REl Co-op Helix Insulated ($159)

Table of Contents

Air pad

1 lb. 5 oz.

3 in.


Comfort-first design and inclusive pricing/sizing.

More expensive than the similarly spec’d Big Agnes Insulated Air Core above.

REI’s $100 Flash was one of our most popular cheap pads, but the new Helix targets an entirely different market, with a more comfortable, warmer well-insulated model (R-value: 4.9). Similar to the original Flash The Helix’s gridded baffle design is similar to the designs of Sea to Summit which is arguably superior in terms of quality of distribution and comfort when compared to pads that have the vertical and horizontal baffles. The Helix also features a clever design that maximizes 20 inches of wideness throughout and is narrow at the top of the foot to be able to slide easily into tents with tapered sides. The rest of the pad is in line with many of the most recent offerings, which include the layers of insulation that offer warmth and convenience without bulk. It also comes with inflators and valves for deflation.

What we like the most about REI’s Helix Insulated is the standard cost of $159. You can choose a standard size, regular width, or a large wide. The company’s move toward inclusive sizes which we are grateful for the effort (with the majority of pads, you’ll pay more for larger or longer models). For the price it’s an excellent middle of our list. It provides greater comfort than a less expensive pad such as one like the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core ($100) and greater warmth as compared to pricier options such as that of the Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated. We’ve tried REI’s air pads previously, but with different outcomes (initial designs were not as durable, but they have improved over time). of durability, however the quality of their products has increased with time) However, all indications indicate that their Helix Insulated being one of the best products they’ve made so far.