Over the past couple of years of walking I’ve gone through a fair amount of gear, so I thought I would share some feedback for stuff that’s tried and trusted. Hope it helps.
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What is it?: MEC Seat Cushion, from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
How much?: $27 CAD plus tax. (Note – got mine on sale)
Where, when, how do I use it?: Sometimes when you’re walking, you just want a dry spot to sit for a bit when you take a break. You can plunk down anywhere if you’re tired enough, but if it’s raining or damp, you’re going to get wet. And, not to be delicate about it, a frozen rock numb-bum is not a pleasant thing.
This handy seat cushion helps with both of these problems. It’s water resistant so you have a dry place to sit, and it gives you a layer of insulation and padding to keep you off a cold, hard surface.
The design is quite simple – 2-3 puffs will inflate it, and the twist valve seals well. Then just unscrew the valve and roll it up to expel the air. It’s light and compact enough to toss into your pack and just leave it there.
I’ve used this several times on day hikes and it really makes a difference. My old bones don’t like sitting on rocks anymore, and it’s great even in more civilized settings like when you’re on a picnic table, park bench, or wooden deck chair.
[Update – June 2022 – I took my seat pad with me on my 27-day PEI Island Walk. It proved to be handy several times, especially on road sections of the walk where there were no benches to sit on for a rest. Instead, I’d look for a roadside rock or some church steps, and once the paved drive of an abandoned house – in those cases, using the seat cushion helped to provide a comfortable, dry spot for a rest. And the weight and size of the cushion weren’t noticeable alongside the other things I was carrying.]
I bought two since they were on sale, so my wife has one as well. She likes it too!
Would I buy it again?: Sure. With age comes the wisdom to know when to splurge!
Disclaimer: This is not a “review”. I don’t go around sampling things, instead this is a summary of my own experience with a product I have used a lot. All opinions contained in this post are my own. I offer no warranties or assurances for your experiences with the same product. I bought the gear with my own money and have not received any form of compensation from the manufacturer. Take my feedback as given – caveat emptor.