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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > REI Lite-Core 1.5 Self-Inflating Pad > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

REI LITE-CORE 1.5 SLEEPING PAD
BY CHAD POINDEXTER
OWNER REVIEW
November 13, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: cg-77 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I started backpacking this year and have hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. As a new backpacker I have obtained mostly heavy gear, but dream of going light. I sleep in a tent and like a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. Since I'm still new my distance is around 10 mi (16 km) or less per day, depending on terrain. I usually hike with my fiancée or my son but wouldn't mind a solo hike.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
REI Lite-Core 1.5

Manufacturer: REI
Year of Manufacture: N / A
Manufacturer's Website: www.rei.com
MSRP: (US) $ 84.50
Size: Regular
Listed Weight: 1 lb 11 oz (765 g)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 9 oz (709 g)
Net Weight Filling Material: 10 oz (283 g)
Insulation: Foam
R-Value: 3.2
Dimensions Listed: 72 in x 20 in x 1.5 in (183 in x 51 cm x 4 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 73.5 in x 20.5 in x 1.5 in (187 cm x 52 cm x 4 cm)
Packed Size Listed: 5.5 in x 10.75 in (14 cm x 27 cm)
Design Type: Inflatable
Sleeping Pad Shape: Mummy
Color: Monarch Orange
Additional Sizes Offered:
Small: 48 in x 20 in x 1.5 in (122 cm x 51 cm x 4 cm) 18 oz (510 g)
Women's: 66 in x 20 in x 1.5 in (168 cm x 51 in x 4 cm) 25 oz (709 g)

PRODUCT DETAILS

The REI Lite-Core 1.5 Self-Inflating Pad (hereafter referred to as the "sleeping pad") is a 1.5 in (4 cm) thick mummy-shaped, self-inflating sleeping pad, with a listed R-value of 3.2. (The R-value is a measurement of the thermal resistance, or the efficiency of insulation of a given product. So, the bigger the number, the better the insulation effectiveness). The upper material consist of a rugged, taslan nylon diamond-ripstop surface, and features a pattern of grippy silicone rings. The insulation is comprised of a cross-cored, non-flame retardant polyurethane foam which allows the pad "maximum compressibility and weight reduction." The 75-denier polyester fabric, which lines the bottom, gives the pad an added ability to resists wear and tear.

IMAGE 2
Silicone Ovals


The sleeping pad is monarch orange on top and gray on the bottom. There is an "REI" logo in the top left corner with the words "Lite-Core, 1.5" printed below the logo. On the top right corner is a quick closing, high-volume airflow valve (see pic below). Approximately 11 in (28 cm) from the top of the pad, a group of 12 oval silicone rings run in a downward horizontal arch across the pad. Approximately 30 in (76 cm) from the top of the pad another group of 12 silicone rings run in a upward horizontal arch (see picture above). These silicone rings help grip the sleeping bag to minimize the occurrence of the sleeping bag slipping off the pad.

IMAGE 3
Air Valve


The pad also came with a lightweight stuff sack and a repair kit. The stuff sack features a built in pocket on the inside of the sack which holds the repair kit for easy and convenient storage. Included in the repair kit is: (1) two 1.5 in (4 cm) round swatches of taslan nylon diamond-ripstop, (2) one 3.5 in x 5 in (9 cm x 13 cm) piece of 75-denier polyester, (3) one 0.176 oz (5 g) tube of glue, (4) instructions for repair, and (5) a 3 in x 4 in (8 cm x 10 cm) zip closed plastic bag. There is also a black 24 in (61 cm) strap that wraps around the pad once it is rolled up and latches to itself to keep the pad rolled up.

IMAGE 4
What the pad came with....


The stuff sack is made of a lightweight nylon taffeta. There is a label attached to the front of the stuff sack advertising the pad (see picture above). The bottom of the stuff sack features a handle for ease of carrying, or for just making it easier to remove the pad from the stuff sack. There are quite a few tags attached to the inside of the stuff sack; one that states "Made in Taiwan," one consumer tag, and one tag detailing quick instructions for: (1) Inflating, (2) Deflating, (3) Storing, (4) Repairing, (5) Cleaning, and (6) Useful Tips. Of course, again, there is the pocket for the repair kit built into the top of the stuff sack as well. The top of the sack is closed using a black flat nylon pull cord and locked with a cord lock.

FIELD USE

NORTH GEORGIA, APPALACHIAN TRAIL (AT). I took this pad with me on a 5 night trip to the mountains of north Georgia. Temperatures were as high as 85 F (29 C) during the days and reached as low as 61 F (16 C) during the nights. I used The North Face Aleutian sleeping bag on top of the sleeping pad and a pillow to make up my sleep system. The ground conditions in which we set up camp consisted of packed, hard dirt to just plain old hard, rocky ground. Elevations varied nightly, from 1,770 ft (539 m) on the first night out to 4,450 ft (1,356 m) on the last night out.

IMAGE 5
Our setup at Horse Gap on the AT


SOUTHWESTERN TENNESSEE, BIG HILL POND STATE PARK. I have made frequent overnight trips to this state park many times since this past spring and have used the REI Lite Core sleeping pad on all occasions. The general elevation is listed at 500 ft (152 m). The lowest temperatures that I have experienced while here has been right at 50 F (10 C). Again, I used the same sleep system here, The North Face Aleutian sleeping bag, a pillow and of course this sleeping pad. The ground here is typically a softer soil and even padded with lots of fallen leaves.

CHICKASAW STATE PARK. I have also taken this sleeping pad on a 2 night car camping trip with the family to this state park located in Southwestern Tennessee. Elevation is listed at 480 ft (146 m). The temperatures were around 62 F (17 C) on both nights out and the skies were clear and beautiful! The campgrounds were made up of hard packed dirt with some small gravel. I used the same North Face Aleutian sleeping bag and a pillow along with this sleeping pad to make up my sleep system.

NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI, VARIOUS CAMPGROUNDS. I have taken this pad out for about 12 nights at various campgrounds here closer to my hometown in Northeast Mississippi. Elevations ranged from around 440 ft (134 m) here in Corinth Mississippi to 512 ft (156 m) at Tishomingo State Park. All nights out were clear skies and temperatures averaged around 65 F (18 C). Most nights consisted of using my sleeping bag but there were a few nights that I just carried a fleece blanket to throw over me.

SUMMARY

From the minute I laid down on this pad, I knew that I would enjoy it, and I have! In my experiences, this pad has performed exceptionally! I have used it on everything from soft ground, sometimes with leaves, to hard ground, to rocky ground, and even on concrete, and it has been the same on every occasion, perfect. It provides 100 % comfort for me. I can easily compare it to my bed. I sleep on my side mostly and while laying on my side I cannot feel the ground beneath me. I was worried that my hips and shoulders would compress the pad and hit the ground beneath it, but as of yet, I have not felt the ground through the pad, at my shoulders or my hips.

I have noticed that the pad will inflate very quickly, even after being compressed all day long. I have not timed the process but it takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes for the pad to become fully inflated. Also, I have heard that I am not supposed to blow air into the pad because the moisture in my breath will harm the foam inside the pad, but I usually put a few extra puffs in to add firmness to the pad. So far I have had no problems that I can tell from doing this.

Just a note, while laying on my back my arms will fall off the edges of the pad. This can become annoying due to the fact that it feels like my arms are lower than the rest of my body and it feels a little awkward with my arms resting against the edges of the pad, but again, I'm mostly a side sleeper so this doesn't happen to often and is easily corrected when it does happen. I wouldn't mind having a pad that is a little wider, but then again, I wouldn't want the extra weight! (While I do like the mummy-cut for the weight advantages, I wouldn't mind a pad with a little more girth to it for comfort measures). I spoke with a sales representative from REI and she said that this pad is not offered in anything wider than 20 in (51 cm). So, I don't think this is a downfall particularly with the pad, just an option that is not available. Also, I have found that if I need to sleep directly on the pad the silicone circles will definitely stick to me or my clothing, which can make for an irritating night.

While I wouldn't necessarily consider the pad to be heavy, or bulky, it has seemed that way at times (mostly when not even on a trip). However, given the comfort that the pad provides at the end of a long day's hike, so far it has been worth the weight and the space that it takes up in my backpack. I have been very happy to be able to pull this pad out and I cannot think of one time that I have regretted having it with me! Here is a picture of the pad rolled up in its stuff sack next to a gallon jug.

IMAGE 6
Actual Size


I am not terribly rough with my gear, but I have used this sleeping pad on lots of different surfaces to sleep on. Some have been quite a bit rougher than others (rough / sharp rocks and sticks) so I have always been sure to have a ground sheet or a tent floor (or both) directly beneath the pad, and through it all the pad has held up very well. I have not had any leaks from it yet. Also, when I first received the pad I was concerned with the way the air-valve closed. I had to turn the valve pretty hard (or so I thought) and I felt like I might tear the valve out of the pad while doing so. However, over time I have come to realize that the valve is securely attached to the pad so now I am not worried when closing the valve.

While I cannot attest to the pad's maximum insulation effectiveness as of yet, I have every plan of taking the pad in the lowest temperatures that I can get it to, while still remaining comfortable! So far, I have not felt any cold from beneath me in the temperatures that I have used the pad in. On the other hand, I can say that it has not made me excessively hot to the point of sweating either. So far I have spent very pleasant nights on this pad, and looking forward to many more to come!

THE GOOD

1. The comfort of the pad, as good as my bed!
2. It came with its own stuff sack.
3. It came with its own repair kit. (I don't think it is being sold with a repair kit now though).
4. It's durable.

THE BAD

1. It's narrow. (Again, I like the weight advantages of the mummy-cut, but it can also cut down some of the comfort).
2. The weight (I wish that it was lighter, but ok with it for now).
3. The stuff size (I wish that it would stuff smaller, but ok with it for now).
4. The valve can be hard to close.
5. The silicone rings will stick to me if sleeping directly on the pad.

SIGNATURE

Chad Poindexter "Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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