BACKPACKER GEAR TEST
Report #2 for "Mt.
Washington" sleeping pad
Date: May 30,
Field Report No.
Bells/Snowmass Wilderness, Crater Lake
Date: May 26,
Nighttime Temp: 40
(During test) Clear, Cool, Light Breeze, no precipitation Some snow on
ground, mostly mud, dry dirt/duff
Test Area: Backcountry
established campsite on lake. Mountains surrounding lake. Elevation
The approach hike was a short 1.8 miles
in to a lake with surrounding campsites. Many were in use, as it was
Memorial Day weekend. I packed the pad under the top of my Arc'terryx Bora
65 pack and there were no signs of rain, so it remained there until set
Set-up was easier than my usual
Therma-rest huffing and puffing, and I liked being able to quickly pull out
the pad and sit on it while resting, without fear of it snagging or
becoming deflated. I camped on a flat area with lots of pine
needles. It was soft and out of the wind. My Mac Pac tent is a
four-season and was quite warm, so I left the venilation doors open, did
not put up a rain-fly, and left my sleeping bag unrolled with the rest of
my stuff in the tent. I used the pad to cook and read on, and it was much
more comfortable than the ground alone.
Night fell, and I slept in an open
sleeping bag atop the egg-shellside of the pad. I used my clothing as
a pillow and was able to fall asleep quickly. As the temperature dropped I zipped my bag and found I had not
slipped off of the pad at all. I found I slept comfortably on my back, but
could not get comfortable on my side, until I used my sleeping bag as a hip
support. I normally sleep on my stomach, but find this is nearly
impossible while camping unless conditions are perfect. The pad is
excessively long for me. I am 5' 9, but it is still a few inches too
long. I appreciate the padding under my knees, and the warmth gained from
a full length pad, but I could trim a bit on this pad.
In the morning, I noticed no soreness,
and felt I had slept well. There were no complaints about the pad, and I
feel I could use it and get decent rest. I am a relatively bony/skinny
person and found my joints were not as appreciative of the Mt. Washington as my
usual pad, but that is to be expected. I still feel that the egg-shell
side down could be a legitimate way to sleep on this pad, though I suspect the
egg-shell design is to aid in insulation and air flow.
My impressions so far of this pad are
that: I could learn to live with it. Not in extreme cold, not camping on
slickrock, perhaps not on extended trips where shelters are common, but I could
use it when decent campspots are assured and weight is an issue.
As an aside, dog hair seems magnetically
drawn to the pad, though my dog chose to sleep at the bottom of the tent.
It washes off easily and it resiliant. I wish it was a bit more
packable-though I believe, with practice I could figure out a good
The Test Plan:
This pad needs to be tested in a
really rough, rocky area-a worst case scenerio!
It needs to be tested in colder,
wetter, more unsavory conditions.
It needs to be tested on repeat
nights--three in a row, perhaps or more to see how I feel over a longer
It also needs to be tested in a
shelter/hard floor/alpine hut/bunkhouse, since I am an avid long-distance
hiker and tend to end up sleeping in very random locales.
Next on the board:
I will test this pad on
an early ascent of a fourteener, possibly Long's Peak, June 28th.
Inclement weather can be a major issue and it tends to get pretty chilly that
high. Maybe it will rain just so I can really have a worst case! It
is also rocky above timberline and campsites are not as plush as this one
was. Stayed tuned!