Touring - Has anyone used this knock-off self-inflating sleeping pad seen on eBay?
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I saw this on eBay and it looked like a cheap replacement for my current sleeping pad - a cheap inflatable pool mattress. The pool mattress has been a pain during the infrequent nights I camp because of difficulty inflating/deflating and punctures. The price is right - $19.95 (plus $9.85 shipping) and this is a fraction of what you'd pay for a similar Thermarest. I know I can't expect the quality to be the same but I don't expect to be using the pad every night for months.
I'm wondering if anyone has tried it and if so, whether it is adequate for occasional use or is it a complete piece of junk. The brand appears to be "Solukhumbu".
Dan The Man
03-10-10, 09:42 AM
Unlike other equipment, an inflatable sleeping pad either works or it doesn't. If it holds air, it works. If it leaks air, it doesn't work and is complete garbage. So be careful. Sometimes you are actually paying for something when you pay for brand name reputation.
03-10-10, 09:47 AM
Solukhumbu-one of 75 districts in Nepal(Wiki.)
Anyway, I've used my Thermarest Prolight over 150 times and it's still going strong. That's about 50 cents/night. But, for 30 bucks, little to lose if it doesn't measure up.
Might turn out to be one of those rare 'free lunches'. Thanks for the alert.
03-10-10, 02:34 PM
I'm guessing junk. Maybe it just delaminates after a week. If you can't find anything about the brand through google, I'd assume the worst. That's been my experience with going through the similar "cheap or expensive" deal many times. Fwiw, I use an Exped Downmat which I love. It proved defective after a year, but they replaced it free of charge. Of course, if you don't have the $$$ for something like that, you don't have much choice - get the cheapie, and practice repairing punctures :)
03-10-10, 02:52 PM
I guess you get to be the guinea pig :) After 100's of nights sleeping on the Thermrest Pro 4... It has turned out to be pretty cheap as well.
03-11-10, 01:50 AM
Go to REI and check out their self inflating mats. I have one and It works well. Very Durable.
03-11-10, 02:28 AM
Any idea of the weight or how small it packs down to?
I'd rather pay extra for something I knew was lighter, took less space and wasn't going to fail. I agree with Dan. It's not something that can half work!
In the absence of recommendations from other users, I'd be steering clear and getting something better rather than risk the $30.
IMO, shelter and related items are not in the "not much to lose if things go wrong" category. Not getting a good night's sleep quickly takes all the fun out of riding. Depending on where you tour and how spectacularly your gear fails, it may take days to get things fixed again. If you're on a globe tour for a couple of years, couple of days is probably just an inconvenience, lessons learned etc. On a two week tour it can be a major hassle.
They say good judgment comes with experience, and experience comes from poor judgment. If you do choose to buy this pad, please report back so w'all have at least anecdotal, second hand information on how things worked out. :D
03-11-10, 03:25 AM
My Nepalese is a bit rusty, but I think Solukhumbu means gotcha.;)
03-11-10, 03:36 AM
I would be wary of it, but who knows... the only way is to try it out.
My suggested alternative would be to go for a Thermarest solid foam mat. The Z-rest goes for $39.95 on REI and the Ridgerest a little less. It can't delaminate, never punctures and is fine for 3-season camping.
03-11-10, 04:44 AM
Here are some details from the listing:
Thickness 1.5 inches thick
Unrolled measurements: 20.5X72X1.5
Rolled: 21inches long by 6 inches in diameter
Weight: 1.9 lbs. PERFECT for Backpacking or hiking with something lightweight to a campsite, every ounce counts, and this is only 1.9lbs
Meant for light-weight, compact travel
03-11-10, 07:49 AM
There is a possibility this thing could be made by Thermarest and packaged as a "store brand." Very common with lots of stuff these days. The description and
appearance is nearly identical to the Prolite. Mine rolls into a neat 8x10 and slides right into the stuff sack on top of the sleeping bag.
03-11-10, 07:57 AM
There is a possibility this thing could be made by Thermarest and packaged as a "store brand." Very common with lots of stuff these days...
Not so common with US made industry leading gear.
03-11-10, 06:37 PM
It's a big 'maybe' :). I looked into these items a couple of months ago:
Airwaves is apparently reputable within China as a local brand which makes a number of different quality products. The outdoor shop wanted about USD$200 for the Thermarest Prolite Plus and USD$70 for this Airwaves brand. The sales guy I spoke to in the store said he uses the Airwaves mat himself when hiking occasionally and it has been great, but suggested that if I planned to camp a lot, I'd be better off with the Thermarest. I later found both the Thermarest and Airwaves sleeping pads for half the store price (links listed above) on a Chinese web site. It still wasn't enough to convince me.
The Thermarest is lighter and packs smaller than the Airwaves. To me, constantly thinking about weight/volume, the extra money spent on purchasing a lighter/smaller option in the first place is money usually well spent. IMO there is no advantage risking (vital) equipment failure by taking a chance on items which are less reliable, bigger and heavier than more expensive alternatives (within reason).
I'd have no hesitation to buy most cheap items. A cheap: drink bottle, rear rack, a handlebar bag, tyres, cooking tools, bike tools or a foam sleeping pad. Even the bicycle -- provided it's brand new! Not much can go wrong. But with a cheap item like this, it will break...it's just a matter of 'when', not 'if'. It will puncture easily, or leak or the valve will have trouble. And rest assured it will be at the most inconvenient time possible! This Nepalese mat will need to replaced in the next year or two and you'll have wasted not only $30 but time and emotional energy sorting out the problem.
Use a cheap blue foam mat until you've got enough spare money for a BA or Thermarest; or see if REI have their own store brand. It's worth it for the peace-of-mind even if you don't save any money.
03-12-10, 10:49 AM
REI does have their own brand air mattresses with foam core. My wife has one and loves it... still can't speak to super long-term durability, it's only been in use with us for a couple of years, but with REI you can get a replacement if it fails, and they stand behind their stuff. It was also not that much more money than this one.
Solukhumbu might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I doubt they'll ship a warranty replacement to you in Colorado or whatnot. Spend the extra ten or twenty bucks and get the REI pad, I'd say.
Dan The Man
03-12-10, 11:20 AM
Get the Thermarest Trail. It is $30 and lighter than their Prolite Plus and about the same warmth.
Thanks for the replies. Seems the consensus is that the sleeping pad is not an item on which to go all cheapskate mode. I agree and I won't be buying this cheap knock-off. However, I will not be going to REI and emptying my wallet. I can still be a cheapskate and get good equipment by doing some price-shopping and research. I found a couple of quality pads out there, and I'm sure there are more, for just about the same money as the cheap knock-off brand. One is the "specials" section of sites like campmor.com and the other is used equipment on eBay or Craigslist.
03-12-10, 02:16 PM
I don't think anyone told you to empty the wallet... I think most of us said that a quality pad has value. 100's of nights out on my thermarest and it's been high in value and low in cost. After all these years it's still going strong and will be slept on another 60-80 nights this year.
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