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ahhh, where to start. Without being grandiose how do we talk about something that has evolved to become the expression of a lifetime of passion for the outdoors; of the calm thankfulness that we have that stems from being in an industry of likeminded people and working for a company that is solely targeted on sleeping and moving more comfortably in the backcountry?  It’s hard because Klymit is just this…a vision.  We survive and are fueled on stoke; on the peace, freshness, and energy that time in these inspiring places infects us, our customers, and all our fellow explorers with.  I guess we are just a bunch of dudes that grew up in the Tetons, Wasatch, Uintas, and Canyons and got lucky.  We are all somewhere around 30, and our generation was among the first to delight in mobile technology, and hopefully not the last to delight in the outdoors.

Before we started Klymit, we found most camping pads very uncomfortable.  They do not contour with the human body, and allow air to be the least stable under the heaviest parts of the sleeper, or where they need it the most.  They also allow air to negatively affect the orientation of the sleeper’s body, and encourage the movement of air by pressure bottlenecks and releases.  There are things about camping pad design that simply make us scratch our head, and make odd faces.  We felt with new welding and programming capabilities we could do better.

At Klymit we bring a rational, scientific approach to every product, and developed our own proprietary technology to execute it.  The whole process is immersed in goofiness and discerned with an artistic eye towards minimalism and function.  Admittedly, this is really a ton of fun.

The great thing about this approach is that we always have both a rationale and a story to everything that we create.  Maybe that is the best way to understand us.  Here is a story of how we were inspired to develop the Static V. Here is a glimpse into the core process; the same process of any adventure: experience problems, creatively look at solutions. 

The Question…

I remember the year, 1984.  I was 6, and I remember my first PVC pool toy.  It was a simple, horizontally baffled inflatable.  It was unstable, and barely kept my tiny frame out of the water.  As I sit and think about it, I am still….baffled…In 30 years why have inflatable designs, from air beds, camping pads, to pool toys, remained so homogenous?  

We feel that the answer is approach.  It seems like our competitors try to mimic beds, which isn’t a terrible approach, but not quite right.  It is a matter of degrees, like Aristotle and Descartes conceptualizing physics.  Aristotle inquired why an arrow would keep moving after fired.  2K years later Descartes suggested that the right question was “why does the arrow stop?”Gravity, and therefore physics, was found by answering the question, “why does the arrow stop?” within a few years by Newton.  That small difference in approach may seem semantic, but the effect has been monumental to how we understand the world.  

At Klymit, we do not try to mimic beds.  We take a careful look at the human anatomy and create sleeping surfaces that are built to both support and contour around the body.  This approach allows us to achieve shapes that specifically target problems like instability, rolling off of the pad, and warmth.  This allows us to supply more comfort and a better nights’ sleep with the lowest weight and pack size in the industry, while using more durable fabrics.

Not so world changing, but equally divergent, the Klymit difference is obvious everywhere in the pad.  There is no bounce and waterbed effect; they are stable unlike all other air beds.  They are warmer at lower r values, treating the body as a generator of heat and giving it many channels to warm and enclose to resist convection.  The welds are wider and deeper, the articulation is vastly superior, and the result is people sleep much better on Klymit pads.

A novel method…

We then commissioned the custom design and construction of a prototyping machine that allows us to develop products in a fraction of the time of our competitors.  It allows us to articulate the designs completely.  Ideas can be tested within minutes, and move from concept into reality within an hour.  Pad shapes, sizes, weld shapes, fabrics, laminates, and every part of the construction process that takes months of back and forth with others’ factories; takes minutes for us at Klymit.  

A good way to look at our angle is to look at how we approached the development of our Static V, our lowest priced camping pad.  We had a very lofty goal here.  We set out to solve the 3 major problems of air filled sleeping surfaces, from your old school queen airbed to our competitors’ pads.

Problem 1: Air Movement…aka the ‘waterbed effect’

We observed that on both horizontally and vertically baffled camping pads that when you move on the pad to adjust your sleeping position, the pad keeps moving, bouncing around, and wallowing long after, in a way that we call the “waterbed effect”.  The reason for this is the large air spaces in the baffles hold air at less pressure than the small spaces the air passes through on the weld terminations at the head, foot, or sides of the camping pad under movement.   Therefore, when you move it takes a considerable amount of time for these pressure spikes through the terminations to equalize across the entire pad.

Solution 1: The Static V disperses air in 6 directions from every chamber, and pressure is focused towards the side rails to keep you on the pad, even under movement.  It feels stable, supportive, and like you are on soft, thick foam more than air.

Problem 2: Warmth

The classic configurations (horizontal and vertically baffled) of inflatable sleeping surfaces are often chilly, and all have an r-value of 1.  The air movement of the pads, and the lack of significant deep welds that can retain warmth limit their use to warm nights and provide convective and conductive limitations.

Solution 2:  The Static V utilizes the anatomically patterned V shape body map that is not only more supportive and comfortable, its deep welds allow for the preservation of the body’s warmth in air pockets, limit air movement, and disperse cold air below.  The increase in warmth is massive, 30%, elevating the Static V as the warmest pad in its class at an r-value of 1.3.  

Problem 3: Ease of Inflation

Many camping pads in a similar configuration require 30 to 50 breaths.  There is just no reason to toil with that many breaths.  

Solution 3: 7-15 breaths for the Static V.  I did it at 6 at Sea Level this fall after a solid high altitude summer of training.  If you beat me you get a discount.

The Static V has become the pad of choice for the adventurer who wants to truly sleep well anywhere on the planet.  Its comfort and support is unmatched, and ease of use is truly a joy.  These solutions combine to dramatically increase comfort over any other air bed on the market.  At Klymit we have developed a body of knowledge on how to articulate inflatables.  We make the air go where we want, do what we want it to do, and support the sleeper or paddler so much better.  We can control volume and insure a quick and easy take down, and make our pads lighter, warmer, and more durable.

We are rewriting the book on camping pads.  The conventional approach to thermodynamics, efficiency of materials, advanced design, body support, weld shape, weld thickness, and even material selection has entered a new chapter, even for our competitors, and catalyzed by Klymit. 

See you in the hills!