Massdrop is the internet’s largest community-based, goup buying site on the internet (that we know of). They wouldn’t normally be interesting, except that one of their communities is all about lightweight camping gear. Bonus – in addition to selling camping gear at some good prices, they also work with companies to create custom pieces. Case in point, the Massdrop x Klymit Static V Insulated sleeping pad.
Because Klymit has a fabric welding machine in their HQ in Utah, they can rapidly prototype designs of different dimensions, using different fabrics and baffle patterns. So, when Massdrop came to them looking to lighten things up a bit over the normal Static V Lite, Klymit was able to put it together quickly and test multiple iterations before settling on a design. The result is probably the least expensive, lightweight, insulated pad we’ve ever tried. For comparison:
Exped Synmat UL 7M – 72x20x2.8, 16 oz, R-Value 3.1, $159
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite – 72x20x2.5, 12 oz, R-Value 3.2, $159
NEMO Tensor Insulated – 72x20x3, 14.5oz, R-Value n/a, $149
Massdrop x Klymit – 72x20x2.5, 17.2oz, R-Value 4.4, $60!
What makes the Massdrop collaboration different than the regular Static V pad? 20d fabric instead of 30d, 20″ width instead of 23″, a lighter valve, and darker colors to make drying in the sun easier. Our scale puts the Massdrop Static V Insulated at 17.2 oz (claimed 16.9 oz). If you carry it in the included stuff sack (we never do) and bring along the included patch kit, you’re up to 17.9 oz on our scale.
We did notice that dimensions are listed for the pad in an uninflated state. That’s not unusual for sleeping pad manufacturers, but it’s something you should be aware of. The Massdrop Static V loses about 1″ in every dimension when it inflates.
That does mean that Massdrop made some sacrifices, though. You lose the convenience of a flat or push-pull-type valve for an old-school twist valve. It’s lighter and cheaper, but not as nice. The valve type isn’t that big of a deal for most people, thought it does restrict you to inflating with your breath. Especially in cold conditions, we like to inflate our pads with a pump or bag to avoid getting too much moisture inside. Moisture from your lungs can condense inside the pad. This is more of a problem with down pads than synthetic, but we’d rather our pads stay dry inside. Via lung power, we got full pressure in about 10 breaths, right in the middle of Massdrop’s estimated 8-12.
After sleeping on it in every position imaginable (not handstands, though), we’ve yet to find an uncomfortable position. It accommodates side sleepers as well as back and front sleepers; the increased pressure a side sleeper exerts did not cause any sore spots. It’s always up to the sleeper to fine-tune the amount of air in the pad to suit his or her comfort. The Massdrop pad is no different.
We actually like that the baffles aren’t contiguous like other pads. Normally, the insulation on the bottom of a sleeping bag compresses and becomes less useful when you squish it between a pad and your body. (thus, the advent of backless bags and quilts) Klymit’s design allows some of the bag insulation to supplement the pad.
The tiny little pillow actually ends up being a really nice addition to a sleep system. As opposed to the usual stuff sack with clothes, Klymit’s pillow provides support and manages to be the perfect thickness. Of course, your sleeping mileage may vary.
We’ve heard rumors that Massdrop may be working with Klymit on some upgrades to the collaboration and some different sizes. There may be a non-slip coating added to the shoulder and hip areas on the pad come this spring. You also may see some wider, longer, or shorter iterations of the pad. And, if Massdrop does introduce some larger sizes, they may come with flat valves.
If new features are an option, we’d like to see flat valves for pump/bag compatibility, as we discussed above. if that’s not an option, maybe a Polygiene treatment on the insulation to prevent colonization from our dirty lungs. For sizes, we can see a use for a wide pad in the 25-26″ range (beyond that, you can’t fit two into a standard 2-person tent), and a shorter versions. A 60″ pad is a no-brainer with the pillow. One could go even shorter – maybe in the 48-54″ range – if buyers understand that they’ll have to use their packs under their feet.
Bottom line, for $60, the Massdrop x Klymit Insulated Static V is a great introduction to lighter-weight camping for newbies. But, it’s also a solid bargain with great performance for more experienced lightweight hikers and backpackers. Grab it on Massdrop for $60 or $50 for the same pad in an uninsulated version. Limited quantities are available every time these pads drop, so don’t wait!