|Rating:||9 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.9 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.9 / 2|
|Versatility||1.7 / 2|
This is one of the strangest gear tests I have done for a while given I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce my pack weight rather than adding to it with what is essentially a luxury item. In contradiction to this constant desire to minimise weight on the trail, I also spend a fair amount of time on my hikes looking for that perfect spot to sit when I take a break during my hiking day. Typically this adds up to about three times each day (two snack breaks and a lunch break) and as a creature of habit, I will start looking for a log, rock or soil bank, that suits my height and has just the right amount of sun or shade to suit the prevailing weather conditions. On my 2018 Bibbulmun Track trip I had rain on 27 days out of my 35 day trip and while on some of these days it was only a quick shower, it meant that a lot of the seating options along the way were wet meaning I just had to keep on looking.
In the past one of the solutions I have used was a spare pack liner (to go on the outside of the pack) which I carry on all my trips were I will be doing inlet crossings as a ‘just in case’ when I need to protect my pack from getting waterlogged. While a pack liner works well for these specific trips I don’t always carry it and the model I use weighs 230 grams.
Recently I had the opportunity to use the Exped Sit Pad Flex. I’ll be honest in saying that I had a preconceived outcome in mind thinking that yes it’ll be good but not for me. This sit pad can best be described as a tiny foam sleeping mat and in the case of this Exped model it weighs 40 grams which isn’t a big enough weight impost to worry about. This little pad folds to a small rectangle and in my case it lived in the side stretch pocket of my pack (along with my pack cover) and I didn’t even notice it was there. This positioning meant it was easy to pull out of the pack when I needed to.
Size wise this pad when folded flat is 40cm x 30cm x 1.8cm which suits the average backside reasonably well. One thing to note here is that you will come across different options for sit pads and this one sits in the middle of the range as far as pad thickness goes being 1.5cm thick and this is where the differences lie. I found the cushioning to be ‘just right’ for my 100kg frame and while I didn’t ever think I needed a sit pad, I greatly appreciated the additional padding when sitting for an extended period.
Along with the particular thickness of this mat it also has an R-Value of 1.5; not particularly high as R-values go but as a sit pad its nice to know it provides a degree of warmth when sitting on cold surfaces. This mat also has two sides each with its own colour. One side is orange and the other is an olive brown colour – Exped justify these colours for visibility or stealth but I just default to putting the dark side down as it won’t show the dirt as much.
Usage wise this little item is meant to provide a dry comfortable seat on-trail and it does that extremely well in a very compact and lightweight bundle. In addition, I placed this mat under my clothing bag which I use as a pillow to bolster up the cushioning level. Price wise this little pad sells for AUD $19.95 RRP which is pretty cheap for the comfort it provides.
So whats the verdict? I’m sold! It’s extremely rare I will add something to my hiking kit and particularly an item that is perhaps a ‘luxury item‘. For the sake of 40 grams in weight, this little pad has now become part of my hiking kit and an item I will carry on any hike that is long enough for me needing to sit at some stage.
You can purchase the Exped Sit Pad Flex online from Snowys
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AUD $19.95 RRP
This review was done with product provided for testing
Exped Sit Pad Flex – Orange side
Exped Sit Pad Flex close up of the cushioning on the Olive-Grey colour side
Exped Sit Pad Flex in the side pocket of a small pack
Exped Sit Pad Flex on a bench at a campsite on the Cape to Cape Track