Top 3 ALPS Mountaineering air pads compared
This guide is dedicated to a brand that’s been dominating a number of guides in the sleeping pad categories: best overall, most comfortable, most durable, beast value for money and a few more – the ALPS Mountaineering.
After we noticed the trend, it only made sense to further scrutinize the 3 pads that stood out, include a few of our most trusted featured testers and see where that gets us.
Bottom line – this whole guide is all about the comparing the three sleeping pads coming from ALPS (Lightweight, Featherlite and Comfort series) side by side.
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Category ratings and tech details.
Moving on to the details of each pad, what our featured testers had to say and last, but not least, what the users are saying.
Review of the ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series air pad
Initial thoughts on the Lightweight series
Very little is left to chance with this sleeping pad and it seems to address pretty much every concern a camper or a hiker might have. It packs small and fits into the included sack.
The fabrics, comfort and durability
The fabric used for the top of this pad is different from most used in air pads, it’s what the company calls light diamond Ripstop and the bottom is taffeta polyester.
Stripped of the fancy terms, this means that the pad is made to withstand the rigors of the trails or the campsite and outlast its competitors. Based on what we’ve seen and what our featured testers are telling us, it’s doing the trick and the materials make the pad long-lasting, less prone to rips and punctures, well insulated and comfortable.
The comfort is where it really shines and the open-cell foam added (what they call jet stream) does make a difference compares to a regular sleeping pad.
Normally, you would carry a foam mat and add place it on top of sleeping pad for extra comfort or on the bottom for extra protection (ideally, both).
With the ALPS Mountaineering comfort series the need for the top mat is practically eliminated but no mattress what the company ways about the toughness of the bottom. We still wouldn’t go so far as to say that a foam mat placed underneath a pad wouldn’t go a long way towards prolonging the life of your sleeping pad.
What testers and users shared in their reviews
- If you like to be able to turn during the night, this is the pad to go with, it’s comfortable and thick enough for that, which is especially important if you are side-sleeper
- Great value for money, I see no difference between this and my previous Thermarest which I paid twice the money for
- I’ve been camping and camping for over two decades and when it comes to comfort vs. packing size no sleeping pad comes close to the ALPS Comfort
- I am over 6 feet tall and weigh over 250 pounds and I used this pad night in night out for over a month on my hikes in Patagonia. I never felt sore or had hip pains in the morning…I am sticking with ALPS even when this one gives in
- Light enough even for backpacking. It might not be the best idea to stuff it inside the backpack because, in spite of packing small, the width can be an issue. Instead, I tied it to the side of my pack as I do with foam mats and had no problems…
- This is my third season dragging this pad to up and down Arizona and it has never let me down. Before it, I owned a ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable airbed and this one is just as comfy without the bulk. The pump works fast and just as they describe it, it inflates thick but packs small and I there is very little signs of wear and tear even after 3 years
- We camp and hike a lot and have always had troubles finding the right sleeping pad for my husband who weighs over 260 lbs. It was always a choice between getting an expensive sleeping pad that’s also not an option unless we’re car camping because of the weight or listening to him complain about sore muscles with the thinner mats.
- This ALPS fits the bill, it’s just sturdy and thick enough for him to be comfortable and still packs small and light enough to be carried around. My wife and I got the double version and the joint works just as described. When it’s not on the trail with us, we keep it on out boat, it comes very handy for small boats.
- I can’t find a single significant flaw to share and I don’t know how this pad is any different from the ones you see at REI for two or three times the price. It inflates like a champ and holds it in without any noticeable loss
- The valve is great, it works fast and it seems well made, it’s metal inside and seals the air in no problem.
- Very good insulation, I’ve used it on both hot and cold night and it performed well. No chills from the cold ground or night swats as the ground gets hot in the mornings…this one is as good the most durable and reliable airbeds
- After reading all the reviews, I decided to forget the expensive pads, get this one, and strap it on for my hikes in the Smokies. The night were about 15 degrees and this baby worked very well at keeping me warm on those cold rocks. For the price, it was a great buy
Some CONs – review excerpts:
- For some strange reason, it inflates slower in the cold
- I am a big guy and all I can say that, although I like this pad and still use it, the size regular is not the way to go if you have a big upper body. My shoulders were just about the width of the pad so I got an XL…
- I am not sure if this is just my case, but if you leave it unused for longer periods of something seems to happen with the pump and I can take up to 15 minutes to inflate the first time
- This is not really a pad for a hiker, it’s bulky and it’s too much wasted space in a backpack…
The ALPS Lightweight is rated at 92 out of 100 which make it the top-rated sleeping pad on 3beds.com.
Does this mean it’s the absolute best the market of sleeping pads has to offer?
Overall, we believe that it does. But bear in mind that one of the categories we are rating in is the value for money and from what we’ve seen you can’t get a pad that would be significantly better not only in its price range but in price ranges twice or trice the tag.
The main strong suits are the comfort and the value for money.
The main downsides are that it’s bulkier than the ultra light sleeping pads and probably isn’t the best choice if you are backpacking.
It was rated at 90 by users and 91 by our featured testers.
Review of the ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Series pad
About half a pound heavier than the Lightweight series (comparing regular sizes), the Comfort series features a similar pump technology (JetStream). It comes in only one color (moss green) and the bottom is optimized for minimal slippage (DOT PVC, which is a fancy way of saying the bottom material has dots that allow a better grip).
Materials used for the pad
The anti-slip materials are especially important if your sleeping arrangement is such that the pad is placed directly on top of the tent surface.
The top material is softer to touch and it has a velvet-like feel top it (you might not be able to tell by the pictures because it looks kind of plasticky).
The valves of the pump are brass, which makes them corrosion resistant and the pump itself is easy to operate and inflates. After you have inflated it for the first time following the recommendation of ALPS it inflates/deflates within 2 minutes.
Excerpts from the reviews – testers and users
- The moment I unpacked this I could feel how ell it’s made and that it’s built to last and it lived up to my expectations on the trail. After the initial ritual of blowing it up for the first time, all it takes is a minute or two to be ready for good night’s sleep. I’m glad I didn’t splurge on a similar pad I was looking at that cost much more.
- I’m loving the moleskin finish of this pad, you don’t get that unpleasant synthetics feel of the pad slipping beneath you. We used to carry a Coleman queen air mattress to our camping trips but right now, I can’t even imagine dealing with that kind of bulk and weight.
- It’s ALPS all the way for me from now on. It’s great value for your buck, it’s foolproof when setting up, amazingly comfortable for a sleeping pad and packs very small.
- I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s so comfortable that I felt like sleeping on regular mattress and I was in the deep wild of the Rockies. I have to admit that I didn’t expect this from a pad at this price point.
- Only good things to say about the ALPS comfort, it’s exactly what I was looking for after going through 4 sleeping pads in the last 3 years. It can be kind of annoying inflating it for the first time and following those instructions but it’s more than worth it.
- This pad is a great combo of the comfort that a foam mat offers and the support of a regular Aerobed air mattress that I used to carry around. I tried both and I know what I’m talking about. For a trail, it’s safe to say that this pad is luxury at a low price. I’m not going back to thick foam mats or to full-blown air mattresses.
- Packs very small and light, perfect for my car-camping trips…
- I use this thing on my boat and I’m very pleased. I went through a couple of sleeping pads that all made me feel like I’m sleeping on a cheap beach ball, this one feels “foamy”…
- I’m very cautious when getting products I’ll be using for months or years. I did just that with this pad, I took my time, read all the reviews I could find and finally “pulled the trigger” with the ALPS comfort. I’m glad I did because, being a side=-sleeper, the padding and the thickness make all the difference…
- A regular mattress proved to be too much of risk. It does raise you more and offers more of a homey feeling when camping but I’ve been left with a punctures piece of plastic one too many times. On the other hand, you have a foam mat that costs next to nothing but offers the same comfort; you are pretty much sleeping on the ground. This baby doesn’t sleep like a thin pad, it offers a similar feeling to that of an air mattress without the huge puncture risk but packs like a foam mat and I can easily strap it on to the side of my backpack.
It’s totally worth it…
- I’ve seen no air leaks with this ALPS which has always been an issue when sleeping on the trail; I’d wake up on the ground. It sets up and own in minutes and in terms of firmness and comfort it feels pretty close to the high-end mattress I have at home.
- For car camping, this is perfect. I even took it out on backpack hiking and it is a bit bulky for that, especially if you are girl an every ounce matters, but I did manage. And the comfort just can’t be compared to the sleeping pads I owned before this…
- I was skeptic about the part where they say it doesn’t slip but it definitely does the trick. It has these small rubbery dots on the bottom that keep it in place which makes a huge difference because I am a restless sleeper and I toss and turn. With my old Thermarest, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and know that if I turn it will take me five minutes to get comfortable again. This pad stays firmly in place, and is just thick enough not to feel pressure at the hips and shoulders when side-sleeping…
Some of the less pleasant experiences:
- It says that you have to inflate it only the first time, but for me, it was more like 5 times before it was inflating as it should
- I’m waiting for a replacement, the first one I got simply wouldn’t fully inflate no matter how many times I tried going through the “first time inflation” they are describing in the specs
- The lining on this thing seems to be separating after only one month of use, this is going back…
- This is my 3rd ALPS pad and the first time I am really disappointed, the pad I received was defective on arrival. It just won’t inflate..
Our conclusions on the Comfort pad
This is the best-rated ALPS pad as per customers.
Similar to the Lightweight Series, this pad stand tall when compared to similar pads that cost much more. We especially like how comfortable the pad with the, as one of the users vividly put it, moleskin feel to the finish of the pad.
As we always mention, air mattresses and sleeping pads are sensitive product and can get damaged in transport. That’s why we developed statistical “read lines” to recognize the issue that belongs to that group and true issue with the quality of the product.
The ALPS Comfort was well within all those ranges and it’s a well-made product.
What does this mean for you?
It means that this is a good pad and if you’re unlucky to get a product that doesn’t work well on arrival (most of the issues we’ve seen are related to inflation), you just replace it.
We did some mystery-shopping with the ALPS ourselves and can report that their customer service is very-friendly and efficient when such issues arise. One of those times, the product was replaced and on our doorstep within 18 hours.
Its overall rating of 90/100 reflects our opinion about the ALPS comfort series.
Review of the ALPS Featherlite Comfort Series pad
Since most of our testers for theses three models of ALPS were hikers and preferred something light and compact to test, we have the biggest data sample on the Featherlite on the youngest addition to the small ALPS “family.”
Perhaps the modern design also played a role in most of our testers being interested in taking the Featherlite for a spin.
Whatever the case, the more data we have to go on the more reliable our results are and the more confident we are to rate a sleeping pad or mattress.
You might take a look at our table of rating and say that the Featherlite is not as good as the Lightweight or the Comfort series.
It’s not that simple and we wouldn’t say that.
As the name tells it, the Featherlite is by far the lightest pad on this list and packs the smallest by far.
This means two things:
- The people who are car camping and don’t care too much about weight are likely to prefer the Comfort or the Lightweight series
- People who are all about the hike and packing small and light will have no dilemma about the Featherlite being the way to go for them
The good news is that ALPS as a brand went down the road of offering more then competitive prices and instead of choosing one more expensive pad that would provide less flexibility.
You can get one of the first two pads on this list and the Featherlite and still spend less than going with some of the more expensive brands.
Another piece of good news is that wouldn’t mean sacrificing comfort or quality…not according to our tests and not according to the reviews of our featured testers.
Bottom line – the Featherlite will be the choice of backpack hiker if every ounce counts.
What the users and our testers had to share in their reviews:
- If you showed me this pad and asked me to guess the price, I would’ve guessed two or three times higher than it actually costs.
- I just had it for about a month and slept on it just twice but it looks and feels like a high-quality product. The pump valves are brass and feels much better made then the ones I have on my Thermarest; it’s pretty comfortable and packs so small.
- I was worried that if this pad would be long or sturdy enough to properly support a 6’3 guy and luckily it is. It is even just the right length. It’s just right for light backpacking…
- It looks awesome, it’s packs light and small and it inflates/deflates in 30-40 sec, what more could you ask for…especially for this price tag
- It’s so light that I expected some air loss because I’m a big man. It didn’t happen, it’s three months in, used it about a dozen times and it never leaked…
- Super comfy, especially if you have into consideration how light it is. Not much noise compared to the other pads around the tent…
- I know this might not be a point of interest for many hikers but this looks so stylish…I hope they introduce a few more color choices…
- I didn’t think it would make a difference but the pillow-like pattern seems to be a much better design choice comfort-wise then the top to bottom chambers like in my old Big Agnes.
- It’s super quick to inflate/deflate and set up. The dual valves make a real difference. Overall, it’s a great buy for a hiker…
The main CONs we’ve heard:
- It’s on the narrow side, keep this in mind of you are a big guy, especially if you have a muscular upper body. I do use it but I sleep on it with my arms crossed. If I try to put them down they would be on the ground if I don’t have a foam mat…I also have the ALPS Comfort and that sleeps much better
- It’s not really a big deal but it does make some creaking noises as you’re moving on it…
Our conclusions about the ALPS Featherlite
This pad is for the backpack hiker who does his best to make every ounce counts.
The girls will love it on its own and the boys might find it narrow and need to pair it with a foam mat to be really comfortable.
It’s rated at 86/100 in the last update; it was a winner with a vast majority of our featured testers (most of them men). They rated it at 87/10 and the users gave it an 84/100.
It’s still “young” and needs some more time under its wings but so far it looks like a great option for light and backpack hikers.
Bottom line – the ALPS Featherlite is here to stay and give the best (and more expensive) sleeping pads a good run for their money.
Final though on the three pads from ALPS
Each of these pads does deserve the high ratings it received.
They all shine more in some quality aspects and will be “just right” for most people. The Comfort and Lightweight series are a better choice for those who are car-camping or have no problems with a few extra ounces strapped to their backpack while the Featherlite will be the choice of those looking to go as light as possible.
In terms of value for money – these air pads have very little competition and ALPS did make these to fir their mission statement – provide the best possible quality for low, low prices.
On 3beds.com, these are right up there at the very top batting it off with the highest quality pads and are the currently the best rated in value for money category.
Updates and takeaways
As always, let us mention that we do our best to stay on top of things at all times. We update the ratings and the reviews b-monthly based on new info and conduct full-on tests once a year (or 6 months if we decided it’s needed to keep the data accurate).
Let us know what you think of these if you are a proud owner or apply to be one of the testers by leaving us a comment or dropping us an email.
Stay on the trail and choose smart,