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The Clearview Pad is made of thin polyurethane with welded seams. Okay, I know what you are thinking at this point: 1) is it adequately puncture resistant to withstand backpacking conditions? and 2) how insulating is it? The short answers are: yes - it is quite puncture resistant, but there are limits; and no, it doesn't contain any insulation, but it's warm to sleep on down to about freezing (Big Agnes rates it at 35 F). Read on to get the details of our testing.

Carol Crooker reports: "I used the Clearview pad on four trips, for a total of seventeen nights. The trips were a five-day CDT trek and desert and canyon country packraft trips, one in Arizona on the Gila River and two on the Green River in Utah (Desolation/Gray Canyons) and Colorado (Gates of Lodore). I slept on the pad inside a Bozeman Mountain Works Vapr bivy sack or Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent. The prototype sixty-six-inch rectangular pad I used on two trips was two ounces over the specified weight of fourteen ounces and made of a slightly thicker material than the production sixty-inch (11.5 ounce) mummy pad I used on the CDT and Gates of Lodore trips.

The Clearview is very comfortable. For times when insulation is not needed, it is more comfortable than two other pads I've slept on in that weight range - the Bozeman Mountain Works TorsoLite and the Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Lite. These are both torso length, one-inch thick self-inflating pads. The Clearview is more comfortable than those pads because it has enough thickness to keep my hip off the ground when I sleep on my side. Interestingly, the Clearview is also more comfortable than Pacific Outdoor Equipment Max Thermo (an older version of the Ether Thermo 6) and Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pads I've slept on which are just as thick as the Clearview pad. The reason? The Clearview is made of polyurethane, which is softer and more flexible than the nylon rip-stop material in the other pads. I've been careful with the Clearview and haven't needed to repair it. It even survived the torture of being used in the Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit on my CDT trip. I'd love to see a torso length, thirty-one-inch Clearview pad! Now that would be light!"

I used a sixty-inch long Clearview Pad on nine trips totaling twenty-three nights. Using my backpack as a pillow, I found the sixty-inch length pad to be adequately long for my six-foot height. The pad inflates fairly quickly, about fifteen deep blows. As far as comfort, I found the Clearview to be much more comfortable than the Bozeman Mountain Works TorsoLite and Therm-a-Rest Prolite 3 Short pads I have used in the past. The Clearview is very flexible and "absorbs" the lumps and bumps of the surface I am sleeping on, which included spruce cones and sticks. I always had a groundsheet or tent floor under the Clearview and did not get any punctures at all.

How warm is it? On several spring and early summer mountain backpacking trips, and summer nights in the mountains after a shower cooled things down, I encountered nights near or below freezing, and found my bottom side getting a bit chilly (but not cold) on the Clearview at those temperatures. I wore insulating clothing inside my sleeping bag, but it compresses on the bottom side. Big Agnes's rating of 35 F is about right.

So, how durable and how repairable is it? To try to answer those questions, I napped on the Clearview on top of some nice sharp lava rock. I succeeded in puncturing the pad between the tubes, a hard place to repair. It was not hard to find the leak by immersing the pad in water, and I easily repaired it with McNett SeamGrip. I wanted to try other repair methods, so I punctured the pad with a sharp nail on the top of one of the tubes and tested various patching materials. I first tried duct tape since many backpackers carry it. It worked just fine as a field repair. For a permanent repair I tried McNett's Tenacious Tape, McNett SeamGrip, McNett FreeSole, Therm-a-Rest Repair Patches, and Platypus Repair Patches. All adhered very well and made a permanent repair.

The next time I used the pad I discovered a different issue. While working on the Hardrock 100 Endurance Race in Silverton, Colorado, I left the inflated pad (inserted in the Cyclone Chair Kit) out in the sun. Heating from the sun overinflated the pad and caused some of the tubes to rupture where they were folded in the chair and also caused a leak where the valve is attached to the pad (see photos below). The ruptures are cosmetic so far and have not resulted in any problems, and I successfully repaired the leak with McNett SeamGrip.

From our field testing and my home tests, I conclude that the Clearview is adequately puncture resistant under normal field conditions, with reasonable care. However, it won't withstand outright abuse, and I'm sure it would be no match for thorns or other very sharp objects. Other inflatable pads would have the same vulnerability. Also, I found it to be easily repaired with a variety of patching materials.

Overall, the Big Agnes Clearview Pad has made my backpacking nights a lot more comfortable. It has proven to be adequately durable to resist punctures, and easily field repairable if it is punctured.


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