Brand: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
Model: Reactor 3.8 Sleeping Pad (women's)
Thought down was just for sleeping bags and jackets? Think again. The Downmat UL7 is stuffed with 700-fill feathers, and tester feedback can be summed up with this direct quote: “Zzzzzzz.” Says one happy camper: “I skipped the extra closed-cell foam pad I usually pack on cold-weather trips, and I stayed warm below freezing, despite the fact that I was in a 40°F bag.”
Cushioning is tops, too. At 2.8 inches thick, the Downmat can absorb any lumps and bumps: “Due to limited campsite selection, I had to sleep on top of an immovable rock that was protruding two inches from the ground—right into my back,” said one tester after a trip in Joshua Tree National Park. “I slept like a baby.” Smart: The side baffles are slightly larger than the rest, which helps keep you centered.
The 20-denier nylon shell requires some ultralight care, but our testers didn’t see any reason for concern after routinely sharing the pad for stargazing in the Rockies. It comes with the Schnozzel Pumpbag (1.4 oz.; $26 if purchased separately), which inflates the pad in minutes. Of course, luxury ain’t always cheap. $209; 1 lb. 4 oz.; 72” x 20” x 2.8”; exped.com
Descended from our popular Kelvin 3.8, this version of the Reactor 3.8 is proportioned to fit a womans body, and has more insulation throughout, since women sleep colder. Its a good choice for four-season travellers wanting minimum weight and bulk in their packs, or for three-season users wanting some extra insulation and cushioning.
* Price is CAD