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Reader Reviews

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Pacific Outdoor Products Insul Mat Max-Thermo

in Sleeping Pads - Inflatable

Average Rating
4.00 / 5 (11 reviews)

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Joe Clement
( skinewmexico )

Pacific Outdoor Products Insul Mat Max-Thermo on 11/07/2006 16:07:55 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Kind of heavy, but worth every ounce. Inflates with 11 big breaths, but gives you a great nights rest. No more waking up because your hip hurts, only to roll over and do it again. Deflates and packs in minutes. I've only used it down to 35 degrees, but it kept me warm. A must have when you reach that magic age when you realize you're not that young anymore.

Patrick Young
( lightingboy )

Could be more comfortable on 11/15/2006 13:20:35 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

The pad works except that you feel every transition between the air chambers.
The shape may be light but forces you to sleep in pretty much one position.
I found that my head would end up off the pad because of the mummy shape.

d k
( dkramalc )
works well for me on 12/26/2006 16:34:15 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I got this on a Steep and Cheap sale, and so far have only used it twice sleeping on the floor at my parents' house, since my old bedroom has long since been converted to a sewing room for my mom. It seems quite comfy, particularly if underinflated (I started out with 17 breaths to full inflation - small lungs - and let air out twice, so probably 10-14 breaths in the end). I found myself able to sleep either on my back or on my side on the full-length version. After a while I didn't notice the feel of the channels. I like the small size of the stuffed pad (as opposed to the long roll of a thermarest-type pad). I gave it a 4 only because it's not the lightest.

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mark henley
( flash582 )
Max Thermo 3/4 on 02/21/2007 14:41:35 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

15 ounces of pure, 2.5 inch thick, heavenly sleeping bliss. I have a Max Compact, several thermarests, a Full length Max thermo, and several types of closed cell pads in my gear closet. This is without a doubt my "go to" pad of choice every time. At only 5 ounces heavier than a Torso light, and lighter than any of my Therma-rests, I can't justify not taking it.

Combined with a closed cell foam pad for sitting (about an ounce), this is a great system for getting a great night's sleep after a long hard day of hiking.

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paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
My first air-core on 03/06/2007 05:28:11 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Thick. Warm. Cushiony. Comfortable. Packs small enough.

I can't make many claims to being great at anything in life. But, i could claim to be a GREAT sleeper after a day of trekkin' up and down hills and trails. However, even I do sleep a bit longer (meaning more comfortable in my case), particularly in colder weather on this pad.

A pain to blow up - glad mine is only the 3/4 length.

Best "fit" and feel is achieved by inflating the pad fully or nearly full, and then laying on it and opening the valve just a tad to try to let air out slowly. Then, when the pad feels more comfortable (b/c it's now conforming to the contours of one's body), close the valve.

Been robust enough thus far - no punctures. But I haven't had it long enough to comment on other aspects of robustness.

I try NOT to fold it as i believe that the cycles of FOLDING and UNFOLDING cause the plastic to fatigue at the creases and are, perhaps(???) the major reason for non-traumatic (i.e., non-punctures) failures of inflatable pads. That is, each time the plastic is folded and unfolded a damaging stress cycle is experienced by the plastic, eventually causing it to fatigue and fail (i.e. develop an air leak) at the point of creasing in the plastic. So, not too tightly rolling the pad is the best way to go. This also works in some cases if the pad pocket is 20" tall. Mine seems to be a tough fit, in most packs that i have, however. Others, seem to have no trouble. Perhaps, the mine is at the outer limits of reasonable Mfr-ing tolerances???

Best way to prepare it for packing, IMO, is to open the valve while laying on it and let one's body weight force the air out of the pad. Then, the rest of the air will come out as one folds and rolls the pad. I try to minimize tight folding and rolling for the above stated reason. Furthermore, if i'm using it in the pad pocket of a pack, may not need to fold it, and i don't absolutely need to fold it if i'm NOT using it for a V-frame (virtual frame) for my pack (in this case i would also have a torso-length closed cell pad with me due to the cold weather).

I think this situation is somewhat analgous to packing clothing. We learned in the Military to ROLL our clothing instead of folding it to minimize wrinkles. I think this principle applies to the stiffer plastic of the inflatable pad. Rolling may actually prove to be a superior method than folding and rolling when it comes to pad longevity. Something to consider, anyways.

This will probably be my choice, coupled, with a closed cell foam pad for colder weather. I do, however, have BA Insulated Air Core 60" pad on the way to me, so my choice of insulated air-core pad may change. Stay tuned.

It's weight (not that i would want it lighter - as this would make it shorter or constructed of thinner materials and therefore more fragile) is the sole reason i give it a 4 rating. It's just the same weight as two GG Nighlight 3/4 length pads (59" each - fine for me as a full length pad), but not as warm, though it will pack much smaller than the two GG 3/4 length closed cell pads.

Edited by pj on 03/06/2007 06:09:26 MST.

christopher witter
( cwitter )

Mid Atlantic
Best Sleep Ever! 3/4 length on 04/16/2007 22:05:16 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have never used an inflatable of any kind, this is my first. I am a side sleeper and have never really gotten a goodnights sleep in the field. I bought this pad on sale at the rei outlet and in terms of comfort it is the best 20 bucks I have ever spent! I used it down into the twenties and felt warm. It's worth the weight.

Tom Clark
( TomClark )

East Coast
Most Comfortable Pad on 04/26/2007 19:09:08 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Definitely my favorite pad, and the one which I take most often. I view it as a good compromise in terms of comfort, weight, and volume. It's a luxury, but it allows me to roll from side to side and not have a sore shoulder the next day. You can adjust the firmness, and blowing it up is nothing compared to hiking for a day. I like the lengthwise ridges since I can lay my legs into the slots to help position myself in the center of the pad when I do wake up at night.

I have the insulated version, so it's a little heavier than the basic version. If I would do it over, I would get the uninsulated version, and just bring a thin (1/8-1/4") closed cell pad when the weather gets cold. Another reason not to get the insulation is that it has started to pull away from the top at a few spots.

I also wish I could better incorporate this into my Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack as the frame.

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Chris Bell
( Hobbit )

PA Wilds
Thick Comfort for 3 season use on 03/06/2008 18:35:46 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Great comfort when inflated somewhat soggy - about 10 puffs of air. The air channels are fairly pronounced "rounded" and you may be distracted by the feel of the "valleys" in between. At lower inflation I dont mind it.

I've used mine regularly for over a year in all seasons and no issues with durability.

With the internal insulation, I've found it to be warm down to about 35 F. Much below that and I have to add just a thin, 1/4", closed cell pad to extend its range.

Mine weighs in at 22 oz. Not the lightest or the heaviest pad out there. But for a bony hipped guy like me it gives an oportunity to sleep comfortably on the ground without pushing my base pack weight above 9 lbs.

Because of the cross channel design of the air flow its difficult to just roll from the end and expect the air to just come on out. It really flows side to side. You'll eventually get the hang of where to roll and squeeze to get this packed away.

When sleeping on the ground this is my choice of pad for 3 season use.

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Michael Davis
( mad777 )

South Florida
Way comfortable! on 07/05/2008 07:43:12 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Both my wife and I have the Max Thermo 3/4 length which weighs 15.0 oz on my scale. It has synthetic insulation inside the air chambers. It's construction is robust. I've never had a failure of any kind with these pads.

This thing is comfortable. I could never go back to sleeping on anything less! I use a close cell waffle foam pad under my feet to complete my sleep foundation. When temps are around 40 degrees, I add a 1/8" thick CCF pad and below freezing, a 3/8" thick CCF pad.

It's not the lightest sleep option out there but the ratio of comfort to weight and comfort to price is the best that I have found. The weight carried more than pays for itself with a good night's sleep.

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Russell Swanson
( rswanson )

Not up to snuff on 09/29/2008 23:48:13 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

This is a little dated as the new Ether series has since replaced my POE pad but I still feel the review is relevant due as a statement about the company. First, the pad is comfortable, so I won't post additional comments about that. My comments are concerning the quality of the pad.

I've had several pinholes develop in the pad, which I originally blamed on user error and deploying the pad on the bare ground...even though I'm pretty careful with my sleeping gear as a rule. Now, I'm not so sure as my POE Max Compact developed a pinhole near the inflation nozzle. Anywho, the pinholes have been very resistant to my attempts to repair the holes using the supplied repair cement.

The durability concerns knock the pad down a few notches. I'm docking another notch due to the lack of insulating ability of the pad. These minimally insulated inflatables carry a supposed temp rating at around freezing but I find this highly dubious. At temps under 45 degrees, I can definitely feel cold seeping up through the pad, necessitating some closed cell foam supplementation. Using hte pad at freezing by itself results in a very cold night for me. This seems to be a fairly common complaint. For reference, I can sleep fine on a 1/2 CCF pad down to around 20-25 degrees with no warmth issues.

To be fair, I haven't tried the new POE Ether series pads but I doubt I will. I have a 3/4 length Big Agnes uninsulated pad which has held up fine, albeit seeing much less use over the past few years. My wife needs a new insulated pad ASAP so we'll probably go with Big Agnes instead of another POE.

Edited by rswanson on 09/29/2008 23:59:04 MDT.

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Mary D
( hikinggranny )
Love it! on 10/17/2008 17:34:17 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My POE Insulmat Max Thermo (now the Ether Thermo, but I got the old model on closeout) just finished its second backpacking season.

I'm in my early 70's so these old bones and joints ain't what they used to be. At age 60, my old standard Thermarest wasn't enough, so I went to the 3/4 length Thermarest LE (2" thick). That worked for a while, but then the same problems arose--I couldn't stay in one spot for more than 10-15 minutes without becoming sore and having to turn. I discovered that letting the LE self-inflate and then squeezing a little air out worked for a while, but within 2-3 years either the pad was too hard or my hip bone was on the ground (I'm a slide sleeper).

Enter the Insulmat Max Thermo, conveniently on half-price sale just at the time I wanted it. I soon discovered that if I pumped it up about halfway, it is even more comfortable than my bed at home. My hip is maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch off the ground, while the rest of me is softly cushioned and gently supported at the same time. Ah, blissful comfort and a good night's sleep!

One other minor point--with the Thermarest, my dog was always sliding himself onto it at night and eventually pushing me off. The Max Thermo is thick enough that he can't slide onto it!

So far, no problems with leaks or anything else. I haven't tried to baby it. Even though I try hard to keep my dog away from it, he has walked across it a few times, but no damage. The one disadvantage is that it doesn't help to support my pack (Six Moon Designs Comet), but even with a heavy load I've been OK without it.

I recently tried the BA Clearview and found that, as with the Thermarest LE, there was no middle ground between too hard a pad or having my hipbone on the ground. That means I'll probably stick with the POE air mattress indefinitely.

I'm not so sure about the temperature rating, ostensibly 15*. I didn't have a thermometer with me last summer when I encountered some frosty nights. On the nights when my dog's water (in the open in a small nylon bowl) froze solid, I occasionally woke up to feel a little cool underneath. For cold sleepers like me, I'd recommend a Gossamer Gear Thinlight 1/8" pad cut to about 30" placed on top of the pad to further insulate torso and hips on really cold nights. My piece weighs 1.0 ounces.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/17/2008 17:49:42 MDT.

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