Friday, August 23, 2013

Shortening my Klymit Inertia XL

A couple of months ago, I picked up the Klymit Inertia XL on Groupon for just under $59 (I simply can't resist a good deal, since they retail for around $120). My initial experience with the sleeping pad proved it to be pretty light, comfortable and fairly easy to inflate - although I definitely got a little light-headed doing so (maybe I just have sub-par lung capacity, but the "4-5 breaths to inflate claim" didn't really hold true for me).
All set up 
All other claims aside, Klymit definitely wasn't kidding about the "XL" part of this sleeping pad. For someone of my 5'3" stature, the length of the pad was rather overkill - in fact, it barely fit in my tent and was definitely scraping the sides. Any thought of even trying to fit it inside my sleeping bag (a recommended way to use it) made me snort in derision. After poking around the internet and checking out some other folk's thoughts on the matter (even Klymit shows you how to resize your pad), I decided to take a hot iron to my Klymit, show it who was boss, and cut it down to size. After all, gear weight reduction with no loss of benefits just couldn't be passed up on!

Post-welding - you can see the "flat" area
Stuff I used:
-A silver Sharpie to mark the weld lines
-A regular iron on high (no steam)
-A hair iron (I thought it might work well and offer a more precise weld...I also figured I might as well use it for something - it definitely doesn't get to iron my hair often!)
-Cardboard to iron on because I don't own an iron and have already once melted the carpet.

I didn't want to cut the pad super short, so I marked it off below the second arrow-like opening and heated up my instruments. The hair iron worked well on the two small side welds, but the clothes iron was definitely necessary for the large bottom weld since the hair iron couldn't reach that far in. I held and pressed (for probably longer than necessary) until I could see the "flattened-out look" similar to the pre-existing welds.

Test inflation!
After letting the pad cool for a few minutes, I did a test inflation to make sure all my welds were secure before cutting the excess material off. After eyeing my first attempt, I decided to trim even a little more off the sides, so I did a second round of welding and trimming as you can see in the next two photos.

So far, everything seems to be holding together and my pad is now 58" long - my heels barely hang off the end - which works well enough for me. I also managed to fit it into my sleeping bag (Mountain Equipment Helium 600 +14 down - Women's) - it still seems a little snug especially as far as the width goes, and I may not be able to wiggle around much, but at least it's now an option.

First attempt!
A smidge more streamlined!
Anyway, the whole point of doing this was in preparation for my upcoming trip to Iceland, where I will probably be sleeping in a tent for 2 weeks. I haven't taken this sleeping pad down to really cold temps yet so I'm not sure about the R-value and I'm hoping I don't get chilly...I will be bringing a really thin foam pad for a smidge more extra insulation. We shall see how it holds out in the field! For now the most exciting thing is that I can inflate it much more quickly and easily...I don't think I'll even need to bring the included pump, and one less thing to carry is one less thing to carry!