Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Pacific Outdoor Ether Thermo 6, Ajungilak Air Pillow

I bought an Ether Thermo 6 after coming back from my last trip as I wanted sleeping mat that was full length, reasonably light, had a small packed size and was suitable for winter use. The Ether Thermo 6 has a synthetic fill and is rated as 3 season but I reasoned that as I was unlikely to use it in conditions that would be considered 4 season in the USA where the mat is made it should fit the bill. Looking at the Pacific Outdoor website it seems the ET6 comes in 3 lengths, Long 198x51x6 @ 675g, Regular 183x51x6 @ 623g and compact 122x51x6 @ 416g. I ordered a Regular from Raw Outdoors, the only option available but when it arrived it was a Long, not sure how that happened but in any case it weighed less than the list stated at 639g.

It takes a fair few blows to inflate, I can see the attraction on mats with a pump built in and when fully inflated looks pretty long and narrow, apart frok the fact that it is long and narrow the tapered end makes it look longer than it is (I think)
It seems comfortable enough although needless to say if you lean on you're elbow it doesn't offer much if any support. It came with a stuff sack and a repair kit which lives in a pocket at the base of the stuff sack. The stuff sack is pretty big and it was easy enough to get the mat back into the plastic sleeve type packaging that it came in even though the plastic sleeve is much smaller diameter than the stuff sack. I found that it was better to fold and roll at the end rather than roll from the beginning. I folded the outside 2 chambers on both side into the middle then folded it in half tucking the tail into the pocket formed by folding the sides in. I then kept folding in half.

I tried it out last night and I'm not sure yet whether I like it or not. It's really narrow and it feels like always about to roll off the edge. It feels warm enough with no noticable cold from the ground. I'll try it again tonight as my shoulder was pretty painful last night which made it difficult to get comfortable. I was using a Snugpac Premier 1 sleeping bag but felt cold so resorted to long johns and L/S thermal top, I didn't have any trouble getting to sleep but I did waken a few times, I guess it's still too early for the Premier 1 but I was in TK Max today and picked up a Trekmates microfleece mummy shaped liner for £10 which I'll add tonight.

The other item I wanted to try was the Ajungilak Air Pillow. I'd heard good reports about them so when I saw one in Blacks in Fort William I bought it. Now it looked really compact but for some reason I assumed it was the self inflating type, I'd bought some of those from Lidl for car camping so I was a bit dissapointed to find that I'd paid £14.99 for a plactic bag in a fleece cover (that may have coloured my judgement slightly) In any case I inflated it but found that the stopper pops out very easily, you'd think they could have used a safety type given the not exactly bargin price. I'm not keen on the simple blow up type of air pillow, I always find they're to hard or something regardless of how little air you put in, the foam filled type are much better IMO. The other thing I noticed was that they're noisy. Having said all that I wasn't kept awake by it and it is lighter and more compact than my Lidl self inflate pillow, on the other hand my Montane Flux in a stuff sack works just as well if not better.

So all in all, 5/10 so far for the Ether Thermo 6, another night's use might see that score improve. I won't score the Ajungilak Air Pillow, I wouldn't have bought it if I'd known it wasn't self inflate but the fact that it's a simple blow up and has a dodgy stopper makes me think that it's a bit expensive at £14.99, of course for anyone who finds it comfortable it is quite light and compact.

The sleeping bag is a PHD Minim 500


  1. You could try the Mammut pillow. It's self inflating (sort of) and has a nice silky outer covering and a good valve. It weighs the same as the Ajungilak pillow but doesn't pack as small. http://www.completeoutdoors.co.uk/Ajungilak-Mammut-Self_dash_Inflating-Travel-Pillow


  2. Hi Mac

    You have just saved me a whole lot of trouble.

    Why; you ask?

    I've been using a POE Max-Thermo since 2004, but its finally giving up on me.

    I was looking to order from Australia but thanks to your post I see I can order one from the U.K.

    If you read my BGT reports; you'll see that I love this mat. :-)


  3. That looks better but out of stock unfortunately. The Lidl one I have is rectangular and about double the weight and bulk of the Ajungilak Air Pillow. I have wondered about simply cutting it down and trying to reseal the edge, not sure if thats practical.

    George you'll have to that a guy on Outdoors Magic who tipped me off about Raw Outdoors stocking OPE, I was going to order one from www.bivouac.co.nz

  4. Oops, spelling. You'll have to THANK a guy............... etc :-)

  5. A few Phreerangers and Phreerunners will no doubt be appearing on the TGO Challenge in a couple of weeks...
    Superb tents. Sue and I did GR20 and many other trips using the Phreerunner as a two person tent in pre Nallo days, and I still use the Phreerunner for solo trips. It really does puzzle me when the users of current single skin tents go on about condensation problems - that's simply not an issue with the Phreerunner.
    It's old now, and I'm mystified that tent technology seems to have gone into reverse in this respect, albeit using lighter fabric.

  6. I wonder if the increased height of the Phreeranger/Phreerunner helps reduce condensation (on the inner tent of the Phreeranger/Inner of the Phreerunner)

  7. I rarely get condensation with the TN solar which is the same height as the phreeranger.

  8. The Phreerunner has no 'inner', just the goretex outer which breathes well. In really 'condensy' conditions the groundsheet may get a bit damp, and the non-goretex door flaps need a wipe with a j-cloth. I personally don't think the height makes much difference.

  9. Yeah, I should have said inside regarding the Phreerunner rather than inner. Do you think the goretex used on the Phreerunner is more breathable than current single skn tents or is it something else that helps prevent condensation?

  10. Is there a breathable single skin tent currently on the market? I think I discussed this with PTC* some time ago and he was doubtful. Someone else told me (maybe Chris Townsend) that Event fabric couldn't be used because of fire risk. The goretex used in the Phreerunner is heavy duty and very breathable, even with two people in the tent on a cold night. It's also, obviously, very roomy for one person, and stable. It really is a mystery to me why someone hasn't come up with an updated model based on this design but using lighter, breathable, fabric.

  11. maybe AMG/Vango don't own the rights to the design and the people who do aren't in a position to produce it?

    The Tarptent Rainbow/Double Rainbow looks pretty similar in layout, I wonder if a Phreeranger Inner tent would fit.