Self-Inflating, Indeed!

A couple of times since March I’ve chatted about a sleeping pad I’ve been eyeballing from a cottage manufacturer. I finally ordered one, and it arrived on Saturday. Introducing my first foray into self-inflation, the Hiker Hunger Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad:

Pad

I paid the reasonable sum of $46.99 for this slice of on-the-ground comfort, and though I’ve yet to give it a proper testing, my initial impressions are very positive, which dovetail with the reviews I’ve read on it. For the detail-minded, here are the key specs as printed by the manufacturer on the stuff sack itself:

Sack

The only listed spec I took issue with was the 13.4″ height. The sack itself may be that tall, but after inflating, deflating and returning the pad to its sack, I found it came in at exactly 10″ top-to-bottom. When loading a pack, those three inches will make a difference…

Being a somewhat bony side/stomach sleeper, I couldn’t see myself getting much comfort from a thin, closed-cell foam pad, so I set a minimum thickness of 1.5″ during my search for the perfect pad. I also wanted an R value of at least 3.0, and it had to weigh less than two pounds. Check, check and check. It packs up a bit bigger girth-wise than I expected, but for the price/comfort, not a deal breaker by any means. The materials and construction inspire confidence; but in case I do something dumb, the company graciously includes a patch kit tucked away in a small pocket inside the stuff sack.

I pulled the pad from its matching bag, spread it out on the floor, opened the valve and walked away for ten minutes. When I returned, it was ready for the three or four breaths it took to get it to my desired firmness, a far and pleasant cry from the dizziness-inducing air mattress inflation experiences of my youth. I crashed on it in my usual sleeping positions for twenty minutes to test it out, and found it comfy in its intended context. I did not test it with my sleeping bag; I’ll wait to do that when I can actually take it outside. A carpet laid over a concrete floor isn’t exactly duff-covered terra firma, but it was close enough for me to do a decent trial. And I came away very pleased and impressed with my latest gear purchase. Kudos to New England-based Hiker Hunger!

Can’t wait to try it out in the Virginia woods. And as soon as I do, I’ll post a real-world review in this space…

 

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