Gear Review: Alps Mountaineering Ultra-Light Air Pad
Disclosure: I received this sleeping pad from 3beds.com in exchange for reviewing them on this blog. Regardless, I will provide an unbiased review of the sleeping pad.
This article came as a result of cooperation with James Menta and his team at 3beds.com, a website reviewing top-rated airbeds and sleeping pads.
About ALPS Mountaineering
In 1993, Denis Brune left the company he was running (Kelty) to start ALPS. The company produces a wide range of hiking and camping gear, from chair and table to tents and airbeds. ALPS Mountaineering is one of their four brands – the one that’s best known for the self-inflating air pads. The Mountaineering Ultra-Light is one of their most-widely recognized pads (along with the Featherlite, Lightweight and the Comfort series).
- Ultra-light (the regular is just 1 lb 8 oz)
- Self-inflating (open cell foam technology)
- Dimensions: comes in two sizes (Regular 72×20 inches, Long 77×25 inches, both elevated at 1.5 inches)
- Sack and patch set included
- Color: Blue
My initial thoughts
Size: At 72″ x 20″ wide, this sleeping pad is a standard size that works well with most sleeping bags on the market. I used it with my Big Agnes Roxy Ann, which has an integrated sleeve that the pad fits into.
Shape: the pad is tapered slightly at the end and rounded at the top, mimicking the shape of a sleeping bag while minimizing the weight compared to a rectangular pad. The pad fit the shape of my sleeping bag pretty well, so I didn’t notice any loss in the width at the top or bottom of the pad.
Weight: At 1-1/2 pounds, this sleeping pad isn’t ultralight, but it is lighter than a lot of sleeping pads on the market today, especially for the self-inflating type with foam inside.
Ease of Use: at camp, just pull the pad out of the stuff sack and loosen the air valve. Lay it on the floor of the tent where you want it use it, and the pad will begin filling with air, unrolling itself in the process. It only took a few minutes for the pad to fill, but I did add a few breaths into the air valve to finish it off.
Fabric Feel: the fabric used is lightweight and flexible, but it does not seem fragile. It feels softer and less rigid than my Therm-a-rest sleeping pad. It has a kind of “bouncy” softness to it that I really liked.
Durability: the outer material on the pad is thinner than other self-inflatable sleeping pads, yet it is durable and seems like it will hold up well over time.
Comfort: now for the most important test: what is it like to sleep on? Since this pad is not as thick as other sleeping pads I’ve used, I was concerned that it wouldn’t be as comfortable. However, it was just cushy enough for a good night’s sleep. When I sat up, or applied more weight to one area, for example, lying on my side where my hip made more contact with the ground, I could feel small rocks under the tent. Otherwise, this is a relatively comfortable sleeping pad. I think that the foam in the pad helps to make up for decreased height and loft.
Portability: the included stuff sack is the same width as the sleeping pad, making it much easier to compress and roll up for backpacking than the types that must be folded in half first. I have an older Therm-a-rest pad that is a hassle to roll up, so I really like this feature. I carried the pad on the outside of my backpack, and it was only slightly wider than my backpack, so it didn’t cause issues with bumping into everything I walked by.
Pricing: while the retail price is $79.99, it’s not hard to find a lower price online closer to $50, making this sleeping pad a good buy compared to other self-inflating pads.