Review of the Aerobed Pakmat
The Pakmat is not the kind of product we typically analyze and rate.
What we mean by “kind of product” are inflatables that are closer to sleeping pads than classic designs intended for home use.
We used to do it back when we first started this section of the website because we had the member who is an expert now their products such as this one but they soon left the team, and we feel like don’t have the expertise to do a reliable analysis of sleeping pads.
That’s why, for this review, we brought in a special consultant to help us, and we would like to use this opportunity to thank him (shout-out to Mark).
Pakmat compared size down & size up
Anyway, enough about us and let’s get to the analysis of the Pakmat.
Before we move on to the specifics, we would like to put things into perspective by doing a head-to-head comparison of this model to our top pick among inflatables of its type and its in its price range.
In fact, the moment of writing this review, are top pick among sleeping pads the Klymit Static V which is about 30% cheaper than the Pakmat.
On the other hand, if you go a size and weight level up, we get to the LightSpeed Outdoors TPU air mattress.
Compared to the Lightspeed Outdoors, the Pakmat is significantly lighter and packs much smaller – you can see the LightSpeed TPU 2-person here.
Specs and quality ratings
- size – 78×26 inches
- inflated height – 5 inches
- maximum capacity – 300 pounds
- weight – 4 LBS (with the pump included)
Analysis of the Pakmat
The main types sleeping pads are the classic models (that you inflate, whether manually with a battery-operated pump) and the self-inflating mats that use open cell-foam technology.
The Pakmat is a smart attempt by the company to find the sweet spot between the two and offer convenience similar to that of a self-inflating mat and portability of a classic pad. Smart packing and storage
The Pakmat is a unique product in terms of how it’s packed and stored. We don’t know of any other air bed that you pack into the pump.
To be fair, we’d expect nothing less from the high-end brand, since their air mattresses always have an extra “something-something” to separate them from the crowd, so why would pad like Pakmat be any different.
Efficiency of the pump
It takes approximately one minute to inflate. To do it, you only use the manual the pump, there’s no need for blowing air into the mattress.
Safety and off-gassing
The off-gassing and the initial odor out to the box are negligible. It is noticeable but it goes away within a day.
So, unless you’re getting it on the very day of the trip, the solution is pretty simple – you just unpack and leave it out for a few hours.
It’s also relevant to mention that the percentage of people who reported initial odor as an issue is higher among those from warmer climates.
In those terms, the Pakmat is not an exception and most inflatables will have a higher percentage of reported off-gassing if the sample used for statistical analysis is limited to warmer climates.
Unique cylindrical packing
While most pads and sleeping mats of the type back into a drawstring bag the Pakmat uses the inside of the pump as a container.
This unique use of the pump that doubles as a carry case is exclusive to this product and we don’t know if any other air mattress (or sleeping pad for that matter) that uses the pump in this way.
The dimensions of the cylindrical manual pump are 19 “ (length) and the circumference of 4.75 “.
Most backpackers are always in pursuit of the optimal balance between packing size and comfort.
Enter the Pakmat
It might not be an option for ultra-light backpacking, but it’s definitely small enough to be used for recreational hiking.
Compared to most sleeping pads that are similar in size and weight, the Pakmat is thicker and, as most experienced hikers will tell you, with every added inch of thickness the comfort increases exponentially.
The downside can be the width – when inflated, it’s 26 “ wide and that might not be enough for a male adult that’s either broad-shouldered or on the heavier side.
You can see our top picks among small and thin and mattresses here.
Compared to the Klymit Static V two mentioned above, the sleeping surface of the Pakmat is more slippery because it doesn’t have a fabric finish.
This can be an issue if you’re using a sleeping bag that’s also synthetics.
The best advice we can give here is not to pair it with a similar material but got go with a cotton sleeping bag.
You can take it one step further and put the whole thing into a cotton sleeping bag or a customized fitted sheet.
Friction between Pakmat and other synthetics
If you’re a light sleeper and pair the Pakmat with another synthetic surface, the combo will be noisy.
The noise might be enough to wake you and even the people around you up, especially in a small tent.
The points we made about the synthetic material being slippery also applies here. You can minimize the noise it makes by wrapping it in a cotton encasing. If you’re using a sleeping bag, go with fabric instead of synthetics (cotton or cotton-like). It might sound complicated but the process is worth every minute of your time and will pay dividends in comfort.
Let’s be specific
There are mattress encasings and bags of the size available, but if you don’t want to add extra bulk your backpack, you can always pay your local tailor a visit and ask them to make a customized fitted cotton sheet for the air mattress.
Final thoughts on the Pakmat
The first thing to think about here is the size of the pump cylinder an if that works for your backpack, your tent-mates are likely to be envious as you unfold this lofty 5-inch thick eye-candy.
In terms of value for money, we would say that it belongs in the mid-range
As we mentioned, it’s slightly more expensive than the Klymit Static V, but it also offers more padding and comfort.
On the other hand, similar pads from outdoor-dedicated brands like Therm-a-Rest are significantly more expensive than the Aerobed Pakmat.