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Continuing our showcase of Utah outdoor companies, David shares his review of the outstanding Klymit Inertia XL sleeping pad.
At some point, every backpacker has to make a difficult decision: bring along the extra comfort of a sleeping pad or go without to reduce weight and bulk. Most of those that have made the decision to not bring the sleeping pad along probably end up regretting it the next morning. Klymit is one of several brands trying to keep their customers from having to make this decision, but they have approached it a bit differently. By combining a love for the outdoors with chemistry know-how (they actually refer to themselves as mad scientists), this Ogden, Utah company has developed a line of gear around the use of the NobleTek insulation they have developed. While they offer base layers, a sleeping bag, a pack, and several different vests, we feel that their sleeping pads are where Klymit shines most.
The Inertia XL is an over-sized sleeping pad, yet still weighs only 16.8 oz. and packs down to roughly the size of a water bottle. All of the sleeping pads offered by Klymit can be filled with argon gas – which helps them insulate you from the cold ground – or simply filled with a few breaths (only about 5 or 6 for the Inertia XL). Unique body-mapping features allow for comfort and insulation while cutting down on overall weight by removing sections that will typically not be under your body. There is also a built-in pillow, designed to cradle your head while you sleep and keep it slightly higher than the rest of your body. Included with the sleeping bad is a stuff sack, patching kit, and a hand pump (which allows you to dial-in the perfect amount of pressure based on your preferences). This sleeping pad is designed to be a balance between comfort and portability, so that even the most gram-conscious backpackers will have a hard time leaving it behind.
While reviewing the Inertia XL, we were surprised at how easy it was to setup. Simply unrolling the pad, blowing a few breaths in, and locking the port is enough to get you by, and using the pump to customize the pressure a bit more doesn’t take much longer. A dozen or so squeezes was enough to get the pressure to exactly what we wanted for the night. It certainly gets good marks for ease of use. Sizing is exactly what we were hoping for in an oversized sleeping pad, and had plenty of room for my 6-foot tall, broad shouldered frame. It’s hard to imagine that anyone under 6’4″ or so would have a problem using the Inertia XL. Combining the size with the fact that it rolls up to the size of a standard water bottle is amazing, opening up a whole slew of options for bringing this thing along with you (in a bottle-holder on a bike, outer pockets on a backpack, and keeping it rolled inside your tent are just a few). The body mapping system used by Klymit for this sleeping pad is obviously designed for people who predominantly sleep on their backs, but works well for stomach sleepers as well. You may have some issues if you sleep on your side, although I didn’t seem to have any problems while side-sleeping. Despite the inclusion of the head cradle, using this pad without a pillow of some sort is probably still not ideal for most people, but still a step up in that regard when compared to similar products. Unfortunately, our testing happened during the summer, so we were unable to get a good read on the actual insulation benefits of using argon gas, which performs brilliantly in their Kinetic ski vest (hopefully we can get a chance to check that out in the future).
Overall, the Inertia XL from Klymit does a very good job of accomplishing its primary goal of providing a comfortable place to sleep without adding too much weight or bulk. Is it going to be as comfortable as your bed at home? Of course not, but it will certainly be worth carrying an extra pound in your backpack. At $129.95, it’s priced well too, compared to products offering similar benefits (and none of those were designed specifically to use argon gas for extra insulation). If you are looking for a lightweight alternative to carrying a massive sleeping pad, check out the Inertia XL, or the other sleeping pads offered by Klymit on their website. We also like the look of their Cush Seat/Pillow, which can be blown up in a single breath and offers a variety of applications and configurations.