User Review: Klymit Inertia X Frame
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50
IF this pad fits YOUR body, it offers impressive comfort per ounce of weight. Surprisingly adjustable with its high psi capacity, the sparse structure rewards both the back and side sleeper with a good night's rest. The Loft-Pocket design works best your bag has high-loft insulation such as down or PrimaLoft. It is an unbeatable U.L. combination in cold weather when paired with a thin, closed-cell foam mattress.
- Highly adjustable for the balance between cushioning and support
- Incredibly light and compactable, yet highly durable
- Very comfortable for its size and weight
- Effectively warm when mated to the right bag
- Option for Argon inflation creates an U.L. 4-season solution
- Difficult to completely deflate prior to rolling up
- Loses width when fully inflated
- Not as flexible for various body types as solid pads
I was intrigued by this pad, especially considering its radical departure from traditional pad design. I have ultra light closed cell foam pads for keeping pack weight down, but my sleep suffers when I use them, and they're bulky. I was in the market for a light but comfortable addition to my sleeping options. As a happy Therm-a-Rest owner (Basecamp Reg. for years) my first inclination was towards their offerings. I came across this pad on Trailspace, and decided to research further. After research and a chance sale, I made the purchase but was prepared to return it if needed — still skeptical. The logic behind the design was sound, but the execution of the concept? I am pleased to say yes after putting this through its paces in all but the dead of winter in the last 10 months.
EASE OF USE
This best fits a person in the height range of 5'9" to 6'1". I had my son (5'3") try it and his head was in one of the loft pockets. I'm just beyond this range at 6'2", but it still works well for me. They should make a women's version of this pad, for 5' to 5'5". I would probably benefit well from the XL version. That being said, the standard pad is supremely comfortable for me on my back. I have slept on my side as well, and once I finally found the right way to position myself, enjoyed several nights of restful sleep. The skeletal design only allowed me a couple of optional side-sleeping postures. Not a problem for me, but might be for someone else.
Here is the key to side-sleeping on this pad if you decide to sleep with it inside your bag: set your bag up on its side to begin with, zipper up, with the pad on the side of the bag. Crawl in, zip up, and side-sleep to your heart's content. Staying on this pad when it is outside of the bag was less difficult than I had though it would be. One could easily secure it to the outside of a bag with the right kind of strapping.
The X Frame pad is laughably easy to inflate. It takes me 3 breaths to inflate at the most. The pump really gives me the ability to firm this up, great for keeping me off the ground and debri. However, the more you pressurize the pad, the more it shrinks in width. When firm, this pad shrinks to about 17-18" in width. Length shortens only a 1/2" of so.
I measured the pad at 9.2 oz, slightly heavier than the claimed 9.1. Total packed weight with patch kit, pad, pump,and stuff sack is 11.2 ounces. This pad will disappear in your pack. It is so small. I can fit the pad, pump, and patch kit in a sandwich sized ziplock. I will say that deflating the pad entirely requires some learning, but most won't feel compelled to completely deflate it because it's so compact to begin with. If you must (and I must), you first open the valve and smooth the air out, then pick it up and wring it out from top to bottom, pulling it through a tight hole made between your thumb and index finger. That usually takes care of it.
Here is a picture of all items, and the rolled up pad after I had inflated it:
I ruined the stuff sack (see the holes?) through my own errors in judgement, but it is plenty big for this kit, which is sooooo small.
The loft pockets work well for my down and Primaloft bags, where the lofty insulation is housed in a thin but strong, flexible fabric shell facilitating loft and expansion. My extra bag, filled with Thermolite (HollowFill 2) and a heavier denier shell didn't fill the "loft pockets" as well. I think the pad works better inside a bag, where gravity can assist in lofting the pockets, if you will.
I used this pad only while backpacking for three days and sleeping at 10k plus, with temps in the mid-upper 30's at night. It kept me warm enough, using my 40-degree down bag and merino lightweight thermals. For colder temps (an overnight in the mid-upper 20's) I used this with a 20-degree bag (thermolite bag) and was a little warm with the same sleepwear. Any colder though and I would use it with a 3/8" ensolite pad (mummy cut). I will say that the ensolite pad and XFrame combo is extremely comfortable and my favorite sleeping setup currently. Even more impressive is that this pad can be filled with Klymit's NOBLE TEK Argon insulation, rendering it the most efficient pad insulation available on the market (research it - the science is compelling)
I slept on it this Summer while beach camping (though the ground below was rough) and it outperformed my Basecamp 2" in terms of comfort. I used a fitted pad sheet over a rectangular 20X72 ensolite pad to sandwich the X Frame and hold it in place, then used a UL blanket — a great summertime setup.
I did try this another time outside my tent on a thin groundsheet, with protruding rocks and small pinecones, and did occasionally feel them in the loft pockets when I moved around — not recommended. This pad will not perform well in those conditions. It also is not intended as a seat in the backcountry for the same reason. I also tested this pad in just shorts, fully inflated plus one air pump shot. I slept on the tile in my kitchen with only a sheet covering me, figuring that the cold, hard floor would expose any design flaws in the skeletal design. I slept on my back to start, but without a mummy bag to hold my arms in place on my chest, my arms ended up on the cold floor. I turned on my side and didn't experience cold spots from ground contact again. I did welcome the coolness in the voids since it was warm that night in my house. I did not experience cold spots when used with a sleeping bag on any real camping trips. However, if I had loose skin, excess fat, or a big torso, I might have touched the ground in the pockets. But I was comforatble thhe rest of the night.
This pad is very well constructed. The welded seams are impeccably executed — the best welding work I've seen. The fabric is extremely durable, having stood up to nights out on the rough ground of the San Gorgonio mountains without a puncture or scratch. I was concerned at first, but with the excellent repair kit, I got over that quickly. I did not have to use the kit.
I applaud Klymit for thinking outside of the rectangle and challenging conventional thought. This pad is as light as it gets, and stands unchallenged in the comfort to insulation to weight ratio — IF it fits your body type. Make sure it works for your build and you won't be disappointed.
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