Pac Back Gear Trio 3-in-1 Sleeping Pad Review
Pac back gear was kind enough to send me the Trio to test out. All opinions are my own. You can find more information about the Trio, including where to purchase it, here.
The Pac back Trio is an item born out of necessity, well a comfort-necessity. Pac Back Gear founders Lily and John were backpacking and struggled to enjoy camp because they didn’t have a comfortable place to sit. I think all of us that backpack know the internal struggle that comes with bringing a backpacking chair along. It always leads to the same question, “Do I suffer on the trail carrying the extra weight to the top? Or do I suffer at camp when I have nothing comfortable to sit on?” The Trio aims to solve this by turning your sleeping pad into a chair. You can even unzip the side panels and stuff a puffy jacket or other piece of clothing in them to create a backpacking pillow (thus saving weight on another piece of gear!)
So how does the Trio do all of this? It starts with a durable puncture resistant fabric on the bottom. I took my role as tester very seriously and fell onto the inflated sleeping pad (probably not recommended) outside of the tent, and it was perfectly fine. Using it as a chair doesn’t worry me unless you happen to find an open safety pin and set it up on top of that (even then I feel like your chances are still good that it won’t pop) Other stadium style backpacking chairs have straps on the sides that dig in, not the case with the Trio. It has full panels that keep it in an upright chair position. It’s extremely comfortable and works just as well as a chair as it does as a sleeping pad.
I have been pretty vocal on Instagram about how much I love my current sleeping pad and at first I was unsure if the chair capabilities of the Trio would be enough for me to consider switching. I took the Trio out to Yellow Aster Butte for a fall trip to test it out, and I loved it! It’s just as thick as my current sleeping pad which makes it perfect for a side sleeper. It’s insulated and has an estimated R-Value of 3 which makes it usable down to a temp of 15 degrees fahrenheit. It was comfy and not too loud when I moved around. I also love that there are two different chair configurations, you can leave one side long and do more of a lounge set up which I found super comfy, or use the buckles to turn it into a true stadium style seat which is better for cooking or playing games with your campmates. At two pounds it’s definitely heavier than my current sleeping pad, but since it is taking the place of two pieces of gear (and weighs in less than both of those combined) this makes sense to me. The one thing I wish the Trio had was a way to quickly release the air from the pad, as this tends to be how I convince myself to get up in the morning while backpacking.
So will this replace my current sleeping pad and chair system? For most of my trips, yes! Having a versatile piece of gear that keeps me comfortable in multiple situations is definitely worth extra weight for me on most of my trips. I think the only time I will leave it at home and opt for my lighter pad/a lightweight foam sit pad is on multiple day backpacking trips with long miles. Those trips where little to no time is spent “relaxing” at camp, but this is only because I have another sleeping pad. The Trio is a great all-purpose pad for most backpackers who only want one piece of gear in their closet to cover multiple needs.
If you are looking for that perfect pad/chair combo give the Trio a try! It’s comfortable and competitively priced with pads that only have one function.