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