Overall Rating: Below Average
The Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Lite is the lightest self-inflating pad on the market and it is constructed of tough-for-the-weight materials. It is rated Below Average because there are other 1-inch thick self-inflating pads that weigh only about an ounce more and perform much better with longer usable lengths and a solid shape.
by Carol Crooker |
The Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Lite is a 1-inch thick, torso-length self-inflating sleeping pad. It's the lightest self-inflator on the market (although the MontBell U.L. Comfort System Pad 90 and the Pacific Outdoor Equipment manufactured TorsoLite are very close). I'm a side sleeper. The first time I used the Uber Lite backpacking, I squirmed around a bit and ended up getting a good night's sleep on it. I had the pad inflated firmly and slid off the small hip and shoulder pads till my hip and shoulder were on the ground and the shoulder pad firmly supported my side curve. The effect was the same as if I'd dug a hole for my hip to sink into - the length of my side was fully supported so that my weight was spread out instead of being concentrated on my shoulder and hip. The problem is that the Uber Lite insulation does not protect against the cool ground if part of your body is on the ground.
The useful length of the pad is much shorter than the actual length. The Uber Lite was designed to be inset into a closed cell foam pad to create a warm and weight saving full length pad. The shape is optimized for that function instead of use as a stand alone pad. The result is a lot of weight being spent on shell fabric that does not add to the functionality of the stand alone pad. Although the overall length of the pad is 37 inches, only about 31 inches is usable for side sleepers and 27 inches for back or stomach sleepers - and that will be short for many users.
As outlined in my review of the thicker Uber Mtn pad, I'd like to see Pacific Outdoor Equipment retool the pad to optimize it for stand alone use. Fill in the hourglass sides with full thickness foam (there is a very thin layer of foam now) and shorten the overall length while extending the length padded by foam. Since the weight of the shell fabric would actually decrease with this plan, and foam doesn't weigh that much, the changes could be made without much weight penalty. The result would be a pad that is warmer since it's easier to stay on, and usable by a wider range of people.
"Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Lite Sleeping Pad SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Carol Crooker. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/pacific_outdoor_equipment_uber_lite_pad_spotlite_review.html, 2007-05-15 03:00:00-06.