Saturday, November 10, 2012

Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad Review

I’m a skeptic, and I’m a gear head. So when I had the opportunity to test and review the Kymit Inertia X Frame, I jumped at the opportunity. From the first time I saw the X Frame I had a hard time believing it would be comfortable. In my mind, the X Frame was for ultraIight junkies that cared more about saving ounces than being comfortable. While I do like saving ounces, I have never been one to sacrifice comfort. I was the perfect candidate for an X Frame review.

Klymit Inertia X Frame
When I first received my X Frame I took it out of the box and aired it up for an initial test on my living room floor. I was impressed with how quickly the X Frame inflated. Five deep breaths and the pad was inflated. This is a great improvement over my trusted Therm-a-rest Neoair which makes me feel like I am going to pass out every time I inflate it.

Klymit X Frame Sleeping Pad
I laid the X Frame down on my tiled floor and tested it out. On flat even terrain it seemed promising. I could lay on my back, side, and chest and still feel comfortable. I noticed position and comfort were relative to how inflated the pad was. On my back or chest the X Frame was more comfortable with less air. When on my side the X Frame needed more air to remain comfortable. This was easily accomplished with the quick adjust pump. While laying on the pad I could easily reach up and squeeze the bulb pump a few times to add more air. If I switched to my back I could squeeze the small release button to let out small amounts of air. This proved a nice feature in the backcounty when I found myself switching positions frequently.

Klymit X Frame bulb pump
Now it was time for the true test. I took the X Frame to the Capitan Wilderness, New Mexico in early November. Temperatures dropped into the 30’s as I slept on uneven terrain. I searched and searched for as flat as a campsite as possible but none could be found. I finally settled on a level, but lumpy campsite that would give the X Frame a real test. As I slept on and off through the night I was surprised that I couldn’t feel the lumpy grass clumps under my bed. No matter how I laid I couldn’t tell the ground was lumpy. I was impressed, but I still didn’t sleep well. Was this the fault of the pad or the wind beating my tent all through the night?

In the backcountry I opted to slide the X Frame inside my sleeping bag. The X Frame advertises the missing sections of pad as “loft pockets.” The loft pockets supposedly allow your bag’s insulation to retain its loft even under the weight of your body. This results in added warmth. Insulation is worthless when compressed. When I slid the X Frame into my bag I didn’t see much loft when compared to the picture on the pad’s box. But I stayed plenty warm throughout the night in my 20 degree down bag. The loft pockets seemed to be doing their job.

Klymit X Frame in my sleeping bag
Inside my bag I found the X Frame less comfortable on my chest and my side. The bag restricted arm placement which made the X Frame less comfortable. In my living room I payed no mind to where I was placing my arms and the X Frame was comfortable in any position. In the sleeping bag the X frame was only comfortable when my arms where straight down by my sides. On my back this was no problem. I could even fold my hands across my stomach and still be comfortable. When on my chest I couldn’t get comfortable unless my arms where straight down by my sides. This proved to be a somewhat awkward sleeping position. Sleeping on my side was the worse. I had a hard time positioning the pad so that the middle support was directly under my hips. As I flipped over in my bag the pad tended to slide out from under me leaving me sleeping with no pad. Even when I managed to get the pad under me properly my arm positions were a problem. My arms were constantly losing circulation and “falling asleep.” I cannot decisively say this was the fault of the pad other than the fact that I never remember having this problem before.

I hardly ever sleep with a pillow in the backcountry. I don’t like to carry the extra weight. Once again, without a pillow, I found the X Frame only comfortable when on my back. The head support was uncomfortable against my head when on my side or chest. I ended up shoving a fleece jacket in the bag with me to use as a pillow. I have never felt the need to do this before.

For Ultralights, what the X Frame lacks in comfort it makes up in weight and size. The X frame is the smallest and lightest full length sleeping pad I have ever seen. Even with the bulb pump the rolled up X Frame is about as small as a coke can. It weighs just 10.6 ounces with the bulb and 9.1 without. At first I didn’t think it had much improvement over my Therm-a-rest NeoAir. But scale read outs showed the X Frame was a full 3 ounces lighter than the NeoAir Xlight (13.6 ounces), and smaller too. The X Frame’s material seems more robust and less prone to puncture over the NeoAir. If you are a ounce pincher the X Frame is the clear winner.

Klymit X Frame side by side with Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLight
As for me, I’m not sure the X Frame has replaced my Therm-a-rest NeoAir. As I mentioned before, I have never been one to sacrifice comfort to save a few ounces. The X Frame may, however, become my go to pad for cold weather as I do believe the loft pockets kept me warmer than my NeoAir ever has. All in all I give the X Frame Three and a Half out of Five stars. The only con being comfort on my chest and side.

Do you want a chance to use the Klymit X Frame yourself? You have the opportunity to win one (along with a ton of other gear) in our Outdoor Winter Giveaway. Go to the giveaway post and enter to win some amazing outdoor gear.   Or Just enter below using the Raffelcopter Interface a Rafflecopter giveaway

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