|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2009
Don't let this pads appearance fool you, the combo of high and low tech materials combine for superior warmth and comfort.
At first glance, this funky-looking mat doesn't scream winter comfort. But our most restless sleeper declared, "I conked out on this pad; it's surprisingly warm and comfortable." Credit the strategically placed and shaped padding, and an innovative combination of high- and low-tech materials. The Hyper Elite is built on a half-inch layer of old-school closed-cell foam, tapered at the head and foot to reduce bulk and weight. In the torso portion, there's an inflatable insert of open-cell foam filled with space-age Aspen Aerogel, a silicate crystal with extremely low thermal conductivity (it's used to insulate the likes of steam pipes and fire blankets).
The pad is ideal for cold, hard ground, and the prudent combination of lightweight, affordable foam with heavier, pricier Aerogel keeps the cost and weight of this four-season pad within reason. It rolls up to a 20-x-6-inch tube, which is relatively compact compared to a traditional cold-weather pad system (an inflatable mat atop a closed-cell slab). Tip: Don't overinflate the insert, or you'll feel like you're sleeping on a bubble. Tall guys: It's only available in one (72-inch) length. $125; 1 lb. 10 oz.; pacoutdoors.com