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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > REI Stratus Insulated Pad > Owner Review by joe schaffer

REI Stratus Insulated Air Mattress
Owner Review
by Joe Schaffer

July 13, 2015

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 67
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward, California (CA) USA

    My first overnight 56 years ago hooked me. I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; about 30 solo. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair, camp shoes, etc. Summer trips last 5-10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,000 m); two to three nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes.
REI Stratus
The Product:
        Manufacturer: Recreation Equipment, Inc.
        Web site:
        Product: Stratus Insulated Air Mattress
        Size: Regular

Purchased: January 2014

MSRP: $79.50 US

My measures:
    weight: 19 oz (539 g)
    length: 72 in (183 cm)
    sleeping width: 19 in (48.3 cm)
    thickness (inflated) 5 inner tubes about 2 in (5 cm); two outer tubes about 2 1/2 in (6.4 cm)
    width: (deflated) 28 in (71 cm)
    length: (deflated) 72 in (183 cm)
    thickness: (deflated) about 1/8 in (3.2 mm)
    rolled: about 10 x 4 1/4 in (25 x 11 cm)

Vendor measures:
    R-value: 2.9
    Weight: 20 oz (567 g)
    Length: 72 in (183 cm)
    Width: 20 in (51 cm)
    Thickness: 2 1/2 in (6.4 cm)
    Packed size: 5 1/4 x 7 in (13.3 x 17.8 cm)
    Insulation: PrimaLoft® Infinity synthetic 

    This is a Stratus rolledsingle-chamber air-fill mattress with a thin layer of insulation attached to the inside top of each tube. Five lengthwise tubes are each about 2 in (5 cm) thick by about 2 1/8 in (5.4 cm) wide. A larger lengthwise tube at each side about 2 1/2 in thick by 3 1/4 in (6.4 x 8.3 cm) wide makes a pronounced edge. The mattress has one fill valve, positioned upright in a corner. The valve is press/pull and turn about 1/4 turn to close/open the valve. The moss green top has a small diamond texture to the finish, giving a softer feel. The granite gray bottom has a taffeta finish. Evidently I've misplaced the stuff sack that came with the product.

Field Conditions:
    I've slept on this mattress 41 nights over 17 outings in temperatures from slightly above freezing overnight to 80 F (27 C) daytime napping. I used it two April nights and an acclimation day on snow (Mt. Shasta, CA USA) where it was very hot at 10,400 ft (3,170 m) during the day and not quite freezing inside the tent at night. I spent three April nights on it at 10,400 ft (3,170 m) (Mt. Whitney, CA) on dirt, where temps hovered outside at freezing overnight and probably 50 F (10 C) for an acclimation day. One April night at 8,000 ft (2,440 m) in Yosemite (CA) I got snowed on 6 in (15 cm) but was on dirt before it started. The rest of the times were on dirt in higher temperatures.

    Due to thickness an air mattress has to be blown up very firmly or the heavy parts of my middle and shoulders sink and cause the small of the back to push up. For that reason I find 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) self-inflatables most comfortable. Also I fuss that during the heat of the day, I must remember to relieve some of the pressure as the air expands from lower temperatures overnight. And I miss being able to roll the mattress out over the top of the tent and let it mostly self inflate while I do something else. However, in lust to get smaller if not lighter I felt compelled to try some of the new models of air products. The lightest I've tried hasn't done a great job of holding air all night.

This mattress does not save much weight compared to an ultra-light 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) self-inflatable, but it packs at about half the size. It seems sturdier than others I've tried and so far has never let me down overnight. It holds enough pressure that my heavier parts don't sink enough to hurt my back, and the comfort level is satisfactory. The pronounced side "rails" actually do help keep me from rolling off, without which I occasionally have a tendency to do. One of my previous complaints was having to wake up too much to get back atop a fat mattress after rolling off.

    Perhaps what most got me to liking the mattress was the Shasta outing on snow. I didn't realize the mattress was in the wrong stuff sack and I brought it thinking it was something else. I was initially chagrined to discover the mistake, fearing that two nights and an acclimation day on the snow would be intolerable without a closed cell pad over it. Though ambient temps inside the tent fell to near freezing, I felt no chill. My lighter self-inflatables are not warm enough on snow. If I can routinely winter camp this mattress without a closed cell pad, then it provides a huge benefit in reducing bulk.

    There isn't much texture to the fabric, but it does seem to be not as quickly sticky as slick fabric when I'm lollygagging without head-to-toe clothing.

    Most of the time I pull a shirt over the mattress for a cover, but on times I haven't, the material smudges a lot from face and/or sunscreen oil. It does wash easily. The position of the valve leaves it sticking straight out from the roll, which seems to expose it to pressures in packing. I like the valve operation for simplicity, and that I can open it to release air without having to take off the shirt cover. I think I gave up on the stuff sack as it was too difficult to get the mattress back in.

    I'm becoming partial to this mattress for shorter trips when weight isn't as critical but I want to pack small. I'm also finding it a good choice in colder temperatures. Considering the matrix of weight, comfort, warmth, bulk, durability and cost, I am quite satisfied with this product.

Quick shot impressions:

    a) sturdy
    b) warm
    c) comfortable
    d) good value

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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Pads and Air Mattresses > REI Stratus Insulated Pad > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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