Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Mtn pad highlighting the 1.5 inches of solid foam around the perimeter and lateral cross coring (instead of die cutting) to improve R value.
The Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Mtn torso-length pad is the lightest 1.5-inch thick self-inflating pad on the market. Materials are robust for such a light pad and construction is tight. However, the performance is shorted by a non-optimal design that could be significantly improved while hardly gaining an ounce.
- Thick (1.5 inch) comfort at under 13 ounces
- Packs small
- Durable cover
What’s Not So Good
- Side cutouts can affect warmth
- “Stem” above the hourglass is an unusable area that adds weight
- Small target area for hips and shoulders
|Pacific Outdoor Equipment|
|2005 Uber Mtn (2007 model is the same except for shell color)|
|50d diamond ripstop|
|Open cell, polyurethane, laterally drilled Mtn-Core foam|
|Hourglass with a wider shoulder pad than hip pad|
|12.6 oz (357 g) measured; manufacturer specification 10.5 oz (300 g)|
|Measured: Usable length for back or stomach sleeper 27 in (69 cm), usable length for side sleeper 31 in (79 cm), shoulder pad 16.25 in (41 cm) wide at widest point, hip pad 14 in (36 cm) wide at widest point |
Manufacturer specifies 37 x 17 x 1.5 in (94 x 43 x 3.8 cm)
Pacific Outdoor uses the Uber Mtn pad in hybrid self-inflating/closed cell foam pads such as the Hyper Mtn shown here, which may account for the odd valve placement on a stem of foam extending about 7 inches beyond the usable pad body.
The Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Mtn pad is constructed with robust yet lightweight materials; I did not experience any leaks or punctures during months of use. The pad is 1.5 inches thick, making the Uber Mtn the most comfortable ultralight pad I own – but it could be so much better. The shoulder and hip pads form small targets, but they are large enough for a pad designed to be ultralight. My complaint with the pad is that weight vs. performance has been carefully optimized in every area except shape. The Uber Mtn and Uber Lite pads were offered as stand alone pads as somewhat of an after thought. They were originally designed to be part of integrated self-inflating/closed cell foam pads such as the Hyper Mtn pictured above. There is a narrow stem of padding that extends 7-inches beyond the shoulder pad, which is unusable in a stand alone pad but serves in an integrated pad to place the inflation valve at the foam edge. Performance of the Uber Mtn could be boosted by shortening this non-functional area and completely filling in the head-end shell perimeter with foam to create a longer shoulder area. As is, the pad is hard to stay on and barely long enough for my 19-inch torso.
As can be seen in the top photo, the perimeter of the pad is somewhat like an oval, but the fully padded area has an hourglass shape with a very narrow padded section between the shoulder and hip pads. For side sleepers, it’s easy to slip off the fully padded area and onto the crux area which, although thinly padded, won’t keep off a chill if your hip is pressing into it. Based on weight comparisons of two Pacific Outdoor Equipment manufactured pads with different shapes*, I believe the Uber Mtn could be padded out to the perimeter with only a slight weight gain and significant performance gains.
*Note: A sample 1-inch thick Uber Lite, which has the same shape as the Uber Mtn, weighs 9.4 ounces, while a sample trapezoidal 1-inch thick Bozeman Mountain Works designed Torsolite weighs 10.5 ounces. The Torsolite has a longer usable length as well as lacking the narrow area between shoulders and hips.
Shown here in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the Uber Mtn and a thin 3/8 inch foam pad are warm on the snow.
When the Uber Mtn is fully inflated, I slide off very easily. I still sleep well (with a closed cell foam pad underneath) since my hip drops into the crux of the hourglass and my shoulder off the top and my whole side is supported (like it is with a hip trough). I’ve found I prefer the Uber Mtn underinflated till it appears almost flat. My hips and shoulders sink in and the pad in between fills in along my side. Even when it is underinflated I often find myself missing the small target of the pad when it slips during my turning over process.
Although the Uber Mtn is billed as a four-season pad, it is not very warm used by itself since it can be hard to stay on. On a trip in Saguaro National Park in Arizona, I was cool at 45 degrees when the Uber Mtn slipped out from under me on the silnylon floor of the bivy sack I was using as I turned over. I generally use the Uber Mtn with a cheap blue 3/8-inch thick closed cell foam pad. I was warm at 17 degrees with this combination of pads even when I slipped off the Uber Mtn or it slipped on the smooth foam of the blue pad. What worked well was when I carried the double luxuries of Uber Mtn and Therm-a-Rest chair kit. I kept the blue pad in the chair kit when sleeping and slipped the top of the Uber Mtn into the top pocket of the chair. That was enough to keep the Uber Mtn in place all night.
Yes, the Uber Mtn weighs a lot more than other ultralight choices like the 3.5 ounce Gossamer Gear NightLight closed cell foam pad and even 1-inch thick self-inflators like the Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Lite and MontBell U.L. Comfort System Pad 90, but the extra weight may be worth it for the truly hedonistic ultralighter or anyone reluctant to reduce packweight for fear of getting a poor night’s sleep. I personally notice significant comfort differences between 1-inch thick self-inflators and the Uber Mtn. I can sleep comfortably on a 3/8-inch closed cell foam pad if I can create a hip hole. On surfaces where that isn’t possible, I sleep alright on a 1-inch self-inflator, but I sleep soundly on the Uber Mtn. So, is the weight worth it? It depends on several factors, most importantly, whether you fit on the Uber Mtn. If you need 1.5 inches of air cushion, the Uber Mtn is the lightest option for purchase. Of course if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can give Jay Ham’s self-inflating pad shortening technique a try.
The Uber Mtn fits in the back pad pocket of a Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack just fine. It doesn’t need to provide structure since the Mariposa has stays. It also can be used in a small volume frameless pack like the Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) Amp pack. With the sub-20 pound loads carried in such packs, the fact that the Uber Mtn folds most conveniently into an 18-inch semi-rectangle that is not long enough to create a good virtual frame, is not much of a factor.
|The Uber Mtn makes a very cushiony and warm seat (left – folded in half here) for sitting in a winter shelter, and even fits into a Therm-a-Rest chair kit with a foam pad as shown (right) or by itself.|
The Pacific Outdoor Equipment Uber Mtn is the only 1.5-inch thick torso-length self inflating sleeping pad on the market.
Recommendations for Improvement
The Uber Mtn is a great idea – a really thick, self-inflating torso-length pad that is really light. To fully execute that idea, the usable length needs to be longer (overall length shorter) and the hourglass curves eliminated for a small weight penalty that will result in a pad that is warmer and works for a lot more people.