EDIT MOD QUERY OR - Thermarest Z-lite pads - Ray Estrella
- Hi Ray,
I'm a little confused by one aspect of the pad report, otherwise
excellent. Are the stats for your pad, the kids' pads, or both? I
think you have two different sizes under discussion here, so could you
clarify all that a wee bit?
Senior Edit Mod
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
> Hey all you editorial types
> I do not know what the call is for this month but I feel like writing
> about sleeping pads. Here is the first one. The HTML may be found
> See you in a few minutes
> Therm-a Rest Z-Lite
> Owner Review by Raymond Estrella
> September 13, 2008
> TESTER INFORMATION
> NAME: Raymond Estrella
> EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
> AGE: 47
> LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
> GENDER: M
> HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
> WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
> I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and
> in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and
> average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to
> lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike
> hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a
> freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I
> am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
> The Product
> Review Date: August 27, 2008
> Manufacturer: Cascade Designs Inc.
> Web site: www.thermarest.com
> Product: Z-Lite pad
> Year manufactured: 2008
> MSRP: $ 29.95 US
> Size: Small (also made in Regular, which I have too)
> Weight listed: 11 oz (310 g)
> Actual weight: 10.1 oz (286 g)
> Dimensions listed: 20 x 47 in (51 x 119 cm)
> Actual dimensions: 20 x 50.5 (51 x 128 cm)
> Thickness listed: 0.75 in (20 mm) Verified accurate
> Packed size listed (folded up): 20 x 4 x 5 in (51 x 10 x 13 cm)
> Packed size measured: 20 x 4.5 x 5 in (51 x 11 x 13 cm)
> R-Value: 2.2
> Product Description
> The Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite pads (hereafter called the Z-Lites or pads)
> are very light weight pads that the manufacture says is, "The perfect
> choice for chronic ounce-counters engaging in virtually any
> activity." I don't know about that, but I use them for backpacking
> The Z-Lites are made of closed-cell foam that will not absorb
> moisture. It is orange in color on the top (sleeping side) and dark
> grey on the bottom, as seen to the right. I can see no difference in
> the surfaces other than the color.
> The over-all thickness is 0.75 in (20 mm), but the thickness of the
> foam is only 0.3 in (8 mm) thick. The over-all thickness is achieved
> because of the egg-carton shaped pattern it has been constructed of.
> This technique allows a lot of dead-air space to be trapped between
> the user and the tent floor (or what ever it is on). This is claimed
> to increase warmth and softness.
> Another thing it does is allows the pad to fold up accordion-style
> with the grey bumps of the bottom sliding into the orange depressions
> of the front. This lets it pack down to about two-fifths of the size
> its thickness would suggest. It turns into the roughly square shaped
> bundles seen above.
> Once unfolded it lays fairly flat. It does keep some shape retention
> causing it to rise up from the surface a bit as may be noticed below.
> Field Data
> My twins Emma and Raymond used the Z-Lite pads in a MSR Mutha Hubba
> tent on the following trips, all in summer of 2008.
> We started by carrying them around Buffalo River State Park,
> Minnesota for a practice hike as seen above. (In the summer we can
> only hike on the trails, all camping must be done in
> the "campground".) After a couple miles of "packing" along three of
> the hiking trails we went back to our camp spot.
> We went to Itasca State Park , the birthplace of the Mississippi
> River where we got a permit for one of three sites at Myrtle Lake.
> (Backpacking sites are issued just like camp sites in a campground, a
> new one for me.) This four mile (6 km) round trip hike was on easy
> terrain as it is almost all grass, at the worst dirt. Temps were from
> 64 to 80 F (18 to 27 C) at an elevation of 1500 ft (460 m).
> The kids and I went with Uncle Dave and their cousin Kendall to Round
> Valley in San Jacinto State Park (California) for an over-night trip
> with lots of boulder climbing. The temperatures ranged from a low of
> 55 F to a high of 80 F (13 to 27 C). This was at an elevation of 9200
> ft (2800 m).
> And last we went on a three-day backpacking trip to Maplewood State
> Park in Minnesota. We stayed at the Beers Lake Backpacker site the
> first day and at the Grass Backpacker site the second. The weather
> was great for two days then rained the last. The temperatures were
> from 79 down to 61 F (29 to 16 C). The elevation was 1340 ft (408 m)
> above sea level.
> I bought the Z-Lite pads in May of 2008 expressly for my twins Emma
> and Raymond to use for a whole summer of backpacking we had planned.
> As I knew that I would be carrying a lot of weight hauling gear for
> the three of us I was very interested in finding something that would
> work for them with as low a weight as possible.
> I have a regular length Z-Lite pad that I use in winter occasionally
> to boost my R-value with other pads (I will mention my opinion of the
> Z-Lite at the end of this review). I had the kids try it out and they
> said they liked it, so I got them the two smalls. They insisted on
> sleeping on them in the front room when they first got them.
> The kids used them all summer and I never heard a single complaint of
> any discomfort or soreness. Indeed they slept harder than they ever
> do at home, but that could have something to do with the hiking,
> boulder climbing, lake playing, and frog hunting safaris
> Their low body weight seemed to keep the egg-carton ridges from
> collapsing too much giving them a soft and comfortable sleeping
> surface. As can be seen in these pictures Emma and Ray (who is buried
> in his bag) look like they are having sweet cushioned dreams.
> And I did not mind carrying the combined weight of both of them. I
> stacked them both together and then attached them to my Osprey Argon
> 110 with the pack's lower sleeping pad straps. The Z-Lites actually
> helped my pack sit stably when I would take it off. Here is a picture
> on our way to Round Valley in Mount San Jacinto State Park.
> They are a lot more durable than I thought they would be. They have a
> few scratches and permanent indentations, from sitting against rough
> granite most likely. But neither of them have any tears or holes. As
> can be seen above I snug them down pretty tight to make sure they
> don't slide around but they do not retain the strap indentations
> after a day of hiking. On the trip above because of logistic problems
> they were strapped down for over 12 hours like that but showed no
> sign of it an hour after unloading. Here is a picture as we trek
> through the hardwood forests of Minnesota.
> Dad's Use
> While the Z-Lites have been great for the kids I thought that I
> should share my experiences with the regular size Z-Lite I have.
> I am not an Ultra-light backpacker by any means. My brother-in-law
> Dave is for 3-season hiking, often carrying loads that I can only
> touch if I leave one leg at home. (Uh, uh, don't go there ) I do try
> to lean towards the lighter end of the scale for most of my gear
> purchases though.
> I bought my Z-Lite to use in winter to put an extra insulating layer
> between me and the snow before I got some pretty trick winter pads.
> And it works exceptionally for this use. It seems to grip very well
> too, although I may not notice much slipping as I can make a darn
> level pad with my shovel and snowshoes in winter.
> But at least one time each year I do what I call a "Dave hike". On
> this hike we go for three days and I try to take the lowest weight I
> possibly can. But I still have to take my own tent and such, and I do
> not have any little Bear Burritos to sleep in like Dave does. So one
> year I took the Z-Lite as my only pad to cut weight.
> At the time I was up to my high body weight of 220 lb (100 kg). (This
> was before the crazy monster-distance hikes I have been doing the
> past 3 years.) And I have to say that the Z-Lite did not work well
> for me at all. But as a side-sleeper I put a lot of pressure against
> my hip and shoulder as I sleep. And all of my big trips are in the
> Sierra at high altitude, with most camps above tree-line meaning I am
> setting up on rock most of the time. Dave, who is a back sleeper, has
> one (actually he has two, he brings both in winter some times) and
> does well with it set up a short distance away.
> I will keep mine forever as a winter addition, the weight is hard to
> beat and I use it as a winter seat in my dug-out snow kitchen quite
> often as the weight is so low that I can justify carrying it instead
> of my foam seat pad as it lets me sleep warmer too. I will end this
> review with a picture of it in my kitchen area dug out of about 8 ft
> (2.6 m) of snow. See how clean it stays with no icky dirt around?
> (He, he, he)
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