Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the Use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

Pacific Outdoor Equipment adds new innovative pads featuring Aerogel insulation from Aspen Aerogels to their lineup.

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by Mike Martin | 2007-08-12 00:00:00-06

“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…”

That’s what we said at ORSM 2006 when we covered the debut of the POE Hyper High Mountain Pad. Well, they heard us...sort of...except for that 4 ounce part. This year, they add three new pads to their lineup featuring Aerogel insulation co-developed with Aspen Aerogels.

As we stated with the introduction of the Hyper-High Mountain, 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. Aspen Aerogels takes this raw material and builds a flexible insulating mat that's very light and very warm for its thickness. The result is the potential for sleeping pad designs that are extremely warm for their weight and thickness.

The Uber-High Mountain pad is a non-inflatable, torso-sized pad with an inner Aerogel layer sandwiched between Diecut Polyethylene and EVA layers for protection. Case Carpenter, Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s Operations Director said, “we took the advice from your review (of the Hyper-High Mountain) and used a form factor like the Torsolite.” Unlike the previous pad which sparingly used Aerogel in the torso and foot regions, the Uber-High Mountain pad uses it throughout. While they missed our 4 ounce weight target by whopping 10 ounces, the result is likely an extremely warm, compact, foolproof torso pad well suited for lightweight Winter camping when combined with a lighter pad for your legs (or your backpack and spare clothing for ultralight extremists).

Brief Specifications (claimed)

  • Construction: 13mm thick PE + Aerogel + EVA + Diecut PE sandwich
  • Dimensions: 19 x 34.5 x 0.5 in (48 x87 x 1.3 cm)
  • Weight: 14 oz (397 g)
  • MSRP $85
  • Available Fall 2007

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 1
Uber-High Mountain prototype. (The production version will have a textured surface to prevent wrinkling when rolled and will feature rounded corners.)

For the 4-season backpacker looking for a bit more comfort, their gender-specific AO-Mountain pads featuring large-diameter inflatable berms along the side rails with a self-inflating center pad have been updated to the AO-Aero Mountain pads. The AO-Aero Mountain features additional cores in the torso foam (and foot area of the women’s version) that are filled with Aerogel insulation. The change is claimed to add warmth to the pad with no increase in weight. MSRP of $113 to $129, depending on size.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 2
The men’s regular AO-Aero Mountain with Aerogel channels in the torso region.


Citation

"Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the Use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)," by Mike Martin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/pacific_outdoor_equipment_sleep_pads_orsm07.html, 2007-08-12 00:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007 » Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)


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Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the Use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/12/2007 19:49:05 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Expands the Use of Aerogel in Sleep Pads (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

Edited by MikeMartin on 08/12/2007 22:49:39 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Questions on 08/13/2007 11:24:14 MDT Print View

I have heard of the use of aerogels in products before (fridges, shoes, pads, etc.), but have wondered how cost effective and durable it is for outdoor uses. I understand those are relative judgements with the gearheads in this crowd.

- How does the aerogel avoid getting crushed to get the benefit of it's insulative properties?
- Has it been shown to maintain its level of insulation over time (in various environments)?
- Have there been any side-by-side measurements of heat loss in actual or simulated conditions?
-

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Questions on 08/13/2007 12:18:27 MDT Print View

>> How does the aerogel avoid getting crushed to get the benefit of it's insulative properties?

Aspen Aerogels makes a felt-like material out of the raw aerogel. It stands up to compression very well, but tends to crumble into flakes. POE further protects and contrains the aerogel in the inner layer of their pad sandwich.

>> Has it been shown to maintain its level of insulation over time (in various environments)?

It's *claimed* to do so. ;-)

Will reviewed the aerogel insoles and found that the covering was the limiting factor in durability. My Hyper-High Mountain pad has held up well.

>> Have there been any side-by-side measurements of heat loss in actual or simulated conditions?

I've done thermal testing on the Hyper-High Mountain pad. Results will be published in an upcoming review.

Cheers,

-MIke

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Aerogel - Bag-for-the-buck? on 08/13/2007 14:10:28 MDT Print View

I'll be interested to see if the effect of the aerogel can really be detected given the other variables at play for a person that tosses from side to side during a 0 deg. night with a quilt.

Show me!

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Reviews... on 08/13/2007 14:48:28 MDT Print View

Man, it'll be cool to see a full on review of that $85 pad.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Questions on 08/16/2007 17:52:39 MDT Print View

I'm curious what "stands up to compression very well, but tends to crumble into flakes" means.