The Pacific Outdoor Hyper-High Mountain Pad (atop a stack of less interesting yellow pads).
Are you a cold sleeper? Planning a winter mountaineering expedition? Used to doubling your pads up to stay warm on snow? Pacific Outdoor Equipment has changed the rules of the game. Using aerogel technology developed by Aspen Aerogels, they are beginning production of the warmest sleeping pad currently available to backpackers - probably even to car campers! All at an astonishingly low weight.
Torso area showing the hourglass shaped self-inflating region.
The Hyper-High Mountain Pad is a full-length hybrid pad consisting of a sandwich of a bottom layer of EVA foam throughout, an aerogel layer in the torso and foot regions, and a top layer of self-inflating foam in the torso area with polyethylene over the leg half and around the perimeter.
Foot area (ignore those yellow pads again).
It's the aerogel layer that sets this pad apart from all others. Only 7mm thick, it imbues the pad with a claimed R-20 R-Value. That's not a misprint: R-20! Aerogels are solid, silicon-based, open cell, nanoporous materials that have a very high proportion of free void volume, giving them extremely low densities and thermal conductivities. (Some aerogel materials are up to 1000 times less dense than glass, another silicon-based solid.) Aspen Aerogels has taken this NASA technology and developed a flexible insulating material that's very light and very warm for its thickness. This product is the first application of this technology in a sleeping pad.
Side view showing the EVA (pink), PE (gray), and self-inflating (red) layers. (The aerogel layer is internal and not visible.)
For ultralight backpackers, the Hyper-High Mountain Pad could become “the” winter pad. But at 21.5oz, it's overkill for most other uses. However, the technology is compelling - Pacific Outdoor Equipment will hopefully introduce an entire family of pads using it. For example, a torso-length, non-inflatable, R-5 pad might weigh as little as 4oz.
To put the claimed R-20 R-Value in perspective, excluding car-camping monsters, the thickest closed-cell foam and self-inflating mats are less than R-4, while 3.5 inch thick down-filled inflatables that weigh over 2 pounds are still less than R-9. An R-20 pad is a furnace for your backside! If testing confirms the claims, this pad could allow you to drop half a pound from your winter sleeping bag weight and still stay just as warm. We'll let you know if the pad performs up to its claims in an upcoming review.
Specifications and Features
- Dimensions: 20x72x1.5 in.
- Polyethylene upper layer around perimeter and legs
- 13mm thick EVA lower layer
- 7mm Aerogel mid-layer in torso and foot areas
- Claimed Weight: 21.5oz (609g)
- Claimed R-Value: R-20
- MSRP: $165