Are you enduring OR enjoying the nights?
The Air Beam Sleeper takes luxury ultralight to a new level.
I am not a ultralight backpacker but I use UL gear to help make for a more luxurious experience on the trail. For the last couple years I have been working hard at lightening my pack and my sleep system has needed some serious attention. I have used CCF pads for well over 30 years of backpacking, mainly because they are inexpensive, bomb-proof, lightweight and I always felt able to endure the nights on them with no problem. I recently started backpacking again, after not getting out much for a while, and found that having more mileage on me now made the nights harder than I remembered. CCF was just not cutting it in the comfort department. It was obvious, I needed an air pad. I preface my review with this so you know I am NOT an expert on air pads. This is the opinion of somebody who is moving from closed cell foam to air.
Being new to air pads and looking at a fairly significant investment, I started doing my homework. I looked up everything there is out there, read every review I could find, every forum I could find, watched more than my share of YouTube videos, and went to every store trying out every air pad I could find. I had high expectations of weight and comfort for any air pad I was going to purchase. I wanted lightweight (under 1 lb.), extra wide (23 in. or more), torso length (47 in. or maybe more), comfortable without lots of noise and I didn’t want to feel like I would roll off (I move a lot when I sleep). Neo, BA, Exped, Nemo, Alps, REI, Ticla, Klymit, you name it. I laid on it, rolled around on it, elbowed it, handled it, played around on it and took down the specs on it. I felt like Goldilocks. They were too small, too big, too heavy, too expensive, too crinkly, too thick or too thin. The klymit Static V came close for me but even the un-insulated one was heavier than I wanted so I would need to cut it down to torso size which was sketchy.
I have to admit, I was looking at the Gossamer Gear Air Beam Sleeper XL the whole time I did this research because I had purchased the Mariposa Backpack from GG and have been extremely pleased with its quality, design and performance. My search for an air pad started just a little after GG came out with the Air Beam and there were not many reviews on them I could find but the ones there were strengthened the argument for them. But I kept looking, all the while having nights that were never really comfortable enough. Then… I finally made the leap.
My girlfriend and I ordered 2 of the Air Beams in XL and L. When they came I thought that GG had made a mistake and only sent one because the box was so small. The pads are about the size of a coke can when rolled up in the included sack, taking up about a sixth of the space my old CCF pad did. They are easy to blow up and extremely comfortable. We just spent a night on them and the difference is amazing. Before these, it always felt as if I was enduring the night, but now, I can honestly say, it is enjoyable. Truly, I feel like I could practically live on this pad. I never felt as if I would roll off and the pad is quiet as it keeps your shoulders and hips well of the ground even rolling around. The length is more than enough (I’m 5’10”) and I woke feeling great. No owies, stiff neck or lower back problem at all. I cannot say enough good things about them. My girlfriend was skeptical about what a difference an air pad would make but woke with the same conclusion as I had come to. Why didn’t we try this before? The quality is what I expected from GG, excellent. We tie these together with the attached tabs on the sides and that way there is no slippage during the night. Time will tell how tough they are but I am ready to take a little extra care with my pad when it is offering such an incredible benefit to my outdoor experience. A thin 0.5mm CCF pad with aluminum insulating on one side cut down to 35 in. placed under the torso will help for insulation from hot or cold ground when needed. I carry this as a multi-use item anyway (sitting on the trail, a mat for cooking area or changing wet clothe, etc.) so it’s nice to have another use for it.
The Gossamer Gear Air Beam Sleeper is a pad that might have you writing your first gear review and you’ll be doing it refreshed and feeling great after a good night’s sleep.
Now go play outside
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Gossamer Gear in any way. We purchased these pads with our own money and we will not receive compensation for this post. The opinions written here are just my own experience.