BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad > Test Report by Will Dalen Rice

BIG AGNES CLEARVIEW PAD
TEST SERIES BY WILLIAM RICE
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 11, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: William Rice
EMAIL: tdnarrator@hotmail.com
AGE: 27
LOCATION: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I began backpacking at the age of 13 when I first went to summer camp (1993). In 1999, I started working with a college tripping organization in outdoor trip logistics (in gear preparation), and then as a leader. My most frequented hiking locations are in the Carolina Appalachians and the Smoky Mountains during the cold early spring and the summer. I stopped being a trip leader in 2004, and now I average about 4 backpacking trips and 4 day hikes per year. I carry between 25 and 35 lbs (11.3-15.8 kg) on multi-day trips.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Big Agnes
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.bigagnes.com
MSRP: US$ 42.95
Listed Weight: 14 oz (0.40 kg)
Measured Weight: 15 oz (0.43 kg)
Manufacturer's Dimensions: 20" x 72" x 2.5" (50.6x 182.16x 6.32 cm)
Measured Dimension: 9" (22.77cm) wide at head, 21" (53.13 cm) wide at shoulders/ hips, 12" (30.36 cm) wide at feet, 72" (182.16 cm) long, 2.5" (6.32 cm) thick
Listed Packed Size: 2.5" x 11" (6.33 x 27.83 cm)
Measured Packed Size: 4.75" x 9" (12.02 x 22.77 cm)
Color: Clear
Temperature Rating: 35 F (~4 C)

IMAGE 1
Manufacturer's Picture


IMAGE 2
Picture of Pad

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Clearview pad comes with a mesh bag for storing.

The Clearview pad looks very similar to an inflatable floating raft that would be used in a pool. It is composed of between 8 to 4 tubes of air, running the long dimension of the pad. These tubes are almost all interconnected at the ends of the pad, creating a continuous system of air that allows for air pressure equalization throughout the pad (some of the shorter tubes are connected only at one end). When it is inflating, there is no problem with lack of air dispersion due to kinking because each end is open to the neighboring tube. Also, when it is being used, the air equalizes itself throughout the pad.

When I opened the box and found the pad in the mesh bag below the sleeping bag, I was amazed at how small it was. When I picked it up, I was also amazed at how light it was.

The inflation valve is very large and I found it easy to use. It is a screw open valve. It took me 10 breaths to full inflate the pad. Once the pad it fully inflated, the valve needs to be screwed closed. It is NOT a one way valve, so the valve needs to be closed quickly.


IMAGE 3
Top Portion of Pad


IMAGE 4
Valve


I found it moderately difficult to get all the air out of the sleeping pad. Since some of the tubes are shorter and connected on one end only, air can get trapped while deflating.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There were no instructions with the pad.

The Big Agnes Elbert SL sleeping bag came with instructions on how to insert the pad into the sleeve. I did not see these the first time I inserted the pad in the bag. I did the same thing the directions say, and they worked well.

TRYING IT OUT

The pad stuffs into the sleeve of the sleeping bag very easily. It also seems quite comfortable to lie on. I like the amount of space it creates between myself and the ground. The one issue I noticed immediately is that the pad only seems to be as wide as my torso, so if my arms fall to my side, they will rest off the pad. Although my normal pad is the same width, it is only about 1/4" (0.75 cm) thick, so my arms rest at the same level, on or off the pad. With the Clearview's thickness (2.5", 6.33 cm), having my arms on the ground is quite a big difference.

Inflating the pad was simple for me.
Deflating and repacking the pad into the mesh bag was moderately difficult.

TESTING STRATEGY

I plan to sleep outside in inclement weather under a tarp and in clear skies with just the bag/pad. I am going to try and get at least one trip to a higher elevation locale (such as Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina, USA) where the temperatures will be cooler. I also want to try this pad out on grass, hard packed dirt, and rocky terrains.

SUMMARY

The pad appears to be everything that it was advertised to be.

Likes:
- Light
- Compact

Dislikes:
- thickness causes large difference between ground and sleeping bag, leading to arms "falling off" the side


FIELD REPORT

Notes on Testing

Since this pad was received in Late June, it unfortunately missed my long trip on the Appalachian Trail. Also, the test period is coinciding pretty much with the peak of the summer here in the southeastern U.S, resulting in limited ability to test this pad in cold.

CONDITIONS and PERFORMANCE

I.
Date: July 25th-27th
Location: Montreal, Canada
Weather: 63 F- 85 F (17-27 C), rained 2nd night, high humidity (70-80 %), breezy during 2nd night
Elevation: 118 ft (36 m)
Terrain: flat
Sleeping Surface and Condition: Grassy area, sleeping inside large, 10 person dome tent

Pre-Test Note:
I had to pack my sleeping back and pad for an airplane trip to get to New York. The pad added no more space than my kit of toiletries, and actually weighs about the same. It worked very well in my luggage.

Performance:
The pad was comfortable for 90% of my body. My arms unfortunately did not fit on the pad, and fell to the ground at my side. Since the pad is thick, this meant my arms were resting behind my torso, which felt awkward.

Also, when I moved around in my sleeping bag (which was a lot, to try and stay cool), the other person in my tent heard me and complained that the pad made a lot of noise.

The entire time I was sleeping on it, the pad did not deflate. It was comfortable to sleep on my back, side, and stomach with this pad.

The experience on both nights was the same. It was also easy to inflate, install, and pack away when I was done.

Expected Benefit:
The pad does not absorb and/or transmit any water from the ground or air. I was pretty sure this would be the case, but some pads do soak up moisture. This is definately not one of them.


II.
Date: August 30th-31st
Location: Pilot Mountain, NC, USA
Weather: 65- 95 F (18- 35 C)
Elevation: 2000 ft (600 m)
Terrain: flat with a single knob

Sleeping Surface and Condition: slightly rocky, slightly sloped ground, sleeping with no shelter

Performance:
This time around, I slept directly on the ground without any shelter. the ground was a little bumpy and rooty. I still did not feel anything other than flat, inflated support. The pad did not feel cold, even sitting directly on the ground. The pad again stayed inflated the entire time I used it. It was easy to inflate, easy to install in my sleeping bag pad sleeve, and easy to deflate and pack away.

Unexpected Benefit:
When I paired this pad with a sleeping bag that had a sleeve for the pad, I was able to sleep all night, on a hill, without sliding off of my pad. Since I move around often while sleeping, I usually wake up and have to readjust myself back onto the pad.

Test Points from Application

Test Points A

So far, the pad has done a very good job of insulating me from the ground. It has also provided a consistent sleep surface, regardless of the ground surface.

With relation to what I am used to, this pad it very lightweight and packs well.

Test Points B- Features From Description (Bag and Pad)

So far, the pad has worked well with the sleeve.

The pad has consistently held air while I sleep on it. When I step on it or sit up, I sink to the ground, but while I am laying on it with dispersed weight, it holds me comfortably.

SUMMARY

The pad is working well for me so far. The only big issue seems to be that is does not support my arms.

Likes:
- long enough for use with pillow
- comfortable
- easy to inflate, deflate, and pack away
- can sleep on side, back, or stomach


Dislikes:
- too narrow for arms/ shoulder, arms "fall off"
- noisy when I move around on it

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to test this pad on overnight trips, hopefully one of them being in colder weather.

Also, now that I have seen how it works on a slight hill, I want to test this pad on steeper inclines.


LONG-TERM REPORT

CONDITIONS and PERFORMANCE

I.
Date: 10/4/2008
Location: Marion, North Carolina, USA
Weather: 77F- 42 F (15-5 C), 47% humidity, clear skies, occasional light breeze
Elevation: 4035 ft (1230 m)
Terrain: Rocky and mountainous
Sleeping Surface and Condition: on top of small vegetation, some roots

Performance:
This was a simple overnight hike along the Mountains-to-Sea trail in western North Carolina. We hiked about 7 miles on this day. Eventually, we started worrying there would be no place to camp because much of the trail was cut through rock and dense tree woods. Eventually we found a very small area to camp in, which meant that we had to place our ground tarp on top of some short, scrubby vegetation. This also concealed some rocks, which were only discovered once we sat down.

The Big Agnes Clearview pad performed just as well as it has been. I did not feel any of the texture of the ground below me and I did not feel any coldness from the ground either.

II
Date: 10/31/2008
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Weather: Low of 25 F ( -1 C), 59% humidity, clear skies
Elevation: 850 ft (283 m)
Terrain: Flat
Sleeping Surface and Condition: smooth grass, no shelter

Performance:
It was not a difficult task for the Clearview to keep me comfortable on smooth ground with soft grass. Initially though, I was sideways on a slight decline. Combining the large thickness of the clearview with the narrow dimension at my arms, sleeping on a slope was not going to work. Although the bag was still on the pad (thanks to the sleeping bag pad sleeve), I was able to come in contact with the ground over the side of the pad. It was not comfortable and I had to adjust the location to better suit the slight terrain roll.

At first, the problem of my arms "falling off" the sides of the sleeping pad was an issue, but now I have gotten used to it and I do not notice anymore.

III
Date: 11/10/2008
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Weather: Low of 30 F (-1 C), 79% humidity, clear skies
Elevation: 850 ft (283 m)
Terrain: Flat
Sleeping Surface and Condition: smooth grass, no shelter
Other: Also used a fleece liner inside the sleeping bag.

Performance:
This was a repeat of the above circumstance. It was mainly done to test the capabilities of the sleeping bag. The pad has consistently performed fine, and did so on this occasion also.

DURABILITY

I have not had any problems with the Clearview Pad. It still works fine, holds air all night, and does not have any tears or other signs of use.

SUMMARY

The Clearview Pad has performed well for my test. It took a little time to get used to its width at the shoulders, but other than that, it has done everything I expected. It is light, stores small, and easy to operate. I am getting more used to how many breaths it takes to blow it up and what is the best way to go about doing this. Also, I have figured out a few different ways to deflate it, all of which make it small enough to fit in its stuff sack and pack away nicely.

Methods I used for inflating:
1) Breath in through nose and out through mouth, taking a break after about 7 breaths (preferred method)
2) Breath out through mouth to fill and close off valve after each breath
Methods I used for deflating:
1) Rolling towards valve, closing valve at end, and opening before repeating roll
2) Crumpling towards valve, then closing valve and rolling/ folding (preferred method).

Likes:
- light
- compact
- fits easily into sleeve of Big Agnes Elbert
- insulates well from the ground

Dislikes:
- too narrow at shoulder
- on a slant, feels weird and not give solid surface to stay on

To make this design better, I would widen the area where a person's arms might rest.

CONTINUED USE

This will become my default sleeping pad, due to being lightweight, highly packable, and comfortable. I do not see myself going back to my roll of blue foam.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Big Agnes gear
Read more gear reviews by Will Dalen Rice

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > Big Agnes Clearview Air Pad > Test Report by Will Dalen Rice



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson