Review: Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad

Klymit Static V sleeping pad - an economically priced air sleeping pad with a unique and comfortable  v-chamber design.
Klymit Static V sleeping pad – an economically priced air sleeping pad with a unique and comfortable v-chamber design.

Greetings Hikers,

The world of sleeping pads continues to grow and I have been no stranger from talking about sleeping pads from Klymit. Just over a year ago I published my thoughts over at RedwoodOutdoors.Com (my originally site for publishing hiking gear articles) on the Klymit Inertia XL sleeping pad. A month later I took the bold step and resized my Inerta XL (perhaps the first customer in the world to do so??) and I published how I resized it and compared it to my resized Original Therm-a-Rest NeoAir (which I had also resized.) Suffice to say I have really come to like what Klymit is doing. They are a company that is working very hard to get their products out there, do so in a respectable manner, and producing some very solid products.

Now I want to take the time to write up my thoughts on the Klymit Static V, their newest sleeping pad – and their first sleeping pad to not be filled with a bunch of holes (err, sorry: loft pockets).

I am one of the few SUL hikers in world who uses a “full size” sleeping pad. I am a side sleeper. I like to sleep. I like comfort. Enough said.

The way I figure it, given the low weight of my setups, I can get away with adding a few extra ounces of weight in order to make sure that my sleeping gear is of sufficient comfort that I can sleep well. In the summer time I might only go out with a simple CCF pad, but once it hits the shoulder season the full size air pad comes out – and sometimes in the summer, if I just want to be comfortable!

In the world of air pads I have owned an Exped Downmat 9 (size Large), an original NeoAir (full size, small, medium, and a second full size I cut down in length so I could have a ‘wide-short’), the NeoAir X-Lite (full size), the Klymit Inerta XL (full size, later cut down to a wide-short), and the Klimit Static V (only comes in one size: large).

Why I Bought The Static V:

Recently I have become tired of spending huge amounts of money on hiking gear. It scares me when I think about how much money is tied up in my hiking gear. Granted it is ‘my life’ for a good part of the year, but those who follow my articles know that I tend to buy the top of the line gear, and also have a large amount of my gear custom made – which is just over-the-top expensive. I have never made it any secrete that XUL hiking is not cheap, a hiker going from a heavy setup to a XUL setup can have $10,000+ invested in all of the gear that they have bought from their twenty-five pound setup down to their under three pound setup. You end up buying a whole lot of gear along the way trying to find multiple setups that work for you. I also know that some of my readers are not SUL/XUL hikers – folks who follow my articles to learn a bit (hopefully), and folks who might not want, or who cannot, spend big bucks on gear. So I have been trying to spend some time with some gear that is more reasonably priced yet still not overtly heavy. The Klymit Static V fits into that group perfectly!

Every year over on the pct-l (a mailing list for the pct – and what happens to be, in my opinion, the best resource on the internet for hikers) there are potential pct hikers who start asking questions about gear that does not cost a fortune. Just in the few years I have been apart of the pct-l I have seen dozens of folks asking about how to hike the pct without spending a fortune. I am sure that websites such as whiteblaze also gets a ton of these type of questions every year about the AT.

So I will be honest and say that the main reason I bought the Klymit Static V is because I wanted to see how an air pad that has a MSRP of $59.95 would compare to the almighty NeoAir XLite, which has a MSRP of $179.95. Could it be as comfortable? Could it hold up? Could it handle more than just an overnighter? What exactly are you going to get for a sixty dollar air pad? These are the questions I wanted answers too.

How It Compares:

Those who follow my articles know I really do not like to compare one product to another. Only twice in all of the years that I have been writing articles about hiking have I compared products (and those two times where short paragraphs just to help people have an understanding of something) so I am having to break my rule in order to write this review. Simply put, if I do not spend the time comparing the Klymit Static V within this article, I will probably spend three times as much post-article answering comments asking me to do so. So how this is going to work is that I will be comparing the Klymit Static V (the most recent air pad on the market I think) to the NeoAir XLite, pretty much the de facto best-of-the-best. I will be using the NeoAir XLite “Large” within this review, as it is the closest in size to the Klymit Static V.

Below is a chart based on the specs provided by both Static V and Therm-a-Rest:

Static V NeoAir XLite
Weight: 514 grams (18.13 ounces) 460 grams (16.22 ounces)
Length: 72 inches (183 cm) 77 inches (196 cm)
Width: 23 inches (59 cm) 25 inches (63 cm)
Height: 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) 2.5 inches (6.5 cm)
R-Value: 1.3 3.2
MSRP: $59.95 $179.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the differences work out between the two:

Weight: The Static V is 54 grams (1.90 ounces) heavier
Length: The XLite is 5 inches (13 cm) longer
Width: The XLite is 2 inches (4 cm) wider
Height: Both are the same height
R-value: The XLite provides an additional 1.9 of R-value
MSRP: The XLite is $120 more expensive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

When it comes to comfort, that is paramount for me. The Static X is very likely the most comfortable sleeping pad I have ever used. As a side sleeper who tosses and turns and rolls and most of the time ends up in a fetal position while sleeping, having a sleeping pad that can keep me on the sleeping pad is a surprising difficult thing to find. The NeoAir Original did a decent job, the NeoAir XLite for the most part totally fails me – I almost always roll off the sides of it. The Exped Downmat 9 did a pretty good job of keeping me on the pad as well.

Durability totally goes to the Static V. As far as I know this is the same crazy tough material that they make all of their other sleeping pads out of, and you can put these things right on the ground and jump all over there. Check out this video to see this!

At $60 bucks, it totally blows away any other “large” size sleeping pad out there  – at least the ones I would consider buying. I have seen them on sale at a few different places in the high 40 range. Compare even their MSRP to the NeoAir and, well, “wow”. It really makes you stop and wonder if the extra 1.9 ounces is worth $120 bucks. If you are an active SUL hiker, it might be worth dropping the extra $120 bucks, but if not, it just seems to me like the Static V wins in every regards when it comes to price.

Inflation very much goes to the Static V. I tend to average 12-15 full breaths to fill up the Static V. Compare that to an average of 29-33 for the NeoAir XLite. That is a huge difference.

Cons:

At 23 inches in width the Static V gives a bit more width than most of the other regular or small sized sleeping pads out there. For those that like/need a “wide” sleeping pad, because of the way that the sides are designed on the Static V, it feels as-wide-as, perhaps even a little wider than the XLite. However, on paper it is not as wide as the XLite so I have put this under the ‘cons’. As I said though, based on sleeping on them both, I prefer the Static V.

I will say that I have noticed the missing 5 inches from the overall length of the Static V. I am not really sure why Klymit decided to ditch the industry standard for a “large” and go with one that is 72 inches rather than the 77 that pretty much everybody else uses, but it is something that I have noticed when laying on it. Basically it has taken away the ability to place my pillow directly onto the sleeping pad. At 2.5 inches tall, that makes trying to put a pillow at the head-end rather difficult.. I simply do not have enough stuff left over to stuff into a stuff sack in order to raise my pillow up high enough. And for whatever reason I do not like my feet hanging off of a sleeping pad, so the missing 5 inches limits my ability to use this sleeping pad by putting my head off the top-end.

Being 72 inches in length also limits the ability of the Static V to use it with a “long” sleeping bag – my MBULSS#3 is a long and I end up having a few inches falling off the end of the sleeping pad. Inside of a shelter this is not all that big of a deal, but when cowboy camping, it pretty much mandates that I take along an extra ground cloth to protect the end of my sleeping bag.

At a R-value of 1.3 you are not going to want to be taking the Static V thing out in winter (unless you combine it with some other pads) so the XLite at 3.2 clearly wins in this regards.

The Static V is 54 grams (1.90 ounces) heavier than the XLite, and as a SUL/XUL hiker, that is a lot. However the comfort, the ability to stay on the pad, the knowledge I am supporting a smaller cottage company (Klymit is based out of Ogden, UT), and the price-factor makes those extra two ounces go away – even for a hiker as perfervid as I am about counting grams.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for an air inflated sleeping pad that is sub-100 dollars, provides some decent comfort and does not take up a lot of bulk space, the Klymit Static V should warrant some serious consideration!

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Long Term Review: MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Hugger

Greetings hikers,

I have been waiting a while to write up this review, and over this past weekend I passed the 250-nights of use with a MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger sleeping bag, and I told myself I would write up a review of this bag when I hit the 250-night mark.

The MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger (herein I will simply annotate it as the ‘MBULSS’) is not exactly a sleeping bag that falls into the model of a SUL or XUL hiking setup. It is very much possible to carry this sleeping bag as a SUL hiker and it could be possible to do a XUL hike with the MBULSS #5 and maybe the #3 (but that would be really hard). So I realize that this sleeping bag might seem to be one of those sleeping bags that does not typically get reviewed by a SUL/XUL hiker, but if you are a SUL/XUL hiker you have probably come to learn the very valuable lesson that sleep comfort is almost as important as knowing your route and knowing how to maintain your core body temperature. So for me, having a sleeping setup that is above-par is a near-must. A little over 1000 grams of my 1800 gram BPW setup is devoted to my sleeping system (shelter & bag). Yes I could save 115 grams or so of weight (around 4 ounces) if I switched over to a ZPacks sleeping bag or an Enlightened Equipment Epiphany, but the simple fact is (for me) the comfort of the MBULSS is worth those three or four ounces. Hiking Lighter does not always mean hiking with the lightest possible gear in the world.

I have owned both the MBULSS #3 and a MBULSS #1 and have loved them both.

The #3 has an EN Rating of “40 comfort” and a “30(f) Lower Limit” and a “3(f) Extreme” rating. My thoughts on these ratings, as a cold sleeping, is that they are way off. I own the previous version when they were rated at 30(f) rather than 40(f) and I often found myself rather cold at anything under around 46. I made the mistake once of taking it out when it was going to be 30 and I pretty much froze all night, even with all of my clothing on. Whoever these “extreme” hikers are that can take this bag down to 3(f)… well, huge props to you guys!!

The #1 has an EN Rating of “26(f) comfort” and a “15(f) Lower Limit” and a “-19(f) Extreme” rating. I would say that these are a bit more accurate – again, I am a cold sleeper. The problem with the #1 is the bulk size of this bag. If you really stuff it, it can get down to around 7″ by 14″. As I almost never compress my sleeping bag, it can take up a rather large percentage of my ~1000 cubic inch backpack. The #1 also breaks the 2-pound limit, at 2.5 pounds, of which 1.5 pounds is 800 down fill and the other 1 pound is material. Compare this to the 17 ounces (482 grams) for the ZPacks 30(f) bag (remembering it is hoodless bag.)

I typically consider the 30(f) range the sweet spot in which sleeping bag to choose. Realistically anything under around 42(f) and I am cold. So a bag that can get me down to the 30(f) mark is a sleeping bag that I am going to shoot for, knowing that it should get me down to the freezing range, which is not all that common here in the Redwood Forest of Northern California, but it is very much possible to reach sub-freezing only an hour away from the Redwoods.

Perhaps the three biggest competitors to the MBULSS #1 is the Western Mountaineering AlpinLite, which is a 15(f) bag and is 31 ounces (1 lb 15 oz) (of which 19 ounces is down fill) and the Marmot Helium which is a 15(f) bag and is 38 ounces (2 lbs 6 oz) (of which 21.5 ounces is down fill) and the Nunatak Alpinist which is a 20(f) bag and is 22 ounces (1 lbs 3 oz) (of which 12 ounces is down fill).  [all bags based on 6′ length sizes]

The Nunatak is the only one of those three that I have not had the chance to try. Based on its specs I am not sure I would like using one – for the same reason that I do not like using the other two: they are not wide enough. I, like the vast majority of the people in the world, am a side sleeper. I am not only a side sleeper but when I get cold I very quickly go from being a side sleeper to being a fetal sleeper, and that requires a sleeping bug with a lot of width to accommodate the bent knees. And that is where the MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger shines at.

It is no secrete that the problem with wide bags is that you end up sleeping colder, because of the larger amount of mass air inside the sleeping bag. The MBULSS solves this by being, well, a super spiral bag. When I am in a fetal position, it hugs my knees and bag. When I am in a standard side sleeping position, the bag hugs my knees and bag. If I happen to be sleeping on my back, the sleeping bag still hugs my sides. That is the awesomeness of the super spiral technology. There is very little dead-air space inside one of them. Perhaps the largest pocket of dead-air space of the entire sleeping bag is in the foot area, as it is not aggressively narrow in the foot region, which can be both good and bad. It is great when you want a bit of foot room, but I have also had my feet freezing a bit when I was pushing the limitations of the bag.

With over 250 nights of use on my #3 (and around 45 nights of use with the #1) I can definitively say that the sleeping bag has lost a fair amount of loft and thus warmth. I have washed it, treated it, and everything else I know of to try to bring back some warmth to the bag. If it falls below 50(f) I have found that the #3 is just not warm enough unless I put on a base layer of clothing or use a silk insert. It is rated at 40(f) so I would guess that it has lost around 8-10 degrees of warmth over the last 250 nights. I have never owned any other sleeping bag with this many nights of use so I am unaware of whether this is on-par with other bags or if this is rather poor performance. At this point the #3 is very little more than a summer time sleeping bag, or if I feel like carrying an additional 20-odd ounces of clothing to compensate for it. However as I previously mentioned the bulk of the #1 is significantly more than the #3 and in my backpack I have a hard time getting everything stuffed into it when I have to use the MBULSS#1. So I am more and more finding myself looking at one of the ZPacks sleeping bag and than a Nunatak Balaclava to compensate for the bag being hoodless. But, each time I do the numbers on the weight and the price, I just continue to think to myself that the pleasure of the pure comfort of the MBULSS sleeping bags are worth the bulk and the few extra ounces.

-Abela

In accordance of Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that the disseminated content within the review of this product(s) is free of endorsement(s) between myself and the manufacturer(s) of any product(s) disclosed herein and meets all FTC 16 CFR.255 compliance requirements.