I just bought another sleeping pad: the Clearview Air Mattress from Big Agnes. The Clearview is a summer pad that provides 2.5 inches of padding when inflated but is not a good enough insulator for other seasons. I bought it because I’ve been sleeping on a lot of wooden floors in shelters or on tent platforms on the Long Trail and I wanted to increase my comfort level with a minimal weight penalty.
Weighing only 13.6 oz, the Clearview fills a void in my sleeping pad collection: it is a lightweight pad with the comfort level of a heavyweight winter pad, like those from Big Agnes or the Exped Downmat series, but at half the weight. I have a number of other lightweight pads that weigh about 11 oz (the Torsolite and the Therm-a-rest z-lite), but they really require you to sleep on the ground to compensate for their lack of padding (1 inch) and short length.
The ClearView is basically an air matress with a rugged inflation valve like the kind you find on regular self-inflating sleeping pads. It lies completely flat when un-inflated and compresses down to the size of a small paperback book, by far the smallest pad I own.
It takes about 15 breaths to fully inflate the Clearview but getting the air out when you pack up in the morning is a little more time consuming and takes some practice. The pad is segmented into a series of tubular channels that are joined at the top and bottom of the pad. When deflating, you need to make sure that all of the air has a route to escape before you start folding up the pad, otherwise it won’t compress properly.
Big Agnes only sells the ClearView in one color, transparent, which is a little strange but doesn’t matter in the dark. However, from the perspective of comfort, the Clearview is a dream come true. The pad inflates to a height of 2.5 inches and is extremely comfortable even if you like to sleep on your side.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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