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Kelty Recluse 2.5i

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: Kelty Recluse 2.5i air-filled sleeping pad

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.

Price Paid: sample for review from Kelty

Nothing more important than how you sleep at night on the trail. The Recluse 2.5i has been perfect, even at 6'2"and 210lbs it has been extremely comfortable. Rolls up tight, a little bigger than soda can. The integrated pump works flawlessly and the raised sides keep you from rolling off it. Excellent product, very durable.


  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Durable
  • Packs small


  • None

Kelty did a great job with this product. The Recluse 2.5i is one of, if not the best, sleeping pads I've ever used and the insulation definitely helps here in Northern New England. I pair this with my Kelty Cosmic Down 20 and it's great.

The integrated hand pump works effortlessly and as advertised, it only takes about 1-2 minutes to inflate. It also doesn't lose any air during the night which other brands have been known to do. I also like the raised sides as it keeps me on the pad.

I'm extremely impressed at how durable this pad is. Its been on about two dozen outings and never fails. It does include a repair kit, but I don't see myself ever needing it because of how well made the pad is. But of course I'll keep it in the bag because you never know.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100

Best sleeping pad I've used so far.


  • Small, lightweight
  • Integrated pump
  • Comfort is adjustable with easy to reach release valve
  • Appears to be well made


  • None so far

At 52 years old, 6'3" and 210 lbs I was ready to move up from my trusty old Therm-a-Rest to something a bit more cushy. I got this last winter in prep for some summer camping with my kids.

After several backpack outings, I can say this is, by far, more comfortable than my Therm-a-Rest (traditional style from the mid-90s).  Pump it up firm, get settled in, then adjust the comfort by slowly releasing air from the valve just above your head.

The integrated hand pump works well and so far, the durability seems good. Time will tell as I have read some reports of air leaking. I like the fact that I can pack my sleeping bag and this pad in the zippered bottom of my backpack so I don't have the big, rolled up pad on the outside of the pack.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70

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Price MSRP: $79.95
Historic Range: $49.97-$119.95
Reviewers Paid: $70.00-$100.00
Weight 2 lb 6 oz / 1.0 kg
Width 23 in / 58.4 cm
Length 78 in / 198 cm
Height 2.5 in / 6.4 cm
Size Regular
Shape Mummy
R Value 2.52
Packed length 11 in / 28 cm
Packed Diameter 6 in / 15 cm
Material TPU Laminate
Fabric 70D Nylon
Product Details from Kelty »

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