Nov 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm #1265307
Companion forum thread to:Nov 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm #1662644
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Aha! You metric reviewers are getting your revenge on us US folks who don't use both measurements! :-)
I have the heavier Ether Thermo 6 (actually its predecessor, the InsulMat Max Thermo). My findings pretty much agree with yours on this pad. Just guessing on the Elite's R-value based on the specs and my experience with more insulation in the heavier pad, I figured it would be about where you measured it.
Otherwise, everything you've said about this pad agrees with my findings on mine! I do find mine extremely comfortable. The only improvement would be to go to a thicker pad.Nov 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm #1662647
@jakep_82Locale: Pacific Northwest
From what I've read POE has actually discontinued this pad in favor of one called the Peak Elite AC.Nov 10, 2010 at 3:49 am #1662783
@geofflLocale: Blue Mountains
The mat in shown in the picture with Will looks like it is 150-160cm long rather than 123cm. Could this extra length explain the variation in dry weights you recorded?Nov 10, 2010 at 7:31 am #1662819
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
I used the Ether Elite 2/3 on the Pacific Northwest Trail last summer. I used it in the GoLite Shangri-La 1 Nest and found it fine on that groundsheet. It's the most comfortable lightweight mat I've used. However on the 47th night it sprange a leak and despite several repairs (including trying to wrestle it into a cold lake on a stormy morning to find the pinhole) I couldn't stop it slowly deflating during the night. The leak was on the seam where it's angled. I suspect this is a weak spot. Maybe the replacement version will be tougher.Nov 10, 2010 at 7:45 am #1662823
As an owner of the earlier Insulmat Max Thermo and the NeoAir, I can testify that they are comfortable, but a pain in the a** to blow up. Also, as Rodger mentioned, I have often wondered about the cumulative affect of all that humid, nasty air that we blow into these things. Somehow the thought of sleeping on top of a mold factory doesn't appeal to me. Therefore my ears perked up when I saw this YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT5PEuHlhvw Anyone familiar with this gadget?Nov 10, 2010 at 7:56 am #1662831
@jonorsaraLocale: SE Missouri and NW Arkansas
"Somehow the thought of sleeping on top of a mold factory doesn't appeal to me."
I had a Prolite 4 that developed mold inside after a few years, but I always added at least a few breaths of air to it after it self-inflated.Nov 10, 2010 at 8:41 am #1662839
I have the POE Ether Thermo 6.
It seems that POE has several, extremely similar offerings at the moment. Would be useful if someone could explain them.
I for one believe the high claimed "R" values of these pads. I switched to the Ether Thermo from a series of closed-cell foam pads, and my backside is now *much* warmer.
– ElizabethNov 10, 2010 at 9:17 am #1662848
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
John, yes I'm familiar with The Instaflator I have been testing it for about 2 months now and I have used it on a NeoAir Large and a BA Insulated Air Core.
It takes about 2 full "bags" to inflate the pads (approx pad inflation time is about 4 to 5 minutes).
At this point I would "Highly Recommend" it. It works great. I just don't know how long they last. They are very easy to work with and there is no lightheaded feeling or moisture blown in.
Because of the length they do require you to work outside the tent (a problem in the rain) but I haven't dealt with that yet.
I think BPL should try and get a bulk purchase from them. From what they have told me they are working on the wholesale angle right now and they don't have a system set up to handle single (small) orders. Maybe we should put together a bulk order and have someone distribute it out?
Sorry for the tread drift.
BTW, I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever.
edited to add the "BTW"Nov 10, 2010 at 9:46 am #1662855
I also have the InsulMat Max Thermo, and find it very comfortable. When I get below 30F, I bring along a 1/8" closed cell pad for extra warmth. I agree that it's not the ideal pad, but am still searching for that (I know I'll get the hammock folks chiming in on that comment). I wonder about its durability from leaks and the insulation debonding/moving.
I have to say that blowing up the pad is really no big deal, never understood why people even mention it. I live in PA and it's awfully nice to be able to float above the ubiquitous pointy rock.Nov 10, 2010 at 9:49 am #1662857
@jakep_82Locale: Pacific Northwest
I saw the Instaflator when Jason Klass featured it a while back (Video link below). I wanted to order one, but it was very obvious they aren't set up for retail sales. I wasn't willing to fax them my credit card number and I never took the time to mail a check. I would definitely be interested in purchasing a couple of them if someone put together a group buy.Nov 10, 2010 at 11:34 am #1662906
@mitchellkeilLocale: Deep in the OC
I have been dealing with this perennial problem with blow up mats for several years and finally found a workable solution. It started with the exped downmat that comes with a fairly heavy stuff sack which doubles as a inflator. I noticed that Big Agnes carried a water and air tight sack which weighed in at about 1.5oz. for about $20. They call it "The Pumphouse". I tried it out with the Exped pad and it worked fine. Then I tried it out with my Thermarest NeoAir and it worked like a charm. Takes a few times using it to learn how to maximize getting air into the body of the stuff sack and then pumping into the mat, but once you get the hang of it, it takes about 5 bagfuls of air to pump up my 72" NeoAir and about 7 to do the Exped.
SO now I don't get any condensation in my inflatables.
Almost forgot: It takes me about 3 minutes to inflate them with the Pumphouse and it is the size of a large stuff sack, so no worries about standing outside the tent to inflate your mat.Nov 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm #1663057
Nice review. Good to hear several views on it. Great job BPL.
Regarding the slipperyness on silnylon, I would say this is the fault of silnylon, not the pad, because most pads slip on silnylon. I'm glad they didn't add silicone to the bottom of the pad since most people don't use silnylon floors and so it would be unnecessary weight. Silnylon is okay for a tent canopy but I don't like it as a floor due to it's slipperyness and mediocre waterproofness. I much prefer PU coated 30D nylon or cuben with the heavier mylar layers.Nov 11, 2010 at 7:47 am #1663165
I also saw the Jason Klass vid as well as hearing about the product here. Although others have noted that they are not set up for small retail purchases, I had no problems. Actually, their fax number was down at the time of my order, so I called and they threw in an extra instaflator free for the inconvenience. So about $6 total with shipping in about 1 week.
Works well. I concur about 1.5-2 full tubes to inflate a 72x20x2.5" rectangular BA air core. Takes about 2-3 minutes. Weight is 44g on my scale after cutting off the two additional valve adapters. Need to remove the outer grey portion of the BA EZ-Flate valve (which seems to have no purpose anyway). Hey, saves you 1g right there!Nov 11, 2010 at 8:39 am #1663183
>> Bender <<Participant
I'm having a hard time believing the R value of the Ether Elite. What testing methodology was used?Nov 11, 2010 at 9:00 am #1663185
R-4.7 in the full thickness, no-movement case.
R-2 where hips and shoulders compress the mat to 18 mm, and Less if you are moving and "stirring" the internal air.
The "testing world" versus the "real world".
No wonder my butt got cold. (I sold mine long ago.)Nov 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm #1663304
Yep, I called the company about a month ago and ordered two of the instaflators. They did not charge me for shipping. I talked to the son for a good fifteen minutes about the product and was impressed with his knowledge and his interest in the backpacking community. Their main target group is the swimming pool and lake crowd with flotation devices(A MUCH larger group !!)compared to us backpackers.
Received the products about a week ago and they are pretty simple and well made. Material is a little flimsy but with care should last quite a while. I use a Neoair large 25" X 78" X 2.5" and it takes two fillings of the instaflator to top it off. Not bad at all and a very easy procedure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for high volume pads and ones that you want to avoid moisture in the insulation. Best thing is these babies cost like $4.00 each…here's a great video illustrating the principle :
great stuff !!
link to their website :Nov 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm #1663325
F. Thomas MaticaMember
@ftm1776Locale: Vancouver, WA
Man, that nice tent of yours really catches my eye, Roger!!
And, hey, I thought that it's thermally better to have your auxiliary CCF pad on the top of the air mattress???
Yet it looks, in the picture, that you have placed yours on the bottom. Any comment about that outside of the fact that we can all do things out own way!
Vancouver,WA, USANov 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm #1663409
> Could this extra length explain the variation in dry weights you recorded?
Nope, as the variation in weight was measured on my scales! It was indeed a fabric variation.
cheersNov 12, 2010 at 12:50 am #1663417
> I'm having a hard time believing the R value of the Ether Elite. What testing methodology was used?
I have built a Thermal Insulation Measurement system using calibrated layers of foam (courtesy Richard Nisley), a controlled hot plate and a controlled cold plate, and computerised data (temperature) logging. I must do an article on the measurement process itself at some stage. This is not the first time I have been involved in the measurement of thermal conductivity at the research level.
Roger Caffin (PhD)Nov 12, 2010 at 1:09 am #1663418
> I thought that it's thermally better to have your auxiliary CCF pad on
> the top of the air mattress?
Well, using a (very reasonable) linear thermal model, it really makes no difference at all which is on top.
But having the CCF at the bottom sure does protect the air mat from spikes and damage.
Glad you like the tent. Yeah, I know… Just to rub it in:
Kosciusko NP at 1700 m, meant to be late Spring (3 days ago).
The night before had been very nice; this morning was 'less so'. A strong sideways wind was blowing, but you can't really see much effect. The rivers (and creeks) in the region are all in severe flood right now: we could not cross them.
CheersNov 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm #1664029
"Well, using a (very reasonable) linear thermal model, it really makes no difference at all which is on top."
I would have to assume that there can be significant heat loss from the sides. Of course a 2-D model wouldn't account for that, but I think a 3-D model with those big open tubes of air would show the effect.
Easy mistake to make…but big difference between simple theory and real (cold) life! ;)
Tom (PhD)Nov 15, 2010 at 10:38 am #1664438
Kathy A HandysideParticipant
@earlymusicusLocale: Southeastern Michigan
Tad, I have an Instaflator too and I love it! I have a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pad and thought I'd have to get rid of it because blowing it up left me feeling very dizzy (as I have an inner-ear disorder, this was not good!), and I really like the pad and hated the idea of getting rid of it. I was doing some online searches for air pumps that would be light enough to take on backpacking trips, and came across the Instaflator website and got one. It takes two bagfuls of air to inflate my Big Agnes but it works just nifty! BTW, I'm not associated in any way with the company that makes the Instaflator.Nov 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm #1664506
> I would have to assume that there can be significant heat loss from the sides.
> Of course a 2-D model wouldn't account for that, but I think a 3-D model with
> those big open tubes of air would show the effect.
Not so fast.
If you are lying in the middle the outer tubes are not getting much of your heat, and so will be losing much less heat. Very often the outer tubes are mainly there for stability – keeping you in near the middle. So the amount of heat loss from the sides is not as much as you might think.
If there are two of you together, the heat loss from one side is negligible anyhow. If you have gear and food packed along the side of your mat that stuff will block heat loss from the side as well. I put gear along the sides to avoid rolling too close to the edge of the tent – works well.
So, in practice, in the field, there's not that much heat loss at the sides if you use a few of the standard tricks. having camped often enough in the snow at way-sub-freezing temperatures, I'm still happy.
Roger (also with a PhD)Nov 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm #1664649
From the way you talked, I thought maybe you had actually run the model, sorry I was confused there. Aren't the tubes inter-connected? We often talk about the difference between open and closed cell foam, so it's reasonable that there is circulation among the tubes. Have you tried it with the closed cell pad above and below?
From my experience, I often notice the selective cold spots as much as the average. My quilt is flattened underneath me, so it's a fairly short line between me and the outside at the edge. Can't say that I ever have that much gear to pile along side, but you have stated before that you pack fairly heavy compared to some others on BPL.
PS, just teasing with the PhD mention since I've seen you do that. ;)
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