Current Retail: $10.95-$14.95
Historic Range: $7.37-$40.00
Reviewers Paid: $15.00-$17.34
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.
- Functional and versatile for many applications
- Lightweight, only 60g (2oz)
- Prevents damaged gear and clothing
- 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. ￼
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, https://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.
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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Full Retail Price
Packs small for transport, but it's maybe a little too small to comfortably use. For the price, it's an OK deal.
- Too small
- Not comfortable
This sitting pad is based on Therm-a-Rest's popular Z-Lite sleeping pad. I bought mine primarily so that I wouldn't have to sit in the dirt or on bumpy logs and to kneel on to get into my tent. I think it accomplishes these goals fairly well but I have two complaints.
1) It is truly just a sitting pad and as such, you're only ever going to get your butt to fit on it. I would prefer if it were just a little bit bigger so I could rest at least my thighs on it and keep my legs mostly out of the dirt.
2) It's made from the same nubbly material as the Z-Lite sleeping pad, which isn't the most comfortable material. When I'm sore and tired this bumpy pad is actually a little uncomfortable.
Recently I purchased a full-length Alps Mountaineering foam pad on clearance for $6. I cut the pad into three pieces and now have three sitting pads that are longer than the Z-Seat, which allows me to keep more of my legs out of the dirt. The Alps pad is also softer and smooth, making it a lot more comfortable to sit and kneel on.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $15
Great little seat for when out hiking. Works perfectly.
- Folds up small
- Insulates well
- Material is not indestructible
I purchased the Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat in Limon/Silver after seeing my friend had one on a winter hike. When everyone stopped to have lunch and we were all looking for a dry place to sit down he just took this out and sat on the nearest rock.
The material is designed to insulate you from the cold wet ground and it does that well. The silver side radiates your body heat back up which helps keep you warmer and the material keeps the snow and cold away from your backside.
The seat is made from a thin foam with a sort of egg crate design built into it. But the best part is that the Z fold allows it to fold down to a good size which can be attached to the outside of your pack easily. It is extremely lightweight. I weighed it and it is only 2 ounces, not that I am a nut about weight, but every bit helps.
The only downside I can see is that the material that they used is not going to be indestructible. It is a softer foam that I am sure over time will bear the marks of the various sticks and rocks that will poke and snag at it on the trail. But, for the price I think it is well worth it. I no longer have a wet cold behind when taking a break on a hike.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $17.34
A really warm, comfortable lightweight seat, that packs down really small!
- Small pack size
- Light weight
- 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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £11.70
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.
Price Paid: $15