Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat

3 reviews
5-star:   3
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Reviews

7

Therm-a Rest's Z-Seat should be standard equipment…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Full Retail Price

Summary

Therm-a Rest's Z-Seat should be standard equipment in your pack! Functional as a protective seat while resting, it may also be useful for several other innovative means while on the trail.

Pros

  • Functional and versatile for many applications
  • Lightweight, only 60g (2oz)
  • Prevents damaged gear and clothing

Cons

  • None that I have experienced

Therm-a Rest's Z-Seat should be standard equipment in your pack! Functional as a protective seat while resting, it may also be useful for several other innovative means while on the trail…

Simply a scaled-down version of Therm-a-rest's award-winning Z-Lite mattress, the Z-Seat is light and compact enough to tote on the outside of your pack whenever you need a quick, comfortable rest and pack-off break.  


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Why is the Z Seat important? For several specific reasons…

Statistically, this cross-linked polyethylene, accordion-style Z Seat measures 16" x 13" x .75" (41cm x 33cm x 2 cm), weighs just 2oz (60g) and has an R-Value rating of 2.2. That's quite a bit of comfort on the trail, and here is why it's so important…

Regardless of how many times you rest, or when you arrive at camp and need a comfortable place to sit, the last thing you want to do is damage or soil your clothing. We pay quite a premium for our hiking and backpacking clothes, why risk damaging or destroying the fabric, stitching or both?

Also, sitting on the ground without protection will only grind dirt and other biological material into the fibers of your clothes, not only damaging the fibers, but creating a cold, wet (if the terrain or object is damp) spot you may soon regret.

In addition, I've used my Z Seat for several other applications including…

  • Foot rest. Here's a link to a previous review, http://www.trailspace.com/gear/klymit/inertia-x-lite/#review30596, stating that I incorporated the Z-Seat as a foot rest at night. It performed flawlessly for me in this respect and certainly saved me from losing some zzz's.
  • Stove Windscreen. This application may be difficult for some not to excuse due to the obvious danger, but as a windscreen, cooking with alcohol, kept far enough from the flame, the Z-Seat has always pulled through for me when propped between rocks for support.
  • Pack rest. If for whatever reasons I set my pack down without resting, I always do so on the Z-Seat and for the same reasons I do not want to damage my clothes. For that matter, especially my pack because my pack is not something I can throw in the clothes washer or replace as inexpensively as a pair of shorts.
  • Gear, of any kind. I've used the Z-Seat as a gear rest when cooking rather than placing some items in the dirt or on the ground. This keeps my gear cleaner, more accessible, and easy to find if everything I need, at that moment, is located in one place.


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The idea is that I prefer to find as many functions for any single item as possible and if it's capable of being useful in more than one application, and I'm able to leave a lesser, single-functional item at home, I've essentially accomplished some savings in both overall pack weight and volume, and saved myself some hard-earned cash and frustration having to deal with damaged and/or lost clothing and equipment.

In summary, you need the Z-Seat! You'll probably find additional uses with yours.

Reach Your Summit!

I am not nor have I ever been affiliated with Cascade Designs or Therm-a-Rest in any way!

All photos copyright, David Drake.

G00SE MODERATOR

Nice review! I have the full pad, which I've never used (switched to hammocks before I went out). Maybe I should cut it down to this.


5 months ago
Joseph Renow

Nice review David...looks like a lot of awesome for what it weighs. Is it closed-cell foam...would it absorb too much water if carried exposed to the weather on the front of a pack?


5 months ago
David Drake

Thanks, G00SE and I'm heading in your direction... One of these days I'm going to begin hanging a hammock!!


5 months ago
David Drake

Thanks, Joseph!! The cross-linked polyethylene is made from HDPE (I had to research this). it is apparently a closed-cell technology that has not only performed well in the rain but has not even begun to scorch, if it has been to close to the fire. I'm sure it must have been close, although, as you can imagine, I'm extremely concerned when using it as a windscreen. All-in-all, I have left this pad behind on occasions and it's one of the few items I really, really miss when it's not hanging off the pack.


5 months ago
Joseph Renow

Thanks David...love the weight of the seat...but the volume that the seat requires is a lot given what it does. If I had to keep it inside my pack it would use too much space and be mostly inconvenient for my purposes...but if I can have the thing sitting on the outside of the pack and a dry-seat at the ready with a quick wipe-down with a bandana...that's something that would interest me on wet trips...or when I expect to be doing a bit more sitting:-)


5 months ago
G00SE MODERATOR

Joseph, I could see this replacing the internal frame on a pack.


5 months ago
David Drake

Hey Guys, Shake the water off the pad and you'll be drier than you may other wise be. G00SE, I would not recommend this pad as an internal frame on a pack; possibly as reinforcement in conjunction with the original internal frame. I'm having a problem with the frame sheet in my GoLite Jam 50 and I have tried this pad as stable reinforcement, on the trail, and it does not work, maybe in another pack and most likely for more comfort.


5 months ago
Joseph Renow

Thanks David...I was trying to get a measure of how much moisture the pad absorbs...absorbing even a little water would be a bad thing as a seat...but I was fairly certain the seat wouldn't absorb any. Good to know about the seat as an internal frame...but I would prefer to keep it outside if at all possible...I want at-the-ready status:-)


5 months ago
David Drake

Great news, Joseph… In response to your inquiry, I submerged the pad in water for a minute. The pad did not absorb any water and with a quick snap of the wrist, most water shed the surface of the pad, with just a minimal amount of residual water retention.


5 months ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review, David. Thanks for sharing it. I agree with you about finding as many functions for any single item as possible.


5 months ago
Ja. R.

Nice review David. I bought a 2 pack of these a while back. I use mine all the time. I just used one on a 2-day kayak trip this past weekend. It was my camp chair for the whole weekend.


5 months ago
David Drake

@Alicia Thank you! If sharing our thoughts and experiences make the outdoors more pleasurable for others, than we've made new friends!


5 months ago
David Drake

@Jason Thank you! Even car camping I use these sit pads rather than a camp chair, exclusive of the possible picnic table that may or may not already be there on site! And, of course, when I am sitting at the table there's a Z-Seat beneath me! There seems to be a more natural satisfying feeling being somewhat closer to a camp fire and fully absorbing the surroundings, and heat on a chilly evening. Here in the desert, Jason, there really isn't any opportunity to choose a boat and a waterway and go. However, you guys here on Trailspace are really creating strong excitement for my girlfriend and myself to get out of town and fully enjoy this yet unfamiliar form of backpacking. There must be a term… water packing, water camping? We'll probably try the mighty Colorado, first.


5 months ago
Ja. R.

David, my trip over last weekend was actually on a lazy part of the Colorado. Beautiful!! I did a 12 mile section of river in my little 9.5' kayak. I will try and do a trip report with pics in the next couple days.


5 months ago
Joseph Renow

Thanks for the test David...did it float?...cause that would make it a fine canoe cushion:-)


5 months ago
David Drake

@Jason That would be awesome!!! Thanks… A lazy portion of the river is where we would like to begin.


5 months ago
David Drake

@Joseph Like a champ!! May I suggest a cord to keep it in place, otherwise it may become a sail.


5 months ago
Donna

Yes I love mine too, and use it as a cosy around my Mountain House meals while they are rehydrating - seems to insulate well.


5 months ago
David Drake

That's an awesome idea, Donna. I haven't thought of that. I've made cozies in the past but thought they were too heavy, and as a result, they have never left the house. Thank you!!


5 months ago
0

A really warm, comfortable lightweight seat, that…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £11.70

Summary

A really warm, comfortable lightweight seat, that packs down really small!

Pros

  • Small pack size
  • Warm
  • Light weight

Cons

  • None as yet

I have the mustard yellow with the bright silver finish on the underside. It is the new more efficient thermal finish that Thermarest makes.

I have several sit mats all work and are comfortable to differing degrees of success, but this Thermarest Z Seat with the Sol (aluminium coating) finish is really brilliant. It has a small pack size — 2.5cm by 33cm by 2.0 cm thick. It is instantly warm. The honey comb pattern makes for a really comfortable seat. Rolled out flat the dimensions are 33cm by 41cm.

This is my favorite camping sit mat.

0

I bought the Z-Seat after one too many trips of sitting…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $15

I bought the Z-Seat after one too many trips of sitting on soggy logs or muddy rocks. I was tired of getting my butt wet or muddy or being uncomfortable. My main motivation was comfort. I walked into my local outdoor gear shop and picked one up for $15.

My first impression was nice. It was nice to not have to look for a "clean" spot to sit down the next trip I made. I liked that the Z-seat was really light and that it cleaned off really easily. If it gets muddy all it takes is a couple of wipes with a damp cloth and it's clean again.

But, my attachment to this product came on a much different trip. On a trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado my friend, my girlfriend, and myself got caught in a freak snowstorm next to a mountain lake. We went to sleep cold and woke up in the morning freezing our buns off. The temperature was supposed to be in the 70's and here we were in the 40's. The only place it was warm was on a large rock that was exposed to the sun. The rock, however, was as cold as ice. We didn't really have a good place to sit to make breakfast.

That's when I fell in love with the Z-seat. Both my girlfriend and enjoyed warming up and cooking breakfast without freezing our butts off while my buddy kept complaining about how cold the rock was.

Is this seat a necessity? No. Should you buy one? Yes. It makes life much, much more comfortable.

Where to Buy

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Manufacturer's Description

Visit Therm-a-Rest's Z-Seat page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

With its accordion-style design and closed-cell foam construction, theTherm-A-Rest Z Seat camping seat is an ounce-counter's solution to on-the-spot comfort. It's virtually indestructible and superlight, making it ideal for backpacking, ski touring and relaxing on rough terrain. The new aluminized coating adds warmth and comfort wherever you choose to take your rest stop.

- CampSaver.com

We've all been there: that point after a long hike or the tedium of setting up camp when you just want to give your legs a rest and take a seat without freezing your butt or getting a mix of pointy rocks and mud lodged in your pants. But, if you're like most reasonable folk, you didn't haul your recliner up the mountain. The Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Camp Chair turns any old log, rock, or snowbank into a luxurious place to plant your butt.

- Backcountry.com

Keep yourself insulated from the ground while you sit and enjoy the best Mother Nature has to offer.

- EMS

New for 2012: With its accordion-style design and closed-cell foam construction, the Z Seat camping seat is an ounce-counter's solution to on-the-spot comfort. It's virtually indestructible and superlight, making it ideal for backpacking, ski touring and relaxing on rough terrain. The new aluminized coating adds warmth and comfort wherever you choose to take your rest stop.

- Mountains Plus