Keeping your load as light as possible when backpacking is imperative to comfort, stamina, and just being able to go farther without killing your shoulders. But the problem with a lot of lightweight gear is that you sacrifice comfort to save a few grams of weight. I’ve been a fan of Klymit’s camping gear for years now, because they have proven you can save weight on the pack in and still get a good night’s sleep. Well, they’ve raised the bar even higher with the new V Ultralite SL camping pad. But does this new backpacking pad still provide a good night’s sleep despite the shaved off ounces? I have some thoughts but first, the details:
The Klymit V Ultralite SL features:
- 20D Durable Polyester Fabric
- 1.3 R-Value
- Inflates in 10-15 Breaths
- Weighs 11.9 oz
I took the pad on a backpacking trip into Utah’s Uinta Mountains where I covered 42 miles in three days. During that time, I appreciated just how small the V Ultralite SL is and how little room it took up in my pack. You can see in the photo below with it next to a camp mug how tiny it gets.
Smaller also means lighter. At only 11.9 ounces (compared to the original Static V at 18.1 ounces) there is a considerable weight difference. In fact, Klymit says the V Ultralite SL is the lightest Static V pad they’ve ever made.
But whether or not a sleeping pad is comfortable is the true test. After spending 2 nights at 11,000 feet on one, I can definitely say yes, it is as comfortable as any backpacking pad I’ve used. According to Klymit, the way they made this pad lighter is by tapering it and making it slightly slimmer. The pad is still wide at the top for your shoulders, but tapers down at the feet where you don’t need as much room. They’ve also used 20D fabric (compared to 70D with the original Static V) so a lot of weight savings comes from that. That being said, I did feel like I needed to be more careful handling the pad when inflated as the lighter fabric feels more fragile.
Despite all that, I could not tell any difference in comfort between the V Ultralite SL and my Static V of old. The frame is stiff when inflated, keeping my body elevated above the rocky ground. Lofted air pockets allow my sleeping bag to not compress under me, which increases warmth. And the dynamic side rails keep me from sliding off the pad, even as I toss and turn.
You can even get one in an insulated version.
The Good: Super light, packs down very small, just as comfortable as bigger/heavier pads currently available.
The Bad: Lighter-weight fabric may be less durable than the original Static V. Got to be careful of those sharp branches and rocks.
Final Word: As a backpacker who puts in serious miles in the summer months, I’m very impressed by what Klymit has created here. The V Ultralite SL packs down to nothing, is super light, and is plenty comfortable for a good night’s sleep.