hatches of a Nigel Dennis Romany sea kayak.
Overall impression? Very good. It doesn’t offer the same level of insulation and comfort as my Exped Downmat, which is my barometer for measuring camp pads, but the price and weight and ease of inflation, deflation and stuffing it back into its sack spanks Exped.
To be fair, the Recluse 2.5i and the Exped Downmat isn’t exactly an apple-to-apple comparison. Still, I highly recommend the Recluse 2.5i and I did in fact find it to be a comfortable pad on which to sleep.