Julia H.wrote a review of Pacific Outdoor Equipment Hot! Sleeping Pad on August 18, 2010
FYI, this is a long review:
Truly this pad is FAR MORE COMFORTABLE than any Thermarest I've ever used. I slept on the newest version (purple) of the Women's Thermarest Prolite Plus and it doesn't come close in my opinion for comfort to the Pacific Outdoor Equipment (POE) mat. I laid on my husband's POE mat once (his is at least a few years old and is an InsulMat Max, I think, size long) and I didn't want to go back to my Thermarest! So I purchased this one even though the only review posted was negative. I figured even if the battery pack/heat option failed, I'd probably still be happy with the pad itself.
I ordered the long pad and it very nice and long. Borderline too long, but I like to have my face and feet off the ground so its okay. I'm 5'8'' and that more than covers my head and feet to be fully on the pad with significant room to spare. The "long" now that POE makes is noticeably longer than my husband's older pad which back then was labeled "long." I would have given this 5 stars hands down if the battery pack were easier to load with batteries and if the light stayed on (indicating it is working) consistently. I'm still tempted to say it deserves 5 stars, because when it worked I was toasty warm (and I run very cold).
I researched this before I bought it and a guy from POE said that this initial design needs work because a good portion of the mats were flawed, which is why they are not available again until POE perfects the battery pack flaws and put a revised design of this pad on the market. He explained that the mat is designed to turn on when it senses the mat's temperate (aka my body heat) drops below 68 degrees. Once it senses that that temperature or higher is achieved, the mat automatically turns off again. There is no sound when it is actually heating up or when it shifts between heat or no heat. The red light on the pack will always be on to indicate that the mat is ready to warm you up if you need it. I just turned the pack over to douse the red light and make it dark in the tent. Sometimes I was so hot I couldn't believe it, I even woke up from being so toasty in my summer Sierra Designs bag.
POE's warranty is excellent and he assured me that if I have trouble he will replace the mat or battery pack with no problem. I even bought my son a similar old mat like my husband has on Ebay, because the guy at POE said if any of their mats have issues (even if purchased second-hand or no receipt is available), they would take care of me for the lifetime of their product. That's impressive!! I learned that their mats are set apart because they actually have foam inside of them that gives that great comfort.
Clearly, it is still a camping pad and won't feel like a bed, but when my son and I were on a road trip and visited 7 national parks this summer... I was actually disappointed with the sleep I got at home on my normally best-loved Tempurpedic mattress. This is actually the FIRST review I've ever written for any product, and I only did it because I keep thinking about what a great product it is (even without the heat function) and how so many people likely don't know what they're missing. So here it is; lengthy but hopefully helpful to someone so that it wasn't a complete waste of my time to write. Bottom line: you may experience a hassle of exchanging this mat for one that works better if you get a lemon and want the heat function up and running, but youll be working with backcountry.com and POE... both of which stand behind their products for years to come.