Back when I was a kid and began joining my dad on annual deer and elk hunting trips, I used to pack along a small square of standard hardware store visquane plastic, a tip I picked up from my dad. He used to carry a piece for sitting on stumps. It was a simple and effective way to keep your fanny dry. Cold but dry.
Back then hunting was pretty straightforward, we’d set out at daylight, hike, sit, glass, look, hike, and repeat. It was rifle season and weather in October and November was either wet, cold, or both, with or without snow.
Since those early days I’ve explored other alternatives without too much effort. I’ve used the zip-off cushion from my turkey vests, and on occassion strapped a 9″x20″ closed-cell foam gardening pad to my pack. These options were a step up from the simple visquane moisture barrier because they offered some padding, and more importantly, insulation from the cold. The downside to these foam solutions is their physical size and inability to compress. They must be carried in your pack or strapped to the outside.
Enter the L.L Bean Pathfinder Seat. My wife surprised me with this handy pad for Christmas this year and it has already earned a place in my pack.
Akin to a Therm-a-Rest(R) for your rump, it packs a lot of features in it’s 4 oz. self-inflating package. Constructed of durable, abrasion resistant 70-denier nylon, it is waterproof and can be deployed quietly in seconds. It stows away with ease into a draw string stuff sack (included).
True to form this time of year it was 37 degrees and raining hard today. I conducted a simple water repellency test and found that the underside laminate shed water more readily than the top side. Once thoroughly wet, I wiped the pad with my sleeve and leaned it against a wall indoors. It took about 10 minutes to dry completely. I would recommend a coating of Kiwi Camp Dry, Aquaseal(R), or other waterproofing treatment suitable for nylon.
Dimensions: 16″L x 12″W x 1″D. Packed size 6 1/2″ x 3″.
For more information, see: L.L. Bean’s product page
|Its 3″ x 6 1/2″ compact size easily fits into a side pocket of most packs.|
|Self-inflating valve enables quick deployment in the field. You can also blow it up manually or top it off for a firmer pad.|
|The Pathfinder pad goes from this…|
|…to this in seconds, providing a warm, dry place to sit anytime, anywhere.|
|View of the underside after sitting on my soaking wet deck. The water beaded up and shook off pretty well.|
While the product is indeed 100% waterproof, the top surface laminate could use a waterproof treatment prior to extended wet weather outings.