The REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad has an R-value of 3.7 and weighs just 15 oz. It rolls up incredibly flat and requires just 10 breaths to inflate, while deflation takes just seconds through a separate deflation valve. Priced just under $100, it’s a great value for a three season pad that you can use most of the year or pair up in winter with a foam pad for camping on snow.
Specs at a Glance
- Type: Air Pad
- Shape: Mummy
- Insulation Type: Synthetic
- R-Value: 3.7
- Packed Size: 4 x 9.5 inches
- Pad Thickness: 2 inches
- Dimensions: 20 x 72 x 2 inches
- Weight: 15 oz (verified)
- Click for complete specs
People like air-filled sleeping pads because they pack up smaller than foam or self-inflating sleeping pads. That’s certainly the case with the Flash Insulated Air Pad, which is tiny when deflated, making it easy to pack for ultralight backpacking or bikepacking trips when space is at a premium.
The Flash Insulated Pad has two separate flat valves, one for inflation and one for deflation. While you can fill the pad with a stuff-sack style pump like the Exped Schnozzel or the REI Air Pump, there’s really no need since it only takes 9-10 breaths to inflate. The intake valve is nice because it has an internal flap that closes after each breath, so no air escapes during inflation. These flat valves are also much more durable and reliable than stick valves since they have no moving parts that can break, which is why a lot of major pad manufacturers have switched to them.
When opened, the deflation valve quickly deflates the pad and there’s no need to roll it up twice or three times to force the air out. The outer fabric is also pre-creased making it easy to roll up flat every time. It’s hard to believe that this pad is insulated because it rolls up so thin. But the R-value of 3.7 means you can use it almost year-round from early spring to late fall.
The egg-shell surface of the pad has a lot more give to it than the hard-as-a-board pads from Therm-a-Rest, but is still thick enough for side sleepers and won’t bottom out. It’s also considerably quieter than the crinkly mylar reflective layer found in Therm-a-rest NeoAir Pads, even though it also has a reflective liner in addition to synthetic insulation. If you prefer a wider width pad, it’s is also available in 25″ widths and 78″ lengths. Priced under $100, the REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is an excellent upgrade if you want to switch from a foam or self-inflating pad so you can shrink the size of your load or experience the added comfort than an inflatable pad can provide.
Comparable Lightweight Sleeping Pads
|Sleeping Pad||Type||Size||Weight||R-Value/Temp Rating||Price|
|Big Agnes AXL Air||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 3.75"||9.6 oz||NA||$139.95|
|Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 3.75"||11.6 oz||NA||$179.95|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 2.5"||12 oz||R=3.2||$169.95|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 2.5"||15 oz||R=5.7||$199.95|
|Big Agnes Q-Core SLX||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 4.25"||16 oz||15 Degrees +||$159.95|
|NEMO Astro Air Lite||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 3.5"||14 oz||NA||$109.95|
|NEMO Tensor Aid Pad||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 3.0"||13.5 oz||NA||$119.95|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultralight||Air Pad||21.5" x 72" x 2"||13.9 oz||R=0.7||$99.95|
|Exped AirMat Hyperlite||Air Pad||20.5" x 72" x 2.8||13.4 oz||R=1.9/35 Degrees+||$100.00|
|Klymit V Ultralite SL||Air Pad||20" x 72" x 2.5"||11.9 oz||R=1.3||$99.95|
Disclosure: REI provided the author with a sleeping pad for this review.
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