“Pacific Outdoor Equipment will hopefully introduce an entire family of pads using it. For example, a torso-length, non-inflatable, R-5 pad might weigh as little as 4oz…”
That’s what we said at ORSM 2006 when we covered the debut of the POE Hyper High Mountain Pad. Well, they heard us…sort of…except for that 4 ounce part. This year, they add three new pads to their lineup featuring Aerogel insulation co-developed with Aspen Aerogels.
As we stated with the introduction of the Hyper-High Mountain, Aerogels are solid, silicon-based, open cell, nanoporous materials that have a very high proportion of free void volume, giving them extremely low densities and thermal conductivities. Aspen Aerogels takes this raw material and builds a flexible insulating mat that’s very light and very warm for its thickness. The result is the potential for sleeping pad designs that are extremely warm for their weight and thickness.
The Uber-High Mountain pad is a non-inflatable, torso-sized pad with an inner Aerogel layer sandwiched between Diecut Polyethylene and EVA layers for protection. Case Carpenter, Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s Operations Director said, “we took the advice from your review (of the Hyper-High Mountain) and used a form factor like the Torsolite.” Unlike the previous pad which sparingly used Aerogel in the torso and foot regions, the Uber-High Mountain pad uses it throughout. While they missed our 4 ounce weight target by whopping 10 ounces, the result is likely an extremely warm, compact, foolproof torso pad well suited for lightweight Winter camping when combined with a lighter pad for your legs (or your backpack and spare clothing for ultralight extremists).
Brief Specifications (claimed)
- Construction: 13mm thick PE + Aerogel + EVA + Diecut PE sandwich
- Dimensions: 19 x 34.5 x 0.5 in (48 x87 x 1.3 cm)
- Weight: 14 oz (397 g)
- MSRP $85
- Available Fall 2007
Uber-High Mountain prototype. (The production version will have a textured surface to prevent wrinkling when rolled and will feature rounded corners.)
For the 4-season backpacker looking for a bit more comfort, their gender-specific AO-Mountain pads featuring large-diameter inflatable berms along the side rails with a self-inflating center pad have been updated to the AO-Aero Mountain pads. The AO-Aero Mountain features additional cores in the torso foam (and foot area of the women’s version) that are filled with Aerogel insulation. The change is claimed to add warmth to the pad with no increase in weight. MSRP of $113 to $129, depending on size.
The men’s regular AO-Aero Mountain with Aerogel channels in the torso region.