Winter camping requires fortitude and a good kit. One piece of gear you simply can’t live without is a good pad insulating you from the cold shoulder of mother earth.
A well-made system will keep you off the ground and buffer conductive and convective heat loss.
I tested Klymit’s Insulated Static V (ISV) in February in Idaho’s Trinity Mountains (a video of the trip is below). It rained and temperatures dipped down into the mid-twenties. Here’s a breakdown on how the pad performed. —Steve Graepel
The Gear: Klymit Insulated Static V (ISV). Available now; $90.
Where To Use It: Four season camping, ski touring, mountaineering.
Who’s It For: Those who sleep cold, in the winter months, or appreciate extra comfort.
Specs: The ISV is constructed from 75-denier polyester (a standard fabric for air mattress pads) and measures 72” x 23” x 2.5”, has a proprietary v-chamber design (think sewn through baffling), and rolls up into a 5” x 9” package (about the size of a Nalgene bottle). About 7 oz. of 60-g synthetic insulation is laminated to both sides, boosting its R value to a conservatively rated 4.4 (ISV). The ISV weighs 25 oz.
Made in: Taiwan
Boring But Important: The crew at Klymit claim that the v-shape design mimics the muscular structure of the back with “Anatomical Body Mapping Technology.” Let’s be honest, it doesn’t look like the anatomy I studied in grad school, but the v-shape design does have a lot going for it. The angled baffle welds force air pressure to distribute in multiple directions. As you toss and turn, the pressure pushes into the constructed ‘side rails’ and back under you. The result: the mattress equalizes air quickly back into the pad underneath you, not to the feet or sides. This keeps you centered on the pad and off the ground.
Deep Welding: Traditional air mattresses have thick baffled walls extending across the entire mattress thickness, providing a smooth surface to lie on. Klymit constructed its SV lineup with deep ‘sewn through’ surface welds that have a pillowy appearance. As a result, your sleeping bag’s loft pockets in the welds, helping trap heat. On the underside, this structure effectively reduces the surface contact with the ground, reducing conductive heat loss. Klymit claims this structure alone adds 30% additional warmth over a traditional air mattress.
A side benefit to these deep welds is that it’s reduced the internal volume of the air mattress. The pad fully inflates in about 7-15 breaths.
Insulation: Klymit isn’t the first to add insulation in an air mattress, but they are the first to laminate the insulation to both sides of the pad. Going back to physics 101, air is a great insulator, but only if you can keep it still. This 60-g synthetic (similar to what’s in a Patagonia Nano jacket) helps trap air between the top and bottom of the pad, dampening air transfer and hoarding warmth.
First Impressions: I brought the ISV on a winter fat bike trip to Idaho’s Trinity mountains. We pitched a tarp over a sheet of ice and I wore my full kit (insulated pants and jacket) and draped a 20? down quilt over the ISV. The temps dipped down into the mid 20s. True to spec, I didn’t touch the ground through the pad when I moved and it felt extremely stable for an air mattress. The side rails did a good job of keeping me from rolling off the pad. Over the night, I did feel a bit of the heat leaching away. For deep winter camping, I would supplement the pad with a lightweight foam pad or bring a full sleeping bag.
Flaw: — At 25 ounces, this is a moderately heavy sleeping pad and not one to reach for if every gram counts, especially in warm weather.
Our Take: For winter trips, I typically double up with a foam pad and self-inflatable pad. The ISV is nearly as warm as this combination, a bit heavier, but packs down much smaller. And unlike many of the other insulated air mattresses, at $90 it lightens your load and not your wallet.
Who should buy it: Campers who need more protection from a cold, hard surface and prize pack real estate.
More Beta: www.klymit.com
—Steve Graepel is a GearJunkie contributor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC