Gear Review: Kelty Backpacker Sleeping Pad
An affordable and rugged self-inflating mattress
This svelte self-inflater stacks up—comfort and weight-wise—against more expensive mats. The one-inch-thick open-cell foam inside is perforated (to save weight and bulk) with lots of holes under the torso and legs. At the critical heat junctions (the head and feet), the padding is solid to boost warmth and smooth out twigs and stones.
Last summer, a petite tester camping on the women’s version (66 inches long) in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains said, “I liked the dense, supportive feeling of the foam, as opposed to a lighter, uninsulated air mat.” In temperatures below 30°F, though, the perforations let the cold seep up from below, so it’s not quite as warm as a traditional insulated pad. Durable ripstop nylon protects the mat from abrasions, but testers noted that the material is more slippery than many competitors.
“Spend a few extra minutes to find a level tent site,” one tester recommends. There are warmer and lighter pads available, but expect to pay as much as a third more for them. $69; 1 lb. 8 oz.; 20”x72”x1” (men’s); kelty.com