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Reviews > Camp Chairs and Seating > Seating > Owner Review by Marina Batzke

REI LITE-CORE 1.5 SIT PAD
BY MARINA BATZKE
OWNER REVIEW
December 08, 2013

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 53
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in Spring 2013. I borrowed various supplies for my first backpacking trip and am currently hiking with some newly acquired light weight gear and some heavier gear from my car camping trips. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. I am a tent camper looking for ways to lighten my pack. My backpacking trips are currently weekend excursions in Southern California, USA. If my business travel allows me to get away, I try to backpack one or two weekends a month.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Recreational Equipment Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.rei.com
MSRP: US$19.90
Listed Weight: 4.4 oz (125 g)
Measured Weight of Pad + Stuff Sack: 4.1 oz (116 g)
Measured Weight of Pad alone: 3.8 oz (108 g)
Measured Weight of Stuff Sack: 0.2 oz (6 g)
Rolled up Dimensions to fit into my backpack: 2.75 in diameter x 6.5 in length (7 cm x 16.5 in)
IMAGE 2
Sit Pad teal top side

Listed Flat Pad Dimensions: 16.5 x 12 x 1.5 in (41.9 x 30.5 x 3.8 cm)
Measured Flat Pad Dimensions: 16.5 x 12 x 1.5 in (41.9 x 30.5 x 3.8 cm)

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The REI Lite-Core 1.5 Sit Pad is sold in its stuff sack. Inside, the pad is folded in half lengthwise and rolled up tightly. After pulling it out of its stuff sack, the pad looks all wrinkled. Once I open the pad's black plastic valve counterclockwise and pull it out, the self-inflation immediately starts filling the pad with air. I add two deep breaths of air which fill the pad to a firm touch, then I press the black valve back in and close it clockwise. The pad surface is made of a teal colored polyester fabric with a small REI logo imprinted in silver.
The pad bottom is made of a dark grey polyester fabric.
IMAGE 3
Sit Pad grey bottom side

The two layers are laminated together with a 0.4 in (1 cm) edge all-around. The black plastic valve projects from the upper right side.
The pad is filled with open-cell polyurethane foam. When I hold the pad against light, I see a couple of hundred 0.4 in (1 cm) diameter holes in the 1.5 in (3.8 cm) thick foam. Wherever there is a foam hole inside, it shows like a small, soft bump on the pad outside.
Both the front and back feel soft to the touch and particularly the grey bottom does not have any anti-slip dots or slip-resistant surface structures. The manufacturer describes the bottom as abrasion-resistant.
IMAGE 1
Rolled up Sit Pad Size in comparison to energy bar

The stuff sack is made of teal-colored thin fabric with a black drawstring closure at its opening. The sack has two means to attach it to a carabiner hook: a narrow black 1 in (2.5 cm) long fabric loop at its opening side and a black 0.87 in (2.2 cm) wide by 3 in (7.6 cm) long, flat black fabric strap at its bottom side.

FIELD TRIP INFORMATION

Trip #1:
Location: Bridge to Nowhere, San Gabriel Mountains (northern Los Angeles County)
Elevation: 3000 ft (900 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Conditions: campsite with sandy soil to sit on
Temperatures: 63-80 F (18-27 C)

Trip #2:
Location: Third Stream Crossing Lytle Creek, San Bernardino National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 4000 ft (1200 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Conditions: pine forest campsite with forest soil, small twigs and pine needles I sat on
Temperatures: 60-80 F (16-27 C)

Trip #3:
Location: Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Conditions: forest campsite with leaves, pine needles, twigs
Temperatures: 64-90 F (18-32 C)

Trip #4:
Location: Little Jimmy Campground, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 7500 ft (2290 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Conditions: unusually cold October weekend with snow on the ground but a tree log to sit on
Temperatures: 35-58 F (2-14 C)

Trip #5:
Location: Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Conditions: forest campsite with leaves, pine needles, twigs
Temperatures: 64-90 F (18-32 C)

REVIEW

On my first couple of backpacking trips, I noticed the various seats and chairs fellow backpackers were using in camp. When I checked those seating solutions out in a store, the pricing deterred me and I decided to start with a lower priced solution: I bought the REI Lite-Core 1.5 Sit Pad. It is a wonderfully small and light weight seating solution at an affordable price.
On my backpacking trips, I have used the pad on the ground, on rocks and on tree logs. Even though it has two fabric loops that would allow me to attach it to my pack's outside, I usually store the pad inside its stuff sack in the top pouch of my backpack and get it out along with food, should we stop along the trail. So far it has held up well and it only shows two tree sap spots on its grey bottom side. When I return from a trip, I wipe over the pad surfaces using a water-moistened microfiber cloth to remove any dust or dirt.
I have mostly used the pad in warm summer temperatures, except on one occasion where temperatures reached lows of 35 F (2 C). The pad does not have an R-rating (the R stands for insulation resistance: how well a product's insulation resists the flow of heat). Yet due to its 1.5 in (3.8 cm) thick foam layer, I feel the pad helps protect me from cold ground temperatures.
On my backpacking trips, I have also used the pad as head pillow at night by placing the pad underneath my sleeping bag on top of the mattress pad. It does shift somewhat overnight (as neither my mattress pad nor this sit pad has anti-slip features) and I have to wedge it in place but it saves me from carrying a pillow.
On two occasions, I took the pad to the Hollywood Bowl, a Los Angeles, California outdoor amphitheater and used the sit pad on their wooden benches.
In these various applications, I feel the pad has provided good cushioning and gives me enough square inches to sit on.
IMAGE 4
Surface side with black valve

It is very easy to pack the sit pad: I simply turn the black valve counterclockwise and pull; right away some air puffs out. I fold the pad in half lengthwise, roll it up tightly from the end opposite its valve and once I have squeezed out all air, I close the valve by pressing it in and closing it clockwise. The pad fits into its stuff sack perfectly every time I roll it up.

I have noticed these drawbacks:
(1) When I used the pad on a tree log, every time I got up it fell down. Because it is stiff and straight once air-filled, the pad does not conform to the round log shape. On another occasion, I had to chase it in camp, as the wind blew the pad off a bolder.
(2) Pressing the valve-head in and turning it sometimes takes a bit of maneuvering, which I find tough to do after I have just filled the pad with air and do not want the air to puff back out.

SUMMARY

While the REI Lite-Core 1.5 Sit Pad provides good cushioning, is affordable, light-weight and easy to pack, the day will come and I will upgrade to a backpacking chair with a seat back, biting the bullet of a considerably higher cost and higher weight.

Positives:
1. Light weight
2. Small and easy to store in my backpack
3. Affordable
4. Easy to inflate
5. Also usable as pillow
6. Easy to roll up

Negatives:
1. No seat back
2. Nuisance to keep picking it up after it falls off field seating
3. Might blow away in the wind
4. Pressing the valve-head in and turning it sometimes takes a bit of maneuvering

SIGNATURE

Marina Batzke

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Marina Batzke

Reviews > Camp Chairs and Seating > Seating > Owner Review by Marina Batzke



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