4 of 5 bananas
Trekker $49.00 @ REI
Lite-Core $65.00 @ REI
OK, time for an update, if anyone is listening.
Scoot and I have been very happy with our big pads, but over the last year we have slowly been upgrading our gear with lighter, more compact pieces and we finally got around to upgrading our sleeping arrangements. This time we opted for two different pads of similar construction and we have both been very happy. I will hit on the high points for both of them and then address the differences between the two pads at the end.
Although we have had great luck with our thermarests, this time we opted for the REI house brand, I chose the REI Trekker 1.75 and Scoot went with the REI Lite-Core 1.5. They are both self inflating pads and we both opted for the “short” size, I know this seems odd for my ample 6’3″ frame, but there is a very good reason. I had heard all of the arguments for and against the short pads and I was skeptical, but REI’s “no-questions” return policy encouraged me to experiment. The premise of a short pad is that it supports and insulates under your head and torso and that you put your backpack or other gear under your feet to keep them off the ground. Like I said I was skeptical of this, but I tried it using my empty pack under my feet and it works like a charm. We tested these on a hike into the Walls of Jericho back in early April and even though it was a chilly night this system worked very well. The big plus is that by choosing a short pad over a regular length, I save nearly a pound of weight(26 ounces vs. 40 ounces) and ten bucks in initial cost, plus the rolled pack size is considerably smaller (4″X21.25″). Scoot had the same experience with her pad even though it is .25 inches thinner, but hers is even lighter weighing in at 18 ounces, plus her pad folds in the middle before packing so it’s rolled pack size is a tiny 4.5″X10.75″.
Of course, like any sleeping pad, these pads benefit greatly from a little prep work before you lay down to rest, but it is pretty standard stuff. We always try to clean up our campsite before we set up the tent, which helps to keep from having rocks and sticks poke you all night and is also much better for the floor of your tent. Although they are self-inflating, these pads benefit greatly from being “blown-up” a little before you close the valve. So, there you have it, Scoot and I have switched to smaller pads and now we carry these even when car camping, they are just easier to deal with.
To sum things up:
Pros: Smaller size, less weight, more economical and easier to deal with.
Cons: You have to have a pack or something to put under your feet, but this is not a big deal.
My REI Trekker 1.75, Short
Dimensions: 48 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Average weight: 26 ounces
Packed size: 4 x 21.25 inches
Scoot’s REI Lite-Core 1.5, Short
Dimensions: 48 x 20 x 1.5 inches
Average weight: 18 ounces
Packed size: 4.5 x 10.75 inches