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REI Lite-Core Sit Pad

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: REI Lite-Core Sit Pad self-inflating sleeping pad

If you don't want to carry a chair and you still appreciate relief from the hard ground around your campsites then you might want to consider adding the REI Lite-Core 4 ounce multi use item to your pack.

It serves me as a sit pad, semi-frame for my frameless back pack, cold weather chair insulation and insulation under my calves and feet for sleeping in my hammock.


  • Moderately lightweight
  • Packs small
  • Inexpensive
  • Multi-use
  • Great warranty


  • Not as light as foam pads

I find the REI Lite-Core sit pad a very valuable, durable, and multi-functional piece of gear. It is the first thing that goes in my GoLite Jam 50, well actually it just lives in my pack when I'm not hiking. I place it in the hydration sleeve and give it a little extra air to provide a little additional rigidity to my pack an find it helps the Jam 50 ride a little better. 

The pad self-inflates, to use couldn't be easier, and packing is equally easy just twist open the valve and roll it up. But I never do since I use it as my pack frame and I found putting it back in the stuff sack moderately bothersome but not undoable at all.

In full disclosure I first purchased a used REI sit pad from an REI yard sale and found it had a faulty valve, and then purchased an REI Lite-Core sit pad since REI does not warranty their garage sale products. I may repair the first one at some time if I happen upon a Therm-a-rest valve repair kit without paying shipping as the valve and shipping nearly equal the price of the pad. 

I usually use a partial length under quilt when sleeping in my hammock which places my calves and feet outside the quilt warmth. And when the temperature drops the compressed down in my top quilts does not offer meaningful insulation, so I place the sit-pad in the bottom of my top quilt and I stay warm and comfortable. I have used the pad in temperatures as low as 18° with great results and don't use it until the temps hit about 45°.

Any other sit pad would also work for most of my needs and serve well, but I find the extra two ounces of the REI sit pad not to be a problem. I  think the Z-rest pad may be a fine alternative as it would appear to work well in all of the multi-use requirements, but smaller or lighter pads will fall short in helping with the pack support.

But wait there's more, this compact pad is useful at sporting events, fishing, canoeing, hunting, or anywhere else you might want a little more comfortable, warm, and dry seat. Oh, and for those of you who camp in the cold, these make for great insulation on folding camp chairs. 

I do recommend the REI sit pad if you hammock camp or could benefit from any of the multi-use solutions the pad offers and after a year of camping and non-camping use I'm a fan!.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: retail

I couldn't believe no one had done a review on this product yet — it is a joy and one of my very favorite pieces of gear.

It packs quick and light. I always take it on a day hike, but it's great anytime you want to sit in comfort. On a damp cold day it make me feel like I'm sitting on a heating pad.

Although there's no back support, I can usually find something to lean up against and it is faster to set up than my Therm-a-Rest Trekker chair, which I love on multi-day trips.

But overall, one of my best purchases. I love it!

Price Paid: $19.95

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Price MSRP: $19.50
Historic Range: $6.83
Reviewers Paid: $19.95
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