Welcome! Ultralight backpacking is my passion, and keeping up on new technologies, gear, and techniques relevant to UL backpacking is what floats my boat. I'm always looking for the lightest, most functional gear to improve a lightweight or ultralight backpacking kit, and report my impressions and field testing results here. For hikers wanting to keep up on the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking gear, this is a good place to hang out. Also, there is a lot of information here (and on our informational website Southwest Ultralight Backpacking) on useful techniques and backcountry etiquette -- food for thought for hikers wanting to lighten their load and their impacts.

My goal for Ultralight Insights is to understand, test, and report on new technologies and gear of interest to lightweight and ultralight backpackers. It's a passion after all, so we just plain enjoy talking about it. I hope readers will add their own wisdom and comments, respond to my questions, ask their own questions, and correct me if I get something wrong. Happy hiking! Will

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

GEAR REVIEW: Klymit/Massdrop Static V Ultra Light Sleeping Pad

By Will Rietveld


As the name implies, this lightweight pad is co-branded and sold through Massdrop. Who is Massdrop? – It’s a growing company that negotiates a deal with a manufacturer to sell an amount of product at a reduced price (go to www.massdrop.com for details on how the process works). The manufacturer benefits from getting more product sold (and better known), the customer gets a good deal, and Massdrop gets a piece of the pie. Now, with the Static V UL pad as an example, Massdrop is co-branding products that are expected to be available for an extended time.

The new full-length Static V Ultra Light sleeping pad, co-developed by Klymit and Massdrop, and sold by Massdrop, weighs just 12 ounces. Massdrop will also offer an insulated version of this pad plus a pillow.

So, what is co-branding? Massdrop actually has a specialist who focuses on lightweight outdoor gear, Danny Milks, who got his start as a gear reviewer for Backpackinglight.com. That helps a lot because Danny knows what people want in lightweight, functional outdoor gear. The Static V UL pad is a good example. Klymit already has several versions of the Static V pad, which is a very nice design, but it’s made of bomber materials – 30D polyester top and 75D polyester bottom, and heavy. Danny worked with Klymit to design a truly lightweight version that is as durable as possible by using 20D nylon fabric throughout and trimming the dimensions a bit. Nylon is more durable than polyester. The dimensions of the standard Klymit Static V pad are 23 inches wide x 72 inches long; the Ultra Light version saves weight by reducing the pad to “essential” dimensions of 20 inches wide at the head end tapering to 17 inches wide at the foot end.

The product of this collaboration is a full-sized, lightweight, comfortable, sleeping pad that weighs only 12.05 ounces (my measurement), which is what a typical lightweight backpacker is looking for. The pad was co-developed by Klymit and Massdrop, manufactured by Klymit (in China), and sold by Massdrop.

Specifications and Features

Klymit/Massdrop (www.massdrop.com)
Static V Ultra Light Sleeping Pad
20D Nylon
72” long, 20” wide at head end, 17” wide at foot end, 2.5” thick
Pad, repair kit, stuff sack
12.05 oz pad only, mfr specification 12.9 oz for complete kit
$49.99 shipped
Insulated version weighs 16.9 oz, R = 4.4, $60 shipped; pillow weighs 1.7 oz, $15-20 shipped

Did you see the second to last line in the table? Yep, this pad costs only 50 bucks, including shipping. That’s a screaming deal for a comfortable lightweight sleeping pad.


The Static V UL pad has a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s not full of holes (ie., “Loft Pockets”) to reduce weight like the Klymit Inertia line; it’s a solid mat, and its 2.5 inches thick. So, its comfort should be pretty predictable. Read on to get that info.

The comfort of a sleeping pad depends on a person’s sleeping position and the surface she is sleeping on. A belly or back sleeper can find easier comfort on a thinner sleeping pad because her weight is more distributed. However a side sleeper’s weight is concentrated at the hip and shoulder, so pad thickness and firmness matter. The hardness of the underlying surface is important too; a softer surface like vegetation or sand offers some additional cushioning, while a rock-hard surface leaves the cushioning entirely to the pad.

With that in mind, I slept on the pad overnight in a typical camping fashion on a hard tile floor, on a rug on top of that floor, and on the grass in my backyard. The first situation is similar to a compacted campsite, the second is similar to softer ground, and the third is similar to a vegetated campsite. I am a combination side and belly sleeper (some of both), but I can’t sleep on my back (I stop breathing, which is not good).

I tested the Static V UL pad on different surfaces and sleep positions. Here, I slept on the pad in a tent pitched on grass in my back yard. The inflatable pillow weighs just 1.7 ounces and will sell for about $15-20. The "X" pattern allows it to conform to different shapes, namely your head.

On the hard surface, belly sleeping was easy, and the pad pressure can be adjusted to your firmness preference. However, for side sleeping, inflation is more critical. For me, the pad works best when inflated so my hip is just short of bottoming out (not hitting the hard surface). Adding some additional cushioning under the pad (rug, vegetation) made a big difference in terms of overall comfort. The end result in all cases was a good night’s sleep on a very comfortable pad.

One thing that happens is the pad softens as the air cools overnight, so sleeping on a hard surface requires a pressure adjustment. Not so much on softer ground or vegetation.

Massdrop claims the Static V UL will inflate with 8-12 breaths. That’s a bit optimistic; it required 16 for me. It’s easy to adjust the pad pressure: simply turn the valve a bit and pull, and air can easily be released or added. Klymit uses a high quality valve that’s convenient and reliable.

One downside of the Static V UL pad is potential punctures. 20D nylon has high tear strength, but it will puncture easier than thicker fabric. So the user needs to use extra care to select a campsite free of sharp objects. This precaution is normal for any lightweight gear; saving weight requires more care to prevent damage.

Another downside is the pad’s smooth nylon surface allows it to slide on a tent floor. While many pads have a slip-resistant fabric or printed overlay on the bottomside, this one doesn’t. That is easily remedied by applying some diluted silicone strips to the bottom, similar to seam-sealing a tent. Simply dilute some McNett’s SilNet with paint thinner to the consistency of pancake syrup and paint some stripes on the bottom of the pad with a brush. This reminds me of the old Kooka Bay pads; they were made of thinner material to make them really lightweight, but the user needed to add the slip resistance.

The pad's thin 20D nylon fabric has high tear strength, but its vulnerable to punctures. Its smooth surface, top and bottom, means that the pad will slide on a tent floor. That issue is easily fixed by adding some sliicone stripes to the bottom of the pad.


The Klymit/Massdrop Static V UL sleeping pad is on target for what a lightweight backpacker (or any camper) is looking for. It’s well-designed and sized, easy to inflate, comfortable, and value priced. The drawbacks are its thin fabric is subject to puncture, and bottom of the pad has no slip-resistance.

For comparison the Thermarest NeoAir XLite Regular has very similar dimensions and weight, is constructed of 30D nylon, and has an R-Value of 3.2, but it costs a whopping $160. You can get three of the Massdrop pads for that amount! Also, the Massdrop does not have the “crinkley sound” of the XLite that some hikers complain of.

Overall, I found little to dislike about the Static V UL pad, and lots to like. Besides being truly lightweight enough to take backpacking, the same pad is a good choice for any type of camping or for use in a chair kit. When I want to take an especially comfortable full-length sleeping pad on a trip where space and weight matter, this is the one I would grab.

How to Purchase the Klymit/Massdrop Static V UL Pad

Here’s how the process works. When Massdrop announces the “Drop”, buyers add their name to the purchase list. When the quota is reached (typically 7-10 days, according to their website), Massdrop places the order with the manufacturer, buyers are charged, and the product is shipped, either from the manufacturer or Massdrop. Thus, the purchase process takes a little more time; it’s not the same as buying on Amazon.

The Static V UL will only be available from Massdrop; the best way to purchase it is from the Massdrop website (use this link:  http://dro.ps/md-klymit-3). It will be shown on the Klymit website, but clicking on it will redirect you to the Massdrop website. At this point I don’t know if there will be multiple “Drops” for the Klymit Static V UL pad, but it’s very likely if demand is strong.


  1. Great point about the "crinkley sound”! I really don't like that aspect of my neoair. Looks like I will be switching pads.

  2. Any comparison between the Massdrop Klymit pillow and the Big Sky pillow you usually use?

  3. The two pillows are functionally the same, but the BSI pillow is lighter.

  4. The two pillows are functionally the same, but the BSI pillow is lighter.

  5. I wish to require an especially relaxing full-length going to sleep topper on a trip the place room or space together with unwanted weight question, right here is the an individual We'd snap up.

  6. One of the things I always look for in sleeping pads - it should not make a noise when I move or change positions. I'm a very light sleeper and small noises wake me up fast. Also, it should not be moving about but should stay put inside my tent. And the price must be affordable enough even when it is made by trusted brands. I've used the Klymit and there are issues that were mentioned that I also found to be "not quite right." So I think it's time to look for another sleeping pad and this site has a lot of reviews to guide me: http://backpackingmastery.com/top-picks/the-best-backpacking-sleeping-pad.html